A Storage Surprise – 1 June 2020

by Jim on 2021/06/01

Okay, this set of pictures, being not of an actual train or anything “action” related, was not included in the real-time posts from 2020 here. So, it is being included one year later, and it requires a little bit of background information.

So, as you may recall, the rice mill in Abbeville, Louisiana, closed in April 2020, and I got pictures of the last train from the mill pulling the last railroad shipment from the mill.

Almost a month later, an L&D crew came with a locomotive to the eastern edge of town, a few miles east of the rice mill, to get one tank car at Coastal Chemical that had been there since April 15, and I got plenty of pictures of the event.

After that, I figured that the Abbeville Branch would be perpetually dormant.

In the wee hours of May 31, Terry informed me of a string of hopper cars by Airport Road.

I went to check them out, especially since that probably meant that a tank car was delivered to Coastal Chemical.  I had figured that this would happen, and that the hopper cars brought may be the 100-plus cars that have been sitting west of I&V Junction.

So, yes, here is what I saw, this first scene from South Hospital Road.

I went out there on this morning to inspect, and it looked exactly as I suspected.  There is a tank car at Coastal Chemical, and the cut of stored cars appeared to be the same 100-plus cars – maybe 113 – that had been sitting past I&V Junction for the last few months; the cut stretched from South Airport Road, which is the first crossing west of Coastal Chemical, almost to South Hospital Road.

I was relieved to see that Coastal Chemical is open for railroad service for the time being, but, man, I wish that I could have seen and chased this train coming in!  Imagine a train of more than 100 cars coming through Delcambre and Erath!  I would not be surprised if some people in those towns who saw that train and are accustomed to the trains of no more than about 15 cars somewhat freaked out at such a long train.

I figured that the part of the line west of Airport Road would be used for storage, but I really wanted to see the train of cars be brought in!

The other reason that I was excited by this possibility is that it meant that the line would be preserved for at least as long as it was necessary to use it thus, but that turned out to be not very long at all.

This is the scene from South Airport Road.

Unfortunately, though, it did not last. Due to fears of storm surge from an approaching Hurricane, L&D pulled these cars to New Iberia as early as the 5th and then returned them to just past I&V Junction by the 12th, but they never returned to Abbeville.

Over the rest of 2020, L&D continued to make trips to move one or, occasionally, two tank cars at a time to and from Coastal Chemical, but, as I suspected would happen, this seems to have stopped right at around December or January.

So, here, also from that day, are some neglected tomato plants and bell pepper plants.

Yes, I should have weeded them better.

A year later, I am better at that.

But this is what tomato plants in southern Louisiana look like on June 1.

That’s all.


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