Twenty, Not As Funny

by Jim on 2022/03/16

There was a very specific point to today’s outing: photographing the LDRR 1709, presumably in action, on this specific date, today.

For reasons that I learned only today but that could easily have been foreseen, the “in action” part was not to be, though I did photograph the locomotive with other action happening proximate to it on this specific date, today.

Why did I want to photograph that specific locomotive in action on this specific date today?

Because I photographed it in action both 20 years ago today – on the Lockport Branch back when it was still the Mountain Laurel 13 at Sugar Mill Road in Mathews and then again at Myrtle Drive in Lockport – and also 10 years ago today! How about those pictures from the Lockport Branch from 20 years ago? See what I mean when I say that the trains of today are less interesting than even the trains of just 20 years ago?

So, anyway, I scheduled to find and photograph the LDRR 1709 amidst being out and about to get my truck’s oil changed with a tire rotation.

The first thing to do is to go to the track, to where the 1709 likely is, and that’s what I did.

Yeah, we’re at the old Southern Pacific railroad depot.

It is now the headquarters of the Louisiana & Delta Railroad.

Here is the LDRR 1709!

Again, 20 years ago today, I photographed it pulling a train to Valentine on the Lockport Branch, and, 10 years ago today, I photographed it – again, working the Schriever Job – coming into Schriever from the west.

Here are three locomotives parked at the beginning of the Midland Branch, or what remains of it.

Here comes Peartree, out of the depot!

That man went to work for Southern Pacific in 1973!

I imagine that he will retire soon.

It was here and from him that I learned that I was very unlikely to see the 1709 move today because it is not equipped with Positive Train Control connections.


Well, Peartree and CV got into the LDRR 1850, the L&D locomotive that I have photographed probably more than any other, and started their work for the day.

Peartree said that he prefers working with just one locomotive, rather than the two, one on each end, that many L&D jobs around here use.

It was time to go and get the oil changed and tires rotated.

This wasn’t the cool experience that I thought it would be, even though I will be back.

This is the same company that changed my oil and rotated my tires for the last 14 years at its location in Metairie, for all the time that I lived in New Orleans and even when I was bouncing back home.

What I liked about that so much was that there was a CC’s Coffee place next door, and I’d go sit there and use my laptop for as long as my truck was being worked on, occasionally walking a bit further to the Applebee’s, but there are no such accommodations here.

Again, though, accepting this new reality, and the good work that these people do, should not be difficult.

So, what now? I returned to the track and found the LDRR 1709 where I left it, though, first, I needed to eat.

That was good.

I decided to hang out by track on Jefferson Street until the westbound Amtrak Sunset Limited arrived and try to work the 1709 into a weird, not-so-great image, but my plan to hang out here until then was foiled by the unlikeliest of cops.

Literally while I was taking a piss, Roselyn had come and harass me on the side of South Jefferson Street, because, apparently, I was on the property, even though I was very far from any structure of piece of equipment and even though I would have been in danger of fouling automobile traffic had I been any closer to Jefferson Street or West Washington Street.

From the comfort of her automobile, she let out, through her passenger-side window, a sentence that was actually just one, long continuous word that I was apparently supposed to be able to understand said from a mouth not close to the window through which the sound was passing and over the sounds that the automobile was making, meaning that I couldn’t understand what she was saying. I put my left hand by my ear and nodded side-to-side to signal to her that I didn’t understand what she was saying, and, also, I was taking a piss and, as such, didn’t want to turn fully around to face her, but I understood from my own history with her and her general hostility that it must have been something about my presence there not being welcomed – even though she is the only person to have even remotely chided me, let alone harassed me, in my nearly 20 years of hanging out here.

She could have made an ally. She could have acknowledged that I was actually an additional – and unpaid – set of eyes and ears for her organization, given me her card, and told me to contact her or someone else if I saw anyone actually doing harmful things here.

But she didn’t.

I don’t want to deal with this stupidity, I am a threat to no one, I have better things to do, and I just relocated from there before she could return to confront me, as I planned to return just in time to get my shot. I was later told that she then came walking out there seeking me!

I ended up parking by the Episcopal Church on the westbound lanes of Highway 182, and my plan was to walk around downtown and explore the area until right before Amtrak time, relocate to my shot position, and then get the lame shots that I came there to get.

So, here I am downtown by the Episcopal Church.

I walked up Jefferson Street and found the old Missouri Pacific Freight House that was considered the “yard office” even though it wasn’t by the yard.

I walked across Bayou Teche here.

Then, on the other side of the bayou, walked to the next bridge to the east and cross back to this side of Bayou Teche using that bridge.

That’s interesting! This is a neat town!

Anyway, back by the track, the 1709 is still there.

That right there is something that anyone on Jefferson Street can see, and taking that picture doesn’t require anyone get close to equipment or structures.

I realized that I need to move away from the track a bit to get a better view, given the changed lighting.

The LDRR 1702 and LDRR 1846 parked on the Midland Branch started moving right before the westbound Sunset limited arrived; I guess that the crew had just gone on duty.

The train had two private cars on the rear end.

Well, there is my action shot with the LDRR 1709, albeit not with the 1709 itself active.

That’s as good as it’s going to get, and I guess that that is that.

So, I went to West End Park.

A westbound BNSF Railway train was right behind the #1.

It had a few interesting – for 2022 – cars!

The real reason that I am here is to see if that job that just went on duty and started moving right as the #1 was arriving is going to do anything around here before I went to the gym.

Well, my hunch was right!

Wait, where did it get all of these tank cars?

It must have gone down the branch to grab these things, but then that raises the question of why it was headed west with no cars as soon as it started moving.

I can’t imagine that it would be leading with two locomotives if it pulled these things from the MoP yard, but maybe my imagination is limited.

And, then, there is this thing.

Okay, I went to the gym.

That was cool.

I returned to the yard.

Okay, so, I guess that that answers that, because that train is headed to Lafayette, which I guess means that BNSF really has won plenty of the liquid sugar business around here, because there is no other reason for those QLF tank cars to be going west from here. Still, I don’t see L&D handling any tank cars in Lafayette; so, either I am missing something, or only loads go that way.

Well, that is that, I guess.

Now, it’s time to head to the depot and photograph Peartree and CV coming back to the office from the locomotives.

I want to do this, because this man has been a fixture of the railroad scene in this area for longer than I have been paying attention to it, and he started railroading before I was born.

Can you believe that this dude went to work for Southern Pacific in 1973 and is climbing off of a locomotive in 2022?

He is supposed to retire this year, I think, I think in the summer.

I appreciate people like him and CV.

They are not railroad enthusiasts, but they are into being railroaders and into railroading.

CV, too, is a good dude.

Peartree is, as we saw on 7 March 2019 and as we saw on 14 April 2020, a bit of a clown, and I like that.

I am getting better with the color and texture processing here, I think.

Look at them; they look happy!

In a sense, they are lucky, even as they have difficult jobs.

Oh, look, is that the LDRR 1709 peeking through?

Yeah, that thing that I came here to photograph moving has not moved once today.

But I think that that’s an outstanding picture, made possible by those two good men there.

That’s all for today.

I still miss the Lockport Branch and how colorful that train of 20 years ago today was, though. Heck, even that train of 10 years ago today was colorful compared to what we see now.

It ain’t the same, man.

That’s all.


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