May 2012 Sampler

by Jim on 2022/05/01

Greetings, and welcome to the May 2012 Sampler essay.  The “April 2012 Sampler” essay was unusual in that it was published on the eight of the month of April 2022 so as, explained at the beginning of it, to avoid interfering with the flow of publication of the decennial retrospective blog posts of my spring 2012 Eastern Great Plains road trip.

All of the images in this post were made in southeastern Louisiana, the farthest west being at Amelia.

Wednesday, The 2nd

On this day, I got some images of Chip at Boeuf.

I miss that smile and even that train.

Thursday, The 3rd

I was working on a new shot here, even though neither the position at which I am standing nor the direction which I am pointing the telephoto zoom lens are new.

Not only will you see more of this, but this particular image helped me refine an argument about how automobiles should always have their headlights on when operating on public roadways, regardless of the atmospheric conditions at any given time.

Wednesday, The 9th

On this day, shortly after leaving the office in Morgan City, I photographed three westbound Union Pacific Railroad trains.  The one that I found when I got to Schriever I chased all the way back to Amelia, and the reason is that it had “standard cab” power leading it.

It was rare even then, hence my reason to chase it so far.

Friday, The 11th

On this day, I was, as I mentioned last time, in my spring-summer-2012 tradition of going to New Orleans – okay, Jefferson – on a Friday afternoon and getting whatever shots that I could, like this one, along the way.

That’s the eastbound Chip Local on the mainline at Raceland Junction while the tail end of Union Pacific Railroad train ZATLC is on the siding.

Saturday, The 12th

Okay, this day was really strange and memorable, because it was so eventful.  I took more than 650 pictures!  Most of them were of an event that happened in the morning by accident, the attempt at rerailing two railroad cars that were derailed on Norfolk Southern Railway’s transfer job to-and-from the Canadian National Railway at Mays Yard shortly after it had left Mays Yard and was re-entering the NS Back Belt line shortly before 09:00.

NS 9375 was the sole power on the NS job in which two cars derailed.  The two cars that derailed on this train as it was going east were, from east to west, UTCX 53826 and DOWX 73412.  They were the fourth and fifth cars, respectively, on the train.

As the derailment happened at a spot of ownership change between two railroads, and as the train would be an NS train operating on CN track west of this spot, maintenance crews of both CN and NS showed up to work the derailment, probably about 20 persons.  CSX’s transfer job happened to be in CN Mays Yard as it often is at that time of morning, and it pulled the rest of the train (behind the derailed cars) back into Mays Yard. 

Then (right after I arrived on the scene), the NS took the first three cars away but then returned to attempt to rerail the two derailed cars.  A couple of “shim” efforts were made using pieces of wood and metal frogs, but both failed, and it seemed that the derailed truck on the first car got too close to the frog (the actual in-place one) in all of the efforts.  So, the NS power broke away, and a CN crew was dispatched out of Mays to try to pull from the other end. 

East Bridge Tower had called Amtrak at around 09:00 to alert that the City of New Orleans might be delayed because of this.  Even though the derailed cars have been rolled away without any apparent damage, I don’t know if the line is back open yet.  I’m guessing that a picked switch is the cause of the derailment.

After the derailment happened, the NS 9375 and a few other cars broke off from the two derailed cars, and two CN locomotives – IC 9565 at west and in charge with GTW 5857 at the east – came from Mays Yard to attempt to pull the cars back onto the track with the help of the shims that the repair crews were making and putting in place.

By the time that I took this photograph, I had already surpassed another milestone this morning: I took the 10,000th picture taken with the new Canon camera that I got in November.

As I was there watching and photographing this event, I inadvertently witnessed the first Saturday westbound Amtrak Sunset Limited, which had to be rerouted (I guess via a reverse switchback move) to the track on the southern side of East Bridge Tower due to the derailment, pass since the new schedule went into effect the week before.

After several failed attempts, each of the four axles was rerailed at once, and by about 12:30, the two cars slowly rolled back into Mays Yard.

Amtrak’s westbound Sunset Limited passed at 11:32 at the timestamp, and this should be the first time that I see its Saturday run since its schedule was changed from Friday to Saturday.

That night, I took some more pictures that, upon looking at them a decade later, I feel that I should not have taken, and this would be common for many pictures that I took starting in early 2010. 

I went with my camera to an event ‘for’ that New Orleans photo publication that I had created, but it was just a way for me to try to get to know people and to try to build an audience for my work that I actually want to do for its own sake.  Some of the pictures now seem to me to be invasive, that I had made social stumbles by taking them, and I think that it’s an autism thing.  It’s so easy to see in retrospect.  Even just looking at the pictures now makes me cringe, wondering what the subjects thought of me and how I might have made them uncomfortable.

Sunday, The 13th

Here is a scene from a brief Sunday-morning search for trains.

That’s the daily transfer run between the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad and the CSX, most of which is interchange traffic moving between the Kansas City Southern Railway and CSX.

Monday, The 14th

It’s daybreak on the track in Chacahoula.

I had an idea.

Thursday, The 17th

I got to put the idea into practice on this morning!

That’s one of my favorite scenes there, and I have taken many pictures there!

Saturday, The 19th

I don’t have a picture to share for this day, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t take any pictures on this day.  I took plenty of good pictures on this day, but they aren’t “Jimbaux” pictures.  They are of a subject of the professional me. 

I really got “the feels” looking at the pictures that I took on this day, because they are a reminder of a great accomplishment of my past and how I have been unable to do anything as meaningful or impactful for the world since then.  It brings me both pride and sadness.

Sunday, The 20th

Listening to the Incubus song “Warning” as I looked through these pictures almost a decade after I took them with the thought of the graduation pictures from the day before and the meaning of those pictures, my lament that I haven’t accomplished anything as good as what I did at that school since I left there was on my mind.  It’s very heavy.

This was the Bayou Boogaloo in New Orleans, and I look at this event, too, differently now.  Though I don’t think that any of my pictures from this event are invasive, I was doing something similar to what I did on the event that I attended on the night of the 12th.

I got some more pictures that day, both before and after the event.

Wednesday, The 23rd

I have no memory of taking this picture, as I was probably coming home from the day job, but here is the Chip Local, still with the UP 281 as power, coming through Schriever westbound with just two cars.

I miss that little train.

Friday, The 25th

Once again, it’s a Friday afternoon, and I am again heading from the banks of the Atchafalaya River to the banks of the Mississippi River and following the Lafayette Subdivision track to do so, and I stopped in Avondale and got some pictures, including this shot from Avondale Garden Road, where we see an unidentified westbound UP train at left and BNSF Railway train M-CSXLAL at right, getting a crew.

Most notably, I saw and photographed an unpatched Cotton Belt GP60 looking rather forlorn at the fueling tracks, as you can see in the full post from that day.

Saturday, The 26th

I am again checking out the work being done to replace the street trackage of the New Orleans & Gulf Coast Railway on Madison Street in Gretna.

I then went to the Gretna farmers market downtown, talked to some people, saw some former students, and got some tomatoes.

Sunday, The 27th

I am at Central Avenue in Jefferson quite early in the morning, and, look at this, a solid pair of Illinois Central GPs is working right here at the end of Mays Yard!

I ended up taking a ridiculous amount of pictures on this very colorful and very memorable day!

Thursday, The 31st

I guess that I must have fixed the time problem on my camera by this time, which is to say that I must have, by this time, settled on my practice of leaving the clock on my camera permanently set to Central Standard Time, something that I hadn’t done before the road trip two months before.

Anyway, on this last day of the month, here is a BNSF Railway manifest train westbound at Chacahoula.

Yeah, it would have had to have been after 16:00 CDT.

That’s all for the pictures for this month.  Thanks for checking them out.


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