October 2003 Images

by Jim on 2023/10/01

Welcome to a cursory look back via 35-milimeter film to October 2003.  This is a sample of images from that time, and the sample is dictated by what of my 35-mm slides from that time had been scanned prior to the spring of 2014.  At the time of the publication of this post, I do not own and never have owned a film scanner.

This post is part of a project that was described recently in a long post previewing this series.

This is a look back to an interesting time, which is a description that says plenty about the time that this is being written two decades later.

Let us begin!

Saturday, The 18th

We begin with the month more than half over.  I vaguely recall that I may have had to travel to the workplace – a school – on that Saturday afternoon or evening for some function, like maybe a dance or something.

This is westbound BNSF Railway train H-NWOBEL blasting through the swamp-dip at Schriever at 17:35 after it met an eastbound BNSF Railway train in Raceland.

The H-NWOBEL was a daily manifest train from New Orleans, Louisiana, to Belén, New Mexico, where most of the traffic would be reconstituted into other trains, mostly bound for California.

Sunday, The 19th

A day after the prior picture, back at Schriever, we would see something interesting!  However, it did not start that way.

As I wrote at the time, I faithfully made my way trackside this morning in search of the
truth. Despite gloriously gorgeous weather, there were no trains to be seen during my morning services today. I wonder if it’s because I left my foamer notebook in my classroom.

It seems that I missed a westbound train right before I got there. That’s what I get for screwing around at the donut stand when I should be trackside. While there, I heard the MP49.6 detector go off.

I was joined by another parishioner on this morning. Jeff showed up, and we discussed train stories. He offered a few suggestions for railfan-band names. Maybe we could be the “Derailed Minds” with our debut album “Broken Frog.” He suggested that The Goat be the lead singer.  All of these ideas are extremely terrible.

Things would get better, at least back then, late that afternoon, though, when I saw this.

Here, we see a solid set of Warbonnets – which was quite rare even then – leading westbound BNSF train M-NWOPTR through Schriever on BNSF’s former Southern Pacific railroad “Sunset Route” line through southern Louisiana, but, even better, one of those neat GP60Ms is leading the train!

That’s Conductor Persick on the radio, giving up his track warrant; do you see him talking on the radio, sitting in the conductor’s seat?

The M-NWOPTR originated at the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad’s Cotton Warehouse Yard and terminated on the Port Terminal Railroad of Houston, Texas, hence the “NWO” and “PTR” station codes. Would you Warren Buffet followers please tell your Uncle Warren to rename the BNSF the “Santa Fe” and paint the locomotives in this classic red-and-silver scheme?

Tuesday, The 21st

I don’t remember the story behind what is happening here, but I just know that that I attempted this shot no more than a few more times shortly after doing so here.

We’re at the Lafourche Crossing, I may be trespassing, and the train a westbound Union Pacific Railroad manifest train.

I do not recommend doing this, and I post these images here with hesitation. I mean, hardly anyone reads this blog anymore anyway, and, really, that’s just fine with me, I suppose.

Saturday, The 25th

Okay, we are at Rich Mountain here! We are on Rich Mountain, and we are at Page, Oklahoma, where we see a light-power move heading to Heavener, Oklahoma, a Kansas City Southern Railway terminal.

What interested me in the image, of course, was the presence of the Spartan-cab Iowa, Chicago & Eastern Railroad locomotives, foreshadowing both my forays to IC&E’s sister railroad, the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad, and the eventual merger of KCS and the Canadian Pacific Railway, which acquired the IC&E and DM&E five years after this image was made.

Sunday, The 26th

It was time to head back home, and it’s crazy that I even traveled as far as I did for a trip of only two nights. Here we are in Heavener, Oklahoma, where KCS train I-KCSH is preparing to blast off up the mountain behind two then-relatively-new grey KCS GE AC4400CWs.

They were premium power on the KCS at the time, possibly rivaled only by the Transportación Ferroviaria Mexicana EMD SD70MACs, and would be so until 2005, when the first EMD SD70ACes arrived.

Here we are at Blue Cut, as the train is climbing the mountain.

We would soon leave Oklahoma behind.

A few hours later, we were in Ashdown, where we caught up with a better-looking train making its way southward.

Yes, I like that.

That’s all for the pictures for this episode.


When I made the switch to digital in 2005, I quickly got over film and didn’t look back, and I often say today that I don’t miss film at all with all of its hassles, costs, inconveniences, slowness, potential for degradation, but, looking at some of these slides, I kind of do somewhat miss film! Why? Why might this be?

Could it be that there was once more excitement with getting your pictures back from the processor? Could it be that getting a good shot involved more effort, cost, uncertainty, and sacrifice? Could it be that, because of those things, it felt more like a fine art? Could it be something else?

Anyway, stay tuned for more old scanned slides from the following month, November 2003, and, then, many more from December 2003.



Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: