November 2003 Images

by Jim on 2023/11/01

Welcome to a cursory look back via 35-milimeter film to November 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, though I hope to change that at some point.

This post is part of a project that was described recently in a long post previewing this series, and it follows a similarly-formatted post of October 2003 images.

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!

All of the following pictures were made in southeastern Louisiana.

Saturday, The 1st

It might seem somewhat surprising that, given how close to home this location is for me, this probably is the only time that I ever did this shot or any shot looking in any direction from either side of the railroad crossing near here, but it’s just the truth.

This is a westbound – timetable northbound – Union Pacific Railroad manifest train, possibly the MAVLI, on the Livonia Subdivision approaching the Louisiana Highway 20 crossing in Vacherie.  The foundation of the old passenger depot was still by the crossing eight-and-a-half years later when I stopped to get an image of it.

Sunday, The 9th

On this Sunday afternoon, I camped out on the Richard property up Bayou Lafourche from Raceland, and I caught a couple of views of UP’s QLUCB moving westbound.

The QLUCB was a unit train of tank cars that was an intracompany move for Monsanto, from its facility in Luling, Louisiana, to its facility in Chocolate Bayou, Texas, and it usually ran on Sundays as a priority train, hence the “Q” prefix for “Quality”.

I took pictures again at this location in early 2004 and have not ever returned.

Wednesday, The 12th

This was a fun afternoon!

On the way home from work on the previous afternoon sometime around 15:30, I heard the L&D 1507 of the Louisiana & Delta Railroad’s Schriever job get a track warrant westbound around Patterson. The only thing the L&D Schriever Job – train SC1 – did that far west at that time was to go to New Iberia to get eastbound tonnage, mostly carbon black and occasionally some rice from the rice mill in Abbeville, eastbound for interchange with UP.

However, I found it very unusual for it to be doing this that late in the day. I figured the crew would die somewhere around New Iberia.

The next day, this day, Wednesday the 12th, I actually found time to do some hunting after work and at around 16:00 saw the SC1 coming westbound into Raceland with three boxcars. It must have just returned from Monsanto.

As it turns out, the boxcars were paper loads bound for Valentine Paper on the Lockport Branch. Standard operating procedure at the time had the SC1 heading east from Schriever to Raceland to serve the Raceland and the Lockport Branch on Monday/Wednesday/Friday, with trips are made to Monsanto in Boutte as needed.

With too much to do and not enough time to do it, the SC1 died in Raceland on this day, with the plan for the paper plant will be served first thing the next day after some more tank cars are spotted for Raceland Sugar.  I really wish that I could have seen and photographed that!

It was hard to imagine the train making it to New Iberia and back to Schriever the next day, and that led me to wonder if the Lockport Branch would be served that Saturday.

The train had a lumber load to set out on the “Raceland Proper” track near the Raceland Post Office. The lumber would have gone to Dufrene Building Material. It was a BNSF centerbeam flatcar loaded with 20′ and 24′ 12x12s!

I decided to try to photograph the SC1 setting out the lumber car. I was in a cane field to the northwest of the track, and I photographed the 1507 as it approached town pulling three boxcars for Valentine Paper and pushing one centerbeam flat car. Although the conductor, Willie Neal, knew who I was, the engineer, from somewhere near New Iberia, was substituting for the usual crewman.  I heard the engineer tell the conductor, “Look in the cane field to your right!”

Someone said, “Smile.”

The engineer said that it must have been “Perry Junior!”


As the car was set out west of Mississippi Street, I photographed it.

That was fun, and then I had tests to grade. 

Friday, The 14th

Well, I imagine that I wasn’t grading tests on Friday afternoon.  I did get one of my earliest images of Chip Ledet, though.

This was at Raceland, and Chip, his engineer, and the locomotives appear to be running around their train on the siding.

Check out that locomotive!  It’s the UP 192, a former Southern Pacific GE B23-7, and it got the wings treatment!  Isn’t that cool?  We thought so!

Saturday, The 25th

My iconic image of this locomotive and of this period in my life was made on this day, the day after school let out for Thanksgiving Week.  I felt awful on this day, as I had a horrible afternoon the day before, which made my entire holiday week sour, as I was so apprehensive.

I did manage to get out and get what may be my best shot of the UP 192 on Saturday afternoon, as the Chip Local came into Schriever to make a set out.

This was also the period that the train had a bunch of Monsanto cars along for the ride; supposedly, the job was on the verge of being abolished and, as such, got working Monsanto added to its assignment list.

Still, I cannot look at this picture without thinking about the lovely girl who liked me and how she was inadvertently a part of the story of why I suffered so much over this holiday week.

Monday, The 24th

Maybe this was the day that I talked to her mother about the situation.  It probably was.

Regardless, here is LDRR 1507 pulling tank cars loaded with molasses from Raceland Raw Sugar.

I love the CF7!  I love the grey running gear and tanks!  Damn you, Genesee & Wyoming, for degrading this paint scheme by painting the underbelly black.

That is all for the pictures for this episode.

On the following week, chastened and humbled, I made a professional recovery, wiser, more cautious, and more mature.  In the following month, I took so many pictures and have so many of them scanned that each day will have its own post.

Stay tuned for that!


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