L&D Trains in Chacahoula, Boeuf, Patterson, And Morgan City – 6 December 2003

by Jim on 2023/12/06

Here is a set of images that I made on Saturday 6 December 2003, and it’s important to read the post from the outing the day before to understand what happened on this day.

I ventured westward on this day to places heretofore unexplored and unphotographed by me. I started the day at Schriever, milepost 55 of the Sunset Route, where I saw Mountain Laurel 14 and LDRR 1507, a CF7, with two boxcars on the siding preparing to head west.  This was the Louisiana & Delta Railroad’s Schriever Job.

Of course, the 1507 was dead-in-tow and was to be handed off to an eastbound extra train in Morgan City for it (the eastbound train) to take to New Iberia.

As I was in Schriever, radio chatter revealed that the L&D Schriever Job – L&D train SC1 – would not depart westbound until after the passage of an I-NOLB, a westbound Union Pacific Railroad intermodal train going from New Orleans to Long Beach, California, which was at milepost 39.  

I decided to head west to Chacahoula (MP 61.4) to try a wide-angle broadside shot. This is the only place (that I know) around here that it is possible to get a decent shot of a westbound in the morning, even this late in the year.

At Chacahoula at 08:58, I photographed the I-NOLB.  The power was UP 5649, a GE standard cab locomotive, and HLCX 6218, a blueish-purplish EMD.  The detector said that the train had 218 axles and was moving at 53 miles per hour.

At 09:10 at the exact same spot, the aforementioned L&D train SC1 passed me.

A weird thing happened here. When the 61.4 detector came on after the passage of the SC1, it came on Channel 11, instead of on Channel 12. What’s up with that?

I almost went home, but I decided that a trip west might be productive. I had intended to race to Bayou Sale to see if I could grab the I-NOLB again, but, for reasons that have been lost to history, I changed plans on the way. The SC1 had stopped in Ursa to run around the two boxcars. At 09:50, I photographed the ML 14 shoving the two boxcars into the MI spur at Boeuf.

This is, as far as I know, the first time that I photographed anything here.  Longtime readers will have seen my many images of the Union Pacific Railroad local train and its conductor Chip taken here, but this is when it started.

I learned that L&D was sending an extra train eastbound out of New Iberia with plenty of tonnage to meet the SC1 in Morgan City. I soon heard that an “extra 1850 east” was supposed to meet the I-NOLB at Bayou Sale.  Hoping to witness this, I raced westward. No sooner had I crossed the Wax Lake Outlet just east of Bayou Sale, I saw headlights. Darn; I missed it! I spun around to try to make the best of the situation. I eventually found a decent shot at Patterson, getting these views at 10:22 at Veterans Road at milepost 86.73 in Patterson.

As I type this two decades later, I think that it might also be the last time that I did this shot.

The train had 39 cars, 27 of which were carbon black loads! It looks like there are a few loaded cars from the rice mill in Abbeville, too, but I would not have known or appreciated that at the time.

At 10:37, I photographed it again passing the station sign at Berwick.

Then, I continued eastbound to Amelia to the same spot I was three weeks before, at Lake Palourde Bypass Road.  I was hoping to photograph the X-1850 east again here, but it never went that far.  I was initially under the impression that the interchange would take place at Ursa, but they did it in Morgan City instead. So, at 10:57, the ML 14 and the L&D 1507 (DIT) passed this location westbound.

In Morgan City, the ML 14 left the 1507 on the main and got in the clear.  The 1850 got off of its train, coupled onto the 1507, ran around its train, and returned to New Iberia with just the 1507 in tow (though I cannot be sure that it didn’t stop in Baldwin or Jeanerette to grab some cars to bring to New Iberia.)

The ML 14 went into the Port Of Morgan City, picked up two boxcars, added them to the 39-car cut from New Iberia, and went home eastbound to Schriever.

With that Mountain Laurel paint gone, with Burlington Northern logos on boxcars practically extinct, and with traditional-height boxcars now endangered, this is a scene that cannot be repeated, sadly.

The 39 cars from New Iberia would be set out in Schriever for pickup by the Union Pacific Railroad local train later on this day, and the two cars from Morgan City would be picked up by the BNSF Railway whenever the BNSF Railway felt like it.

When I returned to Schriever at 11:55, there was a westbound intermodal train sitting on the mainline awaiting the arrival of the SC1 and its 41-car train.  It was UP’s IATCI led by CSXT 7678 and a dirty UP 4872; it had five Tropicana reefers.

The clouds then rolled in, and I called it a day.

Five years to the day later, after having moved to New Orleans a few years before, I was in Mississippi doing my first chase of the Kansas City Southern Railway’s Hattiesburg Turn.  Such is life for a young man obsessed with the flanged wheel on steel rail exploring his world.

Stay tuned for a small but interesting set of pictures made the next day, Sunday 7 December 2003; that weekend was quite foamy indeed.


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