A Delayed QLUCB At Kraemer Road – 8 December 2003

by Jim on 2023/12/08

I did not realize it at the time, but these were the good old days.  The reason that I didn’t realize it was that there was so much more good that I could have done then, or maybe there wasn’t.  In any case, there were cool trains back then that would cease to exist in a few years.

After an interesting weekend in which, on Friday afternoon, I shot the ML 14 approaching the sugar mill, on Saturday, I went to Boeuf and Patterson and took pictures in those locations for the first time, and, on Sunday, I photographed three westbound trains, one with a high-nosed locomotive leading and another that would later be involved in a derailment, I saw and photographed something interesting after work, making this the fourth consecutive day that I shoot at least one moving-train picture.

As a Facebook post that I made about Union Pacific Railroad train QLUCB indicated, the QLUCB train – Quality, Luling, Louisiana, to Chocolate Bayou, Texas – that ran during this era typically ran on Sundays.

So, I was surprised to see it running on a Monday afternoon just before dusk, but that is what happened here at 16:22 CST, at Kraemer Road east of Raceland, Louisiana, at milepost 39 of the Sunset Route.

Not much time had passed before I realized that the very likely reason that it was running more than 24 hours late was the derailment that happened the afternoon before.

The train was led by UP 1441, a patched SP locomotive, and UP 676, and it had 268 axles.

At Schriever, parked on the mainline, was a westbound empty BNSF Railway fly ash train, perhaps a U-NWOMAR.  Locomotives were:

BNSF 1071 – C44-9W – Heritage 2
SOO 6061 – SD60M – Candy Apple Red
BNSF 4605 – C44-9W – Heritage 2

This may have been my first time laying eyes on a Soo Line locomotive in that Candy Apple Red paint scheme, and I really like that scheme.

The QLUCB crept up right behind the fly ash train.

A weird eastbound train took the siding, and it had the following power consist.

BNSF 6940 – SD40-2 – H1
BNSF 6485 – SD40-2 – blue/yellow
BNSF 2584 – GP35(?) <<<<<————-

However, what was really weird about this train was not the presence of the GP; it was the car consist. The train was only 25 cars! To further the weirdness, all but one were tank cars. The last car was a Sabine River Northern boxcar!

Only 20 years minus five days later, as I type this on 3 December 2023 while reading my notes from that time, do I realize that the most likely explanation for this anomaly is the same explanation for the anomaly of the QLUCB running on Monday: the derailment that happened the day before.  BNSF must have needed to send these 25 cars without waiting for the mainline to reopen to add tonnage, or, more likely, it needed to send a full power set eastbound to grab what other railroads in New Orleans were about to send it and to bring whatever few cars it had for them along.

Okay, so, that is all.  There will not be another 2003 picture presented here for 11 days, not until I show images from December 19 of that year, which will kick off a flurry of pictures until the end of the year.  My pattern of creating a huge amount of railroad pictures in the last week or two of the year and into the first few days of the next year, a pattern created by the combination of the fact that I was a school-teacher with a Monday-Friday job whose favorite trains ran on weekdays and who needed to do grading and lesson work even on weekends and the fact that low-angle sunlight combined with lack of oppressive heat and humidity made photography around the time of the winter solstice ideal, was beginning; actually, it began the year before, but it took full form for the first time in 2003.



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