False Hopes And Real Gratitude, Raceland And Schriever – 31 December 2003

by Jim on 2023/12/31

Here it is, folks.  Here is the end of this marathon run of pictures for the last two weeks of 2003.  Please remember what I said in the December 19 post about the reasons for my habit of taking so many railroad pictures in the two-week period around Christmas and New Year’s Day.

On this day, Wednesday 31 December 2003, I was very much hoping that the Lockport Branch would be served, and it seemed at first that that would happen.

Louisiana & Delta Railroad train SC1, the Schriever Job, went eastbound from Schriever to Raceland on this morning with five boxcars for Valentine Paper and one tank car.  I caught it at Thoroughbred Park.

Most of the boxcars had been delivered to Schriever the day before by the Union Pacific Railroad local train led by a Southern Pacific locomotive.

After the train got into the siding and cleared the mainline at Raceland, UP train IATCI (Intermodal – Atlanta, Georgia, to City Of Industry, California) passed.  It had six or seven Tropicana refrigerator cars and two shiny locomotives: GE AC4400CTEs UP 6003 and UP 6016.

The SC1 dropped the boxcars and went to work Raceland Raw Sugar.  I began to have a bad feeling about this.

To my great disappointment, the train did not run down the branch to Valentine to serve the paper plant on this day, which means that the memorable chase that I made on December 23 was the only time I was able to get pictures on the Lockport Branch in this two-week break from my then day job this year.  The Mathews Foamer showed up on the scene, and the first thing that he said to me was “you must be pissed.”


The five boxcars were left on the west leg of the wye.  The paper plant was shut down for the holiday and, thus, probably didn’t need these cars right away anyway.

Despite my great disappointment, I was pleased to be able to get some images of the LDRR 1850 pulling molasses tank cars from the sugar mill.

I like it.  Compare that with my similar picture, with the CF7 doing the task, from a month before.  I like it, but I really miss the CF7s.

I then went to school (i.e., work) to take care of some chores there for a little while.  I then headed northbound to Schriever in the hopes of catching – photographing, not boarding – the westbound Amtrak Sunset Limited there.

“The skip” must have been “in” on this day, because I heard the Kansas City Southern Railway Meridian Subdivision dispatcher talking to a “TFM 2368” in Vicksburg. Earlier at Raceland, I had heard the BNSF Railway dispatcher talking to trains on the New Iberia, Lafayette, and Roanoke radios.

At Schriever, two people boarded the westbound Amtrak Sunset Limited. A woman and her six-year-old grandson got on the train to go to Lafayette. It was the boy’s birthday present.

At 13:29, the train left Schriever.

The locomotives were AMTK 137 and AMTK 4.

Five years to the day later, I once again ended a year by taking pictures of the westbound Sunset Limited coming through Schriever.

So ends the pictures for 2003, a year that was a big development in my knowledge and understanding of both railroads and railroad enthusiasts, as it was the first full year that I had a radio scanner to monitor railroad radio traffic and was the first year in which I traveled to out-of-state gatherings of railroad enthusiasts and made social contacts thus.  I ended the year grateful to the moderators of a few railroad-enthusiast internet forums for helping to make all of this possible.

Also, thank you, dear reader, for your interest.



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