January 2014 Sampler

by Jim on 2024/01/01

Greetings, and welcome to the January 2014 Sampler essay here on Jimbaux’s Journal, which, of course, chronologically follows from the “December 2013 Sampler” essay.  These “Sampler” essays show one image from each date in the given month in which I made a presentation-worthy photograph; they function as a substitute for full-day blog posts of all of the presentation-worthy photographs on one date, as such posts are very time-consuming to make.

This essay is being written on 2023 December 30-31, just shy of 10 years before the images presented were made and only a few weeks after I reprocessed most of the images that I took in 2014, for the purposes of these presentations.

These Sampler essays throughout 2014 include both already-published images and never-before-published images, but nearly all of the ones from and including August to November have already been published in individual day-blog-post form, meaning that there is little point in making sampler essays for those months, but I will do so anyway to maintain continuity and because doing so doesn’t require that much effort and because it offers an opportunity to present pictures in a different way.  Some of the images from other parts of the year, too, have already been published.

This month, January 2014, was a time of transition for me which is why it shows a slight variation in my historic habit of doing plenty of train chasing and railroad photography in the two-week period surrounding Christmas and New Year’s Day.  This habit was described in the “December 2003 Images” essay, and I encourage you to read it, because it very much explains the entire approach to this publication that you are reading.

In this case, I had just quit my teaching job and was going back to school toward the end of January.  So, this time in which I would already be back at work in early January and in which my permission to spend my nights in the metropolitan New Orleans area was in danger was now the best time for me to focus on some photographic targets that had long been on my to-do list, including things that were day trips from New Orleans in easterly and northerly directions.

The two big day-trip targets that I wanted to see were the Kansas City Southern Railway’s Gulfport Subdivision in southern Mississippi and the Canadian National Railway’s line to Bogalusa, Louisiana, from Wanilla, Mississippi.  These were – and, as I type this a decade later, mostly still are – Class I railroad operations of classic branchline-like railroads with second-generation diesel-electric locomotives in charge, which calls to mind railroading of the past, especially the Bogalusa line, with its jointed rail; the KCS Gulfport Subdivision had jointed rail until being rebuilt a few years before.  I had not been to the CN Bogalusa line in nearly five years, and I hadn’t been to the KCS Gulfport Subdivision in nearly two years.

Lesser targets that were local to New Orleans were night scenes of the city.

It would be difficult to do the day trips after classes started, especially as my ability to maintain an apartment in the metro area was being threatened, and, again, late fall and early winter is best to do day-long runs for a combination of reasons.  Ironically, though, two of the three of these day trips that I made were on Saturdays!

Little did I know that my back situation would make all of this even worse, making me all the more grateful that I was able to get these images.

This was also the period shortly before I learned that I am autistic and shortly before the Trump Phenomenon, which I will discuss a little bit more after, for reasons that I will not say, after the first image.  These revelations are why I never published a music video that I had created, complete with a studio-recorded song with an established professional musician, as I described in a February 2021 photo essay about a revelation from a dream that I had had at the time.

With that in mind, let’s get to the pictures.

Saturday, The 4th

We start in Mississippi on the Kansas City Southern Railway’s Gulfport Subdivision, my first time visiting the place since the big upgrade of the line was completed; my last visit here had been in March 2012, nearly two years prior.  Prior to the upgrade of the line, trains traveled 10 miles per hour on the line, and the crew of the Hattiesburg Turn would lay over in Hattiesburg for the night between runs, which were northbound Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and southbound on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Well, while I had known that the upgrade of the line would mean that the trip from Gulfport to Hattiesburg and back would be able to be made in one day, I had not known that this would mean that the job would no longer be working on Saturdays.

So, we showed up here expecting to see the southbound turn.  I don’t remember how, exactly, we learned that it would not be running on this day, but my best guess is that it was the presence of the train’s locomotives in Gulfport.

So, however, that allowed us to see something that I had never before seen on the Gulfport Subdivision!  I got to see the Delisle job, which we intercepted on the subdivision mainline returning to the yard.

We also photographed it yarding its train.

I really didn’t understand either myself or the world back then.  This was shortly before the Trump Phenomenon and shortly before the discovery that I am autistic, which is to say that I didn’t have a good way of selecting friends and establishing boundaries back then.  I just didn’t understand how society works when I made these images like I understand it now.

There is a reason that I am say all of that to accompany a picture on this particular date, but we won’t go there.

Monday, The 6th

On this date, I went to the West Bank to buy some gloves at a place where the sales person happened to be a former student of mine, and then I got out and got some action on the New Orleans & Gulf Coast Railway.

That’s the street running down 4th Street in Old Gretna, some former Southern Pacific trackage right there.

Thursday, The 9th

I returned.

I returned to the KCS Gulfport Subdivision on a weekday, five days after I went there on a Saturday disappointed to not see the Hattiesburg Turn, now that I knew that it doesn’t run on Saturdays anymore and since I was in this transition that allowed me this day off this far into January.

In this view, the first time that I do this view, we see the KCS Hattiesburg Turn in Hattiesburg on its way from the Canadian National Railway yard, where it leaves most of its train, to the Norfolk Southern Railway yard with 22 cars of interchange traffic for NS.

Saturday, The 11th

As I said before, my other main target in this opportunity provided by this transition was the Canadian National Railway’s former Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad line to Bogalusa, Louisiana.  On this day, I had to leave the crib really early to get to Bogalusa for daybreak, and I chased the turn from Bogalusa all the way to Ferguson, Mississippi, where it swaps its outbound cars for its inbound cars and works its way back south.

Here is the job returning to Bogalusa, about to make the turn southward at Wanilla, Mississippi, where the Mississippi Central Railroad crossed the GM&O.

That faded-to-pink lead locomotive prompted me to change my plans for the rest of the afternoon.  I had intended to chase that train all the way back to Bogalusa, but dissatisfaction with that lead locomotive prompted me to change those plans.  I got a few more shots of the train, and, then, I headed west to explore Brookhaven and then work my way back southward along the CN McComb Subdivision mainline. 

I ate at this neat pizza place by the track in Brookhaven that seems to no longer be there, and I just remember hearing the song “Sister Christian” on the radio, with its line “motorin’” sticking out in my mind.

Friday, The 17th

This is just moonrise, and a poorly-rendered moonrise, over the KCS Railway yard in Metairie.

Yes, it is also a self portrait!

Five years to the day before, I got some shots of Norfolk Southern Railway train 393 landing at Bayou Saint John.

Saturday, The 18th

Here is what was happening at Terminal Junction on the Norfolk Southern Railway in New Orleans on this night.

I guess that that train under the Frankin Avenue overpass is parked and crewless, delivered by the Union Pacific Railroad and awaiting an outbound NS crew.

Sunday, The 19th

Well, I was also trying to get some views of New Orleans itself during this time of transition, because I could very much feel my grip on the area slipping.

This view of the New Orleans skyline is from the Heritage Plaza in Metairie.

Thursday, The 23rd

Here is a view of some switching at the KCS yard in Metairie.

It’s a bit insipid, but it is presentable nonetheless.

Sunday, The 26th

Here is a sugarcane field.

I don’t remember where that is and, apparently, didn’t record where it is, but it looks like it could be just east of the sugar mill in Raceland.

Friday, The 31st

We are at Schriever, watching the Louisiana & Delta Railroad’s Schriever Job at work, as we see Tory protecting the shove by LDRR 1707, with Willie at the controls, of the 13 cars with which it had just arrived from the west.

Speaking of Bogalusa, five years to the day before, I got some pictures of CN’s Bogalusa train returning to Bogalusa, which seems to be the last time that I photographed that operation prior to this month of January 2014.

That’s all.

Epilogue And Preview

Classes had already started, I liked it, and my life was about to change even more dramatically, because, about a week later, I would need and have emergency back surgery.  It would be the first of three back surgeries that I would have just in this year.

Still, I made accomplishments during this year.  Being forced to lie down for much of the year, I got more books read this year than I did in any other year of my life.  I also made some academic and artistic accomplishments.  I got some good pictures, and many of them will be shared here over the year.

Stay tuned to see those images, and, before you go and if you haven’t already done so, please check out the images that I made a decade to the month prior.



Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: