Roll of Film Scanned - New Orleans Area Trains
(Note: Images are linked to larger files on rrpicturearchives.net)
Though my current scanning project is to whittle away at a large 1996 album, I came across this roll of film and decided I really wanted it on-line. The major attention-getter for me is the opening sequence of images along the now-abandoned Southern Pacific branch along the Harvey Canal. This is on the "West Bank" of the Mississippi River across from New Orleans, between Avondale and Algiers. The sign identifying the industry at Milepost 3 reads "Bredero Price 2900 Peters Road."
On June 27, 1995 I managed to stumble upon SP "Job 604" easing up to Milepost 3 on the branch. Power was lone SP MP15AC 2728. Here the crew would go to lunch. Following are some notes from retired SP employee Roger Ohlsson regarding the meal periods here:
The fourth image shows SP engineer Roger Burrows on his way to the lunch room. The crew was very friendly, allowing me to take a few photos from the cab ob the 2728 while they were at "beans". Looking at Google Maps, there are very few signs of this railroad in the Post Hurricane Katrina era. The image below is linked to the Google Maps street view if you wish to explore the location as it appears today.
Just about the only recognizable landmark at this location today is the large building just south of Milepost 3 with a pattern of double narrow windows. Today this building belongs to Chet Morrison Contractors. The address is 3434 Peters Road, Harvey LA, 70058. The concrete flood wall today appears to be about where the tracks were in 1995.
Though the UP acquisition of the CNW was a blight on the railroading landscape in America, for a brief period of time it did spice things up for us photographers. This was especially true for those of us who did not live anywhere near the CNW. In 1995 and 1995, UP consists were littered with CNW locomotives across the system. South Louisiana was no exception. My notes (shared at the bottom of this post) indicate that I saw four CNW SD40-2's on June 27, 1995: CNW 6848, CNW 6863, CNW 6922, and CNW 6931. They were in four separate locomotive consists. I was able to shoot three of them. The CNW 6848 was not photographed.
CNW 6922 was the first of three I shot on this day. Here we see it in the locomotive servicing tracks at the UP Avondale Yard paired with UP SD40-2 3330. This locomotive has a long career with the Union Pacific ahead of it. It will eventually be rebuilt into UP SD40N 1919.
The next image on this roll of film is the second CNW SD40-2 of the day: CNW 6931. This was the trailing locomotive of a four-unit consist on a train in Avondale Yard. Leading this unit was UP SD40-2 3839, UP GP38 1989, and UP B30-7A 247.
Interestingly I would photograph this locomotive again over 10 years later close to my new home in Texas. On April 8, 2006 a visit to the Dallas Garland and Northeastern in Denison, Texas found this locomotive in the CIT lease fleet identified as CEFX 6931. The below images are from this visit to Denison:
Westbound Southern Pacific intermodal train 1-CXCIT-27 was the subject of the next four images on this roll of film. The CXCIT trains originated at the CSX Gentilly Yard on the east side of New Orleans. The final destination is City of Industry, California in the Los Angeles basin. Departing Avondale at 1:58 PM these images show just how miserable it is to shoot during the middle of the day in the summer in Louisiana. Knowing that in the future all things SP would be gone, I got the shots anyway.
The power for this train was typical of the EsPee we grew to love and hate during this era. Two particularly ratty and filthy tunnel motors lead a nice looking Cotton Belt GP60. The consist: SP SD40T-2 8241, SP SD45T-2 9257, and SSW GP60 9703. These photographs were taken by the "School Crossing" just west of Avondale Yard:
Heading towards home I cross to the East Bank of the Mississippi River. Of course this route requires one take Central Avenue which crosses many tracks at East Bridge. As luck would have it there would be a most excellent locomotive consist attached to some cars in the New Orleans Public Belt (NOPB) East Bridge Yard, including the fourth CNW SD40-2 of the day.
CNW SD40-2 6863 and UP C36-7 9018 were idling away waiting for a crew to show up...and for me to photograph them. The CNW 6863 was looking particularly sharp in what seemed like a recent coat of paint. What stark contrast to the nasty SP tunnel motors I had just photographed across the river. It got a bit cloudy which was fine with me as the clouds diffused the light of the high summer sun:
The final four photographs on this roll of film were taken the next day, Wednesday 28 June 1995. These images were taken at New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal (NOUPT) at the very beginning of my first trip to Mexico. I would ride Amtrak train No. 1, the Sunset Limited, to Lake Charles where I would meet Lowell McManus who lived in nearby Leesville, LA. Our journey would have two objectives: 1 - to ride a train through the Copper Canyon and 2 - to photograph the former ATSF/D&H Alco PA's that resided in the shops at Empalme, Sonora. Both objectives were accomplished! I would not return home until Sunday 9 July 1995. It was a most epic adventure!
Back to the final images on this roll of film, my ride to Lake Charles would be Amtrak No. 1. out of New Orleans. This was during the period when the Sunset Limited was a "transcontinental" run, originating on the CSX in Florida. The inbound consist was: P40-8 809, F40PH 321, 1208, 39914, 32073 California, 32039, 38015, 33025, 34057, 39954, and 31033 (9 cars).
For mechanical reasons the first sleeping car on the train, the 32073 California, had to be set out. It was replaced with Superliner sleeper 32105 Oregon which was on-hand in what was likely a City of New Orleans consist in Track 3.
Before boarding the train I walked the tracks at NOUPT and made notes of everything that was there. That data is on the note page below. The current Amtrak Superliner paint scheme was a novelty at the time as most of the pre-existing equipment had not been redecorated yet. New Superliner Lounge car 33041 on Track 3 was of interest to me as it was in the new scheme so I photographed it. The next three images are of the Sunset Limited switching out the California and adding the Oregon. The power was also swapped out. I would ride behind P40-8 828 and F40PH 284 from New Orleans to Lake Charles.
For reference I have scanned and pasted below my note page that includes all of the trains photographed on this roll of film. For four years, 1993-1996, I have very detailed notes in this format. It would seem that in 1997 when I began working for Amtrak my interest in this detail disappeared and I have virtually no notes from then on.
NS Action in New Orleans
Sort of keeping in line with my "Random Roll" scanning concept, I am currently methodically scanning images in sequential order from a large photo album of images taken by me in 1996. I was pleasantly surprised to find this group of images taken on February 22, 1996 of Norfolk Southern Yard Job AN-03 using GP38-2 5126 to deliver a cut of cars to the New Orleans Public Belt (NOPB) in the French Quarter.
Railroad activity between the south end of NS Oliver Yard and the NOPB along the river does not occur very frequently. Adding to this the less-than-safe nature of the neighborhood at the time meant the this was really a little photographed aspect of railroading in the Big Easy!
The set begins with a few shots of the train leaving Oliver Yard at North Rampart Street. There is a large block of gondolas on the head end.
Most of the images were taken from the trackside dock of the Port of New Orleans Esplanade Avenue Wharf where the train can be seen nosing into the French Quarter before shoving the cars onto the NOPB interchange track. There is a great shot of the NS 5126 passing the Souther Railway Park sign on a classic light pole. This is where the NS could spot up to three business cars allowing guests excellent access to the French Quarter and the Louisiana Super Dome. Dan Akroyd's private car, GM&O 50, can also be seen in its French Quarter home.
The last shot is of the NS 5126 crossing St. Claude Avenue by itself as it returns to NS Oliver Yard after having delivered the cars to the NOPB.
1975 and 1997 Resurface!
I received a couple of e-mails this week with images from my past. The first was a picture sent to me by my father. The image shows my mother, while pregnant with me, taking a movie of the Southern Crescent complete with FIVE E8 locomotives! Is it any wonder that I would be destined to enjoy trains and make a career of railroading with prenatal experiences like this? I believe I was fluent in EMD 567B before I was born, let alone before I learned my first word (which I am sure was EMD)!
The second e-mail came from Mike Walsdorf. He had scanned a slide he had taken on January 3rd, 1997 in New Orleans. This picture shows three people (Left to Right: Kurt Hampton, Steven Palmieri, and myself) at East City on the NS New Orleans Terminal mainline watching a westbound SP consist roll across town. This seems like such a LONG time ago!
Thanks Dad and Mike for this random glipmse into my past!
Print Scan from 1995 - NS on SP
Today I scanned a number of large prints sent to me by Louis Saillard to accompany his article on the Crown Zellerbach operations in Louisisana. While I had the computer plugged into my wife's flatbed scanner/printer I thought I'd throw on of my many, many, many old prints to see what it would do. This is the one I grabbed:
I placed my hand on a roll of film developed by the long-gone Eckerd drug store chain that was once common in the New Orleans area. Dated August 19, 1995, this roll of film contains a number of images I took on the EsPee in south Louisiana on that date, evidently on a trip to Houston, TX.
This picture depicts eastbound SP Houston, TX to New Orleans (Southern/NS) runthrough train 1-HOSOM-18 holding the main track at Baldwin, LA as it waits for its meet, westbound SP train 1-AVSRQK-19, to take the siding.
The freight traffic in this corridor (Houston/Birmingham and Houston/Atlanta) I have penned into the operations of my proto-freelanced Meridian Speedway. Instead of being handed off between the SP and the NS at New Orleans, which is a huge bottleneck, in my HO world this traffic runs from Houston to Shreveport, LA on the SP/SSW, across North Louisiana to Meridian, MS on the Natchez Trace and Orient, and then onto destination via the NS from there.
Investment in my fleet of NS and SP locomotives will provide suitable power for these trains. My latest arrival, SP SD40M-2 8691, will fit nicely here. Now if only we can get Athearn Genesis, ScaleTrains, or maybe Atlas to model these big GE's....C36-7's and C39-8's needed please! Are you listening model manufacturers?
Oh yes, and we also need more chemical tank cars from before the era of the ubiquitous and omnipresent ethanol tank car!