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.
Roll of Film Scanned - New Orleans Trains - May 1996
Not being really sure how to tackle the huge amount of photographs I have taken in the pre-digital era, I have decided to try what I will call the "Random Roll" approach. I have literally hundreds of rolls of developed film, both prints and slides, taken in the 80's, 90's and early 2000's, which have not seen the light of day more than once or twice...ever!
So...I have decided to start a "Random Roll" Blog Category. Exactly as it sounds, I will indiscriminately grab a roll of film and scan it in its entirety. Larger files will be posted on rrpicturearchives as usual. These images will be linked from smaller images in the "Random Roll" blog post.
I feel that this will at least start me on the track of getting some of this material out of boxes, envelopes, and drawers so that they can be searched for and found on the internet! Working with drug-store developed prints does give me great appreciation for the digital era we are now in. Often the images are poorly cropped during developing. I still have not found a suitable scanner for color 35-mm negatives, so I will be working with the prints for now.
Once upon a time, our photography was limited to a 24 or 36 exposure roll of film. There was cost involved both in film price and developing. Sometimes a roll of film was in the camera for several weeks. With digital it is now cost effective to take several hundred images in a matter of hours. This blog category will give a glimpse into the mindset of film photography.
Without further ado, lets take a look at May 1996 starting with a 36-exposure roll of Kodak Gold 100-Speed color print film. The images were taken in the New Orleans area between May 10 and May 20, 1996. The film was developed by Eckerd Drugs in the last week of May, 1996.
Frames 1A-5A - SP Train HOCXM - 5-10-1996
Louisa Street was a popular place to photograph trains. This is on the CSX between Gentilly Yard and N.E. Tower. Generally the grass was cut here, allowing for clean shots of equipment. This roll of film begins with five images of Southern Pacific Houston, TX to New Orlenans, LA (CSX) train HOCXM. At 9:52 AM, four SP motors lead the way here: B30-7 7782, B30-7 7856, B36-7 7759, and SD40M-2 8644.
Frames 6A & 7A - CSX Train M-720-10 - 5-10-1996
Just seven minutes later, at 9:59 AM on 5-10-1996, I was at the North end of CSX Gentilly Yard where I took these two images of local train M-720-10, the "Bay Turn", departing with lone CSXT GP38-2 2689 and a handful of cars. The Bay Turn usually worked industries at Michoud and interchanged at Port Bienville. Occasionally this train went as far as Bay St. Louis, MS.
Frames 8A-11A - UP Train AVLICX-14 - 5-14-1996
The next images on this roll of film were taken four days later, on May 14, 1996. My records indicate that I saw quite a few trains between the 10th and the 14th, but no pictures I guess. Frames 8A-11A were taken at Central Avenue, another popular New Orleans area location to watch trains. Here we find the CSX connection of Union Pacific Avondale, LA to Livonia, LA train AVLICX-14 with three Union Pacific motors running "elephant-style" C41-8W 9422 leads C30-7 2449 and SD40-2 4152. According to my notes the train stopped at 12:40 PM and started rolling nine minutes later, beginning ascent of the Huey P. Long bridge.
Frames 12A-16A - CSX Train Q-605-12 - 5-14-1996
Back at Louisa Street on the other side of town, I took five images of a colorful locomotive consist leading CSX train Q-605-12: UP SD40-2 3328, MKCX SD40M-2 9012, and CR C30-7 526. The only freight car image on the entire roll of film was CSXT 291355 on this trian. Unlike today, where I can shoot an entire train digitally, I had to be very selective in the film era. This may have been one of the first, if not the first, grey CSX car with the yellow numbers I has seen and is likely why I took the picture.
Frame 17A - CSX Train M-720-14 - 5-14-1996
Frame 17A is a lone image of the day's CSX Bay Turn returning to Gentilly at North Gentilly behind GP38-2 2558. It is interesting to note that none of the Maintenance-of-Way employees near the rear of the train are wearing high-visibility clothing. It was a very different culture on the railroad back then!
Frames 18A & 19A - UP Train LINONB - 5-14-1996
Union Pacific Livonia, LA to New Orleans, LA train LINONB was the last train I recorded on May 14, 1996. Having just crossed the Mississippi River, this train was stopped at Central Avenue when I spotted it. Being somewhat back-lit, I probably would not normally have bothered to photograph it. The third engine, CNW C44-9W 8614, was a locomotive of interest; however, so I did get a couple of shots. Ahead of the CNW 8614 were UP SD40-2 3963 and UP SD60M 6226.
Frames 20A-25A - NS Oliver Yard - 5-20-1996
The next images were taken at NS Oliver Yard on Monday, May 20, 1996. This yard was the most risky to visit in the Big Easy as a large percentage of the city's homicides occurred in this area. Montegut Street parallels the east end of the yard and Galvez Street crosses over the yard where the locomotive servicing area is located. It is difficult to photograph power here from Montegut Street because of a fence. One can park under Galvez Street where there is a stairway up to street level for a good vantage point.
On this day there were four locomotive consists idling away at the Oliver Yard diesel facility so I decided to walk up the bridge and get a few photos. On hand were:
UP SD40-2 4161, UP SD40-2 3408, UP SD40-2 3916
SP B30-7 7872, SP B30-7 7853, SP B30-7 7873, SP B36-7759
NS GP38-2 5020, NS SD40-2 3219
NS SD60 6575, NS C40-9W 8945, NS GP38AC 4114, NS GP38AC 4124, NS GP38AC 4132
Frames 26A-29A - CSX Train Q-605-18 - 5-20-1996
The four frames following the visit to Oliver Yard were taken of CSX train Q-605-18 while it was switching the south end of Gentilly Yard. It was 9:57 AM and the sun was not in a very good position to photograph this west-facing train. The rear two locomotives were of interest to me so I shot them. The consist was west-facing UP SD40-2 3741 leading east-facing UP SD40-2 B4294 and LMS C40-8W 710. At the time Union Pacific stopped maintaining a number of former Missouri Pacific SD40-2s to "lead qualified" standards and designated them by putting a letter "B" in front of the road number. The middle locomotive in this consist was one of these units.
Trailing unit LMS 710 is one of 40 locomotives (LMS 700-739) belonging to Conrail-General Electric subsidiaty Locomotive Management Services. These units were leased under a unique agreement whereby they would operate for 6-months-per-year on Conrail and then they would operate for the remainder of the year on other railroads. Built to Conrail specifications, they look just like Conrail locomotives, but have block "LMS" markings instead of the Conrail name and logo. Pretty cool I thought. It looks like Atlas will have three of these in their next release - LMS 702, LMS 711, and LMS 713. I may have to add one of these to the Meridian Speedway fleet!
Frames 30A-32A - SP Train LANOF - 5-20-2016
This roll of film concludes with three eastbound Southern Pacific trains making their way across New Orleans in less than an hour! First up is Los Angeles, CA to New Orleans, LA (CSX) intermodal train LANOF. At 10:28 AM I was set up at N.E. Tower, where the CSX crosses the NS about a mile north of Oliver Yard, to get the shot. Power for this train was SP B30-7 7779 and CSXT C40-8W 7892. The propped open front door on the SP 7779 probably means that the air conditioner was not working.
I do remember this event. As the train was coming into view someone fired several shots from a weapon nearby, scaring pigeons which took flight and got in the way! Mr. Earl Hampton who worked at N.E. Tower for many years likely heard gunfire here more than once!
Frames 33A-35A - SP Train LBCXT - 5-20-1996
The second train in this EsPee fleet was Long Beach, CA to New Orleans, LA (CSX) train LBCXT. This train had a wonder consist of matched SP SD40M-2s in Speed Lettering, both with flared radiators having been rebuild from SD45's! I think this may be the best catch of the roll! Lead unit SP SD40M-2 8622 began life as BN SD45 6491 and trailing unit SP SD40M-2 8665 was built as CNW SD45 957.
I had moved up to East City Tower for these shots. The LBCXT made its appearance here at 10:43 AM. The white vehicle parked in the field to the left belonged to the Norfolk Southern Special Agent who was keeping an eye on things.
Frame 36A - SP Train HOSOM - 5-20-1996
The final frame was also taken at East City. Southern Pacific Houston, TX to New Orleans, LA (NS) train HOSOM was running about 30 minutes behind the LBCXT, passing East City Tower at 11:14 AM. Also sporting an all-EsPee consist, this train was a great catch as well! Three "B-Boats" running elephant style were in charge: SP B30-7 7790, SP B30-7 7832, and SP B36-7 7764 were gliding this train across the NS New Orleans Terminal with ease.
Had this not been the final frame of the roll, I certainly would have taken a few more images of this train. Hopefully the pictures in this Random Roll No. 1 will be useful to those who come across the images. All are posted and tagged in rrpicturearchives.net.