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.
1/17/2017 03:26:58 pm
I really enjoyed this post and will check back often. The note about the train switching in Katy caught my eye. I'll never see a Dash 7 in Katy again and UP rarely sends a SD40-2 this way anymore, but every once in a while something interesting by today's standards shows up. Today, standard cab Dash 9 NS 8816 came into town on a rock train.
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