Someone said I do my best writing at 3:00 AM. It is now 6:35 so expect what you get. I'll attempt to convey in an orderly, fact filled fashion what transpired yesterday. This will be written "off the cuff" with no assistance from any ancillary sources. Well, maybe, but I'm not letting on to any of that as most were let inscribed as opinion. Everyone has an opinion in varying strengths and to allow this ride report to become a battleground is not my objective though I have enjoyed it in the past.
Now I will list the chronology of what spawned this rail investigation.
Earlier this month I was told that there was a yard being built at Lacassine.
Lacassine is the first village east of BNSF's western limits at Iowa Junction, a historic place deserving much reverence. It is a shrine, a holly place in the religion of railroading. I could go on with the religious analogies but I'd for sure step on some fanatic's toes and have a hootue placed on my head where I'll have to go into the witness protection program and be exiled somewhere in Guatemala where we'd have to change the family name to Gonzales and ride a boxcar to Nuevo Laredo, swim the river, and turn ourselves in to the Border Welcomers, previously known and funded as the Border Patrol. There we'd be issued new Social Security cards and the promise of voter registration before the new Congress takes its seat.
So, here goes, "Ally Semour Atoo". Hootue me you barbaric animals. Gratemala might be fine this time of year and I've never ridden on a boxcar. My wife has already said that would be fine.
Ok, do I really have to do this. Yes, Steve you do as you have written up all of your rides for 14 years. When you play you pay.
The checks in the mail, how about that, you?
Hum, no comment, huh?
Silence is deadly.
I've played this out without having to post a picture and it's already 6:59.
Soon my wife will be calling for her morning tea and I'll be spared.
Of course that will place the TOW (time of writing) far past the alleged prime period.
I lament that I should have never set the bar that high.
Ok, I'll load the less than great pictures.
They, mostly, except for the spy camera's shots, were taken with the little blue camera whose forte' is not picture taking but being able to remain working at a water depth of 5 feet,
an extremely useful facet in South La.
The following monologue is partially stolen from 5 previous rides so if you think this is a repeat, it's not, it's just economy so I can think of a few excellent lines when the really good stuff appears.
I rode through the Lafayette Yard. (remember that one?)
There is always something to see.
Too bad the pictures never come out.
This time welders could be seen building racks for rails.
I suspect that they are welding long lengths in preparation for long length replacements.
Howz that for thinking it out?
Do you remember the purpose of this ride?
If not, it was to investigate the new yard being built at Lacassine.
I'd be looking for anything that might contribute to that yard.
Bingo, my first suspicion was the multiple of cars carrying what I defined as concrete rail ties.
This train was totally dedicated to this singular category load.
The weight required 5 engines.
It, as I, was pointed to Lacassine.
Passing beneath the concrete arches is always a moment.
It, not Scott, is where my West begins.
I've thrown out a lot of pictures of Rayne, but not this, possibly because it is not of Rayne, but the
the outskirts of Rayne along the railroad which is invisible to the right.
This road is almost shovel ready if you have any of that Stimulus money left, Mr. President.
Or, did it go to that little criminal mayor friend of yours?
The underwater camera did catch the rails going into Crowley.
It also caught the an areal of the sea of rice fields which carpet the landscape out her on the Plains.
Here rice is at another stage, the flooding one.
The underwater camera beamed at this picture and asked me to get it wet.
I told it that the water was very cold to which it replied that ... that's OK.
Arriving in Crowley it was time to shoot the passing tracks in hopes of catching a train.
It was Tuesday and Amtrak would be coming from the west.
That would be a side benefit of venturing West.
The following pictures are of my putt through Crowley.
Of note is that all the standing buildings on the previous Southern Pacific depot
property have been leveled, except for the foundation of the depots.
The previous Missouri Pacific rails were busy.
There appeared to be a large truck next to the tanker down by the mill loading chute.
A side shot revealed it was not next to the tanker.
Here the waterproof camera is taking a picture of itself,
the ultimate "selfie".
To give this picture any credence, the time is still DST, not ST. I use that as a reminder of how late
it is getting. I'd go over the line this time and extend far tofar, a price that was paid for the rest of the evening because when I got home I was really bent and my mood poisoned the atmosphere.
Someone does not take kindly to poisoning which further poisoned the atmosphere.
So, don't let the sun go down if it takes your mood with it.
That's my preaching for this one.
You knew it was coming.
Ok, take a deep breathe.
Crossing the Mermentau at Mermentau, I finally got a shot of the ship building facility there.
There was once a siding off the Southern Pacific here.
The wharf gave way and a beloved engineer that lived in Lafayette died as his engine deep 6th.
Research leads to these tidbits that make history come alive with personal attachments.
Trees would become less numerous.
Many of those that are here were planted.
I arrived at Lacassine.
I made the mistake of going by the school which was letting out.
This is not a school. It is a Prairie Castle.
It fortifies the Land of La Cas.
The town name was a was quote by founder Joe Mertz,
"La Cas I Seen".
Joe's English was not that good, but nevertheless, it stuck in part.
I knew the yard building was adjacent to the Bob Odom Boondoggle Facility.
That is one of the yard access roads to the left.
The BOB-F is the right.
I rode into the BOB-F and took a picture of what I thought was a guard gatehouse.
Not so, I think it has to do with the signal, pictured.
The BOB-F siding is forefront.
The main line is the other one.
I could not pass up what appeared to be a pipe train at the BOB-F.
I'd originally thought it was loading something but it is not under the loader
as originally thought..
Next I went around to the US 90 entrance because I knew it was there from that PDF
I'd found on the internet.
Below, the comment on cellphones is interesting.
Could the practice of wandering around while talking be a factor in this warning.
Do they fear cellphone idiots tripping on the tracks while involved in meaningful conversation?
Fear is usually born from experience or the unknown.
I'll bet it's the former.
Bingo: Concrete ties.
A tie machine.
Though questioned, this is the HUMP.
It is not just a bridge. It has rails on it and it's tilted.
When I grow up I want to be the guy on the left.
Adjacent to the yard is an amusement park.
Bob Odom's idea, again?
I just can't get enough of the tie connection with the Lafayette Yard visit.
As mentioned, when in the vicinity of Iowa Junction, you go there as it is a commitment thing.
Not knowing what I had actually shot, I returned to Crowley thinking that this pictures would be
the highlight of the ride.
The road across the tracks to the La. Rice Mill is closed.
Seems to be a water issue.
The SP depot area was surveyed once more.
Another religious location is the Colorado and Something depot.
It is a beauty.
Again surveying the unbelievable devastation at the SP.
The old Standard Mill, east Crowley.
The next epic western movie.
The closing scenes in Lonesome Tree.
More rice and rice farm.
Rice will never be lonesome.
Possibly a horror movie,
"Attack of the Rice"?
I deleted the next 20 rice pictures.
I was at the Elenore Crossing.
I was in Rayne.
Can you tell that I want to end this one.
It reflects my feelings on the road as it was getting cool and my fear of the dark was causing a panic attack.
This one is meaningful.
In that covered area, the Texas & Pacific passed.
It was headed to he loop that sits beneath Standard Mill Road on its way to Crowley.
My first moving train of the day.
Why was it out and about when Amtrak was coming?
I love "sudden endings".