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My other active blogs:


History Hunts Blog http://historyhunts-blog.blogspot.com/

Following Louisiana's & Mississippi's Historic Railroads http://oldrrs-blog.blogspot.com/

Finding the Lumber Mill Railroads http://lumbermillrrs.blogspot.com/

Following the Historic Rails of Mississippi http://mississippirails.blogspot.com/


Acadiana Railway Dumb Luck Ride

First, it is storming again so that affords an escape from my planned outside work, at least momentarily.
Second, I didn't know what to call this one so I  narrowed it down to "Dumb Luck".

After checking my back tire with a second gauge all appeared fine. 
The pressure was a steady 34 psi.
The misreadings I had gotten were a fluke, the results of a worn tool.
I bet.
I wanted to ride the DR and that preceded any sense I should  have had.

Gassing up in Henderson, the sky was blue and in case I had my rain suit.
I was tired of the weather's confinement and I thought I could sucker punch an outing when it wasn't looking.



For those not interested in the Acadiana Railroad from Opelousas to Ville Platte, stop here. 
What follows is intense railroad nerd territory.
As Alice Cooper said in his tune "Be My Lover",
"You really wouldn't understand".

I'll continue:

Exiting US 190 in east Opelousas, I crossed the UP tracks.
A worker had walked up the hill and was checking something out.
I let him off the hook as I was in a hurry.


Next I'd head up Grolee St.
St. Landry Parish is known for its great roads.
Grolee is no joke.
Even my street / dirt bike felt the pain as I hit a chug hole at a bad angle and almost "bit it".


I arrived at Railroad Ave, the road that parallels the old Southern Pacific's route to Alexandria.
I though old AKDN 3018 was dead. 
No, she was pushing and pulling at Lou-Anna Oil.(edible oils).
I believe she is an original AKDN engine.
Credentials:
  EMD GP30 locomotive. Built As: DRGW (Denver Rio Grand Western) 3018 GP30 Built: 1963
This link above is an interesting read.
3018 was a mountain climber.
This picture is extracted from a M.Bernard Shot 1984.




I had caught her pulling a string to the old SP north yard. 
This was a first.
Whatever happened from this point forward was OK, I thought.
I shouldn't think such stuff because there is always something lurking,
waiting to jump into one of your poorly phrased thoughts or statements. 
Believe me, I know.




I once collected church signs.
I may again after yesterday's benevolent turn of events.



Heading into the North Yard.





At this point I turned around.
Junk Yard Dogs have a certain bark.


Back to Lou-Ana.
I had just gotten a historic picture of the place which I'll share in a bit.


Note the old warehouse.


A reader sent this shot. I think it is one of Mike Palmierie's.
It is taken  looking south whereas mine above is taken looking somewhat north.
The rails next to that engine are the Southern Pacific mainline of yore.


There was work being done on the rails.
The truck was a renter out of Jackson Mississippi.
I do research for a living, thus my expertise.


I was next off to investigate the connection between the old Texas & Pacific rails, now AKDN's, 
and the Union Pacific main east - west rails.
It had rained.


I just realized  that the old warehouse  is gone.(yellow line though it).


Disturbing, also, is the fact that the old homestead had burned.
It was across an abandoned crossing on what Google 
is calling "West Cheney St.".
Mark was raised in this neighborhood.
His remorse at the change that the "urban community" has wrought can be understood.
You shouldn't have to fear being in a place in our country.
This area, once a proud part of a historical town, is dangerous.
I don't think even dumb luck can keep you safe here.
Maybe it's my NRA stickers and my visual use of a "police phone".
Nope.


The old house, pictured above, is on the other side of those trees.


Mark thinks the gas line  (orange and white marker) may be the holdup in placing that piece of rail.
There were no UP workers there on this pass, later there would be.
I was on a roll, hitting it all just right.

Location of the tanks can give you a place mark for the rail intersection.
I can see I was a little shallow in my map guess.
The rock car got there by way of the old T&P, so obviously that connection is done.


Back on the mainline, a new two door outhouse has been installed.
I'm not sure what "USAS" stands for.
Possibly "You Sass" 
I can remember my father saying, "You sass your momma and that's it".
"It" was not pleasant.


At the AKDN / SLIX repair shop and offices I did the required roll call.


I had thought the rock car had been AKDN's. 
No, that one was UP's.


The Port Rail GMTX that I had seen running on the last visit was still there.
GMTX 106 is missing on the list at  RR Pics.
It's here. I found it.
Repairs seem to move very slowly at SLIX.



Then for some reason I wanted to follow the rails on the back roads to where the Canadian engines were being stored. 
I took off on Tower Road.
It didn't matter that it has rained 20 inches.

Mark, I was pressed for time so a visit didn't happen.
And, I know you didn't have any tea or croissants made this time and I know it would embarrass you..


Tower offers other shots.


I slid along pretty well. This is why I wanted to bring the dirty bike.
The big Blue Goose would be in the ditch.



I didn't' do as well as before because of the dirt road conditions.
You might say I got  "off track", the black line being the old T&P / AKDN rails.









And the booty.
I didn't do the walk as the question, "why", came to mind and I fought the temptation. 
I let the camera do the walking.
If I'd gone there I'd climbed all over them, etc.
"Etc" gets me into trouble.
Always has.
Those are not them below being an old GE picture.


As Big Joe Rd. crosses the tracks I shot south.


Why the "X"?  They were on the main line, not the siding. 
Why?


Picture taken to the north from the Big Joe Crossing.


Picture zoomed farther looking north from Big Joe.
What was that on the tracks?  Of course I didn't see this at the time.

I went back to La.103 & Big Joe and shot north at the stored 3 engines.
They are pretty safe. Too far down the tracks for lazy looters.
Not too distant  for bad kids.


One last shot at the La.103 crossing.
Mark said a mill of some sort was where that house is.
Mark, let me know and I'll clarify.


On the Farmer's Coop siding, the location of the old San Antonio Caboose, is where I found AKDN 1503.
She once did the Eunice to Crowley run and was she ugly. 
That engine had to be the ugliest engine I have ever seen.
SILX fixed her up and put her into "show" where she won "Most Improved Engine", a deserving title.


She was across from Union Tank Car.

The little blue GE was lit up and honking.
I thought she was honking at me and I waved.



No, she honks automatically when no one is in seat.
I made that up but she was honking.
Maybe the emergency brake was on and she honks.


Into the rail zone of Ville Platte I rode.
Rice mill / dryer canyons are awing.
They replace our need for the natural ones.


These are the remnants of the old Ville Platte to Eunice tracks. 
They were pulled up in the 1940's and replaced by the 
rails I followed from Opelousas to Ville Plattte.
They were once the Louisiana East & West Railway (1904 -1907) as were the 
T&P's / AKDN's above Ville Platte.
"Green Building" to left.


Taken from  South East Railroad Ave. I took this picture of the Mystery Slab. Map below.
That is the green building next to the Old T&P VP to Eunice rails.


Orange is the old T&P VP to Eunice.
Black is the existing AKDN  rails I'm following.
Yellow is my wanderings.


The one below features what I see as a signal stand.
What was its purpose?
This shot is taken looking south.from Railroad Ave.
Cypress crosses the tracks to the left.



The next interesting "never seen before" aspect of Ville Platte were the cracks in the concrete at the 
corner of W.Cotton and SE. Railroad Ave.
The shame is I didn't take pictures of the old warehouses.
Map below.
The existing  mainline can be seen at the stop sign.
Maybe the cracks are a sewer line, not a rail one.


The crack in the road is between RR Ave and the buildings.
Just a guess. You can see the sidings on both sides of the mainline.
Were there rails on the other side of the buildings?


Heading up RR Ave., my way through town, you have to stop and gawk at the  large old freight platform.
I'll call it that until told otherwise.


The day was darkening. as I reached Cabott Carbon Black.
I wanted to see if AKDN had a second engine in VP.



I rode to where their siding is.


I didn't need to get stuck.


I rode back confident there was no second engine.



I took the main road south to US 167.


Adeuse is great shortcut.


This is the location of the old US 167 store above Plaisance.
The house attached to it still stands and is very nice.


I took Texas Eastern back to the road to AKDN's office..


Perfectly timed, as is luck,   I caught James riding the back of the AKDN 3018's train
(previously seen in this report).
Arriving at Rice St. he had to get down and "flag" the crossing.
Notice the stealthy clad bandits in the bushes.




The old girl was pushing the tankers into the Statesman Yard.











Then she uncoupled, pulled forward, and took off toward home base at AKDN / SLIX.


School was out. The urchins would be everywhere, big and small.
It was time to evacuate the Statesman area.
The "community" would be ruling the streets.


I took off on US 190 and felt the wobble.
I knew what it was. 
I found a store on the road to Leonville and bought some fix a flat.
It was gone by the time I got to Leonville where I bought 2 more cans.
It was immediately gone and I knew I was too.
South of Leonville I stopped at this modest home and asked the owner if I could park the bike there.
I decided to try to hitchhike home.
That was nutz. 
The homeowner thought so too.
He told me to hop in as he started his truck.
He brought me from Leonville to south of Breux Bridge and would accept no money.
Dumb Luck?
I don't think so.
I should have never taken the questionable bike out even though I bet it was OK.
It was a bet and I knew it.
There are still good people out there that are moved by a sense of good will and charity.
But, don't bet you'll find one.
I've been lucky, no.
I think it's deeper than that.
They are an example to follow.