I was going to call this one, "Yesterday & Today", but like many of my ride reports it would not translate into the content within, therefore ......
Let me start over.
This is an investigative report that was never meant to be because I did not devise an investigation but the results of a bunch of picture taking resulted in what I could fake as an investigation. So in the vein of most media in this country, this is a fake report, but only in the sense that it was not meant to be and if somewhere I claim it to be true, then you'll have to decide. Ok, it's true.
Friday was a lovely day. I was at the point of "use it or lose it" with my bike riding. I hadn't ridden all winter and I could have but the lust was gone. I could explain, but why?
The "use it or lose it" fact was my motivation, but I needed a game. The only game I knew was "chasing trains". Trailing cars or trucks is frowned upon. People in trains don't seem to mind or they are too busy to do more than give me dirty looks. I know it's just jealousy so I don't take offense.
Oops, I've already "faked you out".
This is the truth. A question had arisen about "how many engines did L&D keep at Baldwin". My recollection was "two". A suggestion of, "one" had been proposed. This earth shaking quandary was my motivation.
So here we go. I suggest getting out a score card as the numbers and pictures combined with "days of the week" can get confusing. I spent four hours matching pictures with days. As always, it was time well spent as I can present this in an orderly fashion, somewhat.
A fact of life in these parts is if you want to go to Baldwin and keep mud off your tires, you pretty much have to go to New Iberia. There are other dry routes, sure, but, to be truthful, if you want to catch trains, you have to go down old US 90 into New Iberia. By the way, Washington St. has been repaired which can cause you to exceed the speed limit because if you are use to going 25 over the holes and bumps, then without those obstructions, being less effort, you automatically go faster. I felt I needed to mention that as a public service.
Entering Washington Street from the north, you are up front and personal with the tracks.
There is usually a dimly lit engine facing north toward destinations varying from industries at the Acadiana Regional Airport, the Elks spur, which once was a branch, to the Lafayette Yard where cars are exchanged. That's if the engines are headed north. I sense the possibility of confusion, already.
On Friday , Location: the north end of the L&D North Yard, Washington St.
Her nose was pointing south up against what I think is a "carbon black" car.
On Saturday, still facing south, cars were to her rear. A train was being built which she would either lead or follow. Hang in there.
By the way, many of these pictures have not been reduced in sized. If excited about them, click them and then download what appears. (Another public service announcement).
Since L&D places engines at the front and back of many of its trains, they are bi-directional, on purpose.
Right off, you might guess that 1852 is at the rear of the train, but maybe not. Now you "get it"? A north facing engine will be put on the other end. My guess is that the train would go north, but it might go south. The fact that this is all taking place on the north end of the yard means that ..... See, how easy?
Progressing south down Washington St. you cross the aforementioned new blacktop.
Then you jump the tracks on Hopkins, always ready to dodge any gunfire that might be occurring.
Immediately, take a left going south. Cross the next road and you are opposite the old Southern Pacific RR depot that now serves as the headquarters for the Louisiana & Delta Railroad. L&D also parks there local tugs there for easy access. I said "local" because there are other hubs at Baldwin and Schriever.
This is a Google Earth shot taken in 2013. Poor little Engine 1503, now deceased, is on the north end toward the station. This place is an important exchange, both historically and now in the present.
"Now in the Present"? Whoa, I just had a "Back to the Future" moment, not a good thing when trying to logically explain days and engines.
Now for 1850 and 1500, the last remaining CF7 active on the fleet. On Friday they were sitting where the two above are seen, the L&D side track. I could tell you so much about this area, but, time being what it is, we have to move on. Got this jotted down? They will come in, or out, to play on Saturday.
I went down to the L&D shop but nothing had changed. 1502, once one of the Baldwin tugs is boarded up, her fate unknown, as is 1504, once known as Mz Patout. It is a sad place. Those are both historic CF7s.
I was off to Baldwin to answer the question, "1 or 2?"?
At the other end was 1703 They were switching carbon black cars that could have come from either Bayou Sale or the plant down the old Cypremort Branch where the Port of St. Mary is also visited.
That question answered, I decided to go home so I jumped the bayou and took Scenic 87 north. Then, I decided to get off of it and jumped back across the bayou to Jeanerette. If in the area, I should go by the L&D crossing to the sugar mill at Patoutville. So, I did.
Crossing La.85, I shot down the tracks after seeing a light.
It was the unmistakable Mz Utah at the Patout siding. She and her lead were headed thought the haunted Maraist Swamp to the tank farm on 674, where I was headed. I knew I could beat them as the going is dangerously slow through there where troll and witch lurk behind every palmetto.
For a confusing look at some of that track CLICK HERE.
Another L&D flavored read is Here
Come back soon, now.
We'll leave some bread crumbs for you to follow.
From looking at my suggested link, Mz Utah (her crown was won in 1965 which makes her 52 years old. Don't ask how easily I did the math)
At the road crossing I did not have to wait long.
I'd like to know the grade percentage. It has to be a pull. Notice 1850 is making smoke.
To get the history on some of thee engines, try HERE.
Many were quite pretty, no more, as they are all utilitarian orange, except a special one.
And there she is, her makeup a little dried, but darling, you are still beautiful.
They would switch cars here for a while.
Al would assist..... "That far ... Tee".
Al had just fallen in a black strap molasses pit.
Or, "black strap molasses".
So now we see that 2009 and 1708, as well as 1850 and 1500 may have a thing going, each set having a younger and older member. Notice, this is getting socially scientific.
Saturday would find them resting at the Depot Parking Lot.
Saturday Morning came.
The muscles most effected by riding a motorcycle were back to life and feeling good.
It was Mz Sunset Limited Saturday. Saturday is always interesting as well as more fun since the weekday traffic is gone. I'd ride around a little burning time until the main event.
I decided to go to one of my generic locations instead of getting artsy in some place that might be troublesome.
Little would I know that trouble would follow me to this seemingly safe harbor, the parking lot of the Iberia Parish Courthouse...
I had wanted to be down at the corner of La.14 and Washington St. to catch the train coming around the bend as it does SLOWLY.
Instead I stood in the street and shot south toward the turn. It's blurred from the distance factor but truthful.
All very large pictures.when clicked.
Adoring throngs in thongs awaited her arrival.
Then a tap on the shoulder.
"Hey You, I'm Southern Pacific Detective, Theodore R.R. Bodwell. You are illegally taking pictures of the train".
This had happened before when I was in the vicinity of a nursing home. Knowing that the Southern Pacific RR was a thing of the past, I figured this gent was, also. Nevertheless, I played along and asked where I could get a license to take such and such pictures. He then switched to a ticket clerk's hat, producing, seemingly out of nowhere, a "ticket window", from where I secured a photo journalist's pass. He placed the money in a strong box and hurried away, leaving me short twenty dollars. Oh, he yelled something about "getting taxes done"?
I had heard Kat, the beloved rail dispatcher in this area, tell the fellas in 1850 they'd have to wait at Elks because two big boys were leaving the Lafayette Yard at 2:00 and 3:00 PM.
I got myself together after the stressful interview and purchase, but caught them right before the crossing.
1850 and 1500 were hard at work.
1850 led the way north.
1500 was the tail gunner.
Pictures taken on Old US 90 (La.182)
I almost got a picture of them going under the Evangeline Thruway at Broussard (actually "Billeaud" on old maps).
I'd have to settle for north of Broussard.
They'd tuck in at the Elks side track, not the branch, as I thought.
Confusion reigned. I circled around on Tubing Road coming out on the main road and went to the Halliburton office. How did 1847 enter the picture?
It was parked on the Elks branch. My mind did not accept that and my body took over, mindlessly.
I went out the Elks Branch looking for the train.
It was not down at the box plant.
"It must be on the siding", my body told my mind.
Now, this gets speculative.
Who is 1847 married to? Has to be someone. Facing south, she can't be married to 1852. seen Friday and Saturday (way up this page) because she was facing south. A north facer has to be her mate.
OK, I can hear the PC Police and ACLU talking this one over.
In my world I make the rules. Only a north facer and south facer can be married. Got it?
The only other engine it can be is 1709, a north facer. (taken Saturday toward the end of the roll).
I must have missed the shot of 1850 and 1500 on the siding ahead of 1709, all waiting for the two big boys to come south from the Lafayette Yard, my next destination.
I was very early and trains are always late.
I would not stay until 2 pm as there was no train ready to go and I was not waiting THERE for one to appear. The yard is not a lingering place. Two large pictures follow. The old shops are to the right.
The one below might have been the first big boy, but another would have to come and go before 1500 & 1850 could move.
Or, possibly 1709 and 1847 could, also.
No numbers were left stranded without a mate except bi-directionally challenged 1852. I'm softening my rule and hoping that it finds another bi-bidirectionally challenged mate. Just stay in your birth certificate restroom.
Oh, everything here was contrived as a late April Fools Day adventure.