I'd just finished a long ride down to Norco and I didn't want to head out on another biggie. I was not feeling creative so I decided to play one of my simple games of Find the Tracks. The GPS actually shows me where they are. It is my part to see if the roads which it says can get me to them, can. Usually, I fail because hunting clubs have seized many an old forest road that once was open. I decided that I'd see if I'd missed any chances at finding the old Gulf Mobile and Ohio bed from Hickory (La.36 near La.41) to Slidell (I-59,I-10 and I-12), Southeast Louisiana, USA. (we are internationally read, some in Texas)
The next pictures won't mean diddly to you. They are the few instances where I did commune with the old bed headed to Slidell. Garmin Topo is the software I use. It is old, so old it doesn't show many Interstates, but it does show historical, real historical, abandoned rail beds, grave yards, churches, trails, and a bunch of off the wall stuff.
Here's the bed as it crosses the flat coastal plain of southeast LA headed to Slidell which sits at the southeast corner of Lake Pontchartrain. I just uploaded a large map. The thumb is below, click on it. You can see how fruitless most of my attempts were. My tracks are the white dotted line. The rails can be seen angling down.
Here's the disappearing evidence.
I followed the tracks through town toward the station. The track crossing at US190 and US11 was under destruction/construction. I could not get across without fighting through gridlock. Finally, I got to the station and maneuvered to its rear where there is a park. What I saw was sad. The last remnants of the side track to the maintenance/storage area have been pulled up and I'm sure the bed will be leveled. I had originally thought, before the software, that it had been the old GMO/IC line north. No, like I said, it just went to a work area. Again, below is a thumb of a map. Click on it and look for "yard" and "station" down near where "SLIDELL" is written.
This is what the siding looked like a few years back. Very picturesque. It would have been perfect for a caboose or other rail car or engine. They blew it. Remember, this is a park. The exhibit could have rolled to the site.
Not so picturesque anymore.
Entrails lay about.
No spikes were to be seen. "Collectors"?
Here's the back of the station from a couple of angles.
Next, I decided to check out where the old GMO and later, Illinois Central, took off to the north. I could see the branch on the map. More horrible urban maneuvering was to be done. I could have walked it faster. It's located at the 190/11 intersection, viewable from the Rouses Grocery parking lot, where I'd been.
And here's the historic switch. I embellish.
Next, I went north from the parking lot to see if I could get to where the old west bound IC tracks branched from the north route. I first took this picture.
PS: the IC tracks (Illinois Central for those not well endowed in rail talk, such as myself) are now the Tammany Trace, a wonderful hiking and bicycling route. Very nice.
Seeing what looked like an arm of a "Y" (wye in rail talk), I zoomed out. I may have shot the south arm of the "Y" or a side track.
The wavy looking tracks denote that the camera was zoomed way way out (photographer talk).
I ain't claiming nothing, so hold the phone calls. If it's not the wye, make believe, I do. Life ain't that serious.
After doing what I could in that area, or at least doing what I thought I could, I headed back to the station for some frontal shots, just to make the article complete and maybe a little more spicy.
That's the best one. There was a lot of clutter, stop signs, cars and wires, etc.
There's a neat old building across the street. Let's call it a hotel though it probably wasn't.
Next, it was back to Road Wars. I wanted to find that old work area where the ripped rails had gone. This is what I found. I had to turn up the imagination to full.
I crept inside the fence, carefully positioning myself for a better picture. All at once the gate started closing. I'd be trapped inside. An Indiana Jones moment was upon me. I ran, jumped and rolled under the crushing barrier. Picking myself off the ground, I scrambled to the waiting bike and hit the starter, nothing, I hit it again and it roared to life. I slammed her into gear, the dern thing wheelied and I fell off the back, splitting my pants.
Next, while maintaining a rating of G sitting position uponst the motorcycle, I took a picture of these cute little houses that have been the witness to so much railroading.
Again, I was (still gracefully) sitting in traffic at the crossing when a parade of rr (railroad) tools began to roll by. They'd been working on the crossing and I guess they were headed to Motel Trainville for the night.
Here is one I lust for. It looks like a RV Coach. Man, how fun would that be!!!
Yes, and I'd like the orange one, please.
That was a good afternoon, if not a little sad and maddening and of course exciting and embarrassing. What you want, it was just an afternoon?
The next afternoon, after work, I headed back up to Rio or R 10. There I saw an old trestle and decided to ask the land owner if I could go on his property and shoot it. The treasure chest opened. This man knew stuff. He was a local historian and photographer. His aunt had painted the old station and adjoining country store. No, Frank, she's an artist, not a painter painter. I know what you were thinking. You'll have to wait until tomorrow for that. Later, Steve