Monday morning meant I needed to pay my keep. Having
completed what I figured was fair, I wolfed down lunch and
was on the road for 1:30. The wind was howling and I'd been
warned again, but it didn't seem that bad headed north into
Breaux Bridge. In fact, I didn't even have to start the bike
and poof, I was there. Then I took the back way which
skirts a forest. Lafayette wasn't bad. The train yard wasn't bad.
Getting to Scott wasn't bad. Getting to Duson was a little bad.
Duson to Rayne was pretty bad. Rayne to the overpass was
the most horrible riding I've ever encountered. That title
would be challenged.
I didn't like the location and there were semis milling about.
So I left.
The ride back to Rayne was twice as bad as the worst I
just mentioned. Honest, I thought the wind was going to lift the
leaned bike off the road like a wing being lifted by the vacuum
above. I made it to my side road which runs north-south.
I stuck my hand out and accelerated until I felt no wind. I
was going 27 miles per hour. That was the constant speed
of the blowing wind. There were constant gusts well above 27.
Rayne to Duson was bad. Duson to Scott was also, pretty bad.
I decided that I was completely worn out and that Scott
seemed like a pretty good idea to catch the Monday afternoon
Sunset Limited. I parked, tried to stop shaking, and took a test shot.
That's the new coffee "la de dah" impersonator depot and
once old Cajun bar.
The spirits of gruff old men that once told jokes in French and danced
with the barmaids are looking down and wondering what has become of it all.
I understand their dismay.
Scott, on US 90, west of Lafayette, is on the west end of
the BNSF Lafayette Yard, one of my most favorite places.
The lady dispatcher said that the Sunset hadn't cleared
Berwick (Morgan City) yet so she was going to let some of the
trapped traffic out of the gate headed west to her limits,
I'd seen them in the yard passing through.
I was at the historic location of the Scott Depot. Train
picture taking is no purer than taken in historic places.
The contrast between old and new is breathtaking.
This picture says it all, NO TRUCKS, use trains and motorcycles.
In the last chapter I alluded to liking simplicity. That was
while chasing the AKDN train over those 2 trestles.
The next shot achieves that simplicity and is the show
stopper for this ride. BNSF will want it for their calendar.
Maybe not, the illusion of the car being run over may
spoil the shot.
There they go, now there is a mix. Leading is a standard BNSF.
Next is a re signed Sante Fe engine.
And, the next is a Mexican engine. I think I was told it was
a sub of the BNSF RR. That's wrong. Read Lowell's explanation below.
"I see that you allude in your Monday blog that Ferromex might be a BNSF subsidiary...... Ferromex is owned 26-percent by Union Pacific and the rest by Mexican interests. BNSF has no Mexican affiliate. Ferromex connects and interchanges with both UP and BNSF at both Eagle Pass and El Paso, and with UP at a few points of lesser significance farther west. The thing is, though, that UP and the Mexican interests who control Ferromex don't always see eye-to-eye; so you'll see more Ferromex power running through on BNSF than on UP, and more BNSF than UP power on Ferromex".
Now we're straight on that.
I didn't want to wait in Scott. Berwick is a long way and
the train might stop in New Iberia and was, for sure, going
to stop in Lafayette. So, I went to the 902 switch at the
east end of the Lafayette yard where, by the side of the
old warehouses, I saw the remainders of rail ties buried in the
ground. Either this had been a siding or a part of the original
Southern Pacific entrance into Lafayette. I'll go with guess no.2.
And, it could have been something else, mentioned later.
BTW, my wife has informed me that we predate the
underpass on University St. in Lafayette and that she
had to wait for trains there on her way to work. I am
vague on that since it wasn't on my way to work and it
was 90 years ago.
A train pulled up and stopped at the crossing. The conductor
got out and gave the right away to the elderly bicyclist.
He argued about the gate still being down. The conductor
assured him that he was with the railroad and had the right
to pass a signal when appropriate. The gentleman proceeded
cautiously, never taking his eyes off the front of the railed beast.
I suppose the steps are for crew changes on out going trains.
Why steps? Have you ever tried climbing up limestone?
Have you ever tried riding a motorcycle down a limestone road?
Neither is pretty.
You may be able to see the conductor standing by the
hand operated switch waiting for the train to clear it.
Either he jumped on the last car or he hoofed it, or a car
came to pick him up. I left. I should have seen what happened.
I didn't know what to do about the Sunset. She'd be coming
soon. I heard horns and quickly stopped in the Schilling Shack
parking lot. Say what, it was Mz Allegheny. What you doing
here, honey? She said she was hauling this and that from the yard
down in New Iberia. There was stuff from the carbon black plants,
grain from Abbeville and rope from Elks.
She was off to the yard.
1700 was her tail gunner.
That always tickles me.
Next, I thought about the alligator skinning place parking lot.
But, I'd done that. I needed a historic place. The Quonset
hut and Chastant Feed would fill the bill. It is right off Pinhook
near the Evangeline Thruway south.
I'd go to the edge of the Quonset hut and shoot south.
This is a test picture looking south toward New Iberia.
This is looking north into the Lafayette rail district. Those
are Schilling's warehouses on the right. They have rail access
doors on them, though no longer used.
There was an abandoned siding at Chastant's Feed Store.
There was an under car auger set up that had been
lamely covered with a sheet of warped plywood.
You can see the auger going up into the building.
Oops, here she came, but so was a pickup to where I was standing.
I ignored the pickup.
But missed the turn around shot because she was talking to me.
She wanted to know about the motorcycle. She was obviously
the owner of the property, she had that demeanor. I almost
said, "Excuse me, I was taking a train picture, lady", but decided
to charm her. She was chatty and I was not in the mood. I told
her I'd be out of there is 2 seconds, which I was. But, I'd
missed the exiting train shots I wanted. Was there still time?
I hit every light green down Cypress St., an unheard of feat.
I was now settled on N.Pierce in another historic location, the
BR Branch switch. You know it was the branch that went to
Baton Rouge across the swamp in the early 1900's, far outpacing
Interstate 10. There she is, historically accurate, "BR Jct."
Here she came from the depot. Timing, baby, it's all about timing.
Just before being obscured by the box. Though a seemingly
senseless, meaningless picture, it is not. Look at the dings
on the front of 113. Seems she has had some meaningful
contact and the repair job was either zapped by another
pop or it was less than perfect.
Researching on line, I found this. Indeed, it had hit a post.
Bingo, got the crossing just right.
And there she goes off to the west, the 902 switch, the
Lafayette yard, Scott and the Cajun Prairie where the wind
was still howling.
BTW, the rails coming off the front of the engine are the
historic Alexandria Branch of the Southern Pacific. Now,
I'm going to tell you something you may not know or believe.
But, I'm sure of it. In the beginning there was a connection
between just past where the curve west ends and the BR
across the top of Lafayette. They were all Southern Pacific
lines and it made sense, besides the evidence, including a hump
on Washington St., and an open field, is still there.
Now, that other track that crosses the Alex, it went to the
phantom cross over that is no phantom but real. Sorry, I get
very excited about lost history.
It was a very good day. I was back for 5:00 PM.
Now, here you go:
Click to enlarge these schedules if needed.
Before May 9, 2011:
Notice: 2 trains Friday. If you wanted, you could go east, get
off at Schriever at 12:00, and catch the westbound back at 1:25.
Downside, you don't get to cross the Huey P. Long Bridge
over the Mississippi River.
This one seems to have gotten lost in the pile. It is the AKDN trestle chase.
CLICK HERE It has some pretty pictures in it.