I'd sworn off chasing trains because there was no competition. I'd end up in the same old places and wait. I knew the shortcuts and I knew where to intercept my prey. It had gotten boring.
Having taken the grand kids on an extended 4-wheeler ride, ridden my wife on the four wheeler with her friend, that was a sight, and made points all around, I took off when they left for a kiddie show. I knew I had a few hard driving days ahead of me doing the "travel on Thanksgiving" insanity, so, I decided to go hang around the tracks and enjoy some personal time. I hit Cade and a freight around freight pass was going on. No big deal. I'd ride down to Camp Pratt and catch the southbound train coming through. The lead engine was one of those old red Santa Fe's I like so much. One thing led to another and before it was over I was flat out on the 4 lane trying to keep up with this high balling rail jockey flogging 35 year old engines. He had them wound up. He had to be doing sixty five plus mph and no less anywhere between New Iberia and Burwick but maybe the Baldwin bridge, and he had the "straight line" advantage I didn't, even on the thruway.
These are the few pictures I could take along the way. I could not get ahead enough to set up. Of course, being a railroad race, I did have to wait 45 minutes for it to actually end. But, I was in beautiful Burwick /Morgan City and I was not going home with only blurred pictures of my foe disappearing into a glazed over fog.
So it began at Pratt.
Ah, she was a new one to me.
The train was slowly gaining speed after the pass at Cade.
I waited near the New Iberia depot. Here she came.
There was a crew, an old Santa Fe, an old CSX and a BNSF
cookie cutter engine. The colors even clashed.
Mz 1501 pulled aside. The rumbling was starting. After the
big curve east in New Iberia, she cut loose.
The first place I had a chance to stop was the Wax Lake
Outlet Bridge. I could only take a wild shot as she fled east.
At Patterson, I jumped in front and spun around in a parking lot
for a few ho hum pics.
Actually, was there anyone driving?
Yep, he's back in there.
I came into Burwick and made for the river. This is looking
through the sea wall. The rail RXR sign is still there though the
rails are long gone. The rairoad served the port at one time.
The "port" seems to be diminished. There is one business
on the water within eyesight of where I was.
There was a barge being pushed by a tug. I thought it looked
neat through the opening, but I missed it.
The setting here is gorgeous. It is high on my list of favorite
places to photograph trains and boats and bridges and birds and .....
These old structures are hypnotizing.
I'd check the shots I wanted to take. I would have to
hide behind the seawall to avoid the straight-on sun for the
"approach to the bridge" shot. Those are the old depot and
water front rails descending from the main line.
Oh, I blew the shot with a telephone pole down the middle.
Here comes the man, here comes the man. Yep, the
Coast Guard wanted to check me out. I pulled off my helmet
and they knew, right on, I wasn't a threat to anyone and
Then I realized I had a high powered camera and could
look at the bridge a little closer. What an erector set project
it would be.
That has to be one of the counterweights.
I then looked over the river to the old town waterfront.
The seawall sits, appropriately, between the town and the water.
It worked well this Spring.
I know, you just can't take a bad shot here in the late afternoon.
Yep, that's where we were parked. (she and I) It was
very warm, Walmart t-shirt warm. Riding home in the dark
only a light sweatshirt was needed. November in Louisiana
One more check of the approach. My SF engineer was getting
tired of waiting. I knew he liked to "get it".The Coast Guard
had already warned the bridge tender that the bridge had been
down for over 30 minutes, I guess a limit. The bridge tender
didn't like being the target of the Coast Guard and expressed it.
The Santa Fe had been asked to wait for this UP train to clear
and be on his way in front of my Santa Fe. The SF engineer was finally
told to creep forward by the UP engineer who was trying to assemble
his train. The bridge keeper sounded non too happy at the pace the
SF engineer was making. The SF engineer only said what hewas doing,
going slow, end of explanation.
There was quiet from the bridge.
I know that's confusing. It was to me. I was waiting for a UP
train to come west over the bridge. At least I was entertained.
On top of that, river traffic was backing up and all hell was breaking loose.
I loved it. I had again injected myself into mayhem, my favorite environment.
Again, a test shot.
Here she crept up the bridge approach. This shot well
represents the 45 minutes I sat by the water. Nothing
was really clear.
The "cleanliness" of some rail shots render the trains almost model like.
Maybe that's not the right word? Maybe its "contrast"? Naw, it's the plain blue
sky background. "Cleanliness" was right. And, sure, "contrast" plays a part.
I can't believe I wrote that junk.
You have to add some realism so these shots can be disbelieved.
I can believe I wrote that.
Big Bend? Yes, it was 4:15 and I was overdue. I'd be in the
very dark getting home some 75 miles away.
That's it. I rode to Morgan City flat out to take pictures of
a train crossing a bridge and defied a dark death getting home.
It was wonderful.