By rail from Crowley to Centerville, in red, is 73 and change.
The waiting, boring,
The miscues, dumb,
The tiredness, painful.
The experience, priceless.
My three demons:
riding, anything trains, and photography, satisfied.
Click the map, then the "x" in the upper right corner to return.
All "pictures" are like that on this blog.
This one was the hardest fought chase I've ever done.
It started like this. I was sitting at the computer and decided
to try to meet the Sunset limited in Crowley, where the red
and green lines intersect in the upper left of the map. I was
there in time, in fact early, as it was late again. I became uneasy
where I was waiting and moved. The Limited showed up just as I rode
out of camera range, it passing as if a shadow across AKDN's rails.
Crowley seemed dismal today. The weather didn't help,
but there was more to that feeling.
The AKDN crew were finished, putting old 8063, "Tiger",
away for the week.
The carnival was in town. Their camp had inundated the area
around the old depot. I had wanted to inspect for evidence there.
The carnival was a sad ragtag affair which radiated anything
but "celebration". It, in the proximity of the old depot, seemed
a bit poignant.
And, poor me, I'd missed the train. I actually growled in
disgust and nailed the throttle full open headed for Cade.
I'd try to catch her there.
I'd done it before in a race from Crowley which resulted in
catching the east and west bound trains at the Cade depot.
It does not get any better than that within my little hobby.
Let me explain. The Sunset has to negotiate the Lafayette
yard, speed 45. Then it has to stop at the depot if passengers
are getting on or off. From there south she should be able
to reach 60 if there isn't a restriction. There are many crossings,
so, she may be tethered by them. The last time I'd chosen
my roads well, not this time. In my defense, I had to deal with
Click the map. Cade is in the lower right. I heard the train on
the scanner, it was in New Iberia when I neared Cade.
I'd have to hit the Thruway. It goes a roundabout way
but it is far faster than the next alternative. My frustration
level was peeking as I found one blocked road after another.
Several main artery bridges were being repaired.
The speed limit reaches 70 on the thruway. I'd have 10 mph on the
train and its stop at New Iberia, if passenger were getting
on or off. Otherwise, it wouldn't stop, but would slow through town.
I flew, getting off the interstate by way of the ditch. The
beauty of riding an on/off road bike is dazzling. I
arrived with 3 minutes to set up. See the light?
Candid Camera time.
Then I heard a L&D train back at Baldwin, on the other side
of Franklin which was between where I was at Bayou Sale.
I got to my spot at Cleco as 1502 slid across the Baldwin Bridge.
I spun around, flew over the Charenton Bridge cutting across
the back of the train as it cleared the road. I'd take my short
cut beneath Franklin and nail it. She did too and beat me to
the Bayou Sale switch. Those little horses gallop with an empty load
and they don't have four way stops to deal with. Is it my turn yet?
At La.317, the crew was busy getting the train off of the
main line onto the Bayou Sale side track and then onto the
Bayou Sale Branch. The train was pulled east of the crossing
getting ready to back onto the siding.
This crew member is getting ready to turn the switch
so the train can back onto the Bayou Sale siding.
These fellas were working where you see the big truck stop.
There is where the double rails of the Bayou Sale side track
At this point the fellow on the rear car informed his engineer
that there was a guy taking pictures. The engineer told
him not to worry, he's a "rail buff". That was a first.
It was the first time I'd been mentioned on the radio since
a nervous crewman got his boss to approach me where we
both had a little laugh. Seems there was someone shooting
at the trains and it wasn't with a camera.
The other first was hearing the term, "rail buff".
The other other first was being call that.
"Rail Buff", it works. Next time when approached, I'll save
all the high tech and just tell em I'm a Rail Buff (RB?)
No one knows what a "railfan" is. That term sounds like
a part you'd buy to cool your rail if it got hot and you had one.
There he is reporting the suspicious character.
The engine backed onto the sidetrack and passed the switch.
Then it came forward onto the Bayou Sale Branch.
There you can see the crewman switching. I think this
was a true wye at one time.
The track curves around. The rails in the foreground are the
same rails, just further into the turn.
Here she came.
The timing was perfect. I thought this process would fill the void
before the westbound Limited got here at 2:30. "2:30" was
a pipe dream.
OO-L, every time I see that dang pitchfork I'm going to
think of your Fred to Wilma antenna.
She continued on around.
There was business to do at Neptune.
The engine uncoupled and went into the plant.
I headed for Yellow Bayou, a new place to catch the Limited
I should have done more nature photography (better). This
place is gorgeous.
Very carefully I'd go down the trail. I didn't know if I could
get to the tracks or what lay in the clover. It was warm.
Would there be snakes? After all, I was next to a swampy bayou.
Snakes, I hate snakes.
I first parked there.
Down the power line is the side track road. Don't let the
grass fool you, it was wet.
This is looking toward La.317 where the L&D crew had been.
This is looking toward the thruway, US 90.
This is looking toward the thruway overpass at the
"Bayou Sale" rail side sign.
I moved the bike closer and turned it around.
I waited for an hour. How can a train be an hour late in 95 miles?
I heard the conductor say MP 95.5 as his position. I was a mile
and a half away from him. It took an eternity for the train to arrive.
It was going very slowly. Were they slowing for a photo op?
I played with the camera.
The rails going off to the right are the ones that the
L&D went down.
Party time. By the way, the watercolor shots are produced
by going into high digital zoom. I really like the effect.
Reality is stark. These "watercolors" soften and meld the
highlights in a shot. Suitable for framing, $19.95 in the
I moved back.
I zoomed back. Zooming creates confusion in a set of
motion pictures. I have an internal debate going on, or,
is it reflux?
I was somewhat dishearten with the puny horn honk.
Usually I get a " bah tee bah bah, bah bah.
Possibly it was because I'd removed my helmet and they
didn't recognized me or I wasn't on the bike, or fear that
there may be more than one of me loose in the world.
I threw the camera and scanner into the trunk to not be
tempted with more chasing. She was lumbering along, but
she could easily hammer down if she got moodish.
Enough is enough.
"Railbuff", I like that.