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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

15-06-09a PHOTOS: Humid Air Line

Well, we have come to the end of my 2015 Amtrak Transcontinental trip. After the stop in Houston all that was left was a run along the gulf coast to New Orleans, with a scheduled arrival of 9pm. Due to costs and other considerations I choose to forgo continuing the trip onto the Crescent.

Again the private car on the rear of Train 2 drastically limited my abilities to take pictures, but I was able to grab a few shots at stations, from the side window and of a number of drawbridges that went up above the private car. Also included a number of photos from New Orleans. You can view the entire set here. If you'd like to see some photos of the line without a private car in the way you can see them here.

We begin with the smoke stop in Beaumont, TX. Let me tell you this was the hottest and least comfortable weather I have ever been exposed to. Afternoon temperature on the golf coast was well over 100 degrees with humidity easily in the 80-90% range. It baffles me why humans would willingly live in such a place. Here a member of the crew walks back from the P42DC engines #85 and #39.

Rare transit style signal in railroad use at the KCS/BNSF/UP crossing complex in downtown Beaumont.

Amtrak P42DC #85 and #39 snaking along the viaduct through downtown Beaumont. This portion of track is maintained by the Kansas City Southern and features rare GRS type 'MF' triangular dwarf signals.

Looking back through the Neches River verticle lift drawbridge.

 Gulf coast refinery.

The former Southern pacific drawbridge over the Calcasieu River running parallel to the fix Interstate 10 bridge.

Train 2 making a stop at Lafayette, LA. Between here and New Orleans the former Southern Pacific route is run by BNSF with the Union Pacific maintaining traffic rights. A few minutes before our train had been hit by a tremendous line of thunderstorms with high wind and hail. It provided a nice show from the safety of the lounge car.

The setting sun as our train passes by a train of wind turbine components.

Crossing the Atchafalaya Canal on a fixed truss bridge.

 Atchafalaya River vertical lift drawbridge and parallel highway bridges. Without human intervention, the Atchafalaya River would eventually become the new outlet of the Mississippi, leaving New Orleans without its most valuable resource.

Pulling into the Amtrak owned and operated New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal about an hour late. Despite the lateness the train still pulled into the wye track and then backed into the station.

P32-8WH #500 was on hand for switching duties. 

Amtrak P42DC #85 after it's run.

I guess this could be considered a payoff due to the lack of photos. My friend talking to Dan Akroyd, who seems to have scored a hat from the DHS swarm back in Houston. A doubt the fare paying passengers who were inconvenienced got hats.

After New Orleans, Dan Akroyd was scheduled to take Patron Tequila Express to Chicago, then Denver, then Oakland and finally back to Los Angeles all as a graduation gift to his daughter (not the woman in the picture). 

The Patron Tequila Express wasn't the only private car in NOUPT that night. The Silver Foot was laying over on track 3.

NOUPT is one of the last large passenger rail stations built in the classic age of rail travel. The inside features a variety of jazzy murals.

RTA red trolley #2018 was sitting at the new NOUPT trolley stop.

I didn't have much time for railfanning while staying in New Orleans. A walk through the Garden District was also a bust since the St. Charles Line was closed for some maintenance blitz.

Heading to the airport I got this shot of the now closed CLARA ST tower. Today the terminal interlocking is operated by train directors in Chicago.

As you might have noticed, CLARA ST and the whole NOUPT is right next to the sports complex and the Superdome.

Next week we return to our regular scheduled programming with a brief stop in Worcester. MA.

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