It was late in the day when my dad and I were leaving the L&N’s Gentilly Yard. Much to my delight, this fellow came charging down the main just as we were heading out.
And there’s more of this 1960s tour: in this view we’ve moved a bit to the right. The trio of GP30s and the lone F unit are sitting on the turntable lead. The turntable is still in use (I even got to take a spin on it). Just a tiny piece of the brick roundhouse can be seen at the extreme right edge.
These photos were taken while I was on an impromptu guided tour by one of the switchmen who was taking a break while the crew was on the spot. We walked through the entire service area, then through each of the units sitting on the turntable lead. How often do railfans get a tour like this today?
Continuing with the L&N’s Gentilly Yard in the early 1960s, here’s a closer view of the locomotive servicing area. The GP30 (at right) is sitting on the lead to the turntable, while GP7 #551 (at left) rests by the fueling spot. The 551 is one of the locomotives equipped with a steam generator, and the “torpedo” style air tanks.
We’ll shift gears again. Here’s a view taken from roughly the center of the L&N Railroad’s Gentilly yard in New Orleans, Louisiana back in the early 1960s. My dad took me here several times to do a little railfanning. In those days the rail crews didn’t seem to mind that you were in the middle of their yard as long as you stayed put in a safe space.
Off to the right you can catch a glimpse of the locomotive servicing area. The arch on the turntable is visible, and just a tad of the brick roundhouse can be seen at the edge of the image. The top of the sand tower is visible just above the blue boxcar.
I thought I’d throw in a couple detail images of the #124. In this closeup of the steamer’s running gear we see the piston rod, and the crosshead and guide, along with the main rod which connects to the number three driver. It’s been a long time since this old girl has seen a steam/hot water bath, much less a paint job!
And here slightly right of center, we see the details of the water injector, along with the upper section of the air pump, below left. At the top right (just in front of the cab) is the dynamo (the steam driven electrical generator). As bad as she looks, she is still functional.
The Standard Gravel Company used a number of steamers up through the 1960s. Here are a couple tired old ex-T&NO (SP) 0-6-0 switchers still in service at the pit near Franklinton, Louisiana in 1965. Engine #124 on the left has finished its work for the morning and rests patiently while the crew goes to lunch. If you look closely, you’ll notice the tender tank is upside down. The tender was leaking badly and some enterprising soul solved the problem by inverting the tank, modifying it as necessary. The engine #156 on the right has one of the unusual “sausage” tenders that the SP used.
Jim Six has been a model railroader since he was a kid (as have I). Since we’re both the same age, I can tell you, that’s a lot of years! Jim has been a prolific modeler over these years, and many of you have probably come across at least a few of the many modeling articles that he has produced in various model railroading magazines.
Jim recently retired and he has decided to re-think his layout. Part of that thought led him to make the decision to redo (and scale down) what he was in the midst of doing. And another major change was his decision to move to an earlier time frame for his modeling. He decided on the year 1927, and his plan is to model a single town, Sturgis, Michigan.
One of the bi-products of this era decision was the realization that much of his rolling stock was just too modern for his 1927 date. Jim participates in the Model Railroad Hobbyist forum, and has shown photos of several of his inexpensive, but beautifully weathered cars. One of the cars that he has shown is a New York Central gondola. It’s an Accurail kit, and the only modification to it was to substitute metal stirrups on the corners for the stock cast on plastic ones. He also equipped the car with the smaller size Kadee couplers. But the big addition was the weathering job that he did on the car. This is proof of something that I’ve believed for a long time: even an inexpensive plastic car with all it’s cast on grab irons, ladders, etc. can still look wonderful at normal viewing distances if you know how to paint and weather the car. The photo below is that car.
Jim has done quite a few cars like this, and all the photos I’ve seen of them look absolutely wonderful. But here’s the best part (for me). Jim and I have struck up a long distance friendship, and he recently gifted me this “too modern” NYC gondola as a “birthday present”. It arrived early this week and I’m totally elated with it. And I think it looks even better than the photo. I’m proud to be the new owner of this car, and it’ll one day see service on the Louisiana Central.
The Union Pacific Railroad ran an excursion special between Houston and College Station, Texas back in the summer of 1995. At the point was steam locomotive No. 3985, a 4-6-6-4 Challenger. It is currently the largest operating steam locomotive in the country. Here she is pulling the train on the return leg of the journey heading toward Houston.
Today marks the 7th anniversary of this blog . . . my how time flies!
As a little change of pace, I thought I’d post a few photos taken during some steam excursions that I was fortunate to participate in.
In the early 1970s the Southern Railway ran a series of steam powered excursion trains throughout its system. Steam locomotive No. 722, of a 2-8-0 wheel arrangement, is shown here heading for New Orleans from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Mr. Walter Dove, a long time employee of the Southern, is at the throttle.