When we got to the train, Deana Mae and her mother had come to tour the train so I got another nice hug from her. Another family had their little 15-month son, Akel Youman with them and we became buddies too. I had a little last-minute scramble before departure to fill the lubricator which had gotten missed and replace a brake shoe on one of the cars. We pulled around the wye, onto the siding and pulled all the way to the west end of the siding to clear the short line for some work they had to do.
We waited almost an hour to let a westbound Amtrak Sunset Limited overtake us and then we were cleared to take the main. The Sunset Limited picked up it’s speed to 70 mph and we already had a clear indication on the block when we got to the next signal. Paul Rouchard, our pilot, blew the whistle all the way which really gave me a break. We pulled into the station at Lafayette and I did a quick inspection of the engine and everything was fine. After the inspection, we pulled to the west end of the yard and started to back into the roundhouse lead.
We did a quick test of the rods by locking down the brake, opening the throttle a little, then moving the reverser while David and Bill Morris watched the rods. The engineer’s side rod at the crosshead pin showed a little movement. We then backed the train down into the lead and tied down the train. I went to work and checked both rods and tightened the engineer’s side one flat. We visited with a lot of folks, including two older SP retirees who had been active during the steam days during the time that 745 was still active.
A bunch of us went to Prejean’s restaurant which had a Cajun band playing and great food. We stayed the night in the same Holiday Inn where Jane and I stayed during the 1991 AACA Founder’s Tour.