Tuesday, April 5 – We had a lot more people visit the train today. Since Lafayette is a fairly busy rail center, there are a number of older retired railroaders who visited the train. I especially enjoyed talking with them since they’re literally living history. It’s nice to still have some of the old steam men around. The guys showed up who had set us up with the lubricator rig for the rods. I used it and it really works fast and efficiently. I did several press interviews while we were there.
We buttoned up the train about 1 pm and had our job briefing at 2 just prior to our departure. The crew is still doing a great job and the train was loaded and buttoned up on time. The mechanical department had greased the rail at a crossing coming out of the lead and the locomotive wanted to slip a little but it pulled the 4 cars right out of the stub track without any problem. We pulled to the west end of the yard and had to wait about an hour for a Union Pacific train to get a track warrant straightened out. That situation finally was resolved and the UP train headed west. We got a track warrant and started down the main following the UP train. About that time, we lost the transmit on our cab radio but we were able to get by on our handhelds.
The terrain is starting change to undulate a little bit more and we’re moving out of more swampy territory into a large rice farming area. We tied up for the night on a yard track in Crowley, LA that is parallel to the main line. Since there are several crossings in town, we had to disconnect the locomotive from the train so we wouldn’t block any of them. The mayor and the officials of Crowley threw a reception tonight in our honor that was really nice. The mayor asked us if David Bartee was my son and we’re now trying to figure out who was the most insulted. The city put us up in a brand new La Quinta Inn that is really nice this evening.