We stopped for about 10 minutes in DeRidder, LA and I did another inspection and everything was fine. We were about 4 miles south of Leesville and smoke started pouring out from the engineer’s front side of the engine so we stopped immediately to see what was the problem. We found that a connecting rod bushing on driver 2R had gotten hot and was on fire. We backed the train into an industrial lead so we could clear the main for another southbound train and pumped grease into the rod bearing until it had cooled down and then proceeded to Leesville.
There was a pretty good size crowd waiting for us, especially considering the delay. Mike Hankins, Bill Morris, David Bartee and I found a diner that was open so we could get a late dinner. Afterward, we dropped Bill and Mike off at the train and went to the hotel that had our room reservations. It turned out that the hotel didn’t know anything about us coming and there was a large event at nearby Fort Polk that had all the rooms sold out. We searched for a room and finally found one after midnight at the Country Inn. All they had were smoking rooms, but David and I were so tired that we would have taken anything at that point.