Tales of the Meridian Speedway

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Over the past two weeks I've gotten an ATCS monitoring system operational. Radio Shack Pro-97 and a Larsen UHF whip on my trunk. This has saved a lot of time hunting down the spotty traffic here on the Speedway. After seeing what Bill Anderson has done with the Seattle area at MPs 17 and 18, and Itsed67 around San Fran, I'd like to do a similar thing in North LA along the Meridian Speedway and surrounding lines. Posting will be sporadic as assignments come up, but railfanning makes for a good break from homework. So here goes....

Grab shot from the Sparta St bridge in Gibsland on the way back up to Tech from Houston.
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KCS local from Monroe near Start, LA. When I saw this train I thought that the lead engine was the smallest SD70M I'd ever seen. But after checking the roster the 2904 is an SD40-2. I completely missed the fact she only had 4 axles.
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I tested the antenna the night after I installed it, and took some long exposures in the area. This is an NS stack train EB approaching Sibley, LA. 2.5s, f/8, ISO 100.
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Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
Thanks for starting this thread. I hope school is going well for you.

I need to get a scanner as well. I lost my handheld a few years ago and never replaced it. I have an ancient tabletop model circa 1980 somewhere that I need to hunt down. It only has ten channels, but that is enough for around here.

I bought my first house when I was in law school. The Western Pacific's South Sacramento yard was across the street and I could see the mainline from the street corner. I would leave scanner on while I was studying and take a short break when I heard a train approaching. I have a lot of slides from that era that I should scan and post up.


It was that time of the quarter before the mid-term when life becomes engineering, and nothing else. But Easter break is upon us, and yesterday I drove up to Little Rock to visit the Arkansas Maritime Museum. Over the course of the day I checked out UP operations in Little Rock and Fordyce (about an hour south of Little Rock). I hope to get back trackside on the Speedway itself before the weekend is out. But without further ado....

West end of the Little Rock hump.
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NS Dash 9 crossing the UP lift bridge going into the Little Rock hump yard.
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F&P SW1500 resting behind the depot of the same in Fordyce.
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Grab shot. UP ACe pulling a stack train south to Texarkana or Shreveport through Fordyce.
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Back out on the Speedway. Started from Ruston, headed east to catch WB traffic. Bounced around Monroe for a little while trying to find good shots on trains in the city. No dice. Then around 1700 a WB showed up on ATCS, so I parked by the Ouachita River bridge and snapped a few shots. Chased it through to Calhoun where it went through at 1845. Only one good train on the day, but it was a good one.

KCS Monroe Yard power.
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It's that time of year for senior pictures, so naturally the largest bridge in Monroe is the "must-have" backdrop.
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NS stack train rounding the corner in downtown Monroe. This is the best consist I've seen this year. Good light, great power, and a road that I haven't shot a lot.
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A closer shot of the same.
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Part 2 from Calhoun to follow.


Calhoun is a small town about 10mi west of Monroe, and 20mi east of Ruston. The sun stayed up, the clouds held off, and the train made it in time to snag a few decent frames.

NS 2755 leading a pair of GEs pulls a stack train past the E Calhoun CP.
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Closing the gap.
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Up close and personal.
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And it's a wrap.
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Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member


Are there tracks across this bridge or is it a walking/bike path?

Get your your photos before the humidity and bugs drive you indoors for the summer. Are you within railfanning distance of the North Louisiana & Arkansas?

It's solely a railroad bridge.

I'm from Richmond, Texas. Humidity and bugs are a way of life.

Almost, it's about a 2hr drive. I had planned on swinging by their yard in Lake Village over Easter break, but that didn't work out. At some point in the future I plan on going along the UP McGhee sub (Monroe, LA to Pine Bluff, AR) and I plan on carving out a couple hours to drive along NL&A's line.


Finals week and the end of the quarter are fast approaching. Not a lot of time for photography, rail or otherwise. However, there's been some unusual activity lately.

Horrible grab shot, except for the subject. Not shown here are about ~2 dozen Abrams MBTs, 4 SPGs or mortar tracks, along with a lot of Bradley APCs as shown. I think this was a part of the flurry of military trains that has been discussed on other forums. Train was led by UP power. I saw a second train the next day transporting Humvees, tanker trucks, and possibly radar equipment. The second train was also led by UP power. Most of the equiment on both trains was painted tan, and heading west so it's probably going to the NTC at Fort Irwin.

MoW convoy passed through Tech this morning.
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This may be my last post from the Speedway until August or September depending on the workload over the two weeks.


Back home in Texas, but I've got a few photos left from earlier this year from the tracks inside Tech.

Grab shot. KCS 4605 trailing a unit train of tankers passing the LA Tech baseball field.
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Manifest train passing through the railroad cut going through Tech.
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KCS 4008 pulls a manifest through the same cut, a few hundred feet closer. The building in the background is Wyly Tower, the campus library. It's due for demolition in the next couple years.
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Sophmore year has begun. Got up to Ruston ahead of Harvey last Friday. School starts on Spetember 6th, so I've had a bit of time to hit the road. These past Monday and Tuesday mornings I've been chasing the Louisiana & Northwest Railroad around Gibsland, Homer, and Haynesville. The photos below were taken in Gibsland on Monday morning, attempted to catch the local at the Athens Yard, but it never showed.



Tuesday dawned overcast, but a bit brighter than Monday. There was no power at the L&NW depot in Gibsland, so I gambled and drove 17mi north to Homer to see if there was anything moving. Pulled into Homer about 15min before the L&NW local departed north out of the yard. Chased it out of Homer to Haynesville before calling it quits. Hopefully I will be able to repeat this performance next week when the skies clear. Also, in the third photo is a lesson on when not to use single-point AF.


Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
It looks like you have found a cure for the "sophomore slump." You may be dealing with Hurricane Harvey again. Latest news report is that it has made its second landfall in Louisiana, not hitting Houston a second time as earlier feared.


It looks like you have found a cure for the "sophomore slump." You may be dealing with Hurricane Harvey again. Latest news report is that it has made its second landfall in Louisiana, not hitting Houston a second time as earlier feared.
I think so. Tuesday's chase from Homer to Haynesville was the most fun I've had with railfanning. Slow train, no rushing, cool temps, and old-school GPs.

Harvey is dumping a lot of rain on SW Louisiana. We got some showers last night and this morning here in Ruston. It looks like it's going to fly through Louisiana with clear skies returning by Friday. Thankfully the initial weather forecasts were wrong starting Tuesday. The rain stopped over most of Houston and the skies began clear yesterday afternoon. If rain had continued through Thursday like initially predicted most of Richmond (and Fort Bend county) that's dry would be under water.
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GPs, GPs, and more GPs. Swung through Gibsland looking for L&NW action Tuesday morning, but everything was quiet. Found a Louisiana & Southern manifest tied down at the end of the Gisbland yard. Ran up to Minden to look for switching action, and heard the dispatcher talking to a local south of Minden in Doyline heading for Sibley. Repositioned and caught the KCS local west of Doyline, in Sibley from the US371 overpass, and a backroad in Taylor.


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