May 24, 2021
AFTER A FUN TWO DAYS in New Orleans, it was time to head for the train station to catch The Sunset Limited to Los Angeles.
As we rode in the Lyft car, we passed lilacs so large they were giant trees, not the bushes I’m used to seeing. Also, my favorite tree, the southern magnolia were all heavily laden with big white blooms. I saw palm trees juxtaposed with Live Oaks.
We arrived at the train station to board The Sunset Limited to take us to Los Angeles and learned a fifty-car freight train derailed near Lordsburg, New Mexico. The derailment destroyed both the East and Westbound tracks. Amtrak employees didn’t know what to tell us until they heard from Amtrak officials. The decision was made to go as far as San Antonio, Texas, and terminate the train.
Amtrak decided to bus passengers 12-14 hours around the derailment to resume the Sunset Limited in Tucson, Arizona. This Sunset Limited would continue to end of the line in Los Angeles. All of these transfers would happen in the dead of night—San Antonio around midnight, then an undetermined bus ride (estimated at 12-14 hours), then re-board at Tuscon and arrive in the
City of Angels at 5 a.m.
Trains don’t necessarily keep to a schedule — so many things happen along the way that can delay a train.
ONE THE UPSIDE, as we passed through southwestern Louisiana, we saw fields planted with rice. The communities we passed were small and poor, with many a rusted trailer as someone’s home. Seeing this reminds me how poor parts of the south still are, as if Jim Crow still ruled.
Once we crossed the border into Texas, we began to see the herds of cattle—the image I have of
Texas. We saw a building tagged “F*@%! Trump,” but it was painted over–Red State Land.
We arrive at Beaumont, Texas, to learn about another train derailment before Houston. This time, our train sits on the track until the derailment is cleared. Amtrak re-routes the train to a different line to get us to Houston.
However, just before arriving at the Beaumont station, we passed a large egret rookery — perhaps fifty or more egrets with nests in a swamp. It was a spectacular sight.
Signing off for now, headed towards Houston and adventures unknown await…
Debora Ragland Buerk
The Write Stuff
Looking at life from a different POV.