1990 Trip Report: NOL-HMD on train/bus

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Aug 6, 2003
I grew up on the Crescent, making numerous runs with my grandparents Big and Rosie to Meridian, and sometimes Hattiesburg and Picayune, if we were going to visit my grandma’s brother on the land they owned in Poplarville. It was a train we all knew well. We knew the route well, and the on board service well. But I knew there were two other trains in New Orleans. They were however not as easy to plan a trip around, as the Sunset Limited only ran three days a week (and my grandpa was afraid of going over the Huey P Long bridge again on the train after his experience during WW2 so that one was automatically disqualified), and the City of New Orleans, which was operating with the very cool looking Dome Coach at the time. Unfortunately, you couldn’t do an “out and back” same day trip on the City due to its schedule. But eventually - I must have been 11 at the time because the year was 1990 - I planned a way to take our first ride on that train, but it involved a lot of phone calls in that pre pre pre internet era.

At that time, the City left NOL at around 3:05pm. The first stop was (and still is) Hammond, which it arrived around 4:15. I figured that’d be an easy sell for my grandparents, just a short ride up. But there was no train going back, so I turned to my other old reliable, Greyhound Lines, for help. I found out that Greyhound had a direct bus from Hammond to Metairie (the full route of the bus was Chicago - New Orleans), and the Hammond bus station was just down the street from the train station. The grandparents said alright that sounds like fun.

My mom dropped the three of us off at NOUPT and we bought the bus and train tickets right there for both parts of the trip. Then we waited until around 2:45 when they started boarding the City of New Orleans. On that day, the train had two Domes in the consist. One was heading all the way to Chicago, and one was acting as the lone coach of the River Cities, the separate train that operated as part of the City of New Orleans as far as Carbondale IL, then became its own separate train from there to St. Louis and Kansas City. They sat us in one of the Dome Cars, and at 3:05, we headed out. The rest of the single-level 1990 version of the City of New Orleans included a few additional Heritage Coaches, an Amfleet Lounge Car, a Horizon Dinette, and one Heritage Sleeper. My grandpa didn’t make the trek up the stairs to enjoy the view from the Dome but my grandma Rosie did. What a neat experience, my first time in the Dome. If I recall correctly, it had full size brown leather seats. We stayed up there for basically the whole ride until the red vest wearing attendant said it was time for our stop. Off we went. I think we all had a nice time on train 59.

We had a couple of hours until the bus back to Metairie left. We made the three block or so walk straight down the tracks and sure enough, there was the Hammond, LA Greyhound station. It was a full service though small station because there were several northbound and southbound buses a day that stopped there as part of the Chicago - New Orleans route, which in 1990 was still a busy market.

It was nighttime as the red, white, and blue MC-9 bus sporting “Americruiser” titles and signed for NEW ORLEANS pulled up with the brown cloth seats. And it was full, though my all three of us got to sit together. My grandpa being the odd man out who got to sit next to a stranger. Interestingly enough, there was a stop between Hammond and Metairie - a McDonald’s, for a meal break. Remember this bus had started in Chicago so this was the final meal stop before reaching the end of the line. I remember my grandpa giving me some money so I could buy burgers for the three of us. Bag of burgers in hand, I followed a line of weary travelers past the bright headlights of the bus and back up the steps into the coach. Not long after, we headed nonstop to Metairie, where the three of us got off at the small Causeway Blvd station, to be met by my mom. And that as they say is that.


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Aug 27, 2002
I had a great ride in the river cities dome car. It was in 1987 iirc. I was traveling from New Orleans to Kansas City. The River cities dome car was the last car and not crowded on my trip. I spent equal time in the dome car and at the railfan window. Later on I was the only passenger in the back half of the car. There was a brake man with his radio.

The next morning when the River Cities was switched from the CONO I had the car to myself. There was one dome coach and one engine for the run to STL. I spent most of the time on the platform. The crew along with some who were deadheading tolerated my existence. I enjoyed seeing the sun ride over the tracks as we headed west. And then I enjoyed the ride across the Mississippi into STL.