City of New Orleans routing

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Exvalley

Service Attendant
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Pardon me if this has been discussed before, but my search came up empty.

Two questions in regard to the City of New Orleans:
1) Why don't they route it through St. Louis? It seems like an awfully big city to miss by about 60 miles.
2) In the alternative, what about a routing like this: Chicago - Indianapolis - Louisville - Nashville - Memphis - New Orleans. Neither Louisville nor Nashville are served by Amtrak, so it would be nice to add these cities to the route network.
 

crescent-zephyr

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Oct 21, 2015
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There used to be a train called the “river cities” that would split off and run to St. Louis and become the Kansas City train. You could ride one seat from New Orleans to St. Louis or Kansas City. That’s how we used to visit my grandparents in St. Louis, then we switched to the Texas Eagle when that train was discontinued. (Hammond LA and Marshall TX were similar driving distance for us).
 

NativeSon5859

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 5, 2003
Messages
961
Pardon me if this has been discussed before, but my search came up empty.

Two questions in regard to the City of New Orleans:
1) Why don't they route it through St. Louis? It seems like an awfully big city to miss by about 60 miles.
2) In the alternative, what about a routing like this: Chicago - Indianapolis - Louisville - Nashville - Memphis - New Orleans. Neither Louisville nor Nashville are served by Amtrak, so it would be nice to add these cities to the route network.
1. Is there a direct route from Memphis to St. Louis? It would probably add a couple of hours of increased trip time if so. There’s a pretty easy thruway connection in Carbondale that you can take to STL. Downside is it’s a van, but I’ve used it a few times. Not a bad ride, only about 90 minutes.

2. This would really push the trip time way up. Will never happen. Better chance of seeing the return of the L&N Pan American, IMO.
 

Seaboard92

Conductor
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Dec 31, 2014
Messages
3,528
1. Is there a direct route from Memphis to St. Louis?
The former Frisco Mainline now owned by BNSF that served the Kansas City-Florida Special still exists. And it is still a main line between the two points. It runs along the river so flooding might be an issue.
 

NativeSon5859

OBS Chief
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Aug 5, 2003
Messages
961
Maybe it's easier to just stay on CN all the way, instead of having to deal with BNSF as well. Plus, the train would have to make several moves IIRC to access the Memphis river bridge after it makes the station stop.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

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Mar 5, 2016
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1,364
Given that a reroute is not likely either, I think we should push for either a connecting train or thru cars on such a route rather than rerouting the entire train. Amtrak already struggles to compete with driving when it comes to driving time so I'm not eager to add multiple hours to the route when Chicago would still generate significantly more traffic than St. Louis and a thruway connection to STL is already available.

This topic has me wondering how many routes don't take the shortest route between endpoints. Come to think of it, there are at least 8 LD routes that take longer routes than necessary. Below are the ones I can think of along with a faster alternative route.
-California Zephyr (UP across Wyoming)
-Cardinal (LSL Route)
-Coast Starlight (via Central Valley)
-Empire Builder (bypass Grand Forks)
-Silver Meteor (FEC)
-Silver Star (FEC, A-Line through Carolinas)
-Southwest Chief (Southern Transcon via Texas Panhandle)
-Texas Eagle (via KC and OKC)

Many of them take the longer routes in order to serve major cities, such as the CZ, CS, and SS, which makes sense especially considering how few passengers ride end to end. It would be nice if the system was large enough for more of a variety in LD routes, but I don't forsee it in the near future. I don't know how track conditions have changed, but the 1969 schedule for the City of San Francisco was a full 9 hours faster than the current CZ.
 
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The KC connection was made at Centralia and ran over the former Southern to St Louis. Another option is to split the CON at Memphis becoming day trains to New Orleans, and Birmingham/Montgomery/Mobile.
 

railiner

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The KC connection was made at Centralia and ran over the former Southern to St Louis.
That was initially...later on the River Cities ran from Centralia on to Carbondale (duplicating the CONO route) to make the connection. Seemed wasteful, but probably saved labor somehow, as Carbondale was where the trains were serviced. It is also where pre-Amtrak IC trains made their St. Louis connection.
 

railiner

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Mar 20, 2009
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Amtrak's CONO is a lot slower than the original IC CONO's all coach, all day streamliner...it made the trip in 15 hours and 55 minutes.
That was when it ran up to 100 mph on "The Mainline of Mid America"...

The Amtrak version also lost more time when it moved over to Union Station, from IC's more direct lakefront Central Station. Further rerouting from the IC's original Grenada District, over to the Yazoo District in 1995 also may have slowed it somewhat...

If they were looking for even faster times, they could possibly have used the freight only, Edgewood Cutoff...but that bypassed too many stops.
 

LookingGlassTie

OBS Chief
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Nov 9, 2016
Messages
521
For some reason I thought the CoNO already ran through St. Louis on its way to Chicago.

Well you learn something new every day................
 

Dakota 400

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I don't know how track conditions have changed, but the 1969 schedule for the City of San Francisco was a full 9 hours faster than the current CZ.
Never rode on the City of San Francisco, but have ridden on the CZ a few times. There are sections of track along the CZ route in Nebraska and Iowa that usually provide the roughest ride I experience on Amtrak. If the train went any faster than it does now, I can't imagine how poor the ride experience would be.
 

west point

Conductor
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Jun 9, 2015
Messages
2,154
The CNO making a connection to a Kansas City - STL - Centralia - Carbondale - Nashville. That could be an extension of the proposed Nashville - Chattanooga - Atlanta train that would connect to the north of ATL Crescent both ways.

Now you have CHI - Nashville / ATL service and once enough passengers thru coaches and sleepers. Intermediate stations will have many services.
Now you have one River Runner giving connections to all those intermediate cities thru ATL all the way to CLT. There would be a wait at CLT to connect to the Carolinian.

Centralia - Nashville are short lines that would need some work but to this poster that keeps the CNO shortest time and adds STL - NOL / STL - Nashville / ATL and finally CHI - Nashville - ATL service. There are so many different station pairs that become possible that arrow might crash ! End points are not so important.

This might cause the CNO to become single level. That will cause Amtrak to get another location for intermediate servicing of Superliners.
 

jloewen

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
73
Amtrak's CONO is a lot slower than the original IC CONO's all coach, all day streamliner...it made the trip in 15 hours and 55 minutes.
That was when it ran up to 100 mph on "The Mainline of Mid America"...

The Amtrak version also lost more time when it moved over to Union Station, from IC's more direct lakefront Central Station. Further rerouting from the IC's original Grenada District, over to the Yazoo District in 1995 also may have slowed it somewhat...

If they were looking for even faster times, they could possibly have used the freight only, Edgewood Cutoff...but that bypassed too many stops.
I took the IC, perhaps the Magnolia Star, from Jackson MS to Mattoon IL, around 1970. Between Centralia and Mattoon, it was scheduled at 81 MPH with stops (Effingham). We made up 15 minutes. I did the math and concluded we had to be moving at 110-115 MPH. Right about then, the Metroliner had debuted, and publicists claimed it would eventually do 110-115 MPH. (It never did, though.) Gasp!
 

railiner

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The IC was the first 'real' railroad I ever rode, having previously only ridden subway trains. I went thru tech school at Chanute AFB (Rantoul) in 1966, and had my first train ride on weekend leave. I rode north to Chicago on a secondary train, No. 8, the Creole. While waiting for that local to arrive, we had to move back from the edge of the platform as the 100 mph "City of Miami" thundered through, blasting its chime horn, and swinging its Mars Light. :cool:
 

crescent-zephyr

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I was born too late to ride the IC. But I got to ride in an IC lounge / sleeper on a regularly scheduled city of New Orleans thanks to Iowa Pacific so I’ll count myself very lucky!
 

Bob Dylan

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May 31, 2009
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20,032
I was born too late to ride the IC. But I got to ride in an IC lounge / sleeper on a regularly scheduled city of New Orleans thanks to Iowa Pacific so I’ll count myself very lucky!
I've always regretted missing out on riding the CONO and the Hoosier State when Iowa Pacific was operating their Cars on those Trains.
 

NativeSon5859

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 5, 2003
Messages
961
I've always regretted missing out on riding the CONO and the Hoosier State when Iowa Pacific was operating their Cars on those Trains.
I managed to try the IP Hoosier State (next to the Canadian it was the greatest train ride I'd ever been on), but I'm kicking myself for not giving the Pullman Rail Journeys a shot when it ran on the back of the CONO.
 

Seaboard92

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Dec 31, 2014
Messages
3,528
This topic has me wondering how many routes don't take the shortest route between endpoints. Come to think of it, there are at least 8 LD routes that take longer routes than necessary. Below are the ones I can think of along with a faster alternative route.
-California Zephyr (UP across Wyoming)
-Cardinal (LSL Route)
-Coast Starlight (via Central Valley)
-Empire Builder (bypass Grand Forks)
-Silver Meteor (FEC)
-Silver Star (FEC, A-Line through Carolinas)
-Southwest Chief (Southern Transcon via Texas Panhandle)
-Texas Eagle (via KC and OKC)

I'll try and answer this one.

-California Zephyr: Mainly because the EX Rio Grande is considered by the general public to be one of the most scenic railway journeys in the United States. The Burlington Route, Rio Grande, and Western Pacific really out did themselves when it came to putting this train together, it was a train designed around scenery and not speed unlike the overland route. The CZ even in the streamliner era out performed on ridership over the Overland route, scenery sells.
-Cardinal: This is due to West Virginia needing service, especially when they had a powerful senator who preserved this train. Originally the gateway for the C&O Route across the West Virginia was Cincinnati, OH and Amtrak didn't want to have an additional hub there. Which in retrospect is a really dumb move on their part because Cincinnati is home to a ton of high potential corridors CIN-CLE, CIN-DET, CIN-CHI, CIN-PGH, and CIN-STL.
-Coast Starlight: Again scenery sells the Coast Daylight the predecessor had a fantastic track record on this route. At one point it was the most profitable train in the country.
-Empire Builder: There is a more direct route between Minot and Fargo and historically that was the route of the Empire Builder while the Western Star went to Grand Forks. The line to Grand Forks I believe has less traffic which makes it more appealing. I actually don't have a good answer on this one.
-Florida East Coast: One great reason to bypass this route Walt Disney World. Such a great traffic driver for the Florida Trains. The Seaboard and Atlantic Coastline worked hard to turn Florida into an all season destination in the 1940s and 50s, and Disney delivered that in the 1970s. A large ridership generator.
-Silver Star in the Carolinas: Mostly because Columbia and Raleigh deserve to have service as state capitols, and they both historically had great service between Florida and New York on that route. Had the Norlina Sub not been ripped up in North Carolina the route would be substantially shorter than it is today. One day they claim they will reopen it, I will believe it when I see it.
-Southwest Chief: Part of the reason they don't take the Southern Transcon is because that is a super busy stretch of railroad. That and it doesn't have that many population centers along it's route aside from Amarillo. The current route has Albuquerque and in Santa Fe days had a train connection to Denver from LAJ. The route via Raton Pass has always been the passenger route historically, and it will likely remain that.
-Texas Eagle: This train really isn't that indirect in my opinion. Of course the original Texas Eagle actually split into sections to service San Antonio, Houston, and El Paso when the Missouri Pacific ran it. This train also serves a unique political motive as well because it adds Arkansas into the network.
 
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I'm going to add my worthless answers to Seaboards.

1. Coast Starlight: also because Tehachapi (sp) is overcrowded by freight - or claimed to be.
2. FEC quit passenger service before A-Day and didn't want Amtrak (and now has BrightVirgin trains).
3. Empire Building: the logic I hear is no air service or nearby expressways to the route it serves. I think part of the other routes have been downgraded or there was no support earlier and the route is stuck, though I remember something about a reroute being offered which would have gone through one of the bigger towns on the route, something to do with Devil's Lake (not the state park in Wisconsin) flooding.
 
Joined
Mar 10, 2016
Messages
986
I've always regretted missing out on riding the CONO and the Hoosier State when Iowa Pacific was operating their Cars on those Trains.
My parents, dad especially, talked about how great the original CONO was - steak dinners and such. Funnily enough, as an aside, his workplace had an in-house travel agent, who had always enjoyed train travel back in the 50's with her family over flying.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2016
Messages
1,364
I'll try and answer this one.

-California Zephyr: Mainly because the EX Rio Grande is considered by the general public to be one of the most scenic railway journeys in the United States. The Burlington Route, Rio Grande, and Western Pacific really out did themselves when it came to putting this train together, it was a train designed around scenery and not speed unlike the overland route. The CZ even in the streamliner era out performed on ridership over the Overland route, scenery sells.
-Cardinal: This is due to West Virginia needing service, especially when they had a powerful senator who preserved this train. Originally the gateway for the C&O Route across the West Virginia was Cincinnati, OH and Amtrak didn't want to have an additional hub there. Which in retrospect is a really dumb move on their part because Cincinnati is home to a ton of high potential corridors CIN-CLE, CIN-DET, CIN-CHI, CIN-PGH, and CIN-STL.
-Coast Starlight: Again scenery sells the Coast Daylight the predecessor had a fantastic track record on this route. At one point it was the most profitable train in the country.
-Empire Builder: There is a more direct route between Minot and Fargo and historically that was the route of the Empire Builder while the Western Star went to Grand Forks. The line to Grand Forks I believe has less traffic which makes it more appealing. I actually don't have a good answer on this one.
-Florida East Coast: One great reason to bypass this route Walt Disney World. Such a great traffic driver for the Florida Trains. The Seaboard and Atlantic Coastline worked hard to turn Florida into an all season destination in the 1940s and 50s, and Disney delivered that in the 1970s. A large ridership generator.
-Silver Star in the Carolinas: Mostly because Columbia and Raleigh deserve to have service as state capitols, and they both historically had great service between Florida and New York on that route. Had the Norlina Sub not been ripped up in North Carolina the route would be substantially shorter than it is today. One day they claim they will reopen it, I will believe it when I see it.
-Southwest Chief: Part of the reason they don't take the Southern Transcon is because that is a super busy stretch of railroad. That and it doesn't have that many population centers along it's route aside from Amarillo. The current route has Albuquerque and in Santa Fe days had a train connection to Denver from LAJ. The route via Raton Pass has always been the passenger route historically, and it will likely remain that.
-Texas Eagle: This train really isn't that indirect in my opinion. Of course the original Texas Eagle actually split into sections to service San Antonio, Houston, and El Paso when the Missouri Pacific ran it. This train also serves a unique political motive as well because it adds Arkansas into the network.
I'm going to add my worthless answers to Seaboards.

1. Coast Starlight: also because Tehachapi (sp) is overcrowded by freight - or claimed to be.
2. FEC quit passenger service before A-Day and didn't want Amtrak (and now has BrightVirgin trains).
3. Empire Building: the logic I hear is no air service or nearby expressways to the route it serves. I think part of the other routes have been downgraded or there was no support earlier and the route is stuck, though I remember something about a reroute being offered which would have gone through one of the bigger towns on the route, something to do with Devil's Lake (not the state park in Wisconsin) flooding.
I agree that most of the routes make sense; I was not trying to argue that the trains should be rerouted. The history is very interesting though!
 

Seaboard92

Conductor
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
3,528

Tell me if this works. But if it does enjoy the fruits of my labor. On this link is the entire 1952 Official Guide of Railways on an interactive satellite map. If you click on a point on the map it'll tell you the train that stopped at what time, and on what route. Rail lines are color coded by the owning railroad, with the color coming from their paint scheme at the time. Now you can really study the history of what all we have lost.
 

Willbridge

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
401
Given that a reroute is not likely either, I think we should push for either a connecting train or thru cars on such a route rather than rerouting the entire train. Amtrak already struggles to compete with driving when it comes to driving time so I'm not eager to add multiple hours to the route when Chicago would still generate significantly more traffic than St. Louis and a thruway connection to STL is already available.

This topic has me wondering how many routes don't take the shortest route between endpoints. Come to think of it, there are at least 8 LD routes that take longer routes than necessary. Below are the ones I can think of along with a faster alternative route.
-California Zephyr (UP across Wyoming)
-Cardinal (LSL Route)
-Coast Starlight (via Central Valley)
-Empire Builder (bypass Grand Forks)
-Silver Meteor (FEC)
-Silver Star (FEC, A-Line through Carolinas)
-Southwest Chief (Southern Transcon via Texas Panhandle)
-Texas Eagle (via KC and OKC)

Many of them take the longer routes in order to serve major cities, such as the CZ, CS, and SS, which makes sense especially considering how few passengers ride end to end. It would be nice if the system was large enough for more of a variety in LD routes, but I don't forsee it in the near future. I don't know how track conditions have changed, but the 1969 schedule for the City of San Francisco was a full 9 hours faster than the current CZ.
The Southern Transcon route San Francisco Chief was just about the same running time between Newton and Belen as the current Southwest Chief, if ABQ is bypassed.
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
7,971

Tell me if this works. But if it does enjoy the fruits of my labor. On this link is the entire 1952 Official Guide of Railways on an interactive satellite map. If you click on a point on the map it'll tell you the train that stopped at what time, and on what route. Rail lines are color coded by the owning railroad, with the color coming from their paint scheme at the time. Now you can really study the history of what all we have lost.
Bravo Zulu! I can spend hours pouring over your work of art....thanks so much for taking the time to share it with us...👍
 

Willbridge

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
401

Tell me if this works. But if it does enjoy the fruits of my labor. On this link is the entire 1952 Official Guide of Railways on an interactive satellite map. If you click on a point on the map it'll tell you the train that stopped at what time, and on what route. Rail lines are color coded by the owning railroad, with the color coming from their paint scheme at the time. Now you can really study the history of what all we have lost.
That is great! I was glad to see the Valley & Siletz listed. Not only is it gone, but the terminal city of Valsetz is gone, too.
 
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