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City of New Orleans routing

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Willbridge

OBS Chief
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Mar 30, 2019
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Denver
Again, I'm not advocating changing the routes of those trains. In fact, the fastest routings for the CZ and SWC would bypass Denver and Albuquerque, which would also drastically limit their use for transportation. Personally, I also ride trains for the scenery and experience. However, most passengers are riding to get somewhere and it's much easier to argue for the government funding a transportation service rather than a subsidized vacation. Even in my case, I usually want to spend some time at my destination and am limited in time off, so faster trains or even more importantly more frequencies would allow me to travel more frequently.
Years ago when I collaborated with Amtrak on setting up the Pioneer there were people who wanted to revive the City of Portland. When we looked into that, besides having huge train-mile costs, it assumed very long intermediate trip lengths. The CZ route along with running the SEA>PDX>BOI train via SLC has a lot of intermediates that are strong, such as Denver>Lincoln and Denver>Glenwood Springs. Check the RPA statistic sheets for more info.

One of the peculiarities that Amtrak management Back East has rarely understood is that in the West there are a lot of people who ride for transportation AND for the scenery. The CZ and SWC and EB all fit that description, as do some of the California and Cascades Corridor trains. I began to think more about this after riding the re-allocated Superliners of the Capitol Limited and seeing attractive scenery out of the lounge windows, while the uninterested passengers played cards, drank cheap beer and enjoyed conversation.
 

CAQuail

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Westchester County, New York

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.
Very Impressive!
 

dogbert617

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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.
It kills me that I never got to try riding the Iowa Pacific Hoosier State. :( Also it's weird I never realized Pullman Rail Journeys briefly operated a car, on the rear of the CONO train. Was that also an Iowa Pacific operation years ago?
 

railbuck

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May 26, 2011
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It kills me that I never got to try riding the Iowa Pacific Hoosier State. :( Also it's weird I never realized Pullman Rail Journeys briefly operated a car, on the rear of the CONO train. Was that also an Iowa Pacific operation years ago?
Pullman Rail Journeys on the CONO was in the 2014-2015 time frame, IIRC.
 

MARC Rider

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Right about then, the Metroliner had debuted, and publicists claimed it would eventually do 110-115 MPH. (It never did, though.) Gasp!
The Metroliner? Yes it did go 110 mph. I took a joyride on it back when I was a railgeek teenager around 1969-1970, and the engineer let me look over his shoulder while we were running between Philadelphia and Wilmington and I clearly saw the speedometer read 110 mph. The later edition, locomotive hauled Metroliners definitely went faster, up to 125 mph at least, but then, so did the Northeast Direct trains.
 

Bob Dylan

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The Metroliner? Yes it did go 110 mph. I took a joyride on it back when I was a railgeek teenager around 1969-1970, and the engineer let me look over his shoulder while we were running between Philadelphia and Wilmington and I clearly saw the speedometer read 110 mph. The later edition, locomotive hauled Metroliners definitely went faster, up to 125 mph at least, but then, so did the Northeast Direct trains.
Correct Joe, I used to ride Metroliners often between WAS and NYP and we generally " "hauled ass" up the NEC.
 

Larry H.

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These were the days when traveling by rail meant a new and exciting adventure for each named train.. Locals perhaps not, but long distance was geared to a visual experience of the interior as well as the outside scenery. The Empire builder with all its western and indian motif's was a great experience and one of the best I would say.
 

Larry H.

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Correct Joe, I used to ride Metroliners often between WAS and NYP and we generally " "hauled ass" up the NEC.
It was said that the average speed for the City of New Orleans and the Panama Limited was 100 miles per hour including the stops. I remember coming home from New Orleans on it and the sparks were flying off the rails on curves due to the high speed. All that ended when a few miles from where I am now the City left the rails due to a error on maintenance caused a wheel on one of the engines to drag which at very high speed derailed the train toppling them end over end in some cases and all over the road bed. 11 were killed and many injured. I still have the newspaper articles about it here. One person was never identified and is buried in Salem I believe as and unknown John Doe. This was when Amtrak first was running the trains and after that they started the 79 mile per hour limits on speed in much of the country.
 

Larry H.

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It was said that the average speed for the City of New Orleans and the Panama Limited was 100 miles per hour including the stops. I remember coming home from New Orleans on it and the sparks were flying off the rails on curves due to the high speed. All that ended when a few miles from where I am now the City left the rails due to a error on maintenance caused a wheel on one of the engines to drag which at very high speed derailed the train toppling them end over end in some cases and all over the road bed. 11 were killed and many injured. I still have the newspaper articles about it here. One person was never identified and is buried in Salem I believe as and unknown John Doe.
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.
They passenger loads in Champaign and Carbondale are huge during colleges being open, that might be one reason to keep it here. But your right the passenger loads from ST.Louis would surly help. For a while they ran a daily connecting train from St. Louis to Carbondale of one car. At one time they pulled a coach and pullman car into St. Louis from the Panama Limited. But that ended about 30 years ago by now.
 

crescent-zephyr

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These were the days when traveling by rail meant a new and exciting adventure for each named train.. Locals perhaps not, but long distance was geared to a visual experience of the interior as well as the outside scenery. The Empire builder with all its western and indian motif's was a great experience and one of the best I would say.
This??? I guess if that’s what you’re into..
 

Attachments

Night Ranger

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They passenger loads in Champaign and Carbondale are huge during colleges being open, that might be one reason to keep it here. But your right the passenger loads from ST.Louis would surly help. For a while they ran a daily connecting train from St. Louis to Carbondale of one car. At one time they pulled a coach and pullman car into St. Louis from the Panama Limited. But that ended about 30 years ago by now.
So if I took the City of New Orleans to Carbondale from New Orleans is there a connection of any sort to Saint Louis so that I could connect with the Missouri River Runner and then the Southwest Chief in Kansas City? Any advice/insight/wisdom will be appreciated.
 

crescent-zephyr

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So if I took the City of New Orleans to Carbondale from New Orleans is there a connection of any sort to Saint Louis so that I could connect with the Missouri River Runner and then the Southwest Chief in Kansas City? Any advice/insight/wisdom will be appreciated.
There is a thruway bus you can take. The “River Cities” train last operated in 1993 sadly.
 

railiner

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It was said that the average speed for the City of New Orleans and the Panama Limited was 100 miles per hour including the stops.
Not quite....as I posted this timetable link earlier...

Shows the average speed as just under 58 mph....the top speed was up to 100 mph on certain cab signaled territory...

If it averaged 100 mph, it would complete the entire trip in 9 and a half hours....o_O
 

crescent-zephyr

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THANKS muchly for the information. We are planning a trip when/if the pandemic abates and allows us to go places again.
If it was me, I’d take the city into Chicago and catch the Chief or ride from Chicago to St. Louis and then to Kansas City if you wanted that route.
 

west point

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Jun 9, 2015
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StLouis to NOL is a large market that is not being served. Why not have thru cars from KansasCity - STL - Carbondale. Cross platform at Carbondale. However the KCY STL train would attach at Carbondale to CNO and travel to Fulton where it would go to Nashville and proceed as the proposed day train from Nashville to ATL where it would connect to the Crescent.
If traffic finally warrants then these two trains would exchange cars at Carbondale giving Nashville and ATL thru train cars to CHI. Also give thru cars NOL - JAN - MEM - STL - KCY. Of course the intermediate cities.
 
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I rode it from Chicago to Memphis. It was the second leg of my train journey from Denver to Memphis. I must say an overnight train on Amtrak friendly CN is still a strong concept that still works today. Like most of these trains it would be more functional with regional/commuter rail that could support it.

In general overnight sleepers to me are the most practical long distance trains to take. Probably why the Caledonian is the only sleeper train left in the UK.
 

WICT106

OBS Chief
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Sep 8, 2003
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Wisconsin
That happened during the 1980s and early 1990s, with the "River Cities" section that attached to the CNO. Southbound, the section attached in IL, northbound, the section separated and went to StL & K. C.
 

John Bredin

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suburban Chicago (Buffalo Grove)
I must say an overnight train on Amtrak friendly CN is still a strong concept that still works today.
Except CN isn't Amtrak-friendly anymore. CN opposition is limiting Illinois's in-the-works restoration of the Blackhawk to Rockford only, as there are railroad choices east of Rockford (principally Union Pacific, ironically enough) but only CN west of there.
 

Willbridge

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Except CN isn't Amtrak-friendly anymore. CN opposition is limiting Illinois's in-the-works restoration of the Blackhawk to Rockford only, as there are railroad choices east of Rockford (principally Union Pacific, ironically enough) but only CN west of there.
In the olden days the CN would have responded to the challenge. It said so...

1987 001.jpg
 

railiner

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Except CN isn't Amtrak-friendly anymore. CN opposition is limiting Illinois's in-the-works restoration of the Blackhawk to Rockford only, as there are railroad choices east of Rockford (principally Union Pacific, ironically enough) but only CN west of there.
If they really want a good route to (E)Dubuque, they could take 'Amtrak friendly' BNSF, via Oregon and Savanna, IL. Probably half the time it would take on the CN. But then they would have to miss Rockford, so not likely....
 

MisterUptempo

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I rode it from Chicago to Memphis. It was the second leg of my train journey from Denver to Memphis. I must say an overnight train on Amtrak friendly CN is still a strong concept that still works today. Like most of these trains it would be more functional with regional/commuter rail that could support it.

In general overnight sleepers to me are the most practical long distance trains to take. Probably why the Caledonian is the only sleeper train left in the UK.
Almost the only sleeper train left in the UK. Great Western Railway still runs the Night Riviera between London-Paddington and Cornwall.
I must say, GWR did a great job on these sleeper cabins. Very modern. And the lounge looks very inviting.

The route is only 300 miles or so, about the same distance between Chicago and St. Louis. It makes that run in 7.5 - 8 hours. I can see a train like this doing well on a CHI-MSP route. MNDOT suggests a daytime running time between CHI and MSP would be 7.5 hours. An overnight train could roll out of the station at 2330 and into the destination at 0700.

A relatively short overnight train like this could provide a great sleeper experience without needing to provide a dining car, or private bathrooms and showers onboard, helping to keep costs down without it appearing like costs are being kept down. A perfectly nice, light breakfast could be provided in the morning with a minimum amount of onboard effort. Hell, some professional types might be satisfied with a protein bar and a Red Bull. :p There are already showers at Chicago Union; put a few in at St. Paul, providing sleeper passengers an opportunity to bathe before and/or after the trip.

As the YouTube video in this post mentioned, prices on the Night Riviera, if purchased early enough, start at $115.00pp. Anything close to that price on a CHI-MSP route should make it popular.

The only problem I see is that a route like this only properly serves the two endpoints at a decent hour. Not sure how many takers you'll have boarding at Wisconsin Dells at 0300.
 

bms

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Cleveland
Almost the only sleeper train left in the UK. Great Western Railway still runs the Night Riviera between London-Paddington and Cornwall.
I must say, GWR did a great job on these sleeper cabins. Very modern. And the lounge looks very inviting.

The route is only 300 miles or so, about the same distance between Chicago and St. Louis. It makes that run in 7.5 - 8 hours. I can see a train like this doing well on a CHI-MSP route. MNDOT suggests a daytime running time between CHI and MSP would be 7.5 hours. An overnight train could roll out of the station at 2330 and into the destination at 0700.

A relatively short overnight train like this could provide a great sleeper experience without needing to provide a dining car, or private bathrooms and showers onboard, helping to keep costs down without it appearing like costs are being kept down. A perfectly nice, light breakfast could be provided in the morning with a minimum amount of onboard effort. Hell, some professional types might be satisfied with a protein bar and a Red Bull. :p There are already showers at Chicago Union; put a few in at St. Paul, providing sleeper passengers an opportunity to bathe before and/or after the trip.

As the YouTube video in this post mentioned, prices on the Night Riviera, if purchased early enough, start at $115.00pp. Anything close to that price on a CHI-MSP route should make it popular.

The only problem I see is that a route like this only properly serves the two endpoints at a decent hour. Not sure how many takers you'll have boarding at Wisconsin Dells at 0300.
Looking at the 1978 timetable for the Chicago-Duluth North Star, #9 left Chicago at 10:30 p.m., left Milwaukee at 12:05 a.m., and arrived in St. Paul at 7:15 a.m. #10 left St. Paul at 10:15 p.m., arrived in Milwaukee at 5:35 a.m., and arrived in Chicago at 7:10 a.m. That predates me so I'm not sure how well it kept to that timetable.
 
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