Transition Time in New Orleans


It is a time of transition for Amtrak at New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal although that is not necessarily apparent in this image.

A year earlier the Chicago-New Orleans Panama Limited began showing up with a consist of Amfleet equipment. That was the first sign that Amtrak was moving to head-end power.

But the New York-New Orleans Crescent still has steam-heated equipment as does the the Los Angeles-New Orleans Sunset Limited.

I am at NOUPT on a December morning in 1978 to ride the Crescent to Washington, D.C. All of the station tracks visible in this image contain streamliner era equipment.

Some of that equipment will be rebuilt for HEP and last into the early 2000s as part of Amtrak’s Heritage Fleet, but much of it will be retired from Amtrak service.

The rolling stock that can be seen wears the Phase I livery that Amtrak applied used in the early 1970s. That will soon be giving way to a slightly new look.

But only those who follow the affairs of Amtrak closely will recognize that what they are seeing is the final years of an era.


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