Posts Tagged ‘City of New Orleans’

Track Work Affects CONO Schedules

September 3, 2020

Track work being performed by host railroad Canadian National will affect the operations of Amtrak’s City of New Orleans through Sept. 7.

The northbound CONO will depart New Orleans at 4 p.m., which is 2 hours and 15 minutes later than its normal schedule, and operate as Train No. 1058.

No. 1058 will operate on this later schedule from New Orleans to Jackson, Mississippi, where it will be held until 8:34 p.m.

Upon departing Jackson, No. 1058 will be operating 2 hours, 40 minutes later than scheduled and hold to that schedule at all stations to Chicago.

The southbound CONO will depart Chicago at 7:20 p.m. Sept. 6-7 and operate 45 minutes earlier at all scheduled stations to New Orleans, operating as No. 1059.

Blasting Through Rantoul

July 28, 2020

It’s an early Sunday morning at the Amtrak station in Rantoul, Illinois.

I’m the only person around even through Amtrak’s northbound City of New Orleans will be come through here in a few minutes.

But Trains 58 and 59 don’t stop in Rantoul. Only the state-funded Saluki and Illini between Chicago and Carbondale, Illinois, stop here.

No. 58 is about 15 minutes off schedule as it roars through the Rantoul station. Note the engineer has his hand out the window to wave at the photographer.

It also has two P42DC locomotives up front. Normally, the City of New Orleans operates with a single locomotive.

Trains to New Orleans Suspended due to Storm

June 8, 2020

Amtrak suspended over the weekend operations of its City of New Orleans for several days because of a forecast that tropical storm Cristobal was to make landfall along the Gulf Coast.

The carrier is also temporarily shortening the route of the routes of the Crescent and Sunset Limited.

No. 58 and 59 did not originate in New Orleans on June 7 and 8 while No. 59 did not originate in Chicago on June 6 and 7.

No alternative transportation was provided but passengers who had been ticketed to travel between Chicago and Carbondale, Illinois, were being referred to Amtrak Nos. 390 and 393 between those cities.

The Sunset Limited that was to originate in Los Angeles on June 5 terminated in San Antonio, Texas.

The train that was to originate in New Orleans on June 8 will instead originate in San Antonio on June 9.

No alternative transportation is being provided between New Orleans and San Antonio.

As for the Crescent, trains that originated in New York on June 6 and 7 terminated in Atlanta. No. 20 was to originate in Atlanta on June 7 and 8.

No alternative transportation was being provided between Atlanta and New Orleans.

CONO Back to Running Full Route

May 6, 2020

Amtrak’s City of New Orleans has resumed operating its full route between Chicago and New Orleans.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has closed the Bonnet Carre Spillway whose opening earlier for flood control had led to Nos. 58 and 59 being operated between Chicago and McComb, Mississippi.

Passengers had been taken by bus to and from New Orleans.

Host railroad Canadian National by policy prohibits Amtrak operating over the spillway with passengers aboard whenever it is open.

CONO Route Shortened due to Flood Control

April 7, 2020

Flood control has again resulted in Amtrak’s City of New Orleans stopping short of its namesake city.

Nos. 58 and 59 are now originating and terminating in McComb, Mississippi, after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened portions of the Bonnett Carre Spillway amid rising water in the Mississippi River.

Host railroad Canadian National won’t allow Amtrak to operate the City as far south as Hammond, Louisiana, and has also prohibited Nos. 58 and 59 from stopping in the Mississippi towns of Brookhaven and Hazelhurst.

In past years when the spillway was open, Amtrak passengers transferred to buses at either Hammond or Jackson, Mississippi.

CN in an emailed statement made to Trains magazine would not elaborate on why Nos. 58 and 59 are being prohibited from stopping in Hazlehurst or Brookhaven, both of which are normal stops for the train.

The statement primarily said that when the spillway is opened it does not allow Amtrak to operate with passengers across the spillway bridge for safety reasons.

CN said in the statement that it is planning to build a new bridge over the spillway that will alleviate the issue of Amtrak not being able to cross it when flood control measures are underway.

The current bridge is a wood trestle. Opening the Bonnett Carre Spillway is done to keep flood waters away from New Orleans levees.

The equipment used on Nos. 58 and 59 will continue from McComb to New Orleans empty so it can be serviced.

Although CN said work has begun on the new bridge, Trains quoted eye witness reports from Louisiana as saying that little apparent work had been done.

CN declined to provide Trains with a timeline for when the new bridge will be completed.

The spillway, which allows water to flow into Lake Ponchartrain, has been opened 15 times since it was completed in 1937 and four of those openings have occurred in the past three years including in 2019.

Dining on the City of New Orleans

March 26, 2020

There have been times when Amtrak sought to give the dining cars on its long-distance trains a touch of the cuisine associated with a region served by the route.

In the case of the City of New Orleans that meant food associated with the Crescent City.

But more often than not, the dining car fare on the CONO was the same as it was elsewhere.

Shown is the menu that was in use in 2012. Although not obvious from the dinner entrees shown inside, the diner on a March night that I was traveling from New Orleans to Chicago did feature a catfish dinner that would be similar to one you might find on a menu in a New Orleans restaurant.

And I can say it was tasty and enjoyable.

One Morning in Memphis

January 9, 2020

We were en route to New Orleans aboard the City of New Orleans in March 2011 when No. 59 halted in Memphis for its scheduled stop.

Memphis is a crew change point and 23 minutes is allotted for the stop.

It was pleasant spring morning and trees at the station were blooming.

That was quite a contrast with what we had seen as the Capitol Limited had left Cleveland the previous morning during a snowstorm.

There was enough time to disembark, stretch our legs and snap a few photographs, including the head end with a few of those flowering trees.

No. 59 had a consist on this day that as a little out of the ordinary. There were two P42DC locomotives pulling the train rather than the usual one.

There also was a baggage car, which is not always assigned to Nos. 58 and 59. Instead, checked luggage typically rides in a baggage compartment of a Superliner coach.

Soon it was time to get back on board and continue on to the Crescent City for a spring vacation.

CONO Resumes Running to New Orleans

August 6, 2019

Operating as train 1158 for one day only, the northbound City of New Orleans passes through Pesotum, Illinois, en route to Chicago. The train at the time was 40 minutes late.

Amtrak’s City of New Orleans resumed operating between New Orleans and Jackson, Mississippi, on July 30.

Nos. 58 and 59 had been originating and terminating in Jackson for several weeks due to flooding in the lower Mississippi River valley that closed the Bonnet Carre Spillway.

During that time passengers rode a chartered bus south of Jackson.

However, track work by host railroad Canadian National has Nos. 58 and 59 originating and terminating this week in Memphis, Tennessee, through Aug. 8

In a service advisory, Amtrak said alternate transportation will be provided between Memphis and Jackson, but there will be no alternate transportation to the missed station stops of Marks, Greenwood or Yazoo City in Mississippi.

Getting a Better View

October 19, 2018

An Amtrak car attendant perches on the step box as he looks down the platform at Jackson, Mississippi, during a station stop for the northbound City of New Orleans.

Jackson is one of the busiest stops for Nos. 58 and 59, but most of the passengers in the distance are boarding one of the coaches and not holding sleeping car tickets.

 

Gotta Go to Work

September 18, 2018

An Amtrak locomotive engineer climbs the steps to a P42DC locomotive in Memphis to go to work aboard the northbound City of New Orleans.

He will take No. 58 to Carbondale, Illinois, where another engineer will go on duty to finish the journey into Chicago.