Posts Tagged ‘Memphis’

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.

Boarding in Memphis

November 17, 2019

Passengers getting onto the northbound City of New Orleans board in Memphis, Tennessee.

It is 10:30 p.m. and Train No. 58 is running on time. It will depart in 10 minutes for Chicago and all scheduled intermediate stops.

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.

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.

Nighttime on the City of New Orleans

May 3, 2018

If you are familiar with lyrics of the Steve Goodman song City of New Orleans, then after you read the headline of this post you know what comes next.

Changing cars in Memphis, Tennessee.

I once thought Goodman meant moving from one car to another, but that didn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Why would a passenger en route to New Orleans want to get up and move to another car?

It was later that I realized he probably was referring to the process of switching cars in Memphis.

This included removing head-end cars that came in from Chicago and adding cars that operate from Memphis to New Orleans.

Railroads used to do a lot of switching of cars in and out at major intermediate stations. Diners, sleepers, coaches, lounges, RPOs, and mail and express cars were added and subtracted.

It has been decades since the Illinois Central or even Amtrak has “changed” cars in Memphis.

Today Nos. 58 and 59 change operating crews in Memphis, but that is the extent of it.

In the photo above, the northbound City of New Orleans is shown making its Memphis station stop in March 2012.

Tunnel Being Built at Memphis Station

September 6, 2017

Work has begun to develop an underground walkway beneath the platforms at Memphis Central Station.

The pedestrian tunnel will link Main Street with a farmers market on Front Street. It is expected to open in summer 2018.

Alex Turley, vice president of real estate for developer Henry Turley Company, said the tunnel is part of a Central Station redevelopment project that includes a 124-room boutique hotel, a seven-screen Malco cinema, 182 residential units, the Memphis Farmers Market, and retail and restaurants.

Amtrak will continue to use the depot, which was built 113 years ago by the Illinois Central Railroad and serves the City of New Orleans.

The station project is being funded by a $3 million grant. “The idea is that this becomes a transit hub to a larger neighborhood, not just South Main and the South End but also South City,” Turley said. “We want this to be a demonstration of how transit can work in Memphis.”

Further up the line of the City of New Orleans the city of Newbern, Tennessee, will celebrate its 25th Newbern Depot Days on Sept. 16.

The festival will feature music, food, prizes and operating model train layouts.

Proceeds from the event are used for maintenance of the Newbern depot, which was built in 1920 saved from destruction 27 years ago.

Among the prizes are Amtrak tickets for two aboard the City of New Orleans to Chicago or New Orleans (winner’s choice).

Memphis Station to Get Hotel

June 23, 2017

Developers plan to create two hotels to serve Memphis Central Station, one of which will be contained within the 103-year-old depot.

The latter will be a boutique hotel within the historic station while the other will be a 115-room Holiday Inn Express to be built on what is now a parking lot at the corner of Fourth and Union.

Developers for both hotels have applied for building permits for work totaling $24.5 million.

The hotel inside the station will transform what are now apartment into the 124-room Central Station Hotel. Plans show that it will have a lobby, bar, ballroom, guest rooms, restaurant and retail.

McLean Wilson, an executive with Kemmons Wilson Companies, said the objective is to make the hotel “an extremely special experience.”

The hotel’s full name will be Central Station Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton.

Wilson said this includes transforming the station’s waiting area into a large bar that will be like a “living room”’ for the South Main neighborhood.

The Amtrak lobby and ticket office will be used to create the hotel lobby. Replacement facilities for Amtrak will be moved further east within the depot.

The existing ground-floor meeting rooms and offices will become a 3,500-square-foot restaurant and 6,000 square feet of retail that will likely include a coffee shop.

Memphis is served by Amtrak’s City of New Orleans.

CONO Patrons Being Bused Carbondale-Memphis

December 31, 2015

Since Tuesday passengers aboard the City of New Orleans have been riding the bus between Memphis and Carbondale, Illinois, due to heavy rains and flooding.

The bus substitution is expected to continue through early next week.

The Chicago-New Orleans train will continue operate as normal between Chicago and Carbondale.

Charter buses are meeting No. 59 at Carbondale and taking passengers to Memphis where they then reboard their train to New Orleans.

Northbound passengers on No. 58 are riding the train from New Orleans to Memphis, taking a bus to Carbondale and then reboarding the train.

The Chicago-Carbondale Saluki and Illini are not affected and continue to operate as normal.

Memphis Wants More Amtrak Service

August 22, 2014
Passengers board the City of New Orleans in March 2012.

Passengers board the City of New Orleans in March 2012.

Memphis wants more Amtrak service and it recently met with Amtrak officials to talk about how to make that a reality. One option would be to extend one of the Chicago-Carbondale, Ill., trains to Memphis.

Conducting a feasibility study to show the costs, benefits, and possible ridership for such an expansion would be the first step in doing that. With that data, Amtrak could work out the details with the Tennessee and Illinois departments of transportation.

“This is the most likely venue for expanding and adding new service to Memphis,” said Charlie Monte Verde, a government affairs official with Amtrak. “So, the future of expanding rail service in Memphis would be having a train in and out of here to Chicago every single day in each direction.”

Memphis is currently served by Amtrak’s City of New Orleans, which operates daily between Chicago and New Orleans. Memphis is located about 200 miles south of Carbondale.

“Our long-term goal would be to get another train coming through Memphis at Central Station,” said Memphis Councilmember Myron Lowery. “The markets between Chicago and Memphis and Memphis and New Orleans are very productive markets and are increasing on an annualized basis.”

The City of New Orleans is scheduled to stop in Memphis at about 6:30 a.m. southbound and 10 p.m. northbound. Amtrak traffic through Memphis has increased about 46 percent since 1997.