L&N 780 was an E7A built in April, 1945

L&N 780 – Streamliner at New Orleans

Franck Studios photo of a “new streamliner” at the Louisville and Nashville terminal, Canal Street at the river. The streamers and gathered employees indicate this was one of the first appearances of the new locomotive in New Orleans. General Motors’ Electro-Motive Division (EMD) built this unit in February, 1945. EMD built the accompanying “B” unit (directly behind 780) a few months later. While THNOC only dates the photo as 1945, it’s likely this was taken in late summer.


The train 780 and its “B” pulls into the Canal Street station is likely the Pan-American. This name train ran from New Orleans to Cincinatti. The route operated from 1921 to 1971. The route acquired its name because it brought passengers from Gulf Coast ports further into the US. While the train began with coaches and sleepers, the railroad converted it to all-Pullman equipment by the mid-1920s. The Great Depression forced them to return coaches to the train, to offer lower ticket prices. L&N considered the Pan-American its flagship passenger route until the inauguration of the Humming Bird in 1949. So, new diesels on the Pan-American in 1945 were a cause for celebration.

The Humming Bird operated brand-new equipment on the same route as the Pan-American in the 1950s. So, the Pan-American became second-tier service. Both trains continued to operate until Amtrak took over passenger routes in 1971. Both routes were discontinued at that time.

EMD E7 locomotives

EMD manfactured the 2000-horsepower E7A units beginning in February, 1945. They started building the E7Bs a month later. Production run through 1949. Railroads dubbed the E7A the “bulldog nose,” and EMD continued the look with their E8 and E9 models. Since the national passenger rail corporation did not continue service on the L&N routes, they did not acquire these E7s.

L&N in New Orleans

Louisville and Nashville came to New Orleans in the 1870s. They acquired the Pontchartrain Railroad, which ran from Faubourg Marigny to Milneburg at Lake Pontchartrain. L&N service extended East from New Orleans. The railroad outgrew the original Pontchartrain RR station at Elysian Fields and Chartres Streets. They built a new terminal Canal Street and the river in 1902. That terminal served L&N passengers until the opening of Union Passenger Terminal in 1954.

The L&N terminal fronted on Canal Street. Trains departed from there, heading East to Elysian Fields. They then turned East again there, heading out of town around Lake Pontchartrain via the Rigolets Pass. The railroad operated freight service along the river on both sides of Canal Street. So, passenger trains were assembled and serviced on the Uptown side of Canal Street. They pulled into the station and rolled out from there. That’s what we see in this photo.




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