Passenger and freight consists, June trains in New Orleans.

june trains

June Trains

Summertime is a great time for a trip by train! New Orleans is an Amtrak hub. Three of the long-haul routes originate in the city, The Crescent to New York, the City of New Orleans to Chicago, and the Sunset Limited to Los Angeles.

The Crescent #20

First up, Amtrak Crescent, 15 minutes out of New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal (NOL). The daily train from New Orleans to New York (Penn Station) operates this month with two Chargers, 3 coaches, 1 cafe, diner, two sleepers, one Bag Dorm. The diners returned this month. Amtrak sidelined formal dining because of the pandemic. While it appeared that they might go on permanent hiatus, the railroad resumed service. The diners bear the names of state capitals.

The City of New Orleans

The Illinois Central operated two trains from New Orleans to Chicago. Their premier train was the Panama-Limited, and all-Pullman, limited-stop train. To offer less-expensive service, IC began the City of New Orleans. The CONO ran the same basic route as the Panama Limited, with more local stops.

When Amtrak took over the IC passenger service in 1971, the railroad kept the Panama Limited brand. They discontinued the City of New Orleans. Later, when Arlo Guthrie’s song hit the charts, Amtrak leveraged the promotional possibilities. They renamed their Panama Limited to CONO. Today, CONO Northbound, #58 departs New Orleans in the afternoon. It arrives the following afternoon.

The CONO employs two engines. While the trip only requires one, Amtrak often operates the route with a backup. Here, a Siemens Charger is in a classic “A-A” configuration. The A-A allows the train to pull into a station, use a “run-around” track to let the engines go to the rear of the train to settle it into the station.

The Southbound CONO, #59, reaches New Orleans just after #58 departs. That makes it easy to catch both trains. Here’s #59 coming into UPT, about half an hour after #58 departed north.


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