Texas and Pacific Railroad – Train Thursday.
T&P Railway passenger train, leaving the Trans-Mississippi Passenger station, 1950s.
Texas and Pacific Railroad – Uptown, West Bank, Points West!
EMD E-8A #2011 leads a Texas and Pacific passenger train out of the Trans-Mississippi Passenger Station, New Orleans. Data on a Texas and Pacific Railway history website indicates this photo was shot in 1950-1951.
The second, “B” diesel unit is an EMD F-7B. I can’t find a roster number for that unit in this photo. Drop me a line (or comment) if you can identify it.
The Texas and Pacific Railway began operations in the state of Texas in 1871. The Missouri Pacific Railroad acquired a majority share of the T&P in 1928. While they essentially owned T&P, MoPac operated T&P independently until 1976. MoPac merged into the Union Pacific in 1980. Because of lawsuits and regulatory issues, however, the merger was not complete until 1997.
Texas and Pacific Station
Trans-Mississippi Passenger Station, uptown New Orleans.
The “Trans Mississippi Passenger Station” stood on Annunciation Street, uptown, between Thalia and Melpomene Streets. So, this station is one of the five consolidated into Union Passenger Terminal. We’ll do a full article on it in the future.
The Louisiana Eagle
Texas and Pacific Railway passenger ticket, 1940s.
These locos are likely pulling the “Louisiana Eagle”, the “name train” that ran from New Orleans to Dallas/Ft. Worth on the T&P. The Louisiana Eagle departed New Orleans at 7:50pm, arrived in Dallas at 8:05am the next morning, terminating at 9:05am in Ft. Worth. So, it was an overnight train.
While the Huey P. Long Bridge carried trains, Texas and Pacific used train ferries to cross the Mississippi. The trains would leave the Annunciation Street terminal, then go to the riverfront. The cars boarded a rail ferry boat for the crossing. The train re-formed, stopping at the Gretna station on Fourth Street. They would then go on their way.
The typical consist of the Louisiana Eagle was an E-8 or F-7 locomotive, then five cars (presumably baggage, two sleepers, diner, and a coach). I don’t have a definite consist list, so if you do, let me know.
Mid-City Railroading in the late 1940s
L&N Train leaving Canal Street, 1940s (Ron Flanery photo)
Mid-City Railroading – late 1940s
I ran out to the UNO Library a couple of weeks ago, chasing down some old railroad maps. I remembered seeing a set of maps there a few years back, but resisted the temptation to go totally down the rabbit hole on railroad stuff. One of the things that did stick with me, though, was that there was a railroad engine terminal behind Greenwood Cemetery, more or less where First Baptist Church is now (below).
Engine terminal by Greenwood Cemetery, 1949 (City of New Orleans)
Grade crossing survey
I found the documents I remembered quickly. It was a grade crossing survey from 1949. The compiled the data for the new Union Passenger Terminal project. I didn’t need high-quality scans for now. So I took some phone pics and moved on. Just knowing I was right about the engine terminal was enough. I came back to those images this morning. I wanted to get an idea of the general area around City Park Avenue to the New Basin Canal. Therefore, I took quick shots of those plates.
Grade crossing survey, 1949 (City of New Orleans)
So, I had some time this morning, and I looked those other images over. I came across something that made me scratch my head. The plate showing tracks around Bienville Street and N. Carrollton Avenue (above) showed the layout of a full passenger rail station.
Passenger Stations in New Orleans
This confused me in a big way. I’d always known about the five passenger stations in the city. They were:
- Louisville and Nashville (Canal and the river)
- Terminal Station, Southern and Gulf, Mobile and Ohio (Canal and Basin Streets)
- Union Station, Illinois Central and Southern Pacific (Howard Avenue)
- Texas Pacific/Missouri Pacific (Annunciation Street)
- Louisiana & Arkansas-Kansas City Southern (S. Rampart and Girod Streets)
These five were demolished, and UPT was built right behind Union Station, so it fronted Loyola Avenue. So, I’d never heard of a station in Mid-City.
Bienville Street and N. Carrollton Avenue, 1937 (Sanborn)
While I’ve read a bunch on railroads in the city, I’ll be the first to admit that my knowledge is quite incomplete. Drew Ward graciously pulled up the Sanborns for N. Carrollton and Bienville. The image above is from 1937, and doesn’t look anything like a proper passenger station.
I’ll keep you posted on what I learn.
(cross-posted to Pontchartrain RR)
L&N “Royal Street” observation car.
I caught the Louisville and Nashville observation car, Royal Street, out at the KCS yard in Metairie, LA, yesterday. This corrugated observation car was one of eight built by Pullman Standard and delivered in February-Marcy, 1950. Four of the cars ran on Southern Railway’s Royal Palm, and two were delivered to L&N. They ran on the Crescent and other L&N name trains.
Royal Street was part of an upgrade of the Crescent in 1950. In 1950, the train, which was operated for the most part by Southern Railway, traveled from New York to Washington, DC, on the Pensylvania RR. In DC, it took Southern’s tracks to Atlanta. From Atlanta, on the Atlanta and West Point RR, to West Point, GA. From West Point to Montgomery, AL, on the Western Railway. The Crescent ran on L&N tracks from Montgomery into New Orleans.
L&N Station, New Orleans
Since the Crescent used L&N tracks to come into New Orleans, it arrived and departed from the L&N station at Canal Street and the river. Other Southern trains, including the Southerner, the other New Orleans to NYC train, arrived and departed from Terminal Station at Canal and Basin Streets. After 1954, The Southerner and the Crescent both moved to Union Passenger Terminal, as the Canal Street stations were demolished.
Southern continued to operate the Crescent until 1974, when it turned the route over to Amtrak. So, the Amtrak Crescent continues daily service. Train #20 departs in the morning from New Orleans (NOL), and #19 from Penn Station (NYP) in New York.
Modeling Royal Street
Will this kit become “Royal Street”?
While the N-Scale Pontchartrain RR plans to model Royal Street, we haven’t found the right kit just yet. We also plan to model the New York Central’s Bonnie Brook car. It is often at the KCS yard. This kit doesn’t match either prototype, so we’re looking for a closer match. This particular kit might become a Pontchartrain RR-liver car.
Carrollton Station in 1948
New Orleans Public Service, Incorporated (NOPSI) streetcar 813, on the ladder tracks on Jeanette Street, behind Carrollton Station. Streetcars based uptown returned to the barn by turning onto Jeanette Street from S. Carrollton Ave. They approached the barn, then turned in on one of the “ladder tracks”. Those are the tracks you see in the foreground.
Over the years, NOPSI operated several streetcar stations. By 1948, the Arabella Station on Magazine Street focused on “trackless trolleys”, or “trolley buses”. The streetcars were stored and serviced at Carrollton Station.
NOPSI 813 was a steel, arch roof streetcar. The transit company acquired the 800- and 900-series arch roofs in 1923-1924. The designer was Perley A. Thomas. Thomas worked for the Southern Car Company of High Point, North Carolina, when he created the arch roof design. New Orleans Railway and Light Company, the forerunner to NOPSI, bought arch roofs from Southern from 1910-1915. They became the 400-series streetcars.
The roll board on NOPSI 813 in this photo indicates it operated on the Tulane Belt on this day.
Southern Car Company folded in 1916. So, Thomas started his own company in the wake of the closure. He refined the design and NOPSI placed an large order in 1923. Thomas subcontracted some of the construction to other companies. The arch roof streetcars roll along the St. Charles Avenue line to this day.
800s and 900s
While the arch roofs were similar, the main visible difference between the 800 and 900 series streetcars was the doors. On the 800s, the doors were manual. The motorman (front) and conductor (rear) had to manually operate the doors, like a school bus driver, with a big mechanical handle. On the 900 series streetcars, the doors were powered, so the motorman could just hit a switch.
In 1964, when NOPSI discontinued the Canal Street line, the company kept 35 of the green arch roof streetcars. They were all from the 900 series. A few of the 800s were sold to private concerns like trolley museums, but most were cut in half and destroyed.
Dixie Brewery Art
Jane Brewster’s Dixie Brewery
Dixie Brewery Art
I had the pleasure of giving a talk at a private event last night, Uptown. It’s becoming an ongoing thing, and they’re lots of fun. These talks give me a chance to introduce my books and speaking to others. I also get the opportunity to introduce other creatives to new people.
Last night’s topic was Tulane Avenue. This particular street in New Orleans has had its ups and downs over the decades. We started with the Robinson Atlas map of the 1st District in 1881. Tulane Avenue didn’t even exist at that time. It was Common Street, all the way up to Claiborne Avenue.
So, the talk went through various stages in Tulane Avenue’s history, from the 1920s, through the 1930s and WWII, While we talked about “Riding The Belt“, the main section of the conversation was about the 1950s. That’s when Tulane Avenue became the “Miracle Mile”.
Jane Brewster’s Dixie Brewery
One of the fixtures in so many photos of Tulane Avenue is Dixie Brewery, at 2401 Tulane (corner S. Rocheblave). The brewery was founded in 1907. The location was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina, and is no longer used by the company.
I was looking around online for a good, older photo of the brewery to include in the talk. When I did a basic images search, one of the hits back was of Jane Brewster’s painting of the building. Jane is a New Orleans artist who captures the heart and soul of the city. I wanted to share this painting with you, and encourage you to check out the rest of Jane’s work.
Jane Brewster’s Lakeview Theater
Mike Scott of NOLA dot com did an article last week on “lost movie theaters” that offered up photos from Da Paper’s archives on a number of places that are ATNM. When I shared it on the NOLA History Guy Facebook Page, folks mentioned a bunch of long-gone theaters that weren’t listed in the article. One of those was Lakeview Theater, which was on Harrison Avenue. I remember Lakeview Theater because it’s where my parents took us to see “Gone with the Wind” back in the 1960s. When I was looking on Jane’s website for the Dixie painting, I came across a her painting of the theater. I remember the building vividly, from all the drives we took from Metairie, out to my grandma’s house in Gentilly.
MB Memories – Escalators on Canal Street
Escalators at Maison Blanche on Canal Street
MB Memories – Escalators on Canal Street
While Krauss – The New Orleans Value Store was the first department store on Canal Street to install an escalator, MB wasn’t far behind. MB Memories for me include a lot of up and down on those escalators.
Krauss added an escalator from the ground (first) floor to the “Mezzanine” in 1927. Not to be outdone, Maison Blanche acquired an escalator system a year later. Those first escalators were “up-only” systems. They were meant to get shoppers upstairs quickly. Getting down was another story. The store wasn’t all that motivated to get folks out of the store. So, initially, the paths back down to the first floor included stairs (from the second floor), and the elevators.
Eventually, MB expanded the escalators to all five floors. The elevators were towards the rear of all the stores. The open architecture of escalators made them attractive to customer and retailer alike.
Maison Blanche in the 1950s
This Franck Studios photo is from the early 1950s. The post-war boom was in full swing. Returning vets finished their educations. They moved out of mom and dad’s house, to Gentilly and Lakeview. Really adventurous folks headed to the suburbs, Metairie and Chalmette. Maison Blanche recognized this, opening stores in Mid-City and Gentilly in 1948. The Airline store wasn’t far behind.
Throughout all that expansion, Canal Street anchored the chain. The five-story store continued drawing shoppers from all over the city. Buses replaced streetcars on many transit lines, but that didn’t stop the shoppers. They still came to Canal Street.
Many older shoppers didn’t trust escalators. They didn’t like stairs, so they continued to use the elevators. MB’s elevators had human operators for years. Automatic, push-the-button service, was considered bad treatment of customers. Cheerful smiles encouraged buyers to buy!