Superliners Viewliners, Amtrak #TrainThursday

Superliners Viewliners, Amtrak #TrainThursday

Amtrak’s Superliners Viewliners, and an anniversary locomotive.

superliners, viewliners

Superliners Viewliners

Two passenger rail videos for y’all today, Amtrak’s City of New Orleans and the Crescent. The City of New Orleans travels up to Chicago, and the Crescent to New York City’s Penn Station. The train to Chicago carries passengers on Superliner equipment. The Crescent uses Viewliner equipment.

Monday Morning Rails

Amtrak #58, the City of New Orleans, is a direct descendant of the Illinois Central Railroad (ICRR) route of the same name. While the ICRR considered the Panama Limited their premier route, Amtrak went with the “local” train’s name. They believed Arlo Guthrie’s version of the song would be better for marketing.

AMTK 37, a GE P42DC “Genesis” locomotive, pulled the City out of New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal (NOL) on 18-November-2021.

Superliners!

Amtrak operates two-level Superliner equipment outside of routes in and out of the Northeast Corridor. The railroad ordered 235 Superliners from Pullman-Standard in 1975. Employees of the US’s national passenger railroad chose the name, “Vistaliner” for the equipment. They later learned that name was copyrighted, so the cars became Superliners.The “Phase I” cars entered service in 1978.

Passengers embraced the Superliners with the same enthusiasm Santa Fe travelers embraced the old “Hi-Level” cars operated by that railroad in the 1950s and 1960s. So, Amtrak chalked them up as a success. Additionally, the railroad ordered additional Superliners in 1991. This time, the contract went to manufacturer Bombardier. The City rolled with Superliners in 1994. This past summer, Amtrak invested $28M in upgrades to the Superliner fleet.

Viewliners

Amtrak interited single-level passenger cars from passenger-train operators in 1971. So, they referred to these cars as “heritage” equipment. In the railroad’s first years, So, the Crescent continued operating with Southern Railway cars. While the heritage equipment remained the railroad’s backbone, Amtrak standardized the paint scheme to the red-white-and-blue stripe livery by 1974. While the Superliners excited rail passengers, the bi-level cars were too high for operation in the Northeast Corridor (NEC). Amtrak had concerns about the cars clearing tunnels into New York Pennsylvania Station (NYP) and Baltimore Pennsylvania Station.

By the early 1980s, the heritage cars showed their age. Amtrak contracted the Budd Company to develop single-level equipment for the NEC. So, Budd prototypes operated on Amtrak routes. Production cars, named “Viewliner,” entered service in 1995 as Viewliner I. A second generation, Viewliner II, entered service in 2011.

Both styles

So, New Orleans gets to see both types of Amtrak equipment. Since the Crescent travels to NYP, it uses Viewliners. The City of New Orleans and the NOLA-to-Los Angeles Sunset Limit run Superliners.

 

 

 

 

Moisant Airport, 1960 (MSY)

Moisant Airport in the 1960s. what we now call “the old terminal.”

moisant airport

Moisant Airport

As we approach Thanksgiving and Yuletide, Da Airport picks up its pace. In 1960, what we now think f as “the old terminal” opened for business. These postcard shots of the main terminal at Moisant Field, from Mr. Garrett L. Robertson of Metairie, show the completed front facade and interior. So, the airport, which opened in 1946, operated from a terminal in a large hangar building. Mayor Chep Morrison spearheaded the new terminal project. Construction began in 1959. While this terminal served the airport from 1960 to 2019, calls for a new airport came throughout its history. The “new terminal” opened in 2019.

Moisant Stock Yards

The airport’s IATA code, MSY, stands for Moisant Stock Yards. John Moisant was an aviation pioneer and stunt pilot. He died in a crash on the site of the airport in 1910. Agricultural facilities on the site took his name. New Orleans Lakefront Airport (originally named Sushan Airport) had the IATA code NEW. Therefore, the new airport in Kenner required something different. Moisant fit, hence MSY. The code confounds visitors to this day.

Original Terminal

moisant airport

The main building stood on Airline Highway. It offered an appealing visual as visitors and locals alike came out. The spacious interior included restaurants, lounges, and other amenities for travelers. So, gates extended via a concourse directly behind the terminal building. As the airport grew in capacity, the facility built more gates. Concourses “A” and “B” opened in 1974.

The original gates underwent renovation in 1992, becoming “C” concourse. Additionally, Delta and United Airlines moved to “D” concourse, upon its completion in 1996.

Pops

The airport’s name evolved from Moisant Field to Moisant Airport, to New Orleans International Airport. The airport retained its MSY code throughout. So, in 2001, the Aviation Board officially changed the airport’s name. It became “Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.” This marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late jazz great Louis Armstrong,

 

Railroad Destinations, 1925 (1)

Railroad Destinations, 1925 (1)

The Times-Picayune regularly offered ads for various railroad destinations in the 1920s.

railroad destinations

Railroad Destinations

nyc 3

Yesterday’s post of NYC 3, an “executive car” from 1928, inspired this collection of ads for various railroad destinations. New Orleans served as an active hub for railroad connections. Travelers used trains more than automobiles in the early 20th century, particularly for long trips.

Southern Railway

railroad destinations

The Times-Picayune featured two ads for Southern Railway on 3-November-1925. “Two Trains Every Day” to Cincinnati. The early train departed at 8:30am. Southern offered coach and sleeping car service, with meals served in a dining car.

The railroad also offered sleeping car service to Meridian, Mississippi. The car, attached to a northbound train, departed at 8:10pm daily. It arrived at 2:10am the next day. “Sleeping car may be occupied at Meridian until 7:30 A. M.” – thank goodness! Nobody wants to be booted out of bed at two in the morning. Once at Meridian, the traveler could catch trains to other Southern destinations, getting a jump on the trip.

Along the Apache Trail

railroad destinations

While Southern Railway traveled to destinations North and East, Southern Pacific transported passengers westward. Heading to California meant scenic views:

All-motor mountain trip through the heart of Arizona’s most rugged mountain scenery. The gigantic Roosevelt Dam, with its thundering cascades and picturesque mountain setting is only one of the marvels of the Apache Trail, a motor side-trip available to passengers using the Sunset Route to California.

The ad doesn’t explain how travelers taking the side trip get back on track to Los Angeles. Since the “New Sunset Limited” ran three times a week, did the train wait in Globe, Arizona? Did it drop off the side-trip travelers, who then took the next train? No doubt interested travelers learned the specifics at the City Ticket Office, located on the ground floor of the St. Charles Hotel.

Amtrak’s Sunset

The description of SP’s “New Sunset Limited” is similar to the current Amtrak version of the route. The train, with its consist of Superliner coaches, sleepers, along with diner and lounge cars, departs Union Passenger Terminal three times weekly.

Amtrak Anniversary Locomotive

Amtrak Anniversary Locomotive

Follow-up to yesterday’s post featuring an Amtrak Anniversary Locomotive.

amtrak anniversary locomotive

Amtrak Anniversary Locomotive

Yesterday’s post featured the Amtrak Crescent #20, northbound to New York City. On Monday, I went over to where the Back Belt crosses Marconi Boulevard, rather than staying close to the coffee shop on Canal Boulevard. The two locomotives pulling the train were AMTK 75 and AMTK 161. While 75 sports the standard livery for GE P42DC “Genesis” locomotives, 161 wears an “anniversary” paint scheme. AMTK 161’s livery matches the Phase 1 scheme used from 1972 to 1974. The railroad added a gold “50” on the side.

AMTK 161 left on Monday, then turned around on Wednesday. On Thursday, the locomotive led #20 out of New Orleans.

Amtrak liveries

Here’s Amtrak’s description of 161’s anniversary paint job:

Amtrak’s first livery phase is an iconic design of the 1970s that was first revived on P42 #156 a decade ago for our 40th Anniversary. It was an instant fan favorite and gained a big following. The 156 is no longer in service, so we had to bring this retro classic back for the big 5-0 …but we’re keeping our leisure suits in the attic.

Locos painted in Phase 1 are incredibly popular among model railroaders of all scales. The original locos sporting this livery were EMD “E” and “F” units. Amtrak inherited these from the legacy carriers. While they operated in their original colors in 1971, Amtrak painted them with Phase 1 the second year of operation.

AMTK 161 bears the modern Amtrak logo, just above the gold “50.”

More Anniversary

Additionally, Amtrak painted several other locomotives to celebrate 50. AMTK 46 bears the current livery, with the words “Connecting America for 50 Years,” with the “50” in gold. This loco has passed through New Orleans, pulling the Crescent. P42 #100, with its “Midnight Blue” paint, hasn’t made it down here yet. Neither have #108, in Phase VI (which never made it to P42s otherwise), and #160, in the “Phase III Dash-8” scheme. Hopefully we’ll catch these on one of the three Amtrak trains out of NOL.

Amtrak Crescent #20 Celebrates 50

Amtrak Crescent #20 Celebrates 50

The Amtrak Crescent #20 celebrates the railroad’s 50th!

Amtrak Crescent #20 celebrates

Amtrak Crescent #20, about 20 minutes after departing Union Passenger Terminal, New Orleans (NOL). P42DCs AMTK 75 and 161 pull a consist of 3 coaches, 1 cafe’ car, 2 sleepers, and 2 bag-dorms (one is a deadhead).

AMTK 75 is in the standard Genesis livery. The railroad re-painted AMTK 161 in “Phase 1” livery, with a “50” badge marking 2021 as Amtrak’s 50th anniversary year. Amtrak ran the “Phase 1” livery from 1972 to 1974. At this time, the railroad continued use of passenger rail equipment from other operators.

Since 1925

The Amtrak Crescent continues over a century of service from New Orleans to New York City. Southern Railway (now Norfolk Southern, due to mergers) operated the route as the New York & New Orleans Limited  in 1906. By 1925, they changed the name of the route to the Crescent Limited. Amtrak named the train simply, the Crescent. It’s not a “limited” route, as it stops in a number of small towns along the way.

The northbound train is #20, the southbound, #19. The train travels from NOL to New York Penn Station (NYP). The full trip takes about a day and a half, but riding the Crescent to Atlanta makes for a fun one-day ride.

Crescent in New Orleans

amtrak crescent #20 celebrates

My usual haunt for taking train pictures is the PJ’s Coffee Shop at 5555 Canal Boulevard, in New Orleans’ Lakeview neighborhood. The coffee shop is right next to the Norfolk Southern “Back Belt” tracks. These two tracks run through all of New Orleans, from the parish line in the West to Lake Pontchartrain and the “five mile bridge” without grade crossings. Streets use underpasses or overpasses to cross the tracks. The original route of the Crescent Limited left New Orleans via Louisville and Nashville tracks. Since 1954, the train arrives/departs from Union Passenger Terminal on Loyola Avenue. Additionally, the City of New Orleans and the Sunset Limited arrive/depart from NOL.

So, usually I’m lazy and just shoot the trains crossing the overpass. This particular morning, I drove over to Marconi Blvd. As you can see there’s a grassy area as the Back Belt approaches the outfall canal and pumping station.

If you’re a YouTuber, check out the Pontchartrain Railroad channel!

 

Riding along Tchoupitoulas – St. Mary’s Market

Riding along Tchoupitoulas – St. Mary’s Market

Riding along Tchoupitoulas offers a view of the “sliver along the river, including St. Mary’s Market.

St. Mary's Market

St. Mary’s Market

St. Mary’s Market, seen here in this photograph from McPherson and Oliver, in 1864ish. This is the location of the original market. It stood where Tchoupitoulas, Poyfarre, Delord, and St. Joseph Streets converged. So, the market, part of the city’s network of public markets, serviced Faubourg Ste. Marie, also known as the “American Sector.” While the French Market was the city’s first public market, St. Mary’s enabled residents living on the Uptown side of Canal Street to shop without having to go into the French Quarter. This satisfied both Anglo-Irish and Creole families.

Riding along Tchoupitoulas

I took the Canal Streetcar into town from the Cemeteries yesterday. After a wonderful lunch of red beans and rice at Mother’s Restaurant,  So, I rode the #10 bus, the Tchoupitoulas line, from Magazine and Poydras up to Audubon Park. It’s fun to let someone else do the driving while observing how neighborhoods change. Additionally, going Uptown made the trip a big loop. While the public markets vanished in favor of modern supermarkets after WWII, they left imprints on their respective neighborhoods.

The market for the American Sector stood close to the river. It offered groceries, fresh meat, and seafood to families of men who worked the riverfront. Germans and Irish immigrants regularly took jobs as longshoremen. Enough Irish settled in Ste. Marie that the Archdiocese created St. Patrick’s Parish in 1833. By 1836, the market opened. Now, the rough triangle marking the site of the market houses a gas station, several warehouses, and a restaurant. They city authorized the relocation of St. Mary’s Market in 1858. The Southern Rebellion delayed the actual move.

Transition

St. Mary’s Market stood in what is now known as the Warehouse District. So, like Magazine Street, Tchoupitoulas Street winds its way from Canal Street through many neighborhoods we collective refer to as “Uptown.” The #11 bus line ends, along with Tchoupitoulas Street, at Audubon Park. So, the bus serves both the port and important institutions Uptown like Children’s Hospital.

We’ll continue with more on Tchoupitoulas Street this week!