The Crescent Limited Louisville & Nashville ran from New Orleans to New York City.
Crescent Limited Louisville & Nashville
“Best and Fastest Service between Canal Street and Broadway.” That’s how the L&N advertised service on the Crescent Limited in the Times-Picayune, 5-January-1927. While the route started back in the 1890s, the name “Crescent Limited” was only two years old at the time of this ad. The Southern Railway system, which began in 1894, operated the route from New York to Atlanta. By 1906, the route became the New York and New Orleans Limited. By 1925, Southern re-branded the route.
PRR – Southern – L&N
While Southern owned the consist of the Crescent Limited, the railroad needed tracks of three systems to go the distance. The route originated in NYC on the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR). At Washington, DC, the route used Southern tracks to Atlanta. At Atlanta, the Crescent shifted to the West Point Route to Montgomery. At Montgomery, it continued on L&N trackage down to Mobile, then to New Orleans.
After World War II, Southern shifted the route so it operated exclusively on their tracks.
Southern’s re-branding of the New York and New Orleans was more than just a name change. The route evolved into an All-Pullman affair, featuring “Deluxe accommodations; luxurious Pullman Cars of latest design–sections, drawing rooms, and compartments; extra large dressing rooms; excellent dining-car service; club car, observation car; valet-porter, and a ladies’ maid.” Naturally, “A reasonable extra fare is charged on this train.”
In later years, Southern added coach-car service to the Crescent, between New Orleans and Atlanta. This offered travelers a more-affordable option to get between the two cities.
L&N New Orleans Terminal
While the Crescent Limited operated a Southern consist, it departed and arrived at New Orleans via the L&N terminal at Canal Street and the river. All the other Southern trains used Terminal Station, at Canal and Basin Streets. This changed in 1954, when the city consolidated all passenger rail service at Union Passenger Terminal on Loyola Avenue.
For further information…
The ad mentions the City Ticket Office, located at 229 St. Charles Street. Most of the railroads maintained ticket offices on the ground floor of the St. Charles Hotel.
Even though it’s no longer “limited,” Amtrak continues operation of the Crescent, daily from Union Passenger Terminal (UPT) to New York Penn Station (NYP).