There’s a City of New Orleans hitchhiker heading into NOL.
City of New Orleans Hitchhiker
Amtrak’s City of New Orleans #59 (Southbound) at Central Avenue in Jefferson, Louisiana, 19-October-2023. AMTK 50, AMTK 135, P42DC Genesis locomotives, pull the train. The consist is typical for current City operations. The train is about fifteen minutes out of Union Passenger Terminal (NOL). I included the gates in this video, to quiet the grumpy people who frequent my NOLA History Guy page.
An old Horizon coach car brings up the rear, connected to the Superliners via the transition sleeper. The railroad currently runs a training/test train from NOL to Mobile. Crews train for the new extension of the Sunset Limited to Mobile. This is the first time since Huricane Katrina that trains operate East of New Orleans. Historically, Louisville and Nashville operated trains from New Orleans to Mobile, handling mail contracts. While the original Southern Pacific Sunset Limited ran from Los Angeles to New Orleans, Amtrak extended the route to Jacksonville in the 1990s. So much of that track was damaged, if not wiped out, by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Amtrak encountered political opposition from the governor of Alabama when proposing to renew service. They worked out those issues. Now, crews prepare for extended passenger service.
The City of New Orleans #59 departs an hour later than regular schedule, and the Northbound #58 departs NOL an hour later as well. Canadian National is performing track maintenance. So, the Amtrak trains are delayed from 18-October to 22-November-2023. T
here are no changes in the trains, just a later start time. The second video is #59 coming past Central Avenue on 20-October-2023
AMTK 315, a Siemens Charger, is in the lead. Amtrak ran two Chargers on the City for several weeks, now they’re back to a single locomotive. The consist is typical. Amtrak #59 wrestles with not only track work but gate crossing issues. As this train approached, the gate went down as expected. The train came to a stop, though. So, the gates went up. The train approached much slower than normal. The gates went back down and #59 proceeded.