City of New Orleans in January

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by AstroCat, Oct 12, 2012.

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  1. Oct 12, 2012 #1

    AstroCat

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    AstroCat

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    I have enjoyed several day trips on Amtrak, and now I have just booked my first overnight trip. We’re in a roomette on the CONO all the way from Chicago to New Orleans. I’m very excited about the trip. January may not be the ideal time for this journey, but we’re cruising out of New Orleans and the idea of combining a train ride and a cruise is very attractive.

    There are a couple things I would welcome any comment on:

    #1

    I did some research on this route, and the main complaint is about track conditions south of Memphis. How bad can it be?

    #2

    I have always carried on my bags and never had a problem. On this trip, however, I have the option to check bags. At this point, I’m not sure which way to go. From a roomette, it is nice to be able to go downstairs to access the bags. On this trip, however, my wife and I will both have two large bags. It would be nice to just check them and not have to deal with lugging them on and off.
     
  2. Oct 12, 2012 #2

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

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    #1 The tracks South of Memphis and through the Mississippi Delta are rough and in need of Upgrade but considering the few Trains that use this line (Freights use another Rouyting) chances are that it will be done is slim and none unless Amtrak forks over some Bucks! <_<

    They actually arent any rougher than the BNSF Tracks in Western Kansas or the Tracks South of St. to Little Rock on the Eagle Route!The person sleeping the Top Bunk will feel it more than the Bottom Bed, and Upstais will have more Sway and Bounce, especially on the end of the C ar in Roomettes ##7-#10 and Downstairs in #11-#14!!

    #2 Some us like to take only what we need to the Room and leave our "Big" Luggage in the Racks Downstairs which, as you said, allows you to access it during the trip! Checking your Luggage is also fine, just take what you need to the Room (its an Overnight and 1 day Trip)and when you get to NOL just claim your Luggage in the Station and cruise away in a Cab on your Adventure! :cool:
     
  3. Oct 12, 2012 #3

    Gingee

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    Gingee

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    We have done the Peoria to N.O. route several times and I don't think it is any rougher than other train routes.
     
  4. Oct 12, 2012 #4

    Eric S

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    Eric S

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    I thought that the Yazoo line (the present City of New Orleans line) was the major freight route, and that the Grenada line (the former, 1990s and earlier City of New Orleans line) had been downgraded. In other words, it was my understanding that the City of New Orleans is currently running on CN's primary MEM-NOL route.
     
  5. Oct 12, 2012 #5

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

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    Opps, :blush: you are correct sir! 12 Days on Trains and hanging around the AU Gang causes temporary confusion! :giggle:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 12, 2012
  6. Oct 12, 2012 #6

    AstroCat

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    After reading the responses, I am curious if anyone knows how closely the current City of New Orleans follows the original 1947 CONO route?

    I am also wondering if the CONO route in Illinois follows the original Illinois Central route that dates to the early 1850’s. I know that Lincoln served as a lawyer for the Illinois Central and traveled that route extensively. It would be cool to know that I'm traveling the same tracks that Lincoln once traveled.
     
  7. Oct 12, 2012 #7

    jphjaxfl

    jphjaxfl

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    The City of New Orleans follows the 1947 COMP Route from Chicago to Memphis and from Jackson to New Orleans. The original IC route in Illinois ran from Rockford south to the current CONO route between Effingham and Centralia following US Highway 51. Much of that route has been abandoned.
     
  8. Oct 14, 2012 #8

    Swadian Hardcore

    Swadian Hardcore

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    1. It won't be too bad. It's during the day and sometimes a slightly rocking train can be quite interesting to ride. Far from anything dangerous.

    2. I say, check it! You just leave your bags at CHI and pick them up at NOL. Simple, no worries. Unless you want to get stuff from your bags, of course.

    About the routing, the CONO now follows U.S. Route 49/49 East.

    Note that OTP has been dropping due to train congestion and poor dispatching on the CN.
     
  9. Oct 14, 2012 #9

    George Harris

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    George Harris

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    Do not lose sight of the basic fact that comfort is well within the limits of safety so far as track roughness is concerned. You can be thrown around inside the car and it still be safe so far as danger of derailment is concerned.
     
  10. Oct 14, 2012 #10

    AstroCat

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    AstroCat

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    I did some research on the original Illinois Central route. I did most of this on the Web, but I also read the book "Main Line of Mid-America", which was printed in 1951 on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Illinois Central.

    Track construction for the original Illinois Central system started in 1852 and was completed in 1856. The line started in Cairo and ran north through Carbondale, Du Quoin, and Centralia. Just North of Centralia it split into two branches, forming a great letter V. The west branch ran through Vandalia, Decatur, Bloomington, Mendota, Dixon, Freeport, and Galena, ending at Dunleith, which was opposite Dubuque on the Mississippi River. This branch did not include Rockford, which was on the Galena and Chicago Union railroad (later merged into the Chicago and Northwestern).

    The east branch of the Illinois Central ran north and northeast through Effingham, Matoon, Urbana, Rantoul, Gilman, Kankakee, Calumet, and Chicago. The original IC tracks came into downtown Chicago along the shores of Lake Michigan and the station was at the south end of Grant Park. In 1972 Amtrak rerouted all passenger trains into Union Station. Today, the Illinois Central right of way in Illinois is owned by the Canadian National Railway.

    As far as I can tell, the City of New Orleans route in Illinois is exactly the original Illinois Central route from 1856, with the exception of the short passage from Union Station to the shores of Lake Michigan. From that point on, the various stations I will be passing will indeed be the same ones that Abraham Lincoln passed through as he rode the Illinois Central. Many of those stations were built in the middle of nowhere, and the name of the station then became the name of the town.

    Here is an excerpt from a letter from John W. Foster, a geologist for the Illinois Central: "In 1853 I traversed the Illinois Central between Chicago and Urbana, a distance of more than 125 miles. It passed through a nearly unbroken prairie, with here and there a house by the margin of a wooded belt. Now [1856] the traveler never loses sight of cultivated farms, and at intervals of at least every ten miles are flourishing villages."

    An interesting anecdote from my reading is the story of Grand Crossing, which was originally well outside of Chicago, but is now a neighborhood of city. In the spring of 1852: "At a point on the open prairie a few miles south of Chicago, the Northern Indiana [railroad] and the Illinois Central were to cross. The Northern Indiana, which reached the crossing point ahead of the Illinois Central, flatly denied the latter the right to cross its track at grade. Whereupon Chief Engineer Mason of the Illinois Central sent a crew of husky tracklayers to the scene under cover of darkness, overpowered the guard, and installed the crossing before daybreak. The Northern Indiana protested, but it was no use, the crossing was in and so it remained. This point is now known as Grand Crossing."

    Anyway, the early days of the Illinois Central are fascinating. Not only did Lincoln do legal work for the IC, but George B. McClellan was also an executive of the IC in those days. This is the same General McClellan who would later be appointed (and then dismissed) by Lincoln during Civil War. Amazing!
     
  11. Oct 14, 2012 #11

    Swadian Hardcore

    Swadian Hardcore

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    Hey, you know, the companies of the Grand Crossing initially refused to cooperate, but when a major accident happened, they had to change their mind!
     
  12. Oct 16, 2012 #12

    Pat Harper

    Pat Harper

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    We've made this trip before, and when we go again in Nov, I plan to carry our bags on the CONO (we'll be in a roomette) until we get to Chicago, then check the larger bags thru to Syracuse if they'll allow it. We're traveling by coach from CHI to SYR and probably won't need anything in our bags because we'll be sleeiping the whole way (it's a night train).

    If you know you won't be needing anything in your large bags, you can check them and pick them up in NOL. Make sure you pack what you will need in smaller bags you can store in your roomette.
     
  13. Nov 23, 2012 #13
    my wife and I just returned from the city of new orleans,the food was good and the train pretty much on time ,we used a overpriced bedroom and found the ride so poor from the track conditions could no sleep due to all the shaking and rattles,very dissappointed!
     
  14. Nov 24, 2012 #14

    Swadian Hardcore

    Swadian Hardcore

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    I agree that the bedrooms are overpriced but I can still sleep OK in poor track conditions.
     
  15. Nov 24, 2012 #15

    creddick

    creddick

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    I like to keep my bags in the racks. Have not needed anything but I like to be able to get to them in case. Having said that, on our way home from an Alaskan cruise, we UPSd our big suitcases home and took the train from Seattle to Chicago. Dropped them off at the UPS store and the guy delivered them to our living room a few days later. Timing was almost perfect. They came the day after we got home. Most convenient.
     

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