Amtrak's "City of New Orleans" Digital Photos
by Mike Condren

Our return trip on June 6, 2006 was via the "City of New Orleans. The first image is of the ticket window inside Union Passenger Terminal followed by the equipment awaiting our loading. As we depart we pass CP Claire Tower and the KCS yard where a ex-NYC boat tail obs is being shopped. Then we see the meet of the "Citys" at speed, at least #59 is at speed. The last image is in Memphis after our arrival.

These views on Aug. 3, 2006 of Central Station in Memphis show the area where the stub tracks once were located.

A BNSF train is seen on Broadway from the Central Station platform.

Amtrak #59 "City of New Orleans" arrives in Memphis about 3 hours late on Aug. 3, 2006 due to the "Texas Eagle" arriving in Chicago 6 hr and 56 minutes late.

Because we were running so late, our family picked us up at Hammond, LA.

Amtrak equipment sits in the New Orleans Passenger Terminal on Aug. 6, 2006. The equipment for the "City of New Orleans" sits on track 6 awaiting its departure.

On my last two trips on the northbound "City of New Orleans", we have waited in the hole for the southbound at the end of one of the runways of Louis Armstrong airport. While stopped both times, we were treated to an airliner landing up close and personal on Aug. 6, 2006..

The City of New Orleans has just arrived at Memphis and is being refueled on June 30, 2007.

Amtrak #59 Along the LA Belt Detour in Memphis, TN
June 25, 2008

On June 25, in an attempt to shoot #59 on the LA Beltline detour, I arrived track side around 6am. I prepared for #59. About that time I noticed a southbound. The CSX Jacksonville dispatcher had been talking to a CSX freight at Leewood and told him that he would get a signal after the southbound. The southbound turned out to be #59. Then my camera's battery decided it was dead. I jumped into the car and beat him to the Broad Street crossing. I grabbed the "point and shoot" (PnS) digital. By the time it decided to charge the capacitor for the flash, the engine was past and the going away was not worth posting. I jumped back into the van and headed further south. This section of track is owned by CSX and dispatched in Jacksonville. Amtrak has a 15mph speed limit allowing me to race ahead of the train.With the traffic lights cooperating, I got ahead of him again and got this shot at Hollywood Street along side the Liberty Bowl Stadium (note the stairs to the upperdeck to the left). The flash really lit up the crossing gates, 6:35am. Not too bad for the PnS camera considering the early low light.


At 6:45am, after a 10 minute wait, Amtrak #59 gets permission from CSX dispatcher AY to proceed from Leewood to Aulon on the LA Belt on Main 2. The sun is now well above the horizon.
Superliner II transition dorm sleeper
Superliner II sleeper
Superliner I diner-lounge
Superliner I baggage coach
Superliner II coach
Superliner I coach

Repositioning to get a Memphis landmark into the shot, I move ahead of the train to near the Liberty Bowl Stadium.

Here we see three views of the sink hole at Central Station that has caused the rerouting of the City of New Orleans through east Memphis on the LA Belt, 6/29/08.

July 4th, 2008

When Kenny Young and I arrived at the temporary Memphis stop at 7;30am, these two buses were already there, waiting for inbound passengers. Looking north on the Y&MV main, an apparent UP GE sits at the curve in the distance. This is the north route of Amtrak #59 from Central Station. Looking south, we see the transloading location.

We first see The City of New Orleans coming by the hump yard with one of the hump sets working. It then passes our location before backing down to the loading location. The train then stops and backs north on the Y&MV main. It arrived at 8:30am.
Amtrak Superliner I baggage coach 31019.
Amtrak Superliner I baggage coach 31044.
Amtrak Superliner I coach 31044.
Amtrak Superliner I diner 37008.
Amtrak Superliner I sleeper 37008.
Amtrak Superliner II transition sleeper dorm 37008.

The power, #4 and #184, gets fueled in Memphis via a truck that pulls up trackside.

Looking north, an IC switcher has pulled down behind Amtrak when it is loading and unloading.

The fueling is complete, the inbound passengers are loaded on the bus except for this wheelchair bound person, and the outbound passenger's bus has not arrived. In conversation with Matt Condren, my son and one of the outbound passengers, says that it was 10 minutes after my call telling Matt that the train arrived, before the bus leaves Central Station. The outbound bus finally arrives and we see Matt boarding.

All passengers have loaded onto the train but the baggage transfer from the buses to the train continues while two crewmen load the wheelchair ramp into the sleeper. The conductor tells me that they are running so late because they met 12 trains and following one.

The City of New Orleans finally leaves the loading area at about 9:25am after about a 50 minute station stop.

Kenny and I then raced ahead of the train to the junction to the new intermodal facility.

For Fall Break, our son Matt decided to go to New Orleans on the "City" to visit his sister and her family. I got these shots as his train left reopened Central Station in Memphis, Oct. 23, 2008.

Rear of the "City of New Orleans" with a coach-baggage as the last car acting as the through car to New Orleans.

The City of New Orleans is seen leaving Memphis Central Station, passing over the area where the sinkhole formed.

Amtrak "City of New Orleans" in Memphis Central Station, 3/15/09.

Amtrak #59 in Memphis on 4/20/09. Jan and I had just returned from UW Engineering Expo in Madison.

August 22, 2009

On a quick trip to Metarie, LA to see our daughter and grandson, Jan, grandson Shawn, and I went railfanning after lunch. On our way to trackside, it struck me that it was getting close to time for the southbound Amtrak #59, the City of New Orleans, so we headed to Central Ave. where numerous tracks come together and then separate. Our first action was the northbound Amtrak #58, the City of New Orleans, which I had forgotten departed New Orleans at 1:45pm.

While shooting a BNSF freight, Amtrak #59, the southbound City of New Orleans, starts blowing for the Central Ave. crossing.

After a quick stop at a Subway for lunch on the go, we headed to the Amtrak station at Hammond, LA to catch the southbound train 59, City of New Orleans, 8/23/09.

The City of New Orleans was running about 20 minutes late.

A few scences outside of New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal.

This photo was taken through the closed glass door of the spare equipment at NOUPT.
Now we see the equipment for Amtrak #58, "The City of New Orleans", backing into the terminal.

Shortly after taking this picture, I was approached by a couple of New Orleans uniformed police officers who insisted that I could not take pictures of the station under orders from Homeland Security. While explaining that they had bad information, my train was called and as a ticketed sleeping car passenger, I walked away to board my train ahead of the coach passengers.

Amtrak is using more LED lighting in their refurbished equipment such as this reading light in my sleeper compartment.

East Bridge tower is seen through Compartment 6 from Compartment 5 of the Amtrak sleeper.

Central Ave crossing at the end of the Huey P. Long bridge where I take many of my NOLA photos.

Amtrak #58 meets #59 at a siding in the middle of a swamp. Note the white cranes in the views.

On Nov. 14, 2009, upon arriving at Memphis Central Station to pick up daughter and grandson, we discovered this unit at idle. I only had my cell phone camera, thus the low res pictures, but I had never seen a loco without train in the station before.

Retirement for me means more time to do things that I had never done. One of those thing was Marti Gras. With family in the New Orleans area needing help with child care, Jan and I headed south to experience this event. Monday was a day with little activity for Mardi Gras. The weather was great and there was something else I had never done, shoot trains on the drawbridge at Manchac.

When we arrived at Manchac, LA at 1:38pm on Feb. 15, 2010, the drawbridge was on its way down in anticipation of the arrival of a train. It was time for the southbound City of New Orleans.

Amtrak #59, the City of New Orleans, arrived at 1:48pm, right on time.

We then shifted to the north side of the waterway and found that the drawbridge was starting back up.

At 2:21pm, the drawbridge is seen on its way down for the northbound Amtrak #58, the City of New Orleans.

At 2:35pm, the northbound City of New Orleans appears after meeting the southbound train somewhere towards Kenner, LA.

On May 8, 2010, it was decided that Virginia and Shawn should celebrate National Train Day by riding the City of New Orleans from NOLA to Hammond, LA with the Condrens chasing and photographing. We first photograph the train at Central Ave. in Metairie.

We then jump in our car and head back to I-10 and our chase. We catch the train as both the railroad and I-10 go onto their respective causeways.

We then race the train along I-10, I-55, and old US 51 to Manchac.

With its 79 mph authorized track speed, the "City" beats us to Hammond and is pulling away from the station as we arrive.

I was at Central Station on Friday morning May 14, 2010 to deliver my son Matt to the train. The "City of New Orleans" finally appears 1 hour and 6 minutes late.

On Oct. 14, 2011, Amtrak #58, the northbound City of New Orleans, snuck up on us, and I almost missed it.

At 1:55pm, #58, 10 minutes out of New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal, is seen approaching and crossing Central Ave.

Here comes the northbound "City of New Orleans" on March 16, 2013.

The next train was the southbound "City of New Orleans".

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