We reach New Orleans on The Crescent – US Rail Journeys Series 3 Episode 17
In We reach New Orleans on The Crescent this section of my journey comes to an end as we reach New Orleans after midnight.
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South of Meridian:
This episode begins after we leave the station at Meridian. We are running over an hour and a half late. We pass a collection of storage silos beside the line. It doesn’t look as though they are used to load railcars.
Our first stop is at Laurel, a flag-stop. Our stop is short and we are soon on our way. The station dates from 1913, built by the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad. The station is a Mississippi Landmark and is also on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 2022 the station was used by 2,024 Crescent passengers.
Hattiesburg station is also known as Union Station and the New Orleans & Northeastern Passenger Depot. The station is the last regular stop before reaching New Orleans.
The City of Hattiesburg owns the depot plus approximately 3 acres of land. A major project to converted the facility into an intermodal transportation centre. The depot’s Grand Hall is used for art exhibitions, social functions, and private events as it is no longer used by rail passengers.
The station hosts the Bonhomie & Hattiesburg Southern No. 300, built in 1925 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works. The locomotive was in service until 1961 and was one of the last steam locomotives in regular use in the USA. In the last year there has been a legal case about the ownership and placing of the locomotive.
The station is in the heart of downtown Picayune. This flag-stop is served by The Crescent. The building dates from 2008, a replacement for an open covered shelter. Picayune has been the only Amtrak station on the Mississippi Gulf Coast since the 2005 suspension of the Sunset Limited east of New Orleans.
The flag-stop at Slidell station dates from 1913. It was built for the New Orleans and Northeastern and the New Orleans Great Northern Railroads. Slidell was established in 1881 as a construction camp for the NO&NE and is across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans.
Arrival into New Orleans:
We cross Lake Pontchartrain on the single track Norfolk Southern Lake Pontchartrain Bridge, this is a rolling lift trunnion bridge running parallel to the Maestri Bridge . It is 5.8 miles long and therefore the longest railway bridge in the United States and the longest rail bridge over water in the world.
After further delays we arrive in New Orleans over three hours late at around midnight. I share a taxi to my hotel, check in and am soon asleep!
If you enjoy these podcasts please join me in a couple of weeks when I visit the beautiful Longue Vue gardens in New Orleans.
To visit the Amtrak website please follow this link.
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