The City of New Orleans part 1

The City of New Orleans part 1 – US Rail Journeys Series 2 Episode 8

The first part – Departure from Union Station, Chicago

The City of New Orleans part 1 starts as I board the train in Chicago Union Station. We leave on time.

After a short distance the train stops. We then reverse. The train stops again. We learn that a set of points have failed. After some manoeuvres we get going again. By now we are running late.

It is dark outside and the lights of Chicago are magnificent. The total journey on the City of New Orleans is advertised as taking 19 hours – click here for more details. Long distance passenger trains in the US often run late because freight trains take priority. We already know that the last part of our journey will be by bus because of the flooding.  That will lengthen the journey.

The Café Lounge opens and we cross the Chicago River. Those wishing to dine are called to the Dining Car.

Our route through the night:

The schedule for our train takes us through a number of stations in Illinois and then south through Kentucky. When I wake in the morning we should be in Memphis Tennessee.

I go to bed. It appears that the train is now running very late.

I awake in the middle of the night to find the lights flashing on and off. The train is stopped. I finally get to sleep again. I wake at 6 a.m. to find that we’ve reached Carbondale. We are now 4½ hours late and still in Illinois!

The train is going no further:

We hear that the train has broken down and can go no further. The issue is that the electrical supply to the carriages has failed. This means no air conditioning or rest rooms (toilets).

We are offered a choice of either return on the Saluki train the way we came or continue by ‘Rail Replacement’ bus. We still have 625 miles to go until New Orleans.

Carbondale station:

I have to proceed towards New Orleans, no matter what time I arrive. I decide to wait for the Rail Replacement bus. It is a beautiful morning. I is also April 1st!

As I enter the station building I see a sign saying that guns aren’t allowed. There is another saying no soliciting ….

The photographs that accompany the words:

Please click on a thumbnail to open the gallery:

Next up:

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this podcast. Please join me in two weeks for the next episode where I take the Rail Replacement Bus for the journey south.


To visit the Amtrak website please follow this link.

You can also listen to this podcast on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify and Stitcher.


AKM Music has licensed the theme, Steam Railway, for use in this podcast.

Audioblocks has licensed Chicago Blues and Railroad Blues both by Bobby Cole for use as incidental music in this episode.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2019 – 2020

Author: Tim D

In the early 1970s Mr Timothy & his Phonograph was a popular mobile disco around Leeds University and Tim was known as MrT. Tim also spent 9 years broadcasting a weekly programme on Hospital Radio in Wakefield. He worked for more than 40 years for large industrial organisations and spent his last 15 years in global commercial management roles. Following retirement he started making podcasts in 2017.