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The City of New Orleans is a nightly passenger train operated by Amtrak
Amtrak
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

 which travels 934 miles (1,503 km) between Chicago, Illinois
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

 and New Orleans, Louisiana. Before Amtrak's formation in 1971, the train was operated by the Illinois Central Railroad
Illinois Central Railroad
The Illinois Central Railroad , sometimes called the Main Line of Mid-America, is a railroad in the central United States, with its primary routes connecting Chicago, Illinois with New Orleans, Louisiana and Birmingham, Alabama. A line also connected Chicago with Sioux City, Iowa...

 along the same route (though changes have been made since then). The train currently operates on a 19½ hour schedule. Within Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

 the City of New Orleans shares a route also served by a daily morning train, the Saluki
Saluki (Amtrak)
The Saluki is a 310-mile passenger train line operated by Amtrak running between Chicago and Carbondale, Illinois. The train is a part of the Illinois Service rail network and is partially funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation...

, and a daily afternoon train, the Illini
Illini (Amtrak)
The Illini is a 310-mile passenger train operated by Amtrak that runs between Chicago and Carbondale, Illinois. The train is a part of the Illinois Service rail network and is partially funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation and by local governments along the route...

. The Illini and Saluki terminate at Carbondale, Illinois
Carbondale, Illinois
Carbondale is a city in Jackson County, in the state of Illinois, within the Southern Illinois region. It is located at the junction of Illinois Route 13 and U.S. Route 51, southeast of St. Louis, Missouri, on the northern edge of the Shawnee National Forest...

.

During fiscal year 2010, the City of New Orleans carried a total of 229,270 passengers, a 16.6% increase from FY 2009's total of 196,659 passengers. The train had a total revenue of $17,248,582 during FY 2010, an increase of 15.2% from a total revenue of $14,976,461 in FY 2009.

History



The Illinois Central Railroad
Illinois Central Railroad
The Illinois Central Railroad , sometimes called the Main Line of Mid-America, is a railroad in the central United States, with its primary routes connecting Chicago, Illinois with New Orleans, Louisiana and Birmingham, Alabama. A line also connected Chicago with Sioux City, Iowa...

 introduced the original City of New Orleans on April 27, 1947 as a daytime companion to the overnight Panama Limited
Panama Limited
The Panama Limited was a premier all-Pullman car service between Chicago, Illinois and New Orleans, Louisiana. For most of the trains' history a St. Louis section also operated between St...

. EMD E7
EMD E7
The EMD E7 was a , A1A-A1A passenger train locomotive manufactured by General Motors' Electro-Motive Division of La Grange, Illinois. The cab version, or E7A, was manufactured from February, 1945 to April, 1949, and 428 were produced. The booster version, or E7B, was manufactured from March, 1945...

 diesel locomotives pulled a new lightweight Pullman Company
Pullman Company
The Pullman Palace Car Company, founded by George Pullman, manufactured railroad cars in the mid-to-late 19th century through the early decades of the 20th century, during the boom of railroads in the United States. Pullman developed the sleeping car which carried his name into the 1980s...

 coaches. The 921 miles (1,482.2 km) route, which the City of New Orleans covered in 15 hours 55 minutes, was the longest daytime schedule in the United States. The City of New Orleans exchanged St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

—New Orleans through cars at Carbondale, Illinois
Carbondale, Illinois
Carbondale is a city in Jackson County, in the state of Illinois, within the Southern Illinois region. It is located at the junction of Illinois Route 13 and U.S. Route 51, southeast of St. Louis, Missouri, on the northern edge of the Shawnee National Forest...

 and Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kentucky, and the county seat of Jefferson County. Since 2003, the city's borders have been coterminous with those of the county because of a city-county merger. The city's population at the 2010 census was 741,096...

—New Orleans cars at Fulton, Kentucky
Fulton, Kentucky
Fulton is a city in Fulton County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 2,775 at the 2000 census. It was once known as the "Banana Capital of the World" because 70% of imported bananas to the U.S. used to be shipped there . U.S...

. The average speed of the new train was nearly 60 mile per hour; a result of the largely flat route of the Illinois Central along the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 and maximum speeds of up to 100 mile per hour. By October 25, 1959 the timetable had lengthened to 16 hours 30 minutes. The train remained popular throughout the 1960s and gained ex-Missouri Pacific Railroad
Missouri Pacific Railroad
The Missouri Pacific Railroad , also known as the MoPac, was one of the first railroads in the United States west of the Mississippi River. MoPac was a Class I railroad growing from dozens of predecessors and mergers, including the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway , Texas and Pacific...

 dome coaches
Dome car
A dome car is a type of railway passenger car that has a glass dome on the top of the car where passengers can ride and see in all directions around the train. It also can include features of a coach, lounge car, dining car or observation...

 in 1967.

Amtrak ownership


When Amtrak assumed operation of U.S. passenger train service on May 1, 1971, the train's Chicago—New Orleans service was initially operated as the City of New Orleans on the traditional daytime schedule. Because this train made no connections with other trains at either New Orleans or Chicago, the City of New Orleans, Amtrak moved the train to an overnight schedule on November 14, 1971 and renamed it the Panama Limited
Panama Limited
The Panama Limited was a premier all-Pullman car service between Chicago, Illinois and New Orleans, Louisiana. For most of the trains' history a St. Louis section also operated between St...

.

1980s


Amtrak restored the City of New Orleans name, while retaining the overnight schedule, on February 1, 1981. Amtrak hoped to capitalize on the popularity of the eponymous song
City of New Orleans (song)
"City of New Orleans" is a folk song written by Steve Goodman , describing a train ride from Chicago to New Orleans via the Illinois Central Railroad in bittersweet and nostalgic terms. Goodman got the idea while traveling on the eponymous train for a visit to his wife's family...

 written by Steve Goodman
Steve Goodman
Steve Goodman was an American folk music singer-songwriter from Chicago, Illinois. The writer of "City of New Orleans", made popular by Arlo Guthrie, Goodman won two Grammy Awards.-Personal life:...

 and recorded in 1972 by Arlo Guthrie
Arlo Guthrie
Arlo Davy Guthrie is an American folk singer. Like his father, Woody Guthrie, Arlo often sings songs of protest against social injustice...

.

In the 1980s, the City of New Orleans' business relied primarily on coach passengers who boarded and disembarked at small stations south of Memphis. As a result of this, the City of New Orleans was equipped with only one sleeper, and provided none of the sleeper-class luxuries that were standard on the other Amtrak long-distance trains. In step with the low level of luxury services, the Heritage-equipped City of New Orleans also did not have a diner. While the train did have a dome-coach, an Amfleet II café and a Heritage lounge, true sit-down meals were not offered and passengers from the lone 10/6 sleeper were forced to eat pre-prepared reheated meals in the Heritage lounge car. In fact, in J. David Ingles' review of the City of New Orleans for Trains magazine
Trains (magazine)
Trains is a monthly magazine dedicated to trains and railroads, and is one of the two flagship publications of Kalmbach Publishing. The magazine is read both by railroad enthusiasts, commonly referred to as railfans, and those within the railroad industry....

, the train was named "Amtrak's Least Glamorous Long-Distance Train".

The northbound City of New Orleans began stopping at Gilman, Illinois
Gilman (Amtrak station)
The Gilman Amtrak station is a train station in Gilman, Illinois served by Amtrak, the national railroad passenger system. The stop is on their Chicago to Carbondale, Illinois route....

 on October 26, 1986. Gilman had last seen service in 1971; the Illini stopped there as well. Service to Cairo, Illinois
Cairo, Illinois
Cairo is the southernmost city in the U.S. state of Illinois. It is the county seat of Alexander County. Cairo is located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. The rivers converge at Fort Defiance State Park, an American Civil War fort that was commanded by General Ulysses S. Grant...

, south of Carbondale, ended on October 25, 1987.

1990s


Amtrak operated the City of New Orleans reliably through the 1980s and into the 1990s; in 1992, the City of New Orleans had the highest on-time performance rate of all Amtrak services at 87%.

In an effort to make the City of New Orleans more "fun" – that is, more attractive to potential customers – and to make up for the fact that the once-entertaining dome car's windows were now too dirty to see through, Amtrak employees started holding bingo games in the lounge car. While the bingo didn't attract any more customers to the train, the games significantly boosted the crew's morale and made the long ride (which included huge numbers of coach passengers boarding at overnight stations) slightly more bearable. However, when the Food and Drug Administration
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments...

 inspected the food-service cars on all of Amtrak's long-distance trains in August and September 1992, the inspectors declared the Heritage lounge car's kitchen area "unsanitary."

Starting September 21, 1992, the Heritage lounge car ran only between Chicago and Carbondale. Very early in 1993, this practice ended and the Heritage lounge cars which had previously served the City of New Orleans were sent to New York to be used on trains such as the Montrealer and Empire Service
Empire Service
Empire Service could refer to* Empire Service — a train service in New York State* BBC Empire Service — a radio service, the forerunner to the BBC World Service. - a cargo ship....

trains. With the loss of the Heritage lounge came another blow to the City of New Orleans' sleeper service. The sleeper passengers, who had previously been treated to barely decent meals in the Heritage lounge car, now faced microwaved tray-meals in the already overcrowded Amfleet café as their only hot meal options.

When the last Superliner II sleeping cars arrived on February 27, 1994, they were coupled into train formations and underwent test runs. The first Superliner-equipped City of New Orleans left Chicago and New Orleans on March 3, 1994. Although the City was now Superliner-equipped, it still ran with ex-Santa Fe Hi-Level cars, which were officially part of the Heritage Fleet. Despite being a Heritage car, the Hi-Level lounge cars were in significantly better condition than the old domes, and they offered more seats with panoramic views as well as a larger lounge area on the lower level. On October 30, 1994, the City of New Orleans departed Chicago with a Superliner II Sightseer Lounge and a coach section made up of only Superliner II coaches, officially ending the Heritage Fleet's tenure.

Also, with the delivery of the Superliner II cars came new diners, providing the City of New Orleans with real dining service. While the menu was smaller than that of the other Superliner trains, the new dining service was significantly better than what the City of New Orleans' previous incarnation offered. In April 1996, the City of New Orleans' dining car received a customized menu and dishes that reflected New Orleans' cuisine. Also, as a throwback to the Illinois Central's all-sleeper Panama Limited
Panama Limited
The Panama Limited was a premier all-Pullman car service between Chicago, Illinois and New Orleans, Louisiana. For most of the trains' history a St. Louis section also operated between St...

and all-coach City of New Orleans, the French Toast was: a) Improved to the caliber of the Illinois Central's French Toast, and; b) Listed on the menu in French, as it had been on the Illinois Central's flagship trains.

Throughout the City of New Orleans' improvements, New Orleans became a focus city for Amtrak. The Capitol Limited and Auto Train
Auto Train
Auto Train is an scheduled train service for passengers and their automobiles operated by Amtrak between Lorton, Virginia , and Sanford, Florida . Although there are similar services around the world, the Auto Train is the only one of its kind in the United States...

received Superliner II cars when the City of New Orleans did, freeing up numerous Amfleet II coaches. These now-unassigned Amfleet II coaches, as well as the Amfleet II café cars freed up by the City of New Orleans switch to Superliners meant that the New York – New Orleans Crescent
Crescent (Amtrak)
The Crescent is a passenger train operated by Amtrak in the eastern part of the United States. It runs daily from Pennsylvania Station in New York City to New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal in New Orleans, Louisiana as train 19 and returns, on the same route, as train 20. Most of the route of...

was able to retire its Heritage Fleet coaches and lounge cars. The third New Orleans train, the Sunset Limited
Sunset Limited
The Sunset Limited is a passenger train that for most of its history has run between New Orleans, Louisiana and Los Angeles, California, and that from early 1993 through late August 2005 also ran east of New Orleans to Jacksonville, Florida, making it during that time the only true transcontinental...

, also benefited from the arrival of Superliner II cars, and the Sunset's passengers experienced new levels of service, as well as slightly higher on-time performances due to the retirement of the Hi-Level cars. With all of New Orleans' trains now significantly upgraded, crews were based in New Orleans. The Crescent, City of New Orleans, and Sunset Limited received similarly themed lounge cars, route guides, and tour guides in the lounge cars who gave talks about passing scenery and points of interest.

On September 10, 1995, the train was rerouted between Memphis
Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

 and Jackson
Jackson, Mississippi
Jackson is the capital and the most populous city of the US state of Mississippi. It is one of two county seats of Hinds County ,. The population of the city declined from 184,256 at the 2000 census to 173,514 at the 2010 census...

 due to the Illinois Central Railroad
Illinois Central Railroad
The Illinois Central Railroad , sometimes called the Main Line of Mid-America, is a railroad in the central United States, with its primary routes connecting Chicago, Illinois with New Orleans, Louisiana and Birmingham, Alabama. A line also connected Chicago with Sioux City, Iowa...

's desire to abandon the original route (the Grenada District) in favor of the newer and flatter Yazoo District. The old route had been the Mississippi and Tennessee Railroad from Memphis to Grenada
Grenada, Mississippi
Grenada is a city in Grenada County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 14,879 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Grenada County.-History:...

 and the Chicago, St. Louis and New Orleans Railroad from Grenada to Jackson. Station stops were at Batesville, Mississippi
Batesville, Mississippi
Batesville is a city in Panola County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 7,113 at the 2000 census.-History:The Land upon which present day Batesville is situated originally belonged to a Chickasaw Indian called Ish-Sho-Nu-Nah...

; Grenada, Mississippi
Grenada, Mississippi
Grenada is a city in Grenada County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 14,879 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Grenada County.-History:...

; Winona, Mississippi
Winona, Mississippi
Winona is a city in Montgomery County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 5,482 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Montgomery County....

; Durant, Mississippi
Durant, Mississippi
Durant is a city in Holmes County, Mississippi, United States. It was founded in 1858 as a station on the Mississippi Central Railroad, later part of the Illinois Central. Durant was named for Louis Durant, a Choctaw chief, who had lived on a bluff just across the nearby Big Black River...

 and Canton, Mississippi
Canton, Mississippi
Canton is a city in Madison County, Mississippi. The population was 12,911 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Madison County, and situated in the northern part of the metropolitan area surrounding the state capital, Jackson....

.

On March 15, 1999, the City of New Orleans collided with a flatbed semi-trailer near Bourbonnais
Bourbonnais, Illinois
Bourbonnais is a village in Kankakee County, Illinois, United States. The population was 15,256 at the 2000 census, but it was estimated to have grown to 19,119 in 2009...

. Of the 217 people aboard the train, eleven people were killed in the Bourbonnais train accident
Bourbonnais train accident
The 1999 Bourbonnais, Illinois train accident was a train-truck collision between Amtrak's southbound City of New Orleans passenger train and a semi truck in the village of Bourbonnais, Illinois, near the city of Kankakee. Almost the entire train derailed, killing 11 passengers...

. The fourth car, where the fatalities occurred, was engulfed in flames following the collision at the crossing.

2000s


While all this improvement boosted the City of New Orleans' ridership, it eventually started sharing equipment with the Empire Builder
Empire Builder
The Empire Builder is a passenger train route operated by Amtrak in the Midwestern and Northwestern United States. It is Amtrak's busiest long-distance route and busiest daily train, carrying more than 500,000 travelers annually since 2007. Overall, it is the railroad's 10th-busiest line. Before...

and the train lost its ambiance. When Amtrak standardized the diner service on Superliner trains in 2002, the City of New Orleans lost any remaining trace of individuality. The dramatic improvements which had successfully attracted more patronage were now gone, with the train's consist down to a single P42DC locomotive, two sleepers, a diner, a lounge, and two coaches. And then came Amtrak's ill-advised Cross Country Café Diner/Lounge experiment, with simplified meals, snacks and beverages all served in a single diner-lounge car. A now-retired Amtrak Food and Beverage official wrote, "trying to have one food service car on a train with three coaches (full, most nights) and one and one half sleepers (one full sleeper and one half of the dorm), just plain overwhelmed both the car and the staff, despite the best efforts of the crew." In January 2010, the separate Lounge car was restored to the City of New Orleans, again giving it two food service cars: the Cross Country Café serving as a full dining car; and the Lounge for snacks and beverages.

Similar downgrades happened to the other New Orleans trains; the Crescent, upon the delivery of the Viewliner
Viewliner
The Viewliner is a single-level car type used by Amtrak on eastern routes. With the exception of a prototype dining car named "Indianapolis" , all cars built so far are sleeping cars and are assigned names that include the word "View."- Early design :...

s, was put into a common consist pool with the Silver Meteor
Silver Meteor
The Silver Meteor is a 1389-mile passenger train route operated by Amtrak in the Silver Service brand, running from New York City, New York, south to Miami, Florida, via the Northeast Corridor to Washington, D.C., thence via Richmond, Virginia; Fayetteville, North Carolina; North Charleston, South...

, Silver Star, and Silver Palm
Silver Palm (Amtrak)
The Silver Palm was the name of two former passenger trains operated by Amtrak serving the U.S. state of Florida.- History :Amtrak introduced the first Silver Palm as a single round trip service between Miami, Florida and Tampa, Florida on November 20, 1982. The train was subsidized by the Florida...

; after only a few years of being a remarkable train once again, the Crescent was reduced to a simple group of train cars.

On April 6, 2004, the City of New Orleans derailed near Flora, Mississippi
Flora, Mississippi
Flora is a town in Madison County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 1,546 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Jackson Metropolitan Statistical Area.-Geography:Flora is located at ....

, approximately 15 miles (24.1 km) north of Jackson, while en route to Chicago. The train was traveling at 78 mi/h when it derailed, and resulted in one fatality, Clara Downs, of Chicago, three serious injuries, and 43 minor injuries. A subsequent National Transportation Safety Board
National Transportation Safety Board
The National Transportation Safety Board is an independent U.S. government investigative agency responsible for civil transportation accident investigation. In this role, the NTSB investigates and reports on aviation accidents and incidents, certain types of highway crashes, ship and marine...

 investigation determined that deterioration of the track due to poor maintenance caused the accident.

Because of damage to the states of Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

 and Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

 due to Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...

, Amtrak was forced in late August 2005 to cancel service south of Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

. Service was first restored as far south as Hammond, Louisiana
Hammond, Louisiana
Hammond is the largest city in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 20,049 at the 2009 census. It is home to Southeastern Louisiana University...

, and on October 8, 2005, Amtrak resumed service to New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

. In December 2005 Arlo Guthrie
Arlo Guthrie
Arlo Davy Guthrie is an American folk singer. Like his father, Woody Guthrie, Arlo often sings songs of protest against social injustice...

, who helped popularize the song "City of New Orleans
City of New Orleans (song)
"City of New Orleans" is a folk song written by Steve Goodman , describing a train ride from Chicago to New Orleans via the Illinois Central Railroad in bittersweet and nostalgic terms. Goodman got the idea while traveling on the eponymous train for a visit to his wife's family...

", led a fundraiser aboard the City of New Orleans and at several stops along the train's route to help in the hurricane recovery efforts.

2010s


In the January 2011 issue of Trains Magazine, this route was listed as one of five routes to be looked at by Amtrak in FY 2012 and examined like previous routes (Sunset, Eagle, Zephyr, Capitol, and Cardinal) were examined in FY 2010.

Route details



Upon Amtrak's creation in 1971, the City of New Orleans was one of four trains that called at Chicago's Central Station, which was originally Illinois Central's terminal in Chicago. All Amtrak trains were consolidated to Union Station
Union Station (Chicago)
Union Station is a major train station that opened in 1925 in Chicago, replacing an earlier 1881 station. It is now the only intercity rail terminal in Chicago, as well as being the city's primary terminal for commuter trains. The station stands on the west side of the Chicago River between Adams...

 by March 1972.

The tracks used were once part of the Illinois Central Railroad
Illinois Central Railroad
The Illinois Central Railroad , sometimes called the Main Line of Mid-America, is a railroad in the central United States, with its primary routes connecting Chicago, Illinois with New Orleans, Louisiana and Birmingham, Alabama. A line also connected Chicago with Sioux City, Iowa...

 system, and are now owned by the CN
Canadian National Railway
The Canadian National Railway Company is a Canadian Class I railway headquartered in Montreal, Quebec. CN's slogan is "North America's Railroad"....

. The following lines are used:
  • St. Charles Air Line Railroad
    St. Charles Air Line Railroad
    The St. Charles Air Line is a jointly-owned rail line located in Chicago, Illinois. It is owned by the BNSF Railway , Union Pacific Railroad , and Canadian National Railway ....

     (IC), Chicago Union Station to the shore of Lake Michigan
    Lake Michigan
    Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. It is the second largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron...

    , now CN
  • Illinois Central Railroad
    Illinois Central Railroad
    The Illinois Central Railroad , sometimes called the Main Line of Mid-America, is a railroad in the central United States, with its primary routes connecting Chicago, Illinois with New Orleans, Louisiana and Birmingham, Alabama. A line also connected Chicago with Sioux City, Iowa...

     Chicago Branch and main line, Chicago to Cairo, Illinois
    Cairo, Illinois
    Cairo is the southernmost city in the U.S. state of Illinois. It is the county seat of Alexander County. Cairo is located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. The rivers converge at Fort Defiance State Park, an American Civil War fort that was commanded by General Ulysses S. Grant...

    , now CN
  • Chicago, St. Louis and New Orleans Railroad (IC), Cairo to Fulton, Kentucky
    Fulton, Kentucky
    Fulton is a city in Fulton County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 2,775 at the 2000 census. It was once known as the "Banana Capital of the World" because 70% of imported bananas to the U.S. used to be shipped there . U.S...

    , now CN
  • Chesapeake, Ohio and Southwestern Railroad (IC), Fulton to Memphis, Tennessee
    Memphis, Tennessee
    Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

    , now CN
  • Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad
    Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad
    The Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad was incorporated in 1882 and was part of the Illinois Central Railroad system . Construction began in Jackson, Mississippi, and continued to Yazoo City, Mississippi. The line was later expanded through the Mississippi Delta and on to Memphis, Tennessee...

     (IC), Memphis to Lake Cormorant, Mississippi
    Lake Cormorant, Mississippi
    Lake Cormorant is an unincorporated community located in DeSoto County, Mississippi, United States. Lake Cormorant is adjacent to the town of Walls and north of North Tunica near U.S...

    , now CN
  • Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad (IC) branch, Lake Cormorant to Lambert, Mississippi
    Lambert, Mississippi
    Lambert is a town in Quitman County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 1,967 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Lambert is located at .According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of , all land....

    , now CN
  • Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad (IC) branch, Lambert to Swan Lake, Mississippi
    Swan Lake, Mississippi
    Swan Lake is an unincorporated community located in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, United States. Swan Lake is approximately north of Glendora and south of Webb along Swan Lake Road. Swan Lake has a post office with ZIP code 38958. It is hard to say when Swan Lake became an official...

    , now CN
  • Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad (IC) branch, Swan Lake to Black Bayou, Mississippi
    Black Bayou, Mississippi
    Black Bayou is an unincorporated community located in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, United States. Black Bayou is located on Sturdivant Road near Glendora, Mississippi...

    , now CN
  • Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad (IC) branch, Black Bayou to Greenwood, Mississippi
    Greenwood, Mississippi
    Greenwood is a city in and the county seat of Leflore County, Mississippi, United States, located at the eastern edge of the Mississippi Delta approximately 96 miles north of Jackson, Mississippi, and 130 miles south of Memphis, Tennessee. The population was 15,205 at the 2010 census. It is the...

    , now CN
  • Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad (IC) Yazoo branch, Greenwood to Jackson, Mississippi
    Jackson, Mississippi
    Jackson is the capital and the most populous city of the US state of Mississippi. It is one of two county seats of Hinds County ,. The population of the city declined from 184,256 at the 2000 census to 173,514 at the 2010 census...

    , now CN
  • Chicago, St. Louis and New Orleans Railroad (IC), Jackson to New Orleans, Louisiana
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

    , now CN


In fiscal year 2004, the City of New Orleans achieved an on-time performance rating of 67.6%. The train's average on-time performance rating for fiscal year 2006 was 86.8%, reaching as high as 93.5% for the month of May 2006.

While suggestions have been made to extend the City of New Orleans service east from New Orleans to Orlando, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Orlando is a city in the central region of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat of Orange County, and the center of the Greater Orlando metropolitan area. According to the 2010 US Census, the city had a population of 238,300, making Orlando the 79th largest city in the United States...

, Amtrak has not yet made any formal proposals to do so.

Folk song



"City of New Orleans
City of New Orleans (song)
"City of New Orleans" is a folk song written by Steve Goodman , describing a train ride from Chicago to New Orleans via the Illinois Central Railroad in bittersweet and nostalgic terms. Goodman got the idea while traveling on the eponymous train for a visit to his wife's family...

" is a folk music
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

 song written and first performed by Steve Goodman
Steve Goodman
Steve Goodman was an American folk music singer-songwriter from Chicago, Illinois. The writer of "City of New Orleans", made popular by Arlo Guthrie, Goodman won two Grammy Awards.-Personal life:...

 in 1970 and subsequently recorded by Arlo Guthrie
Arlo Guthrie
Arlo Davy Guthrie is an American folk singer. Like his father, Woody Guthrie, Arlo often sings songs of protest against social injustice...

 in 1972 and many other artists, notably Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson
Willie Hugh Nelson is an American country music singer-songwriter, as well as an author, poet, actor, and activist. The critical success of the album Shotgun Willie , combined with the critical and commercial success of Red Headed Stranger and Stardust , made Nelson one of the most recognized...

, Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash
John R. "Johnny" Cash was an American singer-songwriter, actor, and author, who has been called one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century...

, John Denver
John Denver
Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. , known professionally as John Denver, was an American singer/songwriter, activist, and humanitarian. After growing up in numerous locations with his military family, Denver began his music career in folk music groups in the late 1960s. His greatest commercial success...

 (with slightly different lyrics), Judy Collins
Judy Collins
Judith Marjorie "Judy" Collins is an American singer and songwriter, known for her eclectic tastes in the material she records ; and for her social activism. She is an alumna of the University of Colorado.-Musical career:Collins was born and raised in Seattle, Washington...

, and Jerry Reed
Jerry Reed
Jerry Reed Hubbard , known professionally as Jerry Reed, was an American country music singer, innovative guitarist, songwriter, and actor who appeared in more than a dozen films...

. The song lyrics trace the trail of the train route (above) in celebrating the "...disappearin' railroad blues...." Interestingly enough, Tom Rush
Tom Rush
Tom Rush is an American folk and blues singer, songwriter, musician and recording artist.- Life and career :Rush was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. His father was a teacher at St. Paul's School, in Concord, New Hampshire. Tom began performing in 1961 while studying at Harvard University after...

 performed and recorded a folk song (based on some Bukka White
Bukka White
Booker T. Washington White , better known as Bukka White, was an American Delta blues guitarist and singer. "Bukka" was not a nickname, but a phonetic misspelling of White's given name Booker, by his second record label .-Biography:Born between Aberdeen and Houston, Mississippi, White was the...

 songs) about the Panama Limited
Panama Limited
The Panama Limited was a premier all-Pullman car service between Chicago, Illinois and New Orleans, Louisiana. For most of the trains' history a St. Louis section also operated between St...

, the overnight train along the same route as the City of New Orleans.

See also

  • Passenger train service on the Illinois Central Railroad

External links