Amtrak on NS, KCS on NOPB – 22 November 2008

by Jim on 2013/11/22

Where were you when the 45-year anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination took place?  If you are like Jimbaux (and pity to you if you are), you were foaming, and that’s what we see here in these pictures taken on Saturday 22 November 2008, my first train pictures in almost a month, the previous being the night shots on the Bernadotte Line in October.

The #20

Amtrak train #20 – the northbound Crescent – leaves the end of the NOUPT (New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal) trackage at East City Junction.  It is entering the “North Main” of Norfolk Southern’s Back Belt trackage as a UP-bound freight train holds the “South Main” on the right.

The track veering of to the left ahead of the NOUPT trackage is the NS’s ex-Southern Bernadotte Line, which once went as far as Tremé and terminated on Basin Street but now stops at North Alexander Street at the line’s last remaining customer, Masonry Products, as you saw in the two prior postings.  The concrete piece in the foreground is part of the trestle over the Canal Boulevard underpass.  Far off in the distance past the signal bridge, the NS tracks curve to the right and cross Interstate Highway 10 before going to single track and crossing the 17th Street Canal.


This shot had to be rescued; if I’ve already shot the Crescent once in the morning, this is one of those hurry-up-and-shoot pictures.

The train passes under the Southern Railway cantilever signals at Frenchmen Street on the “North Main” – really, the northbound mainline – of Norfolk Southern’s Back Belt trackage.  The track coming from the North Main right in front of the train is the “Freight Lead” that leads into NS’s Oliver Yard.  At the end of the Back Belt, the train will turn north onto NS’s NO&NE (New Orleans and Northeastern) mainline on its way north out of the city and, ultimatley, to New York.  The canal at the left is the Florida Avenue Canal which parallels its namesake street to the south, just left of the left frame of the image.  Far off in the distance, the top of a trestle is visible; this is the Broad Street underpass.

They Just Got Caught, But Are They Catching Anything?

Miles and minutes later, we’re at Lake Ponchartrain as the train leaves the city of New Orleans.

Yes, I like that.  Do you?

Well, that’s nice, but I need to hurry to another shot.

Too Much Risk

Yes, the copiousness of good shots here is due to excessive risk-taking which I no longer do; however, I can’t give these shots back.

The train is just two minutes from its first station stop at Slidell.

I’ve done this enough times.


I get the train at the depot.

Slidell owes its existence to the construction of what was then the New Orleans & Northeastern Railroad across Lake Ponchartrain into New Orleans. The NO&NE went from New Orleans to Meridian, Mississippi. Today, it is the southwestern leg of the Norfolk Southern Railway’s vast empire. Here in Slidell, several people board the train on its daily northward journey.

That’s enough; now it’s time to turn around and head back to Woadieville.

When The Circus Comes To France

We’re back in New Orleans now at the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad’s France Yard, where we see the CSX-to-KCS transfer train.

Parts of what will become Kansas City Southern Railway train M-CXSH have just been delivered to New Orleans Public Belt Railroad’s France Yard by a CSX crew.  An NOPB crew will work the train and build a Baton Rouge block before it moves the train to NOPB’s Cotton Warehouse Yard where a KCS crew will board it and move it for a few miles on NOPB trackage onto KCS’s trackage.  The sloping bridge in the background is the Interstate Highway 10 bridge crossing the Inner Harbor Navigational Canal.

KCS power stopped running this part of the route some time in 2010 when KCS locomotives started being turned and serviced at NOPB’s Cotton Warehouse Yard, where this train is going.  Also, I believe the block-building at France Yard has since stopped too.  CSX transfer power brings the big train between CSX Gentilly Yard and NOPB Cotton Warehouse Yard.

Oh, here is something that I saw moving from the CSX to the Union Pacific shortly thereafter.

That’s all.



1 Joy November 22, 2013 at 18:02

Nice pics, I like the shots of the lake, risk taking is worthwhile if you get the shot you envision.

2 Hank November 22, 2013 at 21:44

Jimbeaux, merci for an excellent pictorial essay of #20. You have brought back fond memories of my frequent business trips between Slidell and DC 15-25 years ago. My first few trips were in tired 50 year-old sleepers. However, the rest were in new Viewliners similar to those shown in your photos, including one on its initial break-in run after leaving the factory. Thanks for all your essays, they are delightful.

3 Danny November 23, 2013 at 21:24

Hi Jimbeaux,
I was on my way from Pearl River to the LASTA yard to lay track. I was at the NS crossing at what we call Short Cut 41 waiting for a very slow southbound. It was about time for 20 to pass so I wondered what they did with her. The southbound was on the main so I figured something must be on the siding. After the southbound passed I could see headlights of 20 on the siding. I waited, figuring it would only be a few minutes. 20 pulled to the north end of the siding and stopped, turned off lights and sat there. A few minutes later another southbound freight passed with KCS 4112 on the point and two locomotives following. I could not get the numbers of off the other two KCS engines but I have a feeling they were the ones you caught in New Orleans. I see 4034 was on the point and I cannot see the second engines number board. Finally after 25 minutes 20 pulled onto the main and headed north. We did gauge 200 feet of track put down about 40 spikes today.

4 ray dupe November 24, 2013 at 20:27

Good photos and info. Brings back lotsa memories of what was not on NOPB prior the NOPB’s involment in the NOLA Corridor.

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