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Amtrak City of New Orleans

Route Guide - Train #58 & #59

Chicago * Memphis
New Orleans

WELCOME ABOARD. You are traveling on board the City Of New Orleans, an Amtrak® Superliner® train, the delightful route between Chicago and New Orleans. While on board, you will be experiencing the utmost in train travel and some of the region's most musical cities. Jazz, Ragtime, Dixie, Blues -- even Rock'n Roll -- all of America's music was born along this route.

THE FUN STARTS HERE. There is a lot to see and do aboard the City Of New Orleans and a variety of places to relax, socialize and enjoy a meal. Listen for announcements of the specific times and locations of activities, and most of all -- have fun.

Movies in the Sightseer Lounge Car and other videos, including features for children during summer months, will be shown.

Hospitality Hour. Join fellow passengers in the Lounge Car for drinks and complimentary snacks, and don't forget to ask about specialty drinks with a regional flavor. You can place your order, play some cards and enjoy friendly conversation.


The Conductor is in charge of all crew members aboard, and is responsible for the collection of tickets and the safe operation of the train. The Chief supervises the on-board service people, and is responsible for the service you receive while you are on the City of New Orleans.


Roomy Coach Seats with a Coach Attendant ensures that you are comfortable and well taken care of during your travels. Please keep in mind that seats are assigned for the duration of the trip. If you wish to change seats consult your Attendant first. Please do not re-seat yourself.

First Class Service is provided to you by your Sleeping Car Attendant. Your Attendant will prepare your room for daytime or nighttime travel, provide wake-up service and bring your morning paper and beverages to your room. Meals and other amenities are included with your First Class accommodations. Individual speakers bring you recorded music (Channels 2 and 3) and train announcements (Channels 1 and 2). The channel selector is located near the reading light in your room.

Private Sleeping Accommodations are available based on your needs. Deluxe Rooms can accommodate two adults and have a private restroom and shower. Family Rooms can accommodate up to two adults and three children, and also have a private restroom and shower. Economy Rooms can accommodate one or two people. Ample public restrooms and showers are conveniently located in the lower level of the Sleeping Car. Sleeping Accommodations may be purchased on board from the Conductor (subject to availability).

Dining Car Service offers a delicious dining experience that is truly pleasing to the palate with its unique Cajun flair. We have even added gumbo, redbeans and rice, and prime rib to our menu. A crew member will contact you if dinner reservations are necessary. Major credit cards are accepted. Sorry, smoking is not allowed in the Dining Car.

Meal Service for in-room dining is available to First Class passengers if desired. Please make arrangements with your Attendant in advance. Station arrival times during meal service may delay in-room dining. The delay is due to the necessity to assist passengers boarding and de-boarding the train.

Sightseer Lounge Car on the City of New Orleans allows you to view the spectacular scenery along the route through the panoramic windows on the upper level of the car. The lower level offers light dining where sandwiches, snacks and beverages, in addition to various sundry items, can be purchased. The Lounge Car also features first-run movies, a Hospitality Hour with specialty drinks, and complimentary snacks during the evening.

THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS is an Amtrak festival on wheels!

Must be someting about the places it can take you: the raucous Dixieland and Zydeco clubs of New Orleans... Memphis, Tennessee, the home of Beale Street blues and Sun Records... Chicago's cool jazz scene and hot new comedy clubs.

Then, of course, there's the City of New Orleans train itself: spacious, bi-livel Superliner cars with First Class Sleeping Accommodations, comfortable coach seating and a Sightseer Lounge with panoramic windows for sweeping views of the mighty Mississippi -- and first-run movies at night.

And in keeping with its character, the City of New Orleans Dining Car features genuine Cajun cookin', with menus developed by four-star restaurants and cooked for you by specially-trained Amtrak chefs.

So, if you're looking for fun, head for the City of New Orleans.

This guide details some of the attractions at major points along the route. Directional copy is written from North to South, so you'll know whether to look to the right or left. The first time reference tells you how far the sight is from the Amtrak stop to the north; the second, from the Amtrak stop to the south.

CHICAGO Look to your left for a dramatic view of the towering city skyline. The Sears Tower, Daley Center and the domed Wrigley Building are among the many magnificent structures you can see. Continuing south, you'll cross the Chicago River, famous as "the river that flows backwards" because of its westward course away from Lake Michigan. Engineers reversed its flow in the early 1900's in an attempt to prevent pollution of the lake.

GILMAN About six minutes past the station you'll catch a glimpse of Americana on your left -- "Chew Mail Pouch Tobacco" is painted on the side of a barn! (The train only stops here going north.)

CENTRALIA Towering above the business district is the sixth largest carillon in the world. It sports 65 bells, the largest weighing 5-1/2 tons, and can play any kind of music from classical to pop... ragtime to rock.

CARBONDALE The train makes its last Illinois stop in the middle of the night.

Cairo (1:10 Min./60 Min.) Pronounced care-row, this port at the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers still sports riverboat gambling. It was here that General Grant established his Civil War headquarters because it afforded him command of the waterways which split the slave and free states. Many slaves escaped across the "wide Ohio" as they followed the Underground Railroad to Canada.

DYERSBURG Created in 1823 following consummation of an 1818 treaty between the Chickasaw Indians, Andrew Jackson, and Governor Issac Shelby of Kentucky; Dyersburg was once the fourth largest port in Tennessee.

The Great American Pyramid (1:45 Min./10 Min.) Look to your right for the Great American Pyramid -- a gleaming 32-story fusion of modern technology and ancient mystery. It connects to Festival Island, a $60 million development designed to showcase the Mississippi River. You'll find boat rides, a river museum, restaurants -- even a model of the Mississippi you can walk! Just over the bridge and to your right, the famous B-17 "Memphis Belle" is housed under a tent.

Beale Street (1:49 Min./6 Min.) Covering 15 city blocks, Beale Street offered all that was legal and illegal in the New South including the venerable Schwab's, selling everything from shoes to voodoo supplies since 1876. Beale Street created its own music to accompany the powerful and intense economic and social evolution Memphis underwent at the turn of the century. It was the attraction of this area that lured W.C. Handy here in 1912, to create America's first original music ... the Blues.

MEMPHIS In addition to its reputation as the "Birthplace of the Blues," Memphis is also the home of the "King;" it was here that Elvis Presley built Graceland, the fabulous mansion in which he lived and ultimately came to rest.

GREENWOOD Discover a city of lively legends and rich history, harkening back to the days when cotton was king. Nearby you'll find beautiful antebellum homes and buildings, plus 17 casinos within a 150 mile radius.

YAZOO CITY is known as the place where "The Delta Meets the Hills." While in town, visit the Oakes African American Cultural Center, the Triangle Cultural Center, the Confederate Memorial Monument and more. Or, discover a taste of plantation life at the No Mistake Plantation Bed and Breakfast; the excitement of striking oil at the Tinsley Oil Field; or the natural beauty of The Delta National Forest and Panther Swamp Wildlife Refuge.

JACKSON The Jackson skyline is distinguished by the gold dome of the "new" Capitol, built in 1903. This city was invaded by General Sherman three times during the Civil War and burned to the ground. Some folks say that "Chimneyville," as it came to be called, was where Sherman practiced for the burning of Atlanta. Modern-day attractions are the Governor's Mansion, the Dizzy Dean Museum, the Old Capital Museum, and the Mississippi Petrified Forest.

BROOKHAVEN As you pull into the station, note the regal magnolia trees, beautiful azaleas and fragrant camellias that line the walkways to your right.

Thayers Crossing (5 Min./18 Min.) Watch closely out your right-hand window (heading north or south) and you may see Brad waving at the train. After noticing this young man faithfully standing at the crossroads each morning and evening, rain or shine, conductors and engineers invited him aboard for a ride. Since then, Brad has become an unofficial "mascot" of the City of New Orleans.

MCCOMB Enjoys the distinction of being the "Camellia City of America." The flowers were brought to the area by an old African-American woman known as Aunt Caroline.

Interstate 55 (20 Min./57 Min.) On the right, I-55 sits atop concrete piers. Next, cross Pass-Manchac waterway, connecting Lake Maurepas on the right with Lake Pontchartrain on the left. Lake Pontchartrain covers 625 square miles, big enough to accommodate fresh water on its west side and salt water on its east. Watch for the skyline of New Orleans across the lake.

Independence (52 Min./8 Min.) Note the intriguing cemetery to your right. Like many of Louisiana's grave sites, the tombs are positioned above the ground to prevent moisture from seeping in. Legend has it that the graves in this particular cemetery all face east-to-west, except for one lone plot facing north-to-south. The perpetrator of a heinous crime is reportedly buried here in this position to help speed his journey to purgatory!

Louisiana Bayou (16 Min./61 Min.) Suddenly, you're in the Bayou -- Louisiana's exotic swamps. Here, amidst the haunting beauty of moss-laden cypress trees, the Cajun culture has survived.

HAMMOND is one of the "Strawberry Capitals of America."

Ponchatoula (9 Min./68 Min.) Watch for "Charlie Jr.," the alligator in his cage to your left. Yes, he is real and "Charlie's" father was his first 'gator to be caged in this place of honor. When he died, he was paraded through the streets to fanfare and music, receiving a proper southern funeral parade!

NEW ORLEANS Welcome to "Nawlins," -- the Crescent City -- one of this nation's greatest ports are more popular places to visit. Often called the "City That Care Forgot," its people are always ready to lay aside their business and have a good time! Mardi Gras is perhaps the most famous example of this... but as the birthplace of Jazz and home to some of the best restaurants in the world -- New Orleans is a city that never sleeps! Visit the beautiful Riverwalk, take a ride on the St. Charles Streetcar, visit the Garden District and more. Don't miss the infamous Bourbon Street in the heart of the French Quarter, where the music never stops!

Scenic Photo Tips

SCENIC SPOTS: Your train passes many beautiful and interesting sights. The "camera" symbol on your Route Guide Map marks the best spots, so have your camera ready!

OUTSIDE SHOTS: Medium-speed films (ASA 200 or higher) are recommended for shooting scenery through the train windows. If your shutter speed is adjustable and light conditions permit, set it at a higher speed (1/125 or 1/250 sec.) for the clearest results. Hold your lens close to the window to eliminate glare and reflections.

INSIDE SHOTS: Flash is recommended. To avoid glare and reflections, do not point the flash directly at the windows.

Visit the Old South in a brand
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