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Travelogue of Michael Hansen's Trip on the Amtrak City of New Orleans

Its about 7:25 PM, on Sunday, December 28, 2003, and I'm in the Metrapolitan lounge in Chicago Union station, ware I, along with my Dad will be boarding Amtrak train number 59, the City Of New Orleans, in route to New Orleans, LA. We started off the trip by taking the 5:05 PM Metra train from Jeneva to Chicago, pushed by F40PH engine number 146, and led by cab car 8432. Interestingly, I had heard that the BNSF to Arrora is using this engine, but that isn't the case any more.

Our train arived in Chicago Ogelve station rite on time, and we detrained and headed to Union Station. After picking up our tickets, we stored our bags, accept for my scanner in room 341. We then headed out to the north platforms to see what was going on there. There was a 6:35 PM train waiting to depart to Fox Lake, and a 6:40 PM train to Elgin. After both trains departed, we headed back inside to the Metropolitan lounge, and got a cup of water, complimentary to sleeping car passengers.

A boarding call was made for our train about 7:30 PM, for all people with disibilities to check in at gate EE. When we got to E however, the agent told us to go sit down in the lounge, that they weren't boarding sleeping car passengers yet. We informed her that they had called passengers with disibilities. She told us again that they weren't boarding sleeping car passengers! We went back to the desk in the Metrapolitan lounge, and told the atendant what had happened. She told us that "Sometimes these things happen," and that she was sorry. She personally took us to the platform, track 24. We walked down the train to the crue dorm car, 39032, and boarded. We had been givven room 20 in this car, a nice Superliner2 car. At first, it looked like engine 188 was the locomotive on our train, because it was rite up next to the baggage car, but when we left Chicago later it became apparent that 188 was still behind on the platform.

Tonights City Of New Orleans is pulled by Genesis engine number 94, and includes sleeping car 32033, coaches 34090, 34002, and 35015. The last coach has a smoking section on the lower level. Also on our train was lounge car 33022, dining car 38034, crue dorm car 39032, and baggage car 1326. We departed Chicago 2 minutes late at 8:02 PM. So far, we were off to a good start! Next to us on track 26 was the consist of train 48, with only 1 viewliner sleeping car rite behind the engines, number 148 and 16. We came to a stop at 8:12 PM, just after we passed engines 34 and 52 in the yards, and began our back-up move onto the Illinois Central at 8:13 PM.

Our attendant, Dwain, came to introduce himself just after we started backing up. I told him that we were railfans going down to New Orleans just for the enjoyment of riding the train. In response to a question I had, Dwain told me that it takes 3 sets of equipment torun trains 59 and 58 daily. He also mentioned that train 58 had left Greenwood, MS. About a Half Hour ago, which would make it about 7:45 PM. I had found out from an earlier report that this train, was led byGenesis Engine number 22, and Pepcy-Can engine number 516.

Dwain came back to our room and told us that dinner was being served in the dining car. We decided to pass it up tonight, sense we had just gotten onboard, and didn't feel like leeving our room quite yet. After dwains announcement, the lounge car attendant made an announcement telling passengers that he was open and serving. We arrived at our first stop, at Homewood, IL, at 8:55 PM, only 1 minutes late. Durring our stop at Homewood, I heard some talk on the scanner about an engine that had a problem, with its computer reading "No air." Weather this was our engine, it is unknown, but we remained at Homewood until 9:01 PM. We arrived at our next stop, at Kankerkey, IL, at 9:33 PM, 10 minutes after we had Dwain put down our beds. I got in bed after we left Kankerkey, 1 minute later at 9:34 PM, and took out my scanner. I layed in bed, listening to the scanner until we arrived at our next stop, at Shampain-Irbana, at 10:39 PM, and departed at 10:44 PM, 4 minutes late, with our arivel being 5 minutes late. I feel asleep, woke up again, just in time to hear the engineer say "You know its raining?" The conductor replied "Figured." "The engine don't like it."

I slept through the stops before Memphis, and woke up at about 4:30 AM. We arrived at Memphis, TN. at 5:35 AM, 53 minutes early! We went downstairs, andcould hear our engine on the front of the train! After returning upstairs,we had Dwain make up our room, and we took room18 while he was doing this. We left Memphis rite on time at 6:50 AM, then we headed down to the dining car for breachfast. At 6:52 AM, we came to a stop, and didn't move again until 7:11 AM. We stopped again at 7:28 AM, and started moving at 7:29 AM. Having left my scanner in our room, I didn't know what was going on, but figured it was just slow orders. We left the dining carabout 7:45 AM, and went back to our room. I listened to some tapes and the scanner until about 8:40 AM, when we headed down to the lounge car. The attendant was on his breakfast brake, but we took a table downstairs anyway. The attendant came back about 8:55 AM, and at that point I got a hot chocolate, and we took it back up to our room. Unfortiantly, I missed the times of arivel at our stops at Greenwood, MS. through our stops before Jackson, MS.. We arrived at Jackson, MS. at 11:10 AM, at which time we walked through the train to get the consist of the cars, and we departed at 11:22 AM, rite on time. We went back to the lounge car, and I got another hot chocolate. We arrived at Yazoo City, MS. At 12:15PM, and departed at 12:18 PM, now on time.

Our next stop was Hamand, LA, whare we arrived at 1:31 PM, and departed at 1:33 PM. I started packing up my stuff about an hour lator, in preparation for our final arivel at New Orleans.

We arrived at New Orleans at 3:19 PM, 21 minutes early! Our train pulled rite in, so this gave me a chance to conferm the engine number, which was indeed engine number 94. We walked into the terminal, then went out and got a cab to our Hotel.

This trip was a good one, and I'm looking forward to the trip home tomorrow!

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