Monday, May 2, 2016
"City Of New Orleans" In Memphis TN
Happy birthday, "City of New Orleans"! On Sunday, April 27, 1947, the Illinois Central Railroad inaugurated the famed "City of New Orleans" train between Chicago and New Orleans. The diesel-powered streamliner covered the 921 mile route in 15 hours, 55 minutes. Each morning the train departed from both Chicago and New Orleans at 8:00 a.m. sharp, and arrived at its destination at 11:55 p.m. Along the way the train stopped at Dyersburg, TN, and Memphis (plus Fulton, KY, on the Kentucky-Tennessee border).
The "City of New Orleans" quickly became one of the IC's most popular trains. In 1972 the train's popularity skyrocketed when Arlo Gutrie released a version of the song "City of New Orleans", which actually was written by Steve Goodman.
Amtrak took over intercity passenger service in 1971 and still operates the "City of New Orleans" (between 1971 and 1981 the train was renamed the "Panama Limited" to honor another equally famous IC train). The train still stops at Memphis and Fulton, but the Dyersburg stop has been moved to Newbern.
The attached photo was taken by an unknown photographer on April 28, 1947, along Riverside Drive in downtown Memphis. Several well-wishers are on hand to greet the train as it rolls north. Photo from the collection of Cliff Downey. Thanks Cliff for this great information.