Baton Rouge to New Orleans

Discussion related to the past and present operations of Kansas City Southern Lines, including affiliates Texas Mexican Railway, Grupo Transportation Ferroviaria Mexicana (TFM), and Panama Canal Railway Co. Official web site can be found here: KCSOUTHERN.COM.

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Baton Rouge to New Orleans

Postby atsf sp » Wed Mar 18, 2009 7:28 pm

How many trains run daily from Baton Rouge to New Orleans? Is Rt 61 best to see the line?
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Re: Baton Rouge to New Orleans

Postby riffian » Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:17 pm

Route 61 follows the line pretty closely, but alas the tracks are rarely in sight from the highway. This is a particularly unattractive part of Louisiana and there is little to recommend it. A better bet would be to take Louisiana route 1 out of New Roads (near Baton Rouge) up to Marksville and then to Alexandria. This is much more scenic and the tracks are in sight much of the way.

As far as trains.....I haven't lived down there for several years, but there used to be about two trains each way a day between Baton Rouge and Shrewsbury yard in New Orleans. Train 9 & 10 (now I KCNO and I NOKC, I believe) are the primary premier trains, handling intermodal, but other traffic as well between NO and Deramus Yard in Shreveport. The other train was 55 and 56, which I believe are now symboled M SHNO and M NOSH (or something similar). There is a local which works the refinery and chemical plants at Norco and there are a couple of switch jobs at New Orleans. There is much more activity North of Baton Rouge along Route 61 in the maze of petrochemical plants. There are many local jobs and they are easily visible from the highway the entire length up the old L&A mainline to Port Hudson. These are all switch/local jobs, but at least you are guaranteed of getting a KCS train in motion. This is not the current KCS main which goes west across the Mississippi River Bridge (completed in 1940) then uses T&P (UP) trackage rights to gain its own rails.

I have driven between New Orleans and Alexandria many times while working in that area in the late 90's and early 2000s and never saw a mainline KCS train, so good luck! There is a little more traffic North of Baton Rouge, but it is very sparse between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
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Re: Baton Rouge to New Orleans

Postby atsf sp » Thu Mar 19, 2009 5:01 pm

riffian wrote:Shrewsbury yard in New Orleans

Do you know how to get to this yard, especially where they keep the engines? And if I did take 61, how many locals would be the norm?
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Re: Baton Rouge to New Orleans

Postby riffian » Fri Mar 20, 2009 12:18 pm

The KCS yard in New Orleans is easy to find. It is located right along Airline Highway (US61) and can easily be accessed from the I-10 offramp. The first road to the south (coming from downtown NewOrleans) is a subway under the tracks. This is L&A Road. It appears to be private, but in fact is a public street. After you come under the tracks and up to street level you will see the yard office and engine facility right in front of you. There is usually only a couple of yard switchers and one (sometimes two) sets of road power there. Airline Highway is a continuation of Tulane Avenue from the CBD (Central Business District, New Orleanese for downtown) so is really easy to find. Finding something moving in or near the yard is a different matter.

US 61 north of Baton Rouge is not particularly interesting either, with usually two or three different jobs visible working among the many petrochemical complexes there. The only saving grace is that the tracks and the switch jobs are clearly visible from the highway. There is a small yard in Baton Rouge proper and the station, built in 1967, one of the last passenger stations built, is still standing and in use. This is on Foss Street, but again traffic around here can be pretty sparse.

The New Orleans Zephyrs is a Triple-A minor league team which has their new stadium located along Airline Highway in Metarie. The Illinois Central mainline, also used by KCS, runs along the parking lot of this stadium. If you go to the ballgame, purchase a cheap ticket, then sit in the top row on the first base side, you will see both IC (CN) and KCS trains passing by. This is a surefire way of passing a pleasant couple of hours and during a night game, catching at least one KCS train.
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