Railfanning in New Orleans

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Railfanning in New Orleans

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Sun Jun 09, 2013 4:10 pm

Hello,
The end of August, I'm going to be in New Orleans for a few days. I plan to do quite a bit of railfanning, and here is my itinerary.
1. NOPB right of way along the Mississippi.
2. NORTA Streetcar routes
3. Amtrak. If possible, I would like to get photographs of the Crescents with Lake Ponchartrain in the background.
I'm aware that there are a lot of dangerous areas of New Orleans, crimewise. Thanks for any advice.
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Re: Railfanning in New Orleans

Postby Noel Weaver » Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:48 am

I have ridden the trolley lines in New Orleans and I don't think you will have any major problems photographing them. I don't recall passing through any bad areas on either the St. Charles or the Canal Lines. I love New Orleans and think you will too.
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Re: Railfanning in New Orleans

Postby bulleit » Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:06 am

Mr NJ: Freight rail passes thru three of NOLAs public parks, each of which can be reached by streetcar. The Public Belt R.R. which handles goods for the wharves runs along the waterfront the length of the city. This includes the French Quarter waterfront from Esplanade Av to Canal St; the wharves in the area between Jackson Sq and Canal have been replaced by Woldenberg Park. There is freight traffic along this park frequently, which lies between Decatur St and the river. The Riverfront streetcar utilizes a portion of the Belt RR, so riding on that car ought to give you a good look.
Much further uptown, the Belt RR passes through Audubon Park close by the NO Zoo. When you ride on the St Charles line, the park is located directly across from the main entrance to the Tulane University campus. To reach the tracks, you'll have to walk down through the park to reach the section that lies between Magazine St and the river. It's a couple hundred yards but it is a beautiful park.
If you don't want to do the walking you can stay on the car just a bit further to where it reaches the Riverbend. The car turns here 90 degrees, to leave St Charles Av for Carrolton Av. This is where the car tracks pass closest to the river and to the Belt RR tracks as well, after they come out of Audubon Park. La Madeline's bakery and Cooter Brown's Bar and Grill have outside cafe seating so you can watch from the sidewalk.
Rail freight also runs through City Park, along the river side of I-610. City Park is located at the end of the City Park branch of the Canal line. The car stop is at the entrance of the NO Museum of Art. Again, you'll have to walk thru the park to reach the rail line. I'd think a standard tourist brochure ought to show the outlines and locations of these three parks.
I don't know which of the two lines is more busy: the waterfront or the one along 610. I guess the run through City Park is to bypass the wharves for traffic that need not go there; or to reach the yard where they form up the Belt RR trains.

Regards, bulleit
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Re: Railfanning in New Orleans

Postby bulleit » Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:30 pm

Regards your NOLA trip, freight moves thru three public parks. Each park can be reached by a streetcar line. The waterfront car shares the right of way with the Belt RR. In the Quarter they pass along Woldenburg Park, which lies between Decatur St. and the river.
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Re: Railfanning in New Orleans

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:38 am

I will check those parks out as well as ride and photograph the streetcars.

I'm also thinking about photographing Amtrak Train # 1 crossing the Huey P Long Bridge. How safe is the walk from there to Audobon Park?

I also want to photograph Amtrak Train # 19 crossing a bridge near Hayes Ave and Leroy Johnson Drive. I also want to photo it's counterpart from near Hayes Blvd and Vincent Street. How safe are those areas? Are there generally a lot of people in them as well as near the Huey P Long Bridge. Thanks.
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Re: Railfanning in New Orleans

Postby bulleit » Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:04 pm

It is a distance of several miles from New Orleans to the Huey P. Long bridge. A car is needed to get out there, or a ride on a Jefferson Parish bus. The area of the east bank bridge approach is both safe and accessible. The rail trestle runs along Clearview Parkway; opposite is the Elmwood shopping center. It has a Home Depot, Walmart and a bunch of restaurants. I think you may park in the lot and spend as long as you like there watching traffic on the trestle. Photos from there will need to be taken with a telephoto lens for any detail.
The Huey P. has a high clearance for river traffic so the approaches are long and tall. I don't know how you would get a perspective on both rail traffic and the river from ground level.
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Re: Railfanning in New Orleans

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Sun Aug 04, 2013 5:53 pm

I would definately be using public transportation to get around. I'm definately aware that it's several miles from Downtown New Orleans. I'm not looking too much into detail. I just want to get a good shot of a train crossing the bridge. I'm really more focused with getting a picture of a train crossing the bridge.
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