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Amtrak, Atlanta to New Orleans

Updated on December 16, 2013
Amtrak train agent
Amtrak train agent | Source

Amtrak's Crescent 20

Amtrak's Crescent 20 is the train that i took from Atlanta to New Orleans, south bound. Of course going south it crosses many boundaries stopping in several states as it progresses to Louisiana.

It actually comes south from New York city, so New York can be the ending destination or the beginning destination depending on who you are talking with on the train. Since it travels south the Crescent makes stops in many cities along it's rail headed to Atlanta and ultimately to Louisiana, which is it's last stop southbound.

Riding

Trains hold a kind of childhood fascination for those who ride them.

Speaking with an older couple at lunch gave me a glimpse into how once a child becomes attached to the idea of riding the rails and does, how an adult, even a senior adult is affected over sixty years later.

Nostalgia and childhood memories keep senior adults riding the rails, regardless of the distances.

So, there are definitely more emotional perks to why one should ride the train.

I joked with those employees that i had the opportunity to talk with, that one needed to develop "sea legs" to walk the train, that and that they had strong legs.

It reminded me vividly of crossing the deck of a ship or a boat, sailing rocky waves. Pleasant yet miserable until you become accustomed to the rolling, jerky movements. You also need to learn to tighten your leg muscles as well as being quick and prepared to hold onto something when your balance is shaken.

I felt like a toddler learning how to walk. Yet, once i got used to how to roll with the train and relax, i loved it.

Lots of things about the train reminded me of riding on a plane.

Air ride similarities

  • the announcements
  • small restrooms
  • expensive snacks (airport)
  • chairs and trays
  • safety checks and info

Advantages

  • cost effective
  • relaxation
  • sleep
  • comfort
  • chauffeured
  • on time
  • no traffic
  • scenery
  • city destination
  • no parking stress
  • no extra costs
  • limited security
  • less lines
  • no long waits

Atlanta station
Atlanta station | Source

Atlanta station

  • Historic
  • Small
  • Needs repair
  • Convenient location in Buckhead
  • Secure

Cost

Many people travel the train because they find it cost effective. Especially if they are traveling with small children, or just want to relax and enjoy the scenery.

Tickets can be purchased on line or at the station's ticket counter.

  • One way ticket
  • Round trip ticket
  • Specials
  • Group rates
  • Seasonal

Luggage, Amtrak allows up to two bags to be checked at no additional cost, but there is a size requirement.

If you had 10 to 15 hours to get to your destination how would you travel?

See results

The Train

Compartments

  • Sleepers
  • Coach
  • Dining cars
  • Cafe / lounge
  • Luggage

What riding distance would you choose to go by train?

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Suggestions

What to pack
for train
for destination
snacks
snacks
carry bag
pillow
blanket
10 dollar bills
blanket / eye mask
paper / pen
few dollars in coins
ear plugs
book
walking shoes
paper / pen
dollar bills
map
book
 
 
Pontchartrain, at night
Pontchartrain, at night | Source
Mercedes Benz stadium
Mercedes Benz stadium | Source
New Orleans train station
New Orleans train station | Source
Trolley car
Trolley car | Source

Destination

New Orleans is the last stop on the Crescent 20. Even though this is one of the older parts of town arriving in New Orleans at dusk, as darkness settles over this part of the city is still enthralling because it is well lite up.

As we hit the city limits crossing the Pontchartrain lake excitement fell over me as it did with lots of the other passengers, maybe except for the one's who have a fear of water. The lake looks like it is an endless body of water, an ocean on both sides of the train.

You look and i felt as if i were on a ship, floating and not a train crossing rails over the Lake Pontchartrain.

The city is colorful even in the darkness, so on approach to the train station there is still a lot to marvel at on your first sight of New Orleans from the train.

Amtrak New Orleans station

The New Orleans' Amtrak station was a pleasure to walk into because even here things are exciting and colorful.

Inside the station

  • colorful lights
  • large station
  • large historical murals
  • gift shop
  • restaurant
  • game room
  • large restrooms
  • snack machines

Outside the station

  • sculptures
  • gardens
  • trolley
  • buses
  • taxis

As like many old places in cities, especially where the trains seem to have their stations, this part of town is also being rejuvenated and very convenient to the down town businesses and night life.

I saw homeless people in front of station, and along the main road in front in the bus sitting areas, there was also a lot of security as well.

Yet, where else can you be serenaded by a saxophone and a violin but on the streets of New Orleans in the wee hours of the morning.

I took advantage of riding the trolley, into the city which dead ends at Harrah's. Less than two dollars, i got a scenic, comfortable ride down the center of traffic.

New Orleans train station, outside entrance
New Orleans train station, outside entrance | Source

Namesake

Named for the comte de Pontchartrain of France, Louis Phelypeaux. Monsieur Phelypeaux was appointed to New Orleans, under the 'sun king' Louis XIV, of France, as a French Minister of the Marine, Chancellor of France and Controller - General of Finances.

Causeway

The causeway is listed in the Guinness World Record as longest continuous bridge over water in the world. It is made up of two parallel bridges that cross the lake.

Causeway stats

  • Longest bridge is 23.83 miles
  • Southern terminus in Metairie, Louisiana
  • Northern terminus in Mandeville, Louisiana

Crossing water

I think one of the highlights of this train ride to New Orleans was crossing Lake Pontchartrain. I am not totally sure how long it took to cross it but it was definitely less than 10 minutes but it was the most fascinating moments of the ride.

Lake Pontchartrain

  • brackish water, combination of salt and pure water but more on the salty side
  • estuary, which means it connected to another body of water
  • southeastern Louisiana
  • 630 miles
  • 12 to 14 feet deep
  • rough oval shape
  • 40 miles, west to east
  • 24 miles south to north
  • found in 5 separate parishes

Ideas for crossing the lake with a bridge are linked back to a ferry service and Bernard de Marigny who founded Mandeville. He also started and provided the ferry service.

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    • Celiegirl profile image
      Author

      Celiegirl 3 years ago

      Thanks JG11Bravo, i hope you put another train ride on your schedule to anywhere, short or long the thrill is never gone...on the rails!

    • JG11Bravo profile image

      JG11Bravo 3 years ago

      It's been ages since I've ridden a train anywhere. Now I find myself wanting to purely for the experience. Very well done.