Private Rail Trip: Part 3

Continuing our trip on the private car, Dover Harbor, all of us got off to explore New Orleans. We found the trolley conveniently located right outside the station. We’ve come from Washington to Chicago to Memphis and now to New Orleans.

You are reading Part 3 of a series, ready Part 1 and Part 2 here.

The interior of the station looks surprisingly modern for having been opened in 1954. We started our adventure in Washington’s Union Station and then made it to Chicago Union Station before entering the Crescent City.

Here’s a shot of the exterior of the station that serves Amtrak, Greyhound buses and the city trolley. It handles over 200,000 passengers a year. In fact, it’s Amtrak’s second busiest station in the South.

The Dover Harbor was parked next to another private car, the Sierra Hotel. It has room for 8 sleeping passengers. The car was built in 1948 for the California Zephyr and refurbished in 1989.

The car is owned by a Chicago private charter company. Private cars can remain in the station overnight for a fee.

After a hard day of sightseeing, it’s great to come back to your own private car for a snack before heading out for the evening meal at a nice New Orleans restaurant. You can see the Sierra Hotel through the big window.

The chef always had something good to eat.

This is a view of the lounge area. When the car was built in 1923 for service on the Pennsylvania Railroad, this area was designed as a men’s smoking lounge. The rest of the car had a barber shop and a baggage section.

This diagram will give you a good idea of the car’s 1934 layout. It’s an 81 foot 80 ton beauty.

While in New Orleans there is lots to see and trouble to avoid as well. Plus, there are fabulous places to eat.

After our 3 night’s stay and final servicing by Amtrak employees, the car is ready to leave New Orleans tacked onto the Crescent headed to New York. But we’re only going as far as Washington this time.

Soon it’s time to say goodbye to the relatives so they can catch the City of New Orleans back to Memphis.

We wave goodbye to New Orleans as the The Crescent pulls out en route to Washington and finally to New York. We are now on our own on this our Anniversary Day.

This is the track arrangement as we pull out of the station. Just off to the left is the Superdome.

Here we run over the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway as we head north. In back is a swing bridge for barge traffic.

Our dinner that night was steak, asparagus and risotto with a glass of Merlot. This was just about the best steak dinner I had ever enjoyed. It was cooked to perfection and served with Béarnaise sauce. Here we are feasting as the train stops in Atlanta for servicing and passengers.

The crew joined in our celebration too! We even sang the City of New Orleans and other railroad songs.

After our overnight trip we arrive back in Washington Union Station.

It was a memorable week that we will never forget. If you ever get the chance to travel on a private car, by all means do it. It’s a once in a lifetime experience that all railfans should have.

More in this series:

Private Rail Trip: Part 1
Private Rail Trip: Part 2

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