RAILFAN GUIDES of the U.S.

 

Todd's Railfan Guide to
the NEW ORLEANS LA
Streetcar System

In General
Getting Here
Map
History
the Lines
Pictures
Amtrak
Floobydust
 

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In General

Location / Name:
     New Orleans LA

What's Here:
     Streetcars.
     Union Passenger Terminal (for Amtrak)

Data:

     GPS Coordinates: see below.

     ZIP: 70163 (UPT)


Scanner Frequencies:
     ???

 

Access by train/transit:

     Amtrak's City of New Orleans, Crescent, and Sunset Limited.

 

The Scoop:

New Orleans has one of the oldest operating streetcar systems in the world.  There are 5 lines, more info below.

 

Fares are $1.25 per ride or you can by an all day pass, that also includes the bus system, for a bargain of $5.

Besides during Mardi Gras parades, the streetcars runs from early morning to late into the night. During peak hours, youíll never have to wait longer than five minutes for the next streetcar.

Some Amtrak info is also provided below.

 

Acknowledgements:

Thanks to Tim Vermande for pictures and Denver Todd for his help with my railfan guides and suggesting welcome changes to help all ya'll.

Websites and other additional information sources of interest for the area:
     http://exploreneworleans.info/html/streetcars.php
     http://www.norta.com/
     http://www.trolleystopcafeneworleans.com/
     http://www.neworleansonline.com/tools/transportation/gettingaround/streetcars.html
     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streetcars_in_New_Orleans
     http://www.experienceneworleans.com/new-orleans-streetcars.html

Aerial shots were taken from either Google Maps or www.bing.com/maps as noted.  The screen captures are made with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it! 

Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given! Contact info is here

Getting Here

G


Maps


 


History

The New Orleans streetcars have the distinction as one of the first passenger railroads in the United States and one of the oldest continuously operating street railway in the entire world.

Their history dates back to 1835, with the St. Charles Avenue line.  Back then it was a passenger railway between New Orleans and a distant suburb and resort town called Carrollton. Eventually, Carrollton became part of the city, but the St. Charles Avenue line still exists today.

The first streetcars to travel through the suburbs or as we like to call them the fabourgs, ran on steam.  After the Civil War, an ex-Confederate general leased the streetcar line and replaced the steam locomotives with horse power.  It was a step back technology wise and less efficient, but they were quieter and ended up staying around for twenty years before they were replaced.

There were attempts to replace the horse drawn streetcars with ammonia powered engines, steam dummy engines and electric batteries, however it wasnít until 1893 that electricity replaced horse power.  Itís the power system thatís still used today.

As the city grew, so did the network of streetcars.  In the early 20th century a number of private companies operated various lines competing with each throughout the city.  However, there were a number of problems including inconsistent service for the riders and costly inefficiencies for the owners.  The result was the city coming in and creating an organization called the New Orleans Public Service Inc (NOPSI), which took over running the street cars.  Eventually, the NOPSI would be replaced by New Orleans Regional Transit Authority that run the streetcars today.

Throughout the history of New Orleans, Canal Street has been an important route of travel.  Mule-driven carriages were the first form of public transit along this line, but in 1910 they were replaced by streetcars.

In the 1960ís buses became popular all over the country, including in the Crescent City.  Bus lines started to replace streetcars and residents started to worry that all of the historic streetcars would disappear.

In many cases their fears were realized.  In May of 1964, the streetcars were completely removed from Canal Street.  Luckily, in 1973, preservations succeeded in adding the St. Charles line to the National Register of Historic Landmarks.  Because of that Historic status, the St. Charles streetcars look and run as they were in 1920.

Fast forward a few years and the Riverfront line was built in 1988.  It was the first new line to be built in New Orleans since 1926.

After being absent for forty years in 2004, the Canal Street line was brought back to life.

The newest addition is the Loyola Avenue line that connects Canal Street with the Union Passenger Terminal.  It began running just in time for the Super Bowl in 2013.

the St. Charles Avenue Line

A ride along the St. Charles Avenue is much like a journey through the history of New Orleans.

Todayís streetcars on this line still have the mahogany seats, brass fittings and exposed light bulbs from an era before plastic seats and aluminum rails.

The St. Charles Avenue line travels 13.2 miles starting just across the street from The French Quarter at Carondelet and Canal Street. It travels through the Central Business District, the oldest part of the city on that side of Canal Street, through the beautiful Garden District and into the picturesque tree-lined streets of Uptown.

Along the way, the streetcar line passes hundreds of exquisite homes, historic monuments, the lush grounds of Audubon Park and both Loyola and Tulane universities.  Not to mention the dozens restaurants and famous hotels along the way.  Itís a perfect way to see the rest of the city outside of the French Quarter.

the Canal Street Line

The Canal Street Line travels almost six miles, starting at the Mississippi River and following Canal Street into the middle of the city.  It brings riders to historic cemeteries or via a spur to City Park and the New Orleans Museum of Art.  It also brings visitors within walking distance of the Fairgrounds Racetrack that features horse racing many months of the year and is the home of the annual Jazz & Heritage Festival every spring.

This line is popular with locals traveling to work, as well as visitors exploring the city.  Along the way, it passes by art galleries, entertainment venues, numerous shops and dozens of delicious restaurants.

Unlike the St. Charles Line, the fleet on this line is a bit more modern, yet hasnít lost the historic touch that is New Orleans.  Youíll notice the difference especially in the summer months, these streetcars have air conditioning.

For maps and schedules, click here or here (City Park/Museum).

the Riverfront Line

The Riverfront Line was a dream come true for New Orleans business owners, developers and streetcar fans.  It connects locals, conventioneers and visitors to points along the Mississippi River.

The Riverfront Line travels 1.5 miles past the legendary French Market, to the Aquarium of the Americas, shopping at the Riverwalk and the Ernest M. Morial Convention Center.


The Lines


the St Charles Line

 


the Canal St Lines

  Canal Street - Cemetery Line

  Canal Street - City Park/Museum Line

 


the Riverfront Line


Stop along the Riverfront and Loyola/UPT Lines.


End of the line.
GPS Coordinates: 29.960758,-90.057289


the Loyola / UPT Line

 


Pictures

  Photo by Tim Vermande, 1985.

  Photo by Tim Vermande, 1985.

  Photo by Tim Vermande, 1985.

  Photo by Tim Vermande, 1985.

 


Amtrak

 

 


Trains Serving New Orleans

 


Amtrak's Union Passenger Terminal

GPS Coordinates: 29.946187,-90.078498

 

 


Floobydust


Shops

GPS Coordinates: 29.968496,-90.088985


Disclaimers:

Every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct.  Once in a while, an error may creep in, especially if restaurants or gas stations open, close, or change names.  Most of my maps are a result of personal observation after visiting these locations.  I have always felt that a picture is worth a thousand words", and I feel annotated maps such as the ones I work up do the same justice for the railfan over a simple text description of the area.  Since the main focus of my website is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  Since most of us railheads don't have just trains as a hobby, I have also tried to point out where other interesting sites of the area are.... things like fire stations, neat bridges, or other significant historical or geographical feature.  While some may feel they shouldn't be included, these other things tend to make MY trips a lot more interesting.... stuff like where the C&O Canal has a bridge going over a river (the Monocacy Aqueduct) between Point of Rocks and Gaithersburg MD, it's way cool to realize this bridge to support a water "road" over a river was built in the 1830's!!!  

Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.

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NEW 01/18/2014
Last Modified 18-Jan-2014