The Southern Triangle

The Chapter's Private Railcar Trip to San Antonio, New Orleans and Chicago

The St. Louis Chapter headed to a new destination in 2016. In April we took the private sleeping car Cimarron River on a trip to San Antonio, New Orleans, and Chicago. Since 2000 we have done numerous trips between St. Louis and San Antonio, and even stopped there on our way back from Los Angeles in 2014. However, we have never done a trip to New Orleans.

In order to make the trip more interesting we decided to make a triangle trip, so to speak. Starting in St. Louis on Thursday evening, April 21, we headed southwest on the Texas Eagle to San Antonio. Passengers spent Friday evening and Saturday enjoying the last weekend of Fiesta, one of the U.S.'s premier festivals honoring the memory of the heroes of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto. Many of us experienced the Fiesta Flambeau Parade, the largest illuminated night parade in the nation.

Early Sunday morning (actually not that early, as we left about two hours late) we headed east for New Orleans on the rear of the Sunset Limited, arriving there that evening. Passengers had 2½ days to enjoy the activities, museums, streetcars, jazz, and food of the Crescent City. On Wednesday afternoon we left comfortably warm (but humid) New Orleans for the overnight trip north to Chicago on the City of New Orleans. We were immediately late when we had to wait for the southbound sister train, but we managed to have about 40 minutes to step off the car in Memphis. The ride was definitely rough north of Jackson, Miss.

Arrival in Chicago reminded us that it was still early spring in the Midwest with occasional rain and the temperature in the mid-40s. Where we were using full air conditioning at our first two stops, we used Cimarron River's heat in Chicago.

On the trip home from Chicago Friday morning, we learned that Lincoln Service Train 303 is no longer restricted to 79 mph between Dwight and Pontiac, Ill. To our delight, we made it up to 104 mph with one locomotive on that stretch!

Passengers experienced three distinct cultures on the trip: The Southwestern atmosphere and cuisine of San Antonio; the Southern, Creole, and laissez-les-bons-temps-roulez ambience of New Orleans; and the Upper Midwestern urban personality of Chicago.

Our sixteen passengers on the trip enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere and camaraderie of traveling on Cimarron River and the distinct identities of our destination cities.

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