Today, Louisiana is mostly the domain of Class Is CSX Transportation,
Norfolk Southern Railway, Canadian National
Railway (which reached the Pelican State when purchasing the Illinois
Central), Kansas City Southern, BNSF Railway, and Union Pacific (only
Canadian Pacific does not reach the state). The rest is operated by a
host of shortlines which include the Acadiana Railway, Delta Southern
Railroad, Louisiana & Delta Railroad, Louisiana & North West
Railroad, Arkansas, Louisiana & Mississippi, Baton Rouge Southern
Railroad, CG Railway, Gloster Southern Railroad, Louisiana Southern, New
Orleans & Gulf Coast, Ouachita Railroad, Timber Rock Railroad, and
the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad.
For a more in-depth look at Louisiana in terms of its rail mileage please have a look at the chart below. At one time, the Pelican State carried a rail network that totaled over 5,000 miles although today that number has dropped under 3,000 miles. Since the 1920s (when mileage peaked across the country) the state has lost about 44% of its rail infrastructure. This is actually about average (at least in terms of the numbers) as many states have seen similar declines over the same time period with many of the abandonments coming between the 1960s and 1980s.
While Louisiana no longer offers passenger trains like the original Sunset Limited, Crescent, and the Pan-American our national passenger railroad, Amtrak, continues to operate the Sunset Limited, City of New Orleans, and Crescent, all of which terminate and originate in New Orleans (at the New Orleans
Union Passenger Terminal to be exact!). To learn more about some of
the classic "streamliners" that operated through Louisiana please click here.
This page at the site highlights many of these trains, including all
of those mentioned above. If you would like to find out what kind of
train service Amtrak currently operates within Louisiana please click here to visit their website.
Freight and passenger railroads aside, the state is also home to
just a few railroad museums (and, unfortunately, no tourist/excursion
which include the DeQuincy Railroad Museum, Old Hickory Railroad, and
Southern Forest Heritage Museum. Lastly, for more information about the
state's railroad history please visit AbandonedRails.com, a website
which highlights abandoned rail
lines found around the country. All in all, while Louisiana
is rather flat and offers little to see visually, railroads in the
Pelican State has plenty to see, whether you are a vacationer, railfan,
or just a local, perhaps interested in some sightseeing or something to
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