Access by train/transit:
Amtrak's City of New Orleans, Crescent, and Sunset Limited.
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 run 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.
Thanks to Tim Vermande for pictures
WB -OR- EB I-10 exit 235A to Orleans Ave/Vieux Carre, take a left onto
Orleans. Orleans turns into Basin St, which will wind around to Canal St.
Take a left onto Canal St, and this will take you down to the waterfront.
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.
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 St Lines
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.
Canal Street - Cemetery Line
Canal Street - City Park/Museum Line
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.
Stop along the Riverfront and Loyola/UPT Lines.
End of the line. GPS Coordinates: 29.960758,-90.057289
Being filmed in New Orleans, CBS's "NCIS: New Orleans"
often has scenes from the streetcar system. But for the episode "End
of the Line" (air date Feb 21, 2017), the show starts off with the murder of
a Naval person at the end of the Canal Street line. I imagine this
created quite a stir when they were filming this! :-)
It looks like the production crew added this trellis where the Navy guy was hung from....
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Please Note: Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.
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Aerial shots were taken from either Google or Bing Maps as noted. Screen captures are made
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By the way, floobydust is a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data book, and means miscellaneous
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