The Sunset Limited (Louisiana)

The Southern Pacific's Sunset Limited began service from New Orleans to San Francisco via Los Angeles in 1894. The train was initially all-Pullman and at various times has had termination points in Jacksonville, FL and Los Angeles. When Amtrak inherited the route in 1971, it retained tri-weely service between New Orleans and Los Angeles. Service was extended to Jacksonville, FL from 1993 until track damage by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 returned the eastern terminus to New Orleans. Hopes of returning daily service were quashed in 2010 when the Union Pacific indicated tha $750 million woud be required for infrastructure upgrades to avoid interfering with heavy freight traffic.

New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal (NOL)

The Huey P. Long Bridge is a cantilevered steel through-truss bridge over the Mississippi River that opened in December of 1935. It was originally built to carry two rail tracks and four (narrow) lanes of highway traffic. An expansion to six standard traffic lanes with shoulders was almost complete when I visited in 2013. The rail portion is especially impressive with long approaches that limit the grade to 1.25% but extend the total length to almost 23,000 feet in order to reach 135 above mean high water.

Morgan City, LA

The Atchafalaya River (Berwich Bay) at Morgan City, LA is home to two attractive truss bridges. The newer bridge in the foreground is the US 90 Bridge, a 1,838-foot cantilevered Warren through truss built in 1975. The older bridge in the back is the Long-Allen Bridge, a two-lane 3,745-foot K-Parker through truss bridge from 1933 when US 90 was routed along a more scenic and precarious two-lane alignment. The train itself crosses a combination swing and lift bridge just to the south of the two highway bridges.

New Iberia, LA (NIB - mile 127)

Lafayette, LA (LFT - mile 145)

Lake Charles, LA (LCH - mile 219)

I-10 crosses the Calcasieu River just south of Lake Charles over a 6,605-foot Warren through truss bridge that was built in 1952 for US 90 and grandfathered in as an interstate bridge. It is notable for the decorative cast iron dueling pistols on the guard railings (in homage to the area's pirate history) and the terrifying 5% grade on the east approach. Perhaps even more terrifying is the industry on the other side of the river that is the economic lifeblood for the area in general and the local community of oncologists in particular.

Next: Texas...

The glory of the disposition that stops to consider stimuli rather than rushing to engage with them is its long association with intellectual and artistic achievement. Neither E=MC2 nor "Paradise Lost" was dashed off by a party animal. (Winifred Gallagher)