September 16, 2012

Civil War History Train

Diorama at the Fredericksburg Battlefield Museum

Some of the colorful architecture in
the Vieux Carre in New Orleans
I am back from an eight day excursion on the Civil War History Train. I mentioned this trip in an earlier blog post. The trip was slightly different than planned due to the storm Issac. Instead of going to Vicksburg and New Orleans first, the trip went in the opposite direction with Washington, DC as the first stop. The bottom line for me was that the trip was two days longer and I had to cover more of the subject matter as the on-board historian. Even with this rerouting the trip went off well and I think everyone enjoyed themselves.

My room was in a 1950 vintage Budd built stainless steel streamlined 10-6 Pullman called the Pacific Union. I had a roomette. It was a small room but cleverly designed to convert into a bunk for sleeping. In the daytime it had a seat and fold-out sink and a mirror. It was comfortable, but the majority of the time I was awake I rode in the dome car, tail end observation car or stood in the vestibule to get clear photos.  I did have trouble sleeping in the moving car, which surprised me as I usually have no trouble sleeping on planes and automobiles. The dome car and tail end observation cars were quite deluxe.

There was an on-board staff that did a good job of pampering us with food and drink. The cook, Caroline, did a great job considering the small galley she had to work in. Meals included grilled salmon, lemon chicken and filet mignon. She also made a great gumbo (or was it Jambayla) for lunch. The bar was always open and lots of snacks were available for munching.
Paddle wheel steamer takes people on a sightseeing cruise in New Orleans

Jackson, MS- a vital rail hub in the civil war is still an important rail junction

Trackside view from the Southern Crescent west of
Atlanta, a surprisingly twisty line

We visited several civil war related sites including the battlefields of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Chickamauga, Atlanta, New Orleans (including the Chalmette site of the 1814 battle with the British), and Vicksburg. We visited several museums along the way too including the Smithsonian Museum of American History, the Museum of the Confederacy, the Confederate White House, the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, the Southeast Railroad Musuem, the Atlanta Cyclorama, the New Orleans Civil War Museum and several National Park Visitors centers.

It was my first visit to New Orleans and Vicksburg. It was also my first time I rode the Amtrak Southern Crescent, Capitol Limited and City of New Orleans.

Most of the passengers were from Illinois with a few others from New York, Nevada, Texas, Georgia, and Washington State. Some were civil war historians and some were railfans, but most just enjoyed travelling in old fashioned Pullman cars.

Overall it was a fun trip. Portions of the proceeds went to support the WILL public radio station in Illinois. I think the agency is planning another trip next year but the details are to be determined. For more photos from the trip visit this album on facebook. (You may need to be a facebook user to see them).


  1. Hope you enjoyed our little railroad museum in Georgia. I almost met you in person but was too busy operating the locomotive that was switching cars down at the shop. Didn't even know the tour was stopping in until after you had left. Love your layout, an absolute inspiration to the young modeler. Keep doing what you do best!

  2. Which museum were you at, Southeast or Civil War and Loco History? In any case, I enjoyed both.

    1. Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth. I'm a jack of all trades, master of none.