The Crescent operates on the route between New York and New Orleans, which carries passengers through 13 states and passes through notable cities such as Philadelphia, Washington DC and Birmingham. On our Tracks of the Deep South tour we join The Crescent in New Orleans to undertake a relatively small section of this route to Atlanta: a daytime journey of just under 12 hours.
New Orleans to Mississippi
We depart New Orleans and as we leave the city and its suburbs behind we begin our journey across Lake Pontchartrain on the 6.2 mile (10km) trestle which spans this, the second largest saltwater lake in the United States. The train passes through Slidell before crossing the State Line into Mississippi and travelling to Picayune, a city which has seen its population rise dramatically since Hurricane Katrina with people from the Gulf Coast seeking a safer home.
Through the De Soto National Forest
Our journey continues through the De Soto National Forest and through towns and cities such as Hattiesburg, Laurel and Meridian to Tuscaloosa, the capital of Alabama. From here we travel to Birmingham, the largest city in Alabama which was founded in 1871 with the intention of it becoming a major industrial enterprise like its British namesake. The train takes us to the Georgia/Alabama State Line and at this point we need to adjust our watches ahead one hour as we cross the Central/Eastern time zone.
As we make our final approach towards our destination, Atlanta, we cross the Chattahoochee River, renowned for its colourful granite outcroppings. Today a major financial and commercial centre, Atlanta is the home of companies such as Coca Cola, Delta Airlines and CNN but is also known for its role in the novel/film 'Gone with the Wind', which depicted its importance as a railroad and military supply hub in the Civil War. It is in this historic yet modern city that we leave The Crescent to enjoy the final days of our Tracks of the Deep South tour.