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Amtrak to Celebrate 30th Anniversary of Crescent Service between New York and New Orleans


Events Scheduled for National Train Day, May 9th

WASHINGTON – Amtrak will commemorate the 30th anniversary of their operation of the historic Crescent service as part of National Train Day on May 9th with a special event in New Orleans, and smaller events at stops along the train’s route in Atlanta, and Meridian and Hattiesburg, Miss.

“From the Big Apple to the Big Easy, the Crescent represents rail travel’s connection to the past as well as its importance as a vital transportation alternative for the future,” said Emmett Fremaux Amtrak’s vice president of marketing and product management. “We look forward to celebrating this milestone anniversary on the day that America celebrates train travel.”

The event at New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal will include exhibits, entertainment and a display of current Amtrak equipment as well as historic private rail cars. Scott Miller and the Commonwealth will perform as the event’s finale. Details on the events planned at the other locations may be found online at

In addition, Amtrak has commissioned artwork by graphic artist Michael Schwab depicting the Crescent. The artwork will be used on advertising, posters and other materials celebrating the Crescent’s anniversary.

To raise awareness of the vital role rail plays in our nation’s transportation system, Amtrak will celebrate its second annual National Train Day on May 9, 2009.

History of the Crescent

With a history that goes back to 1891, Amtrak’s Crescent is a descendant of the famed Washington and Southwestern Vestibuled Limited. The “Vestibule,” as it came to be known, was the first train to feature enclosed vestibules making the walk between cars much more pleasant particularly during bad weather.

Through the years, the service continued under different owners and different names. In 1970 the service was dubbed the Southern Crescent as it was the combination of two services — the Southerner and the Crescent — that had previously operated separately between New York and New Orleans. This version of the service was operated by Southern Railway and was one of the last privately-operated long distance passenger trains in the U.S. On February 1, 1979 the Southern Railway ceased passenger rail service, and Amtrak took over the operation of the Southern Crescent, renaming it the Crescent, a salute to the crescent moon-like shape of the city of New Orleans.

Amtrak’s current Crescent service continues to offer travelers a number of amenities that have been available on the route for years. Passengers may choose from wide Coach seats with ample legroom or sleeping accommodations with room for up to two travelers per room.

New Dining Car Menu

The Crescent’s predecessor, the Vestibuled Limited, featured the first dining car on service between New York and New Orleans and since that time, dining on board the Crescent has been an event. With table cloths and full meal service, the dining car offers passengers an experience unlike any other. More than simply a meal, the Crescent offers diners the opportunity to sample regional cuisine with numerous selections available, all prepared on board.

Beginning in June, a new menu will be offered in the Crescent’s dining car. Selections will include Low Country Shrimp and Grits, Louisiana Crawfish Etouffee, Coastal Crab Cakes with Remoulade Sauce and Seared Catfish Creole topped off with a Mississippi Snickers Mud Cake or Southern Pecan Pie — all items inspired by the rich culinary regions of the train’s route.

The Crescent, trains 19 and 20, travels through more states — including the District of Columbia — than any other Amtrak route. Offering daily service, the 1,377-mile route travels from New York’s Penn Station to the New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal in 30 hours, stopping in 33 communities along the way.


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