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The Crescent is a passenger train operated by Amtrak in the eastern part of the United Statesmarker. It runs daily from Pennsylvania Stationmarker in New York Citymarker to New Orleans Union Passenger Terminalmarker in New Orleans, Louisianamarker as train 19 and returns on the same route as train 20. Most of the route of the Crescent is on the Norfolk Southern Railway. The Crescent passes through more states (including the District of Columbiamarker) than any other Amtrak route.



A decade after the Civil War, the predecessor of the Southern Railway, the Richmond and Danville Railroad Company, established the "Piedmont Air Line Route." This connected the Northeastern US with Atlanta and New Orleans both via Richmond and via Southern's present route through Charlottesville and Lynchburg, Virginia. The "Southern Express" and the "Southern Mail" operated over these routes, on an advertised time of 57 hours and 40 minutes, including a change at Atlanta.

Today's Crescent is the lineal descendant of the "Washington and Southwestern Vestibuled Limited," inaugurated in January 1891 by the Richmond and Danville Railroad along the "Piedmont Air Line Route." This Washington-Atlanta train was soon nicknamed the "Vestibule" because it was the first all-year train with vestibuled equipment operating in the South.

The brochure announcing the train hailed it as "a service second to none in completeness and elegance of detail ... providing all the latest and best facilities for the comfort and enjoyment of its patrons." And the "Vestibule" lived up to its billing. Drawing-room and stateroom sleeping cars, dining cars, smoking and library cars and observation cars embodied the latest, most luxurious designs. They were gas-lighted throughout and equipped with hot and cold running water. The vestibuled platforms proved an interesting novelty. Many passengers spent considerable time walking from one car to another just to enjoy the unusual experience of being able to do so without having their hats blown away.

Soon the Washington-Atlanta schedule expanded to include a through Pullman to New Orleans via Montgomery and Mobile, Alabamamarker, over the rails of the Atlanta & West Point, the Western Railway of Alabama, and the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. New York was brought into the schedule, via a connection with the Pennsylvania Railroad's "Congressional Limited." Scheduled time for the New York-New Orleans run was advertised as a "40-hour, unprecedented" trip. Because of the popularity of this through service, the "Washington and Southwestern Vestibuled Limited" became a solid train of through cars between New York and New Orleans. It carried the first dining cars to operate between those two cities.

Late Southern Era

As Southern's railway partners sought to discontinue passenger services, Southern Railway rerouted the train to an all-Southern route and operated the train as the Southern Crescent between Washington, DCmarker's Union Stationmarker and New Orleans. The Southern Crescent inaugurated service in 1970 by combining two trains that had run separately between New York and New Orleans for decades: the Southerner, which ran over the Southern Railway between New Orleans and Atlanta via Birmingham; and the original Crescent, which had previously used Atlanta and West Point Railroad, Western Railway of Alabama and Louisville and Nashville Railroad trackage between New Orleans and Atlanta via Mobile. For the combined Southern Crescent, Southern moved the train to the Birmingham route instead of the Mobile route.

Meanwhile, the A&WP, Western of Alabama, and L&N continued to run the "Crescent" between Atlanta and New Orleans. Each morning, the "Crescent" and the "Southern Crescent" departed Atlanta for New Orleans over different routes. By then, the "Crescent" was a coach-only train sustained by two storage mail cars. Eventually, it was run combined with the "Pan American" south of Montgomery. In 1970, with the mail contract cancelled, the "Crescent" was discontinued.

Amtrak Era

Southern Railway, a predecessor of Norfolk Southern, initially opted out of Amtrak in 1971, although after May 1, 1971, Amtrak, assuming the services of the Penn Central, carried the Southern Crescent between New York and Washington.

The Southern Crescent was one of the two last privately operated long-distance passenger services in the United States. However, revenue losses forced Southern Railway to leave the passenger business and turn over operation of the train to Amtrak, on February 1, 1979, which again simplified the name to the Crescent.

When Hurricane Katrina struck Louisianamarker, Mississippimarker, and Alabamamarker in August 2005, the Crescent was temporarily truncated to Atlantamarker. Service was restored first as far as Meridian, Mississippimarker as an interim measure as Norfolk Southern crews worked to repair the damage to their lines serving the Gulf Coast. Amtrak restored service to New Orleans on October 9, 2005 with the northbound Crescent's 7:05 AM departure; the first southbound arrival occurred later in the day.


The tracks used were once part of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad and Southern Railway systems, and are now owned by Amtrak, CSX Transportation, and Norfolk Southern Railway, respectively. The following lines are used:


A usual consist on the Crescent is as follows:
  • 2 P42 engines (1 AEM-7 or HHP-8 between Washington and New York)
  • 1 Heritage Fleet Baggage Car
  • 4 Amfleet II Coaches
  • 1 Amfleet II CafĂ©
  • 1 Heritage Fleet Diner
  • 2 Viewliner Sleepers

Station stops

State/Province Town/City Station Connections
New Yorkmarker New York Citymarker Penn Stationmarker Amtrak: Acela Express, Adirondack, Cardinal, Carolinian, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Keystone Service, Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Pennsylvanian, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Vermonter
LIRR: Main Line, Port Washington Branch
NJ Transit: North Jersey Coast Line, Northeast Corridor Line, Gladstone Branch, Montclair-Boonton Line, Morristown Line
NYC Subway: 1, 2, 3, A, C, E
MTA Regional Bus : M10, M16, M20, M34, Q32, QM24

New Jerseymarker Newarkmarker Newark Penn Stationmarker Amtrak: Acela Express, Cardinal, Carolinian, Keystone Service, Northeast Regional, Pennsylvanian, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Vermonter
NJ Transit: Newark City Subway, Newark Light Rail, North Jersey Coast Line, Northeast Corridor Line, Raritan Valley Line, 5, 21, 62, 67, 70, 71, 72, 73, 75, 76, 78, 79, 308, 978

Trentonmarker Trenton Rail Stationmarker Amtrak: Acela Express, Cardinal, Carolinian, Keystone Service, Northeast Regional, Pennsylvanian, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Vermonter
NJ Transit: Northeast Corridor Line, River Linemarker, 409, 600, 604
SEPTA Regional Rail: R7

Pennsylvaniamarker Philadelphiamarker 30th Street Stationmarker Amtrak: Acela Express, Cardinal, Carolinian, Keystone Service, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Pennsylvanian, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Vermonter
NJ Transit: Atlantic City Line
SEPTA City Transit Division: Market-Frankford Line, Route 10, Route 11, Route 13, Route 34, Route 36, 9, 10, 11, 13, 30, 31, 34, 36, 44, 62, 121, 124, 125, 316
SEPTA Regional Rail: R1, R2, R3, R5, R6, R7, R8

Delawaremarker Wilmingtonmarker Wilmington Stationmarker Amtrak: Acela Express, Cardinal, Carolinian, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Vermonter
DART First State: 2, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 20, 21, 28, 32, 301
SEPTA Regional Rail: R2

Marylandmarker Baltimoremarker Baltimore Penn Stationmarker Amtrak: Acela Express, Cardinal, Carolinian, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Vermonter
MARC Train: Penn Line
MTA Maryland: Light Rail, 3, 11, 61, 64

District of Columbiamarker Washingtonmarker Washington Union Stationmarker Amtrak: Acela Express, Capitol Limited, Cardinal, Carolinian, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Vermonter, Thruway Motorcoach to Charlottesvillemarker, Virginiamarker
MARC Train: Brunswick Line, Camden Line, Penn Line
Metromarker: Red Line
Metrobus: Loudoun, OmniRid
VRE: Manassas Line, Fredericksburg Line

Virginiamarker Alexandriamarker Alexandria Union Stationmarker Amtrak: Cardinal, Carolinian, Northeast Regional, Silver Meteor, Silver Star
VRE: Fredericksburg Line, Manassas Line
Manassasmarker Manassasmarker Amtrak: Northeast Regional, Cardinal
VRE: Manassas Line
Culpepermarker Culpepermarker Amtrak: Northeast Regional, Cardinal
Charlottesvillemarker Charlottesvillemarker Amtrak: Northeast Regional, Cardinal, Thruway Motorcoach to Richmondmarker, Virginiamarker and Washington, D.C.marker
Lynchburgmarker Lynchburgmarker Amtrak: Northeast Regional
Danvillemarker Danvillemarker none
North Carolinamarker Greensboromarker Greensboromarker Amtrak: Carolinian and Piedmont
High Pointmarker High Pointmarker Amtrak: Carolinian and Piedmont, Thruway Motorcoach to Winston-Salemmarker, North Carolinamarker
Salisburymarker Salisburymarker Amtrak: Carolinian and Piedmont
Charlottemarker Charlottemarker Amtrak: Carolinian and Piedmont
CATS Bus Lines: 11
Gastoniamarker Gastoniamarker none
South Carolinamarker Spartanburgmarker Spartanburgmarker
Greenvillemarker Greenvillemarker
Clemsonmarker Clemsonmarker CAT: Red
Georgiamarker Toccoamarker Toccoamarker none
Gainesvillemarker Gainesvillemarker
Atlantamarker Atlantamarker MARTA Bus: 23, 110 "The Peach"
Alabamamarker Annistonmarker Annistonmarker none
Birminghammarker Birminghammarker
Tuscaloosamarker Tuscaloosamarker
Mississippimarker Meridianmarker Meridianmarker
Laurelmarker Laurelmarker
Hattiesburgmarker Hattiesburgmarker
Picayunemarker Picayunemarker
Louisianamarker Slidellmarker Slidellmarker
New Orleansmarker New Orleansmarker Amtrak: City of New Orleans, Sunset Limited

See also



  1. Amtrak - Inside Amtrak - News & Media - News Releases - Latest News Releases
Referenced in REM's song Driver 8[62185]

External links

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