City of New Orleans title block
City of New Orleans

The Amtrak City of New Orleans: new passenger’s guide

The Amtrak City of New Orleans is a daily Superliner train between Chicago, IL, and New Orleans, LA, with 18 intermediate stops, including Memphis—plus connection services. From end to end, the route is 934 miles and takes, on average, 19 hours and 42 minutes.

Amtrak’s City of New Orleans Quick Look

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Beyond Bourbon Street Podcast

If planning a trip to New Orleans, check out the Beyond Bourbon Street Podcast. The podcast and website cover many insider trips to New Orleans, suggesting activities beyond Bourbon Street. There is also a travel guide available!

About the City of New Orleans Route

The City of New Orleans is not the most scenic of Amtrak routes, but it is still worth taking for the destinations.

When heading South on the train, there is not much to see because you leave later at night. What is neat is that the train backs out of the station to get on the high line and connect with CN’s track, which was once part of the old Illinois Central line.

This move takes a little while and is slow. On the way back to Chicago Union Station, the train does the reverse and backs into the station.

In both directions, you mainly see parts of Louisana and Mississippi; if you are traveling North, you see parts of Northern Illinois.

The neatest part of this train is going over the Lake Pontchartrain Bridge! Especially if you are on the top level of the train, it can feel like you are on a boat traveling over the water because that is all you see from both sides.

The City of New Orleans on-time performance and host railroads.

Canadian National/Illinois Central hosts most of the City of New Orleans route, and Amtrak owns the tracks around the end stations.

  • From January 2023-2024, Amtrak’s City of New Orleans had an average on-time performance of 63.4% at stations, with an average delay of 85 minutes.
    • Trains can get behind schedules during the middle of the route and can make up time by the end.
  • While Amtrak can cause delays, the delays are often caused by the host railroad.
    • The top two delays caused by CN are:
      • Freight train interference
      • Other passenger trains

The information for this section comes from the Amtrak Host Railroad Report January 2024

Accommodations for the Amtrak City of New Orleans

There are several things this Superliner train offers, from seating to add-ons.

Coach Class Seating

  • The Amtrak City of New Orleans coach class features:
    • Comfortable reclining seats with ample legroom
    • A fold-down tray
    • Seat back pocket
    • Leg and footrests
    • Individual reading lights
    • 120v grounded (three-prong) electric outlets on the wall under the windows
    • Upper and lower seating
    • Above-seat luggage storage, with shelving on the lower level, too.
    • The bathrooms are on the lower level.

Sleeper Car (Rooms)

All rooms include:

  • Complimentary meals
  • Lounge access in Chicago and New Orleans
  • Dedicated car attendant
  • At least one outlet in the room
  • A place to hang garments
  • Amtrak supplies:
    • Hangers
    • Pillows
    • Fresh linens, blankets, and towels
    • Water
  • Access to showers
  • Coffee and juice in the morning.
  • Seats by day, beds by night.

Types of rooms offered aboard the City of New Orleans

  • Roomette
    • The smallest room
    • Rooms 1-10 are on the upper level, with 11-14 on the lower.
  • Bedroom
    • Twice the size of a roomette with an in-room restroom and shower.
    • All rooms are on the upper level.
  • Family bedroom
    • Provides seating and berths for two adults and two smaller kids.
    • There is one of these rooms per sleeper car, and it is on the lower level.
  • Accessible room
    • Accommodates passengers with mobility issues and their travel companions.
    • The accessible bedrooms are located on the lower level of the train.

Wi-Fi and the City of New Orleans

The City of New Orleans does not have Wi-Fi or entertainment systems outside the windows. Here are some entertainment ideas for when you ride Amtrak.

Amtrak City of New Orleans add-ons

There are a few things that you can add to your next adventure on this train!

Bikes

  • Space is available for standard, full-size bicycles
    • Up to 50 lbs, 70 inches x 41 inches x 8.5 inches.
    • Amtrak stores bikes in designated bike racks/areas inside the baggage car (if available).
    • For more information, check out Amtrak’s bicycle policy.

Pets and service animals

  • Amtrak allows dogs and cats.
    • Up to 20 pounds with the combined weight of the pet and carrier
    • For trips up to seven hours.
    • You need to fill out paperwork for your fluffy friend prior to boarding the train.

If you have a service or comfort animal, you need to check out Amtrak’s service animal policy to see if your critter qualifies and if they do what you need to do for them to ride with you.

Luggage on this train

Click the station links below to see if they offer checked baggage service. Your departure and destination station must offer check bag service for you to check bags.

  • The City of New Orleans also allows checked baggage
    • Two bags up to 50 lbs. and 75 linear inches are permitted per person for free.
    • Charges apply for additional and oversized luggage.
    • Not all locations can handle checked baggage.

Each passenger may carry on:

  • One personal item, 25 lbs. (12 kg) and 14 x 11 x 7 inches, and 
  • Two carry-on pieces of luggage, 50 lbs. (23 kg) and 28 x 22 x 14 inches each
  • If you transfer to the Pacific Surfliner at some point along your journey, the baggage size for that train is up to 28 x 22 x 11 inches each. 

Charges apply for additional and oversized luggage; check out Amtrak’s carry-on bag policy for more information.

Accessibility

Wheelchair Ramp is available to assist passengers in boarding and detraining with a wheeled mobility device. On the train, there is lower-level coach seating and accessible bedrooms. If you have a service animal, check out Amtrak’s service animal requirements in the above “pets” section.

Food On Amtrak’s City of New Orleans

The cafe is on the upper level in the middle of the train. The car is also where sleeper passengers get their food as well.

Cafe car

  • The cafe features
    • Various hot and cold meals
    • Snacks
    • Hot, cold, and adult beverages
  • The cafe is available for all customers from early morning until late at night.
  • It may close during meal prep times and breaks.
  • This car is between the coach and sleeping cars in the middle of the train.

You can bring food and drinks aboard the train. Due to FDA regulations, you cannot eat food in the cafe car. If you are in coach class, you cannot drink the alcohol you brought aboard. If you have a sleeper, you can consume it in your or your travel buddy’s room.

Flex dining

  • Flex Dining is complimentary dining for sleeping passengers.
  • The meals can be eaten in your rooms or the cafe car.
  • Meals are prepared and warmed on the train
  • Selections for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Complimentary non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Those who want and are of legal age can get a complimentary adult drink with dinner.
  • Additional adult beverages can be purchased.

The Amtrak City of New Orleans scheduled Meals:

These are the meals offered to sleeper car passengers.

DIRECTIONCITY SECTIONSDAY OF TRAVELMEALS OFFERED
#58 NorthboundNew Orleans, LA- Memphis, TNday 1Dinner*
Newbern-Dyersburg, TN – Chicago, ILday 2Breakfast & Lunch
#59 SouthboundChicago, IL – Effingham, ILday 1Dinner
Centralia, IL – New Orleans, LAday 2Breakfast
*Dinner is served not long after you get on the train in Chicago.

Route guide for Amtrak’s City of New Orleans

Over a decade ago, Amtrak produced route guides for many of their trains, and I could go into the past to get it for you. You can download it to your device or print it out if interested.

Amtrak City of New Orleans Schedule

The City of New Orleans runs daily between Chicago, New Orleans, and the intermediate stops.

Train 59
Southbound
Communities ServedTrain 58
Northbound
Read DownDaily TrainMilesLast Stop
8:05pChicago, IL
Union Station (CHI) B
09:15a
8:54pHomewood, IL (HMW)247:44a
9:23pKankakee, IL (KKI) F577:13a
10:34pChampaign-Urbana, IL (CHM)1296:10a
11:13pMattoon, IL (Charleston) (MAT) F1735:23a
11:37pEffingham, IL (EFG) F2004:57a
12:25aCentralia, IL (CEN) F2534:10a
1:26aCarbondale, IL (CDL) F B3093:16a
3:14aFulton, KY (FTN) F4061:04a
3:56aNewbern-Dyersburg, TN (NBN) F44212:22a
6:27a | 6:40aMemphis, TN
Central Station (MEM)
52810:20p | 10:40p
8:01aMarks, MS (MKS) F5978:31p
8:55a | 9:00aGreenwood, MS (GWD)6547:32p | 7:37p
9:51aYazoo City, MS (YAZ) F7066:42p
11:12a | 11:20aJackson, MS (JAN)7515:28p | 5:44p
11:55aHazlehurst, MS (HAZ) F7844:17p
12:16pBrookhaven, MS (BRH) F8053:56p
12:40pMcComb, MS (MCB) F8283:32p
1:28pHammond, LA (HMD)8812:45p
3:47pNew Orleans, LA B
Union Passenger Terminal (NOL)
9341:45p
Final StopStationsMilesRead Up
‘This chart is a guide; always check with the electric version of your tick for the most up-to-date times or consult the Amtrak website.

Abbreviations

R = Receive passengers only; this means you can board the train, but you cannot buy a ticket on this train to this station.

D = Depart only; you can buy a ticket to this station but not from this station.

F= Flag-stop

B = Stations with Amtrak Connecting Services.

Printable Amtrak City of New Orleans Schedule

This PDF is available for you, but you can also print customer schedules; this article helps you print Amtrak schedules that are custom for your trip or entire routes.

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Kevin Monteith

Kev Monteith has been traveling on Amtrak since 2012. With over a decade of experience, he has been on over 800 trains, covering over 200k miles of rail. Kev enjoys helping others achieve their travel dreams by providing support and information. Outside of travel, Kev enjoys making music as an organist and outings with family.

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