The Train they call the city of New Orleans (1 Viewer)

Saintman2884

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I was talking to my folks tonight as we were coming home from the bowling alley and the song Arlo Guthrie wrote in the 1970's the city of New Orleans came on. I remarked how beautiful the song was, so heartfelt the lyrics were, and how it got a new meaning after Katrina happened.

To this day, I have no clue what the song is about, Is it about a train that comes into New Orleans regurely and is stationed here. I brought this up in the EE board and not the Music board because its a question and answer about the song itself and not necessarily about the music so much. I just want to know what the song was about and its connections to New Orleans is or may be.
Like I said, I heard it on the radio after Katrina and to be honest I broke down and cried because it was like the song had a lot of pain it and what I was experiencing at the time. 2005 was a hard year for me and even part of 2006 I must admit. I have such a wonderful love affair with New Orleans that it hurt me emotionally to see it suffer with the tragedy with Katrina and the song brought it back in spades.
 

DadsDream

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The Illinois Central Railroad ran two trains back and forth between Chicago and New Orleans.

One was called the Panama Limited. The other was called the City of New Orleans.

My father was a fireman on the Panama Limited in the 1930s.
 
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Saintman2884

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Thanks Dads. Its such a heartfelt song has a lot of sentimental meaning to me. it is probably in my top 5 all time songs list. Just tears you up to hear the pain in the song Guthrie is getting across to you. It really hurt after Katrina to tell you the truth. Because it talks directly about men working a hard life on a railroad that really wears them out and they burn out quickly
 

tenordas

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I'm probably a sentimental idiot, but I thought those trains still run from Chicago to New Orleans. Probably it's just the same train line with new trains, while the actual "The City of N.O." and "The Panama Ltd." have been retired long since.

My grandfather was an engineer on the Katy (yes, I love that song, too), so trains have a soft spot in my heart even though I'm not an "enthusiast".

EDIT: Thanks for the links, Dads! So I'm partially correct, The City of New Orleans does still run from Chicago to New Orleans (though it has been different trains in succession named the same thing over the years).
 
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I was talking to my folks tonight as we were coming home from the bowling alley and the song Arlo Guthrie wrote in the 1970's the city of New Orleans came on. I remarked how beautiful the song was, so heartfelt the lyrics were, and how it got a new meaning after Katrina happened.

FYI, Steve Goodman wrote the song, not Arlo Guthrie.
 

TPS

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You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant (excepting Alice).

TPS
 

DadsDream

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Hey, tenodoras! Yes, those names refer to the routes.

Back in the day, a specific locomotive was often assigned to the route and took on the name of the route as well. The biggest, fastest and most powerful locomotives were assigned to the Pullman car passenger trains, like these two.

Amtrak still operates the City of New Orleans and to raise money after Katrina, Arlo Guthrie rode it as a fundraiser, with stops along the way for concerts to gather donations. .

Amtrak ended the Panama Limited in 1974.
 

Sabine

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I was talking to my folks tonight as we were coming home from the bowling alley and the song Arlo Guthrie wrote in the 1970's the city of New Orleans came on. I remarked how beautiful the song was, so heartfelt the lyrics were, and how it got a new meaning after Katrina happened.

To this day, I have no clue what the song is about, Is it about a train that comes into New Orleans regurely and is stationed here. I brought this up in the EE board and not the Music board because its a question and answer about the song itself and not necessarily about the music so much. I just want to know what the song was about and its connections to New Orleans is or may be.
Like I said, I heard it on the radio after Katrina and to be honest I broke down and cried because it was like the song had a lot of pain it and what I was experiencing at the time. 2005 was a hard year for me and even part of 2006 I must admit. I have such a wonderful love affair with New Orleans that it hurt me emotionally to see it suffer with the tragedy with Katrina and the song brought it back in spades.

Saintman, I always thought of that song as not just about the train called the City of New Orleans, but as a tribute to (and marking the end of) the passenger train era. Anyway, it's a great song.
 

DadsDream

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The Panama Limited also had a song written about it (in 1930 by Bukka White) and it is also mentioned frequently in other old blues songs.

This is "Special Streamline" by Bukka.
<object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/fgQudd8zBSc&hl=en"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/fgQudd8zBSc&hl=en" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>
 

hardhead233

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I'm pretty sure my great grandfather, who was from Sicily, worked for the Illinois railroad in the early 1900's At the time the railroad was selling cheap plots of land several miles below New Orleans in St Bernard Parish(in front of the Mobile refinery along St Bernard Hwy) and him and his two brother's each bought up strips of land and that's where my family was raised...
 

Brad Mojo

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Well, the Illinois Central
and the Southern Central Freight,
gotta keep on pushin&#8217;, Mama,
&#8216;cause you know they&#8217;re runnin&#8217; late.

Without love, where would you be now?
 

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