Indeed the night had been short as I had to get up by 4.30 in the morning. Luckily the new phone had woken me up, what would I have done without a phone? I would certainly have missed the train. After a quick shower I left the hostel by about 5 am. There were no buses running this early on a Saturday morning so I had to walk to the Amtrak station. I wasn’t sure how long it might take which was one of the reasons I had left so early. It was still very humid and walking in these conditions not very pleasant. Nevertheless, I made it to the station and it had taken just a bit more than 30 minutes which meant I arrived an entire hour before boarding began. But rather early than late and the waiting hall of the Union Passenger Terminal in New Orleans was quite nice. Boarding began at 6.30 am and the train left at sharp 7 am just like indicated in the timetable. I was traveling on train 20 alias “Crescent” a daily New Orleans to New York service. The train wasn’t too full and seats were not assigned so I could choose wherever I wanted to sit. After passing by many suburbs and a large cemetery the train left New Orleans behind and went along the lake shore for quite a while before crossing the lake over a long bridge. After about an hour the train had its first stop in Slidell, Louisiana before crossing the border to Mississippi with stops in Picayune, MS, Hattiesburg, MS, Laurel, MS and Meridian, MS. A volunteer from the Trails & Rails program came along and distributed some brochures featuring major sights along the tracks. I spend the morning with recovering a bit from the rather short night by taking advantage of the recline ability of the seat and I also took some time to further set up the new phone and to customize all the features. By 11.30 I headed down towards the dining car, I had a 12.00 table reservation for lunch. The remaining time I used to have a chat with the volunteers from the Trails & Rails program, a very nice couple from Grainsville. They are traveling frequently on the Crescent providing passengers with information on natural sights along the tracks. They gave me a lot of valuable tips for my upcoming Atlanta visit. Then it was time for lunch. I had the traditional veggie burger and a soda. I also had a nice chat with two ladies from North Carolina from the neighbor table. I spend the afternoon at my seat sorting some pictures and having a look at the data that I luckily could recover from my broken smartphone. During the afternoon the Crescent picked up some delay cause by the late Crescent train number 19 New York to New Orleans and some cargo traffic. In the end we reached Tuscaloosa, AL with 60 minutes delay. The delay remained also when we called at Birmingham, Alabama which we left exactly 60 minutes behind schedule. Finally we made one more stop in Anniston, AL before crossing the border to Georgia. Once again it was time to adjust the clock, moving now to Eastern Time. We finally arrived in Atlanta, GA with 50 minutes delay. During the last two to three hours I spent such a great time with the guys from Trails & Rails in the launch car sharing so many interesting stories of previous trips and future planned trips as well the joy and eye-opening experience of traveling. They also gave me so many great tips for Atlanta and brochures. Once off the train in Atlanta I had to walk about a mile to the nearest MARTA subway station. I got a bit lost but there was a very friendly local lady who had the same problem so we went together on the search of the station which certainly wasn’t that easy to find, hidden behind tall buildings. Getting then to the airport was easy as the subway I had boarded was bound for the airport station. After a 20 minutes ride I reached Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the busiest airport in the world with almost 100 million passengers annually as I just learned at a recent conference I attended in Singapore where I also met the managing director of the airport. However, I only bypassed the airport transferring from MARTA to the complementary hotel shuttle. I was certainly impressed by the bus station that alone just served all the hotel shuttles, a concept that however certainly makes sense. I had to wait a while until my shuttle showed up but once on board the ride didn’t take long and soon I was checked in and could get into my room. It had gotten late and I went to sleep pretty soon.
|Crescent has arrived in Atlanta|
|Atlanta station with Crescent|