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Postcard of the Humming Bird circa 1940s-1950s
|Service type||Inter-city rail|
|Locale||Midwestern United States/Southeastern United States|
|First service||December 3, 1939|
|Louisville & Nashville|
|End||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Distance travelled||927 miles (1,492 km)|
|Average journey time||Southbound: 21 hrs 5 min; Northbound: 21 hrs 45 min|
|Southbound: 5; Northbound: 6|
|Seating arrangements||Reclining seat coaches|
|Sleeping arrangements||Open sections, roomettes, double bedrooms|
|Catering facilities||Dining cars, tavern-lounge car|
|Baggage facilities||Handled to or from principal points only|
The Humming Bird was a named train of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad (L&N). The train, inaugurated in 1947, originally ran from Cincinnati, Ohio, to New Orleans, Louisiana, via Louisville, Nashville, Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile and later via a connection at Bowling Green, Kentucky, to Memphis, Tennessee. A connection to Chicago was provided by the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad. It had separate sections in the north and the south. The main northern part originated in Cincinnati; other sections (of the L&N's Georgian) originated in St. Louis and from Chicago. These sections linked with the main part of the train in Nashville. To the south, a connecting train option in Flomaton, Alabama offered train travel to Pensacola, Florida.
In the mid-1950s, Train 5 departed Louisville at 10:05 pm for New Orleans. Train 6 was the northbound number.
The original equipment was part of a 28-car order of four train sets of lightweight stainless steel cars built in 1946 by ACF. Fourteen cars were assigned to the Humming Bird and fourteen to the Georgian. Many of those cars were removed from service in the late 1960s due to severe corrosion problems.
The L&N Railroad served the old Union Station in Memphis, until its closure on April 1, 1964. The railroad then used Central Station. Both L&N and Southern Railway were forced to reopen part of Union Station on December 1, 1966, and use it until March 30, 1968.
The Humming Bird was canceled on January 9, 1969. At that time, the L&N Railroad earned some unwanted publicity when it terminated the final run of the train en route southbound at Birmingham when a federal judge lifted the order keeping the train running after the Interstate Commerce Commission approved its permanent discontinuance. The passengers were then bused to their destinations.
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