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New Orleans: Orleans-Kenner Railroad - Electric Trains

About New Orleans: Orleans-Kenner Railroad

Previous Entry New Orleans: Orleans-Kenner Railroad Feb. 20th, 2008 @ 11:46 am Next Entry

An interurban electric car operated by the Orleans-Kenner Railroad, at the company's barn at Tulane Ave. and S. Dupre St. in 1928.

The O-K railroad ran from what is now Williams Blvd. and Jefferson Highway in Kenner to Canal and S. Rampart Streets downtown. The railroad followed Jefferson Highway to the parish line. When it crossed into Orleans Parish, the O-K ran down S. Claiborne, then turned left on S. Carrollton to follow the Tulane Belt path to Canal St. The return was via the St. Charles belt. The O-K ran from 1915 to 1929. NOPSI converted the St. Charles and Tulane Belts to wide gauge in 1929, making the track incompatible with the standard-gauge O-K. Buses were substituted for the interurbans, running from S. Carrollton and S. Claiborne.

One of the most significant differences between the interurban rail cars and traditional streetcars is the baggage compartment between the cab and rider seating. This area enabled farmers from Kenner to bring bushels of produce into town easily. Once at Canal and Rampart, it was an easy trip by wagon or truck to the French Market.

The O-K RR was the city's only true interurban line. Unlike other parts of the country, the geography of the Isle d'Orleans is such that it was too expensive to run electric interurbans through the swamp to higher ground. Connecting the tri-parish (Orleans/Jefferson/St. Bernard) to the rest of the world was the job of traditional railroad service.

We had a great discussion about the O-K Railroad at the East Jefferson Regional Library last week. I'll be posting more info about the O-K RR in the NOSRA wiki in the near future.
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