Plans for historic steam locomotive SP 745 to pull an empty grain train on the New Orleans and Gulf Coast (NOGC) Railway have been delayed until at least August or September. However, our GoFundMe campaign to raise the needed money for this special freight excursion continues!
Initial projections that the NOGC would have an empty grain train for SP 745 to pull this spring did not pan out but the railway expects there will be several opportunities for this to happen in the late Summer and Fall when grain season resumes.
As we have stated all along if for some reason the planned steam freight excursion does not happen WE WILL REFUND YOUR DONATION!
In the meantime, we will keep you posted as to exactly when this special steam freight excursion is expected to take place in August or September.
Thanks for your patience and understanding! And THANK YOU for your donations!
We at Louisiana Steam Train Association (LASTA) are deeply moved and very excited by the response we have received from railfans and others on our plans to have historic Southern Pacific steam locomotive # 745 pull a freight train on the New Orleans and Gulf Coast Railroad in the coming weeks.
Currently, there are several thousand likes and shares between the various Facebook pages. Think about it!
If each one of you turns that excitement about our special steam freight excursion into a simple One Dollar donation …we would have more than enough money to pay for this once in a lifetime railroad event AND, with the extra money, we would be well on our way toward the cost of rebuilding SP 745’s boiler next year as required by the FRA.
So how about it EVERYBODY! Click on our GoFundMe page and donate just 1 dollar or more if you can!
Posted in745, Events|Comments Off on 745 Freight Update
Exciting news, railfans! Help us take a quick trip back in time! To the sights and sounds and smells of the mighty steam locomotive! What better way to help celebrate the Crescent City’s Tricentennial with a real blast from the past! Although not exactly in New Orleans nor an official Tricentennial event…historic Southern Pacific Steam locomotive #745 (SP 745) will relive the past when she pulls a freight train on the New Orleans and Gulf Coast (NOGC) Railroad.
This will be a 20 mile long run along the mainline of the NOGC from Myrtle Grove to Gouldsboro Yard in Gretna, Louisiana which is a short distance from where SP 745 was born nearly 100 years ago and just across the Mighty Mississippi from 300-year-old New Orleans! The NOGC route parallels Louisiana State Highway 23 for nearly the entire route and includes a bit of street running on Madison Street in Gretna.
A steam-powered freight train is an extremely rare sight in the 21 st century and it’s something that’s never been seen in southeast Louisiana since steam railroading faded away in the 1950s but with your help the past will come alive as SP 745 pulls a long cut of grain cars to the delight of rail fans and the wonderment of the general public. Recommended viewing areas will be announced later and we ask that you please respect private property. This is a freight only trip so no passengers will be on board.
The exact date has not been set and that’s where you, the rail enthusiast will need to get involved. We need to raise $10,000 to make it all happen. A GoFundMe account has been set up at https://www.gofundme.com/sp745. As an extra added bonus, any money raised beyond the cost of this event will go into 745’s flue fund as the old girl’s boiler must be rebuilt next year as mandated by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
We hope to run this once in a lifetime steam freight excursion in the next few weeks so what are you waiting for…PLEASE DONATE TODAY!
All donations will be refunded if the excursion is canceled.
The Louisiana Steam Train Association (LASTA)
Posted in745, Events|Comments Off on SP 745 Freight Run
December 16, 2017 – It was a magical day for a few in the city of New Orleans as SP 745, the last surviving steam engine built in Louisiana, headed out onto the main line. Operated by the Louisiana Steam Train Association (LASTA), SP 745 had a special mission as Santa’s North Pole Steam Train.
Children and adults alike were enchanted with this one-time holiday experience as SP 745 steamed from the Fly (near Audubon Park) to Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World. Once there, passengers disembarked and enjoyed a festive holiday party with hot cocoa and cookies along with a special showing of everyone’s favorite Christmas movie, The Polar Express!
After the movie, SP 745 chugged her way to the foot of Canal Street to pick up that jolly old man himself, Santa Claus! As the special train headed back to the Fly, Santa handed out a special gift and invitation to all onboard to come to LASTA’s annual Christmas Party at the railyard the following day. Additionally, each ticket holder received a 2018 LASTA family membership at no charge.
The crew of SP 745 would like to extend special thanks to the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad and its employees who worked with LASTA to make this event a great success. And, a very special thank you to all the passengers for taking a holiday trip!
For more information on SP 745, LASTA and future events, please see www.lasta.org.
After several years on hiatus due to major levee reconstruction on The Fly at Audubon Park, Southern Pacific Steam Locomotive #745 returns! It’s the 2016 Steam Train Festival! The historic engine and her exhibit train will be parked on the rails at “The Fly” for all to see Saturday and Sunday, October 15th and 16th from 9 am to 5 pm both days.
SP 745 is the star attraction of Steam Fest! The nearly 100 year old steam engine was built just across the river in Algiers in 1921 and is the only surviving Louisiana built steam locomotive. The old girl sat as a cold, static display in Audubon Park from 1956 to 1984 when she was pulled out of the park to make room for the expansion of Audubon Zoo.
Now 745 returns to Audubon Park as a hot, living, breathing, steaming, fully restored blast from the past! Visitors will be able to view this monstrous mechanical marvel and climb aboard 745 to blow her whistle and see how a real steam engine operates. Steam Fest is a rare chance to experience a unique and significant piece of New Orleans and Louisiana railroad history up close and personal.
But that’s not all! Showcased inside our theatre cars will be a special exhibit of the many historical monuments of New Orleans and their creators. The exhibit will cover monuments to real people erected from before the Civil War to the present. There will also be displays on the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad as well as the Louisiana Steam Train Association (LASTA) which maintains and operates SP 745.
And for the first time at Steam Fest those who attend will be able to take a ride on a vintage “Speeder!” It’s a small self-propelled railcar that railroads once used for track inspections and maintenance. There will also be a special appearance by the Garden Railroad from City Park.
As always, music is an integral part of the entertainment at Steam Fest. Hazel and the Delta Ramblers, a Steam Fest favorite, will perform along with three other musical groups…Bob and The Thunder, River Rats and Jenn Howard and Band. There will also be a bounce house and rock wall climbing to add to the excitement for the kids! Of course Steam Fest would not be the same without good food, liquid refreshments and railroad related gifts!
All are welcome to come out, enjoy and support a special piece of living Louisiana railroad history at the 2016 Steam Train Festival!
SP 745 APPEARANCE AT THE 2016 GRETNA FEST HAS BEEN CANCELLED
Due to circumstances beyond our control historic Southern Pacific Steam Locomotive # 745 and train WILL NOT appear at this year’s Gretna Fest! We regret any inconvenience this may have caused.
Please look for SP 745 and her exhibit train at STEAM FEST! Check back here at www.LASTA.org for the very latest on STEAM FEST, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, October 15th and 16th, 9 am to 5 pm both days on The Fly at Audubon Park!
In the last issue of the 745 Journal, we had advertised a Steam Up scheduled for February 28th. If have followed our recent posts, you may already know that our crew is working on the throttle value. The crew has reported that the job will not be complete by this weekend; therefore, we will need to re-schedule the Steam Up.
If you are in the area, please feel free to stop by the yard this weekend. It will be an excellent opportunity to see the work in progress.
Come join us at the 2015 LASTA Christmas party on SAT DEC 12. The party is scheduled from 11 AM until 4 pm and is open to the public. Santa will be arriving on SP-745 and we will have train rides for everyone.
745 club members will be able to sit in the engineer’s seat and run the locomotive. Not a member – ask us how!
Posted inEvents|Comments Off on 2015 Christmas Party