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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.
We are running steam locomotive 745 at our yard tomorrow between 1pm and 4pm. The event is open to all LASTA members.
Ride our Steam Train and our new restored Speeder
Live Music | Refreshments | Gift Shop
Santa Arrives at 12:30 PM
Steam Fest Is Back!!!
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!
Update on the old Porter Locomotive….
(Feb 2016) Track maintenance…
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!
SP-745 will be appearing at the 21st Annual Gretna Heritage Festival from October 2nd to October 4th. We will be setup with Operation Lifesaver at our normal location on 4th street. For more information about Gretna Heritage Festival, visit www.gretnafest.com
— Direction —
- From Westbank Expressway take Lafayette Street exit to Service Road and turn right on Huey P. Long Ave.
- Free Public Parking is available at 3rd Street & Derbigny Street Parking Garage.
- Handicap Parking Available is located on Huey P Long Ave between 5th & 6th Streets.
- Free parking and a free shuttle during the festival will be available at Oakwood Center in Terrytown
LASTA is in the process in finalizing plans to attend the 2015 Gretna Fest. At the time we, are planning to arrive at our usual location on 4th street in the morning on Friday, October 2nd. Stay tuned to this website and our Twitter feed for additional information.
The party has been scheduled for December 12th from Noon to 4 pm. Please come and join us and bring some friends. Santa will be arriving by train.
We will have train rides for everyone. 745 Club members can get it the cab of SP745 and have some fun.