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Memphis, Tennessee 12/31/2007

by Chris Guenzler

On my 50th Birthday after arriving into Memphis on the City of New Orleans I waited for the Amtrak Agents to return from the working baggage on the train. Once the train had left Memphis they returned with the checked baggage and passed it out to the passengers who claimed it. Once they were done, they finally unlocked the station doors. I went in and waited until the agent came into his office and I paid the three dollars a bag to store my luggage until this evening. With that done, I walked down the stairs through the station out onto the street. There I saw my first streetcar of the trip.

The streetcar switches ends in front of the former Illinois Central Station now known as Central Station. I went into a corner cafe and got change for a twenty so I could ride the streetcar Lines in Memphis.

The streetcar came into the station and I boarded buying a Day Pass.

Heading down Main Street we met another streetcar. We passed the Orpheum Theater where many rock acts have played over the years. I talked to our operator and she said to ride the east/west line to get off at Madison Street. She also said that the Riverfront Loop would not be operating until later this afternoon. I detrolleyed and walked over to a waiting Madison Street trolley.

I boarded this car for the trip east. The Trolley slowly moved down to the official station and then started east to the 3rd Street Station. We came down the hill and then across Danny Thomas Blvd where the lines split to each side of Madison Street.

A streetcar crossing westbound over Danny Thomas Blvd. We stopped at the Danny Thomas Station continued on to the Orleans Station. The next stop was Forest Park and then we passed by the University of Tennessee Medical Center. We went up a slight hill past the Baptist College to the Pauline Station. We next crossed over Interstate 240 and up a slight hill to the Cleveland Station which is the lines turnaround point.

The Streetcar at the Cleveland Station.

I got off and set up for a picture of the Streetcar at the Cleveland Station. My streetcar for my trip back to downtown came from its turnaround point. I boarded this car and sat right next to the operator to take some pictures heading west.

Passing an outbound streetcar.

Climbing down off the Danny Thomas Bridge. I rode this back west to Main Street.

A southbound streetcar came before my next northbound car came. This trolley only went as far as almost to Butler Street where I had to transfer to another car to take me to Exchange Station. Anyone trying to go further had to transfer to a bus. I stayed on and went back to Butler and switched back to another southbound car. I took that car back south to Peabody Street. I got off and walked west towards the Mississippi River to Vance Park where I sat on a bench and tried a few phone calls. Once I did that, I started taking pictures.

The Memphis Harbor and The Pyramid Arena.

A freight train crossing the Mississippi River Bridge.

A look north at Mud Island and the Highway Bridge across the Mississippi River.

Mud Island and the Pyramid Arena.

A view of downtown Memphis.

A higher view of the Mississippi River. I then walked north along a bike path and back to Front Street.

The Statue of Jefferson Davis-"A True American Patriot".

The Pyramid Arena and Memphis Grain Elevator.

The Pyramid Arena and Convention Center.

Pavilion of Flags. I had wanted to tour the Cotton Museum but it was closed but look what I found on the wall of the building.

A plaque on the side of the wall about John Grisham who is one of my favorite authors.

On my walk through downtown here is a passing Streetcar. I was getting hungry so I found a Hooters, which I have never eaten a meal at and decided to have lunch.

Hooters in Memphis where I had Chicken Wings for my 50th Birthday Lunch.

After lunch I went to Peabody Place and found a very interesting Muvico Movie Theater with a real railroad theme. Inside the theater there were wall paintings on both sides with two massive 2-6-6-4's passing another train's caboose. It was really impressive. I saw National Treasure "Book of Secrets" and learned at the end that Trevor Rabin, former Yes guitar player did the soundtrack. It was a fantastic movie and then I decided to walk back to Vance Park. On the way there I saw a Riverfront Loop Streetcar head south and went to the Beale Street Station to wait for the next one to come along. Ten minutes passed and then the crossing gates went down and here came the Riverfront Loop Streetcar. We ran on the edge of the bluff above the Mississippi River along the CN Mainline by Vance Park. We turned away from the CN mainline as it headed through curves to Central station. Our streetcar ran down the hill into the neighborhood before it took a left and ran under the CN mainline and stopped in front of Central Station. Here we waited on our departure time so we would be in the proper position to go down Main Street. After ten minutes, we made the left onto Main Street and headed north through Downtown Memphis. After passing the Transit Center we took a turn and came to a stop as our operator took a break. I got off for a picture of this streetcar.

This action by me started everyone taking pictures of the streetcar. Once on the move we went west where there was a train signal which was red.

I was interested in seeing how the streetcar crossed the mainline of the former Illinois Central Railroad. After getting a green signal, we crossed the mainline then ran along the Canadian National Railroad towards The Pyramid Station. Next was the stop for Mud Island and the Convention Center. We made one other stop before we returned to the Beale Street station with me completing the Riverfront Loop. I walked back to Front Street finding a steak house but it did not open until 5 PM. I walked back to Vance Park finding my streetcar sitting there having problems.

I shot some pictures of some other streetcars on the Riverfront Loop with my 35 MM camera but was now getting hungry.

I walked back to Front Street and soon found Gus's World Famous Hot & Spicy Fried Chicken for my 50th Birthday Dinner. The chicken lived up to their name. It was the best fried chicken that I have ever had in a restaurant. After I fantastic meal, I walked back to Peabody Street and boarded a streetcar back to Central Station.

I got off the streetcar at Central Station and took one last picture. I reclaimed my luggage and waited for my trip home to start. I did a few Sudoku Puzzles before I first put on a Jackie Chan movie followed by a Kiss Concert to pass the time. I called Julie learning the train was running on time. I walked out to the platform for some getting colder fresh air!

A horse drawn carriage decorated for New Year's Eve.

The last streetcar of the trip was shot about twenty minutes before the City of New Orleans was due into Memphis to finish my stay here.