The August 22, 1940 issue of the Bossier Banner announced the beginning of operations for train service between Kansas City and New Orleans.
“Beginning regular schedule Monday, September 2nd, the Kansas City Southern-Louisiana and Arkansas Railway will inaugurate the ‘Southern Belle,’ streamlined train service, between Kansas City and New Orleans.”
“Described as the ‘Sweetheart of American Trains,’ the three new super-streamlined aluminum trains will offer the traveling public served by these lines unexcelled service and comfort, available on few railways in this country.”
“The inaugural run of the train will be made Friday of this week, when the train will carry railway officials, newspaper men and contestants for the ‘Miss Southern Belle’ beauty contest. This contest, sponsored by the lines, will see 13 beauties, from as many cities along the route, vie with each other for the honor of being the new streamliner’s sponsor with the title of ‘typical Southern Belle.’ “
“Since Saturday of last week the trains of the line have been using the mammouth [sic] Mississippi River Bridge at Baton Rouge, thus eliminating the ferry at Angola. A short section of trackage of the Texas and Pacific, from Torrence to Baton Rouge, is being utilized to get from the capital city, via the new bridge, to Torrence. It is expected that when the piece of track has been improved, and improvements are already planned, the scheduled, already shortened considerably by the use of the old L.R. and N. line, via Coushatta and Alexandria, and the use of the new bridge, will be curtailed even more.”
“A bird’s-eye view of the train on paper shows that it offers all the comforts and conveniences that modern science and engineering skill can provide. It is powered by diesel engines, eliminating smoke and dust. It is air conditioned throughout. Although each of the three trains purchased for this service is an articulated unit, they are designed to use standard equipment if the need arises.”
“The trains include baggage, mail and express car: chair cars, lounge, diner and bar car and ten-section bedrooms. There are bedrooms for day use by weary travelers.”
“The inauguration of this Kansas City to New Orleans service will provide faster, more comfortable travel for people from the Middle West to the port of New Orleans. It is predicted by many that these trains will result in increased passenger travel through Shreveport, to New Orleans and Port Arthur, also served by the lines.”
“Officials of the lines have announced that the train will remain in New Orleans through Sunday, on display to the public. It will then be brought back to Baton Rouge, where it will be open to the public until it comes to Shreveport, to be open to public inspection between the hours of eight a.m. and nine p.m., Thursday, August 29th.”
“While the train is in New Orleans a full program of entertainment is planned for those who make the trip. The sponsor-beauty contest, a dance, sightseeing and other pleasures have been planned by the railway.”
“It is expected that scores of Bossier Parish people, especially those who have availed themselves of the splendid service offered by the lines on ‘The Hustler,’ The Shreveporter’ and the ‘Flying Crow’ in the past will visit and inspect the ‘Southern Belle’ while it is on display in Shreveport.”
The train whose operating speed was 40-42 mph, ended service on November 3, 1969.
Learn more about the train lines in and out of Northwest Louisiana when you visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center.
By: Ann Middleton