It was added in 1947 as a complement to the line’s other train on the same route during the night – “The Panama Limited.” It was roughly a 15 hour train ride from one destination to the other – which was monumental in itself. Amtrak took over the City of New Orleans line in 1972.
When Arlo Guthrie recorded the song and Reprise Records issued it as a single, it became his only Top 40 hit. I know, most people probably know “Alice’s Restaurant” better, but it didn’t perform as well on the charts. “City of New Orleans” appeared on Arlo’s album, “Hobo’s Lullaby.” The song peaked at #18.