-Southern Railway - Amtrak - Same train

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me_little_me

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I volunteer at a model railroad club/ museum and have been creating a touch-screen system that visitors can get more information on our artifacts. For timetables, I try and find a few pages inside that can't be seen in the display case so visitors can "look inside". As part of this, I found a '1978 Southern Crescent Schedule  (Southern Rwy ran it then) that shows Amtrak providing two coaches to/from NY City that then connect to the Crescent in Washington with one continuing on tho Atlanta and the other to NOL. In addition, Amtrak provides 2 sleepers that connect to the Crescent in Washington with one of those going to Atlanta and the other providing through service to Los Angeles. At that time, service to NOL was only 3 days a week but service to Atlanta was daily.

Interesting.

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Thirdrail7

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Tri-weekly service ATL-NOL.  I often wonder what happened that makes Atlanta unable (or unwilling) to store equipment in their station.
 

railiner

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Tri-weekly service ATL-NOL.  I often wonder what happened that makes Atlanta unable (or unwilling) to store equipment in their station.
Not sure, but perhaps they moved it to a nearby yard until turnaround time... :unsure:
 

Anderson

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Was it ATL-NOL or BHM-NOL?  I think there was at least one timetable where the "turn point" was Birmingham, AL (and the "storage time" was very short).
 

NS VIA Fan

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The Southern Crescent at Birmingham in Oct 1975....then switching the locomotives and cars at Peachtree Station later that day in Atlanta 

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Anderson

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Ok, yep, that's definitely Peachtree Station.  Given what happened between 1971 and 1978 (with the other trains being cut back and then cancelled), it's entirely possible that it was Birmingham at one point and then got changed to Atlanta.
 

Thirdrail7

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Not sure, but perhaps they moved it to a nearby yard until turnaround time... :unsure:
I've never been there so I don't know that for certain. There are things such as station spurs, servicing tracks that are/were a part of stations.
 

jis

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The Southern Crescent at Birmingham in Oct 1975....then switching the locomotives and cars at Peachtree Station later that day in Atlanta
Gosh. American passenger railroads were in such a sorry dilapidated state!
 

cpotisch

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The Southern Crescent at Birmingham in Oct 1975....then switching the locomotives and cars at Peachtree Station later that day in Atlanta
Gosh. American passenger railroads were in such a sorry dilapidated state!
Was thinking the same thing. Honestly, modern day Amtrak trains and stations seem state of the art and modern compared to that. :unsure:
 

Anderson

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From what I recall using them, neither Peachtree Station (which isn't fit for the crowds it gets now) nor Birmingham (from what I recall going by there once about six years ago) look much better now.
 

Twin Star Rocket

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Southern Railway schedules (except Asheville train)

January 1972:

#1 & #2 -- daily Washington to/from Birmingham ; triweekly to/from New Orleans (with transcon sleeper)

# 5 & #6-- daily Washington to/from Atlanta

#7 & #8--daily Washington to/from Lynchburg

June 1972:  same frequency as January 1972

May 1974: same frequency as January 1972

#1 & #2 -- daily Washington to/from BIrmingham ; triweekly to/from New Orleans (with transcon sleeper)

# 5 & #6-- daily Washington to/from Atlanta

#7 & #8--daily Washington to/from Lynchburg

June 1976:

#1 & #2 -- daily Washington to/from Atlanta ; triweekly to/from New Orleans (with transcon sleeper)

# 5 & #6-- daily Washington to/from Charlotte NC

October 1978:

#1 & #2 -- daily Washington to/from Atlanta ; triweekly to/from New Orleans (with transcon sleeper)

April 1979:

Now Amtrak #19 & #20 daily Washington-New Orleans (with transcon sleeper)
 
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ehbowen

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Yes, remember the five-year "penalty box" for not joining...if a railroad declined to join Amtrak, they were not allowed to discontinue any of their existing trains for five years. The Lynchburg train was the nameless remnant of the Birmingham Special once operated via Chattanooga by way of Southern, Norfolk & Western, and Southern again from Bristol TN-VA to its namesake terminal. But by A-day everything west of the Tennessee state line had already been dropped, and on A-day the portion of the train from Lynchburg to Bristol disappeared as well (as N&W joined Amtrak). No surprise, then, that the Lynchburg train vanished as soon as the five years were up. I'm a bit surprised that a portion of the Piedmont Limited hung on as long as June.
 

railiner

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Yes, remember the five-year "penalty box" for not joining...if a railroad declined to join Amtrak, they were not allowed to discontinue any of their existing trains for five years. .
The D&RGW held out the longest...it wasn't until 1983 that they finally 'threw in the towel', and carried on with the tri-weekly Rio Grande Zephyr, to the delight of railfans, everywhere...

Before anyone 'correct's me', I am not counting the 'mixed trains' carrying passenger's in the caboose on some Soo Line trains, which ended in 1986....
 
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ehbowen

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If they (D&RGW) had applied for a straight discontinuance, it's highly likely that the ICC would have forced them to continue operating the train...IIRC, they did formally apply to end service between Grand Junction and Salt Lake City and were turned down. Hence, they came to a meeting of the minds with Amtrak.
 

west point

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Tri-weekly service ATL-NOL.  I often wonder what happened that makes Atlanta unable (or unwilling) to store equipment in their station.
Until SOU RR joined Amtrak its main overhaul location / storage yard was located in  ATL about even distance south of Howell junction and the remains of Terminal station.  AAll work on passenger rail cars  was performed there.  If a car became bad order as long as it was road worthy the bad order cars would be deadheaded to ATL to be repaired.  Extra cars were kept in NOL, WASH, and NY to cover any bad order cars.  All BO cars were on  front of train to ATL.  SOU changed all locos both north and south at ATL and placed fresh locos.  For trains that stopped the 4 days at ATL the train would leave Peachtree station stop at the car yard and leave the cars there for the next assignment.  The loco would then proceed on south to Pegram shop for their next assignment anything from just servicing to major overhaul.  

The 3 days a week a switcher would add/ remove cars from the car yard and  inbound locos would D/H to Pegram.  

SOU had 16 E units 6900 - 6915 mainly for Crescent and some F units for back up and other trains.  SOU had about 4 - 6 times needed cars including many heavy weight cars so the extra cars could make second/ third sections when needed.  All cars were give away quickly after SOU joined Amtrak.  All SOU cars were steam heated and Amtrak from day 1 immediately converted Crescent to HEP.  Amtrak did take a few SOU diners and converted them to HEP.
 

Rasputin

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Based on my experience, I do not agree with the impression in this thread that the Southern Crescent was a second rate operation.  I rode the Southern Crescent as a long distance coach passenger about 4 times in the early 1970s and also rode the Piedmont once from DC to Atlanta.  In addition I saw the train on a number of occasions when I was not a passenger on it. The train was well maintained and the cars were clean and in good condition, inside and out.  From my observations the E units on the Crescent were in excellent shape - sometimes immaculate.  I never knew them to break down on the road.  The dining car meals were first rate and it was evident that the employees took great pride in the train.  I recall going to the station in Atlanta once around Christmas and being disappointed to learn that my train was an hour late coming from Birmingham.  I never knew this train to be seriously delayed.  The Southern Railway had sufficient equipment (and the willingness) to operate this train in extra sections at Christmas.   

In the Christmas season I would go way out of my way to travel to Greenville, SC., Birmingham or Atlanta to take the Crescent north and return on it after the holidays.  It was a great service.  
 

Seaboard92

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What a lot of people tend to forget about Peachtree Station in Atlanta is that it's a suburban station. It was built and designed for the loads of a suburban station. Back when it was built the majority of the passengers and trains ran in and out of Terminal Station (SOU, SAL, CofG, and AWP). Along with Union Station (ACL, L&N, NC&SL, GA). In a way Peachtree was a Kin to Boston Back Bay.
 

cirdan

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Does it count as a suburban station by virtue of its location only?

Or was there actually a suburban commuter service in Atlanta at some point?
 

Seaboard92

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Yes and no. There was a Toccoa-Atlanta local that operated in commuter time periods.
 

Anderson

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If they (D&RGW) had applied for a straight discontinuance, it's highly likely that the ICC would have forced them to continue operating the train...IIRC, they did formally apply to end service between Grand Junction and Salt Lake City and were turned down. Hence, they came to a meeting of the minds with Amtrak.
The main factor in the ultimate "throwing in of the towel" was, IIRC, that their diner broke down and repairs were going to be uneconomical. They did apply to end service past Grand Junction and got refused (I think this was in the context of the petition fights over the California Zephyr, which repeatedly failed due to overall high seasonal ridership until the petition was broken up [1]), and I think the pax numbers on the eastern end of the route were such that a discontinuation petition would have been doomed. The other thing that was a major factor in 1971 was that I believe Amtrak was seriously looking at a second train on the route (remember, the Denver Zephyr ran separately on a seasonal basis for a year or two, Amtrak experimented with a revived Chief opposite the Super Chief in the mid-1970s as well, and Amtrak seriously looked at running a Kansas City-Denver train on top of that, so the threat wasn't hollow [2]). This was rather less of a risk in 1983.

[1] When the petition got granted, WP got out entirely. DRGW got to go to 3x/week (they tried to dump everything west of Grand Junction but were required to keep, I believe the phrase was, "a semblance of service". CBQ kept daily service. Basically, the overall petition was screwed because there was way too much ridership east of Grand Junction to let the train go, even if WP was stuck with a massive hole on the western end.
[2] It isn't implausible to imagine such a service being seasonal, or to see it getting run KCY-DEN-SLC-SEA or somesuch. Don't forget how relatively fluid the network was in its first decade or so.
 

railiner

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I seem to recall the second train on the Chief route, but don't believe Amtrak ever ran two trains between Chicago and Denver. On the three days a week that the Oakland train ran, it was combined into a long train with the cars that ran daily between Chicago and Denver...

Just an interesting side note...A year or more (not sure of exact date) before Amtrak did start operating the CZ on the D&RGW route in 1983,
they "loaned" the Rio Grande a Superliner train for a "test run". It was manned by both Amtrak and D&RGW OBS crew members. They served off the Amtrak diner menu, but the D&RGW waiters and dining car steward did the actual serving and collecting of money. In the galley, the Amtrak chefs prepared the meals, with Rio Grande chefs observing.
The purpose was for the Rio Grande to consider the purchase of Superliner equipment, supposedly, but it turned into a harbinger of things to come shortly....
 

Twin Star Rocket

Service Attendant
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There was a second train pair on the Chicago-Los Angeles route: the CHIEF trains 19/20, I believe.
It operated the summer of 1972 only. I rode it L.A. to Albuquerque.
 

Siegmund

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Somehow I had never seen the summer 72 Chief schedule before. Thanks for pointing it out.
Amtrak tried a lot of really interesting things circa 1972. Sort of a shame how few of them stuck.
 

railiner

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Running 2 trains on the Chief route, in the summer, was similar to what the Santa Fe did themself in the summers before Amtrak takeover in '71...The all Pullman Super Chief, and the all coach El Capitan, had been combined into one train in 1967, but were separated during summer and holiday periods into separate sections, albeit just running a few minutes apart on the same schedule.
In the '72 example, Amtrak ran the two trains hours apart on their own schedules. (Santa Fe did have several more trains on the route in their day).
 
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