locked Southern Passenger Train Consist Similarities

David Friedlander

So maybe this isn't the right list serve for this topic, but I'll start here as its mostly historical in nature (with an admitted purpose to create factory models).

TLDR - Looking for some answers and advice on an approach for an O-Scale company to make three SOU named passenger trains at the same time, that has thought about minimizing tooling costs and has a good chance of meeting minimum production quantities.

In O-Scale, there is generally two camps of people when it comes to Southern passenger trains.  There is a following for those who want a RTR Tennessean (behind streamlined steam or these E6's), and a RTR Southern Crescent (late 60's/early 70's - pre-black roofs behind Southern Crescent E8's).   There may be a good fit to try to do the Southerner as well as I have a feeling much of the consist of that train is similar to the Tennessean.  The ultimate goal here is to try to reuse-tooling across all three named trains with no or minor changes (deskirting, covering flutes, etc.) and as few different car types as possible to reduce complexity, yet provide a good feel for the train. I admit I think there is far more overlap between the Southerner and the Tennessean than the Southern Crescent, but the Southern Crescent is also an extremely popular train too for obvious historical reasons.
I usually independently research, but this topic delves into things I don't feel I know a lot about and would really appreciate third-party opinions. I still need to sit down and read deeper into a few of my books (I have the floor plan books for the Passenger Car Library (ACF/Budd), the Pullman-Standard Library, the SOU handbook, SOU color freight guide, SOU varnish book, and SOU passenger trains in service, along with most other SOU books) along with some online resources (such as https://condrenrails.com/MRP/Tennessean/Tennessean-equipment.htm) and figure out a good "set" of cars for each train...but figured I'd start here in case someone can answer some initial questions and has a suggestion on where I can spend most of my time researching.
The end goal? With such a small group of Southern modelers in O Scale, I'm looking to make a case for 3rd Rail/Sunset Models (I'm soliciting them, not the other way around.) to possibly offer these named trains all at the same time in order to meet the minimum quantity necessary to make it feasible to produce these trains in O Scale.  Yes, Lionel recently came out with 21" plastic cars, but they were based on the NYC Empire State Express (big surprise there.). While not a Rapido (really wish they did some O), 3rd Rail has proven it can do an amazing job on passenger cars. See the SAL Meteor at the bottom of this page.
Marketing in O-Scale/O-Gauge has traditionally fallen into 6-car or 8-car sets along with some extra add-on coaches or sleepers, etc.  The car quantity for a "set" is probably due to size-constraints for a layout in O-scale. With that said, I'm looking for opinions on what 6-8 cars plus add-ons for each train to get the full "flavor" of each.  My initial thought is to try reduce tooling cost and reuse across all three trains as much as possible, even if the later-era cars require some slight modifications, like skirt removal, or panels over the flutes. I'm thinking one could reuse the Tennessean tooling for later era-cars, say Corinth (de-skirt and add plating over the flutes), 48-seat dining cars (just de-skirt them?), and possibly the 56-seat chair cars (de-skirt, but I think these were retired early on). I know the Crescent would need several 10-6 sleepers, 52s coaches, maybe a coach-lounge, and not sure what else to make it feel right, especially at a 6 to 8 car train. I can't seem to find my spreadsheet that had a bunch of crescent consists all listed out.  To attract other modelers and meet the minimum production quantity, the add-on cars could also be painted in other railroad paint schemes if the car plan was shared with other roads (Some were for L&N, AWP, FEC, WofA, and I would need to identify that where possible). I am also thinking the later Crescent cars can appeal to Amtrak modelers of the Rainbow era, which would also help meet the minimum production quantity if they purchased add-on cars or even the Crescent set.

Additional questions I know I lack answers to:
1. I don't know a whole lot about the Southerner consist except for the fact it had the Louisiana OBS.  Does someone have an idea where I could look to see the train's make up? I seem to remember there was a list somewhere where the specific car assignments for the consists were shown for the Tennessean, Southerner, and Royal Palm. ( My list below may need altering because I'm not sure what cars ran in what trainset. )
2. Regarding coaches, any idea if any 56s coaches from the Tennessean could be reused on the 60's/70's Crescent? I read that at least one of them may have been donated sometime in the mid 60's, so they may only work on the earlier trains.
3. I'm also noticing trucks varied in what looks like two main truck variants.  Does anyone have a good resource for that? Hopefully none were replaced over time.

I've yet to produce a spreadsheet to keep track of variations, etc, but after about 3 hours of looking around books and drafting this email, here are my initial passenger train suggestions below.
As-delivered Tennessean (6-8 cars):
-1700 Corinth (60Ft RPO)
-1725 Lenoir City(30Ft RPO)**If 8-cars
-1751 Greeneville (Bag-Mail)
-706 Bedford (Bag-Dorm-Coach)**If 8-cars
-810 Bristol (56-seat chair Car)
-3304 Alexandria (48-seat dining car)
-814 Roanoke (56-seat Chair Car)
-1150 Washington (Tav-Lng OBS)
-1701 Grand Junction (60Ft RPO)
-1726 Athens (30Ft RPO)**If 8-cars (Can also be de-skirted and have flutes covered for later-era car)
-1750 Decatur (Bag-Mail)
-704 Johnson City (Bag-Dorm-Coach)**If 8-cars (Can also be offered de-skirted for later-era car)
-808 Sheffield (56-seat Chair Car)
-811 Sweetwater (56-seat Chair Car)
-812 Charlottesville (56-seat Chair Car)
-813 Lynchburg (56-seat Chair Car)

(As-Delivered?) Southerner (6-8 cars):
-(What was used on this train? Is it basically the same train as the Tennessean, but with different OBS and different car names otherwise?)
-1101 Louisana (OBS)

late 1960's Crescent /early 1970's Southern Crescent (8-cars):
-1700 Corinth (60FT Bag-Mail, with plating over flutes)
-1751 Greeneville (Bag-Mail, with plating over lower flutes)
-2010 Rapidan River (10-6 sleeper)
-2014 Shenandoa River (10-6 sleeper)
-3304 Alexandria (48-seat dining car; de-skirted) (Did this run on the Crescent or should it be a Budd diner?)
-951 (Coach-Lounge)
-822 (52s Coach)
-824 (52s Coach)
-2017 Tiger River (10-6 sleeper)
-2022 York River (10-6 sleeper)
-817 (52s Coach)
-830 (52s Coach)
-Maybe more 10-6 and 52s coaches if demand is there or other railroads fit onto the the same car plan
I am appreciative to anyone who has a thought on the subject.  Definitely deeper research needed on my end, but hopefully someone can help answer my initial questions and advice on what cars should be included.
David Friedlander
NYC or Columbia, MD

Join main@SouthernRailway.groups.io to automatically receive all group messages.