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Interesting info, Mark,
The March 31 train with the two E8s probably was a special of some kind. The giveaway is that the first, or regular, section had four E8s, and it had a long train because on Friday nights the train came from New Orleans, northbound.
When SOU split the Southern Crescent because of heavy loadings, like during the summertime, the Washington-Atlanta section would run with two E8s and the NY-NOLA section would run with three E8s. The trigger for splitting the train was length - if reservations for the train resulted in over 18 cars, they would run it in two sections. If you ever got a photo of a Southern Crescent with five E8s, it probably was the engine set that had powered two sections on a previous day.
Regarding 2nd sections, I looked thru more of my notes & slides, and found two instances which I photographed =
- On March 31, 1978, I was at the Peachtree station in the evening, and they ran an extra section of #2, with two E-units,
6907 in the lead. Both sections were at the platform at the same time that evening. I obviously wasn't able to confirm it,
but was told the extra section was a "Boy Scout trip special". The 1st section had 4 E's (6905 was the trailing unit) and
a long consist.
- And, on a hazy July 22, 1978, evening, I photographed a First section of #1 crossing the bridge over Lake Accotink, in
Springfield (Fairfax County) VA, also behind 2 E's.
~ Mark D
From: Bill Schafer <bill4501@...
That’s a typical school kids special. The kids ate simple meals in the dining car, but those trains tended to run with a lot of dining cars.
The Birmingham students may have made their annual trip to Washington during spring break, but I’m pretty sure the Atlanta area school kid trains ran in early May.
Spring Break. Here is Second No 2 in Birmingham with 14 coaches and 4 diners on 3-15-72. Slide by FEA
<2-No 2, School Special, 14 coaches, 4 diners, 3-15-72.jpg>
When did the kids in Atlanta make the trip to DC every year? These would have been the patrol students form the metro area school around Atlanta.
On Jul 6, 2020, at 8:40 AM, Bill Schafer <bill4501@...> wrote:
Begin forwarded message:
Date: July 6, 2020 at 08:13:47 EDT
Very interesting picture, Mark,
It raises a number of questions with those Amtrak cars on the rear. Thank goodness you recorded the exact day you took the photo - it might help with some speculative answers.
* April 1, 1978 was a Saturday. The trains 1 and 2 that operated to/from Atlanta on Saturdays terminated/originated there. Neither train went to/from New Orleans, so the ultimate destination of the equipment in your photo was Pegram Shop and North Avenue Coach Yard.
* April was the off season, so a train originating/terminating Atlanta in those days would be small - 7 or 8 cars. There appear to be deadheading cars in the consist of the train you photographed (or a special party).
* If I had to guess I’d say the first 7 or 8 cars were in revenue service, and everything behind them was either deadheading or a special party.
* I don’t recall Amtrak cars in 1-2’s consist on days the train originated/terminated Atlanta. Normally, if you saw an Amtrak car in the consist, the train was going to/coming from New Orleans, IIRC.
* In your picture, the cars are, in order: baggage-dorm, two coaches, sleeper-tavern car ( Crescent-series), dining car, three sleepers. One of those sleepers was an extra - not unusual if a bunch of deadheading employees were on the train. Behind the third sleeper appears to be another Crescent-series tavern car, then the Amtrak cars. It could be deadheading back to North Avenue from Hayne Shop, but I would think it would be on the rear if that was the case.
* I can’t see enough of the first Amtrak car to tell what kind of car it is - looks like a coach, but can’t be sure. Wonder what the car behind it looked like.
* We may never know why the second Crescent-series car was in the consist or what those Amtrak cars were doing on the rear, but it’s fun to speculate. Thanks for the photo.
PS: Attached is another consist from 1976. It shows the consist of 2nd no. 1 from Greensboro to Atlanta. When the train was split (i.e., ran in two sections), it was a New Orleans day. The first section would handle the thru cars - New York/Washington-New Orleans and would nominally only carry passengers getting on north of Washington or getting off south of Atlanta. The second section would carry local passengers (i.e., those getting on and getting off between Washington-Atlanta). It was always desirable to ride the second section if possible - it was less crowded and carried the tavern car. The first section could be a zoo. The dining car would be slammed and if there was a lounge car, it would likely be a coach lounge.
<SOU.wb Crescent.6916+3.Duluth GA.04.01.78.Mark Demalien photo.copyrt 2020.jpg>
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] Southern Crescent Consists
Looked thru a few of my slides to locate one showing most or all of the consist, and here is one of #1, at Duluth GA, on April 1, 1978.
There are 9 Southern cars, with what looks like at least 2 Amtrak cars on the rear.
I had also photographed #1 here two days before, on March 30th, and that train had a total of 9 cars, all of them Southern, no Amtrak.
And on one of my trips to the D.C area in -- I believe -- also 1978, there was a transit strike, and at Alexandria, a good number of peopleboarded #2 there, for the trip into D.C. One of the classiest "commuter" trains there was, to ride into work that day!
~ Mark D
From: Bill Schafer <bill4501@...
Because there has been some recent interest in actual consists of the Southern Crescent in its glory days (1972-1979), I have consulted some of my old pocket notebooks and transcribed the consists of all the trains I rode in 1976. Turns out I made at least 30 trips on trains 1-2 that year, mostly on business. Attached is one of those consists. If there is sufficient interest, I will post more.
On March 12-13, my wife and I rode train 2 from Atlanta to Alexandria, probably to visit my family over the weekend near Baltimore. We often boarded and detrained at Alexandria because it was near I-495, and if we could persuade someone to pick us up when #2 arrived, we would be at the family homestead before Amtrak 172, the connection to New York, left Washington. The logic was similar for catching #2 for the return to Atlanta. The consist would always be sizable leaving Atlanta on a Friday night because the northbound train was running through from New Orleans. Our return consist on Sunday night was often smaller because the train terminated in Atlanta.
I know the attachment is hard to read. It is a PDF, so to make it more legible, click on it, open it, and enlarge it.
<1976 - Aug 1-2 SOU 2nd 1 Greensboro-Atlanta.pdf>