locked Re: Southern Crescent Consists

Bill Schafer


The red and white “signs” were vinyl decals. Back in 1975 Graham Claytor, Southern’s president, realized that there were 17 signers of the Declaration of Independence from the states that were served by Southern Railway. Coincidentally, Southern stabled 17 E8s that powered the Southern Crescent. Rather than dandify any Southern locomotive with a red-white-blue paint scheme, like other railroads were doing, Mr. Claytor decided that SOU would celebrate the bicentennial by placing a sign on each side of each E8. There would be 17 different signs, one for each signer.

Attached is a list of the 17 signers and a Warren Calloway photo of SOU 6910 in Atlanta, which bore the sign of Carter Braxton, one of the seven signers from Virginia. I don’t have a list handy of which signers’ stickers were applied to which E8; maybe another member of this list can post that information.

Hope this helps.

—Bill Schafer

On Jul 6, 2020, at 10:58, Jim Younger via groups.io <frisco2011@...> wrote:

Hi guys

I hate to ask a SRR 101 question but what does the red/white sign on the Es say?  

I know it has something to do with southern signer(s) of the Declaration of Independence. Was there one or several?


Jim Younger

On Jul 6, 2020, at 9:28 AM, Jason Greene <jason.p.greene@...> wrote:

Thanks Bill for sharing you consists, pictures, and knowledge. 

Jason Greene 

On Jul 6, 2020, at 8:35 AM, Bill Schafer <bill4501@...> wrote:


Heavyweight cars on the Southern Crescent were not common but not unknown. More common were the ex-CofG lightweights off the Nancy Hanks, City of Miami, and/or Man O’War. You’d likely see the heavyweights in service during heavy travel periods - Thanksgiving, Christmas for example. Attached are images of 2nd 1 passing through Norcross, Ga., on Thanksgiving Day, 1976. On this day, the first section was the short section and ran on time, protecting the schedule; the connecting cars from New York must have been late arriving Washington, so the New Orleans train ran as the second section. On the rear is a modernized heavyweight, which I assumed was in regular service. 

As for the two heavyweights on the rear in my March consist, there are three possible explanations - they are in regular service, they are deadheading to Hayne, they are on there for a special party. I didn’t make a note at the time, so really don’t know the answer. For modelers, I guess the message is that it’s perfectly okay to have a modernized heavyweight coach in the consist of the Southern Crescent. It most likely would be found on the front or the rear of the consist and you can make up whatever reason you want for its presence. 


<SOU 6903 on train 2nd 1 at Norcross Ga Nov 1976 GWS photo.tiff>
<SOU train 2nd 1 at Norcross Ga. 6902 rear unit - Thanksgiving Day, Nov 25, 1976 GWS photo.tiff>
<SOU 2nd No. 1 at Norcross Ga. Thanksgiving Day Nov 1976 GWS photo.tiff>

On Jul 5, 2020, at 19:24, Jason Greene <jason.p.greene@...> wrote:

Were the heavyweight coaches dead head or active? How common would they be on the Crescent?

Jason Greene 

On Jul 5, 2020, at 5:17 PM, Bill Schafer <bill4501@...> wrote:

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. 

—Bill Schafer

<1976 - Mar. 12-13 SOU 2 Atlanta-Alexandria.pdf>

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