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Yes, I think you are right about Southern's being forced to provide food service. My recollection is that the Interstate Commerce Commission decided to enforce its rule requiring food service on passenger trains and that this was the Southern's response. This must have been a targeted enforcement, or perhaps the rule applied to trains traveling more than a certain distance since 3, 4,7 and 8 offered no food service. 950-series cars were used to provide food service on 5 and 6.
I don't know how many coach-lounges were in service in 1974, but is seems there weren't quite enough to cover all Atlanta-Birmingham trips on 1 and 2. Another car was required for the fourth round trip. I did some checking ahead of time to be sure I could ride a "Crescent" car.
From: Bill Schafer
Sent: Mar 16, 2021 4:00 PM
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] Dining Car Crew Cycles
Good recall, Bob. My date was based on the timetable date. Sounds like Southern added food service before May 1974, but maybe not much before - I have a feeling they tried to get by with no food service for a while and someone called them on it. In fact, I’d like to know why the Crescent-series car was used at all. Seems to me that one of the 950-series cars would have been more appropriate.
On Mar 16, 2021, at 15:45, Robert W. Grabarek, Jr. <grabarek@...
The starting date of the operation of what Southern termed a "Bar Food Car" between Atlanta and Birmingham on the four days per week that trains 1 and 2 terminated and originated in Birmingham deserves a little research. I rode train 1 from Atlanta to Birmingham on March 23, 1974, and the food car was the "Crescent Harbor." (By virtue of my employee pass, I occupied the master room.) I returned to Atlanta on the same day, and the bar food car was coach-lounge 950. This car was detached at Atlanta. My recollection is that a "Crescent" series car was used for one round trip per week on the Birmingham days while a 950-series coach lounge was used for three.
From: Bill Schafer
Sent: Mar 16, 2021 10:46 AM
Subject: [SouthernRailway] Dining Car Crew Cycles
This is in reply to Steve Ellis's follow-up question about dining car crew bases other than Atlanta. I'm starting a new thread.
The November 20, 1970 timetable is the first that shows the Southern Crescent cut back to tri-weekly between Birmingham and New Orleans, so your trip on a daily Southern Crescent to New Orleans would have been one of the last (as opposed to a tri-weekly Southern Crescent). The daily service Atlanta-Bham continued into the Amtrak era, when it went to tri-weekly effective with the June 1, 1975 timetable. In the post-Amtrak period, the dining car didn’t operate beyond Atlanta; in fact, there was no food service Atlanta-Bham until May 1974, when SOU started offering food/beverage service in a “bar food car”, which photographic evidence suggests was one of the Crescent series sleeper-tavern-lounges.