locked V1 of Southern Railway Contracts Covers Catalog

George Eichelberger

One of the on-going SRHA archives projects has been to scan as many of the 1,100+ Southern Railway contract books as possible. The first pass scanning the unbound contracts we have is done.
Now, we will do re-scans as needed, scan other contracts in bound volumes and attempt to beg, borrow or purchase the two of three bound volumes we are missing. (Two "disappeared" as we were leaving Kennesaw.)

The entire scan file is very large and we need to scan, clean up and make searchable the indexes the Southern prepared each time they bound a group of contracts together to distribute to the executives. More than 700 covers have been scanned
and included in a thumbnail "catalog". Version 1 is available (for a short time) on Google Drive using the link:


Admittedly, some contracts are "dry as a bone" and not of much use to Southern modelers or historians. The majority are rich sources of data never before seen by many people. There are several different categories: Union stations and shared facilities include all of the details about which railroad owns and controls a facility, what the tenant road will pay, etc. So/me include structure drawings or track layouts included in the text. Junctions and interlocking are particularly useful because they provide construction and modification dates, track details and even the arrangement of the "interlocking" bars used in the hand-thrown versions. As the contracts include agreements from the 1880s into the 1960s, it is not unusual to find multiple versions for the same location. Earlier versions are either modified or cancelled by later agreements. Together they provide a useful history of that specific depot or junction.

Trackage rights agreements are very detailed and go from miles of shared main lines to joint use of street trackage or an industrial siding. Drawings are typically included to illustrate what the agreement covers.

Rolling stock has its own version; purchase contracts and trust agreements typically list what equipment/which car or loco builder it came from, etc. Usually as many as 50 pages, only the cover and pages that list the rolling stock to be included have been scanned. As primarily "banking" documents, they include a lot of detail about when bond payments are to be made, etc.

I have attached a PDF copy of contract No. 861 between the Southern and the Interstate Railroad for trackage at Appalachia, VA. It includes a drawing of the track layout at Appalachia. The joint agreement contracts include whichever other railroad(s) were involved.
Cincinnati Union Terminal, Jacksonville Terminal, Atlanta Terminal Station and Union Station in Washington, DC are all covered by different contracts.

The thumbnail size text may be difficult to read, or the color cover did not scan well but for "V-1" we think it useful for people to at least see and understand what this collection is all about. SRHA will make full copies of all of the scanned contracts available in the near future.If someone is particularly interested, we can provide a limited number, particularly for anyone willing to write articles for TIES.

Your questions or comments please!


PS You may need to download the entire file from Google then click on the unumbered html file. Your browser should then show the entire catalog in sequence.

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