locked Re: Locos and Traffic on the Atlanta-Birmingham Line

Aidrian Bridgeman-Sutton

Sorry, but apparently Mr Brain and Mr Memory were both having bad days at the office. for "1492 (though she seems to have moved around a bit during and after WW2)"  please read "1482" and forget the bit about moving around. 


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On Mon, Sep 20, 2021 at 5:07 PM Aidrian Bridgeman-Sutton via groups.io <abridgemansutton=gmail.com@groups.io> wrote:
Perhaps I might add some notes to Jack's summary; it was he who got me interested in this part of the system 20 something years ago. 

Frank Ardrey was very active in the area in the forties and took a lot of photos which are well worth hunting down. Many of his pictures a loco portraits, but he took a good number of train photos on the Birmingham Divsion which are well worth looking up

Prior to 1946 there were some restrictive bridge limits, which precluded heavier engines such as Ms-4s and Ps-4. Before WW2 this meant that Ts and Ts-1 Mountains, Ms and Ms-1 Mikados handled the great majority of trains with some locals using K class 2-8-0s. . Ps-2 Pacifics seem to have mostly been used on the line to Sheffield. The simple 2-8-8-2s appeared somewhere about 1940-41 as best I can tell -  compounds seem to have mostly been used for mine traffic from a rather earlier date.     

I don't seem to have any evidence of Ps-4s on the Birmingham Division; that doesn't mean it didn't happen, as many AGS steam engines were deployed when that line started to be dieselised. 
  • Ts  1461.1462  
  • Ts1 1481, 1492 (though she seems to have moved around a bit during and after WW2), 1499 
  • Ms 4541. 4548 though I suspect these may have been used mostly for local traffic in the post war period
  • Ms-1  - the series from 4765-4774 - these had size 3 Worthington BL feed water heaters, and other detail differences to the standard USRA engines
  • Ls-1 compound - the only compound I have a photo of to date is 4019
  • Ls-2 simple  - I don't have a photo to immediately to hand with a legible number hand but 4050 rings a bell
Post war the ex-Erie mikados, AGS Ts-1s, Ms-1s, Ms-4s and former Eastern line Ms4s joined in along with FTs in ABBA configuration about (though at least one Frank Ardrey photo has an F3 B-unit replacing one of the FT units. E6s were used on the Southerner

Traffic needs an epistle all of its own, but one curiosity is that loaded coal hoppers moved in both directions - coal from the Alabama mines went east (including a fair number of Frisco hoppers), but a few photos indicate that what was most probably metallurgical coal came west  - usually in  N&W hoppers, but I have seen a photo which includes a C&O car as well. Given where the loads probably originated, the routing of these westbound coal loads seems really odd, but they are definitely coming from the Atlanta direction.


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On Sun, Sep 19, 2021 at 10:07 PM C J Wyatt <cjwyatt@...> wrote:
I think that I can speak for early 1947. Steam locomotives regularly used would be AGS and Birmingham Division assigned, though assignments were starting to go via the wayside. 

passenger locomotives:

4-6-2 Class Ps-4

4-8-2 Class Ts and Ts-1 (USRA light)

freight locomotives:

2-8-2  Class Ms, Ms-1 (USRA light and copies), Ms-4  (USRA heavy copies), and Ms-7 (acquired from Erie RR during WWII, some with Vanderbilt tenders)
2-8-8-2 Class Ls-2 (simple) and maybe Ls-1 (compound)

2-8-0 Class Ks (maybe, but Class Ms frequently used for local freight)

I don't think F-units were showing up regularly on through freight's so the E6 on The Southerner might be the only diesel which you would see. Want more diesel's than steam locomotives? Skip forward until 1950.

At one time I considered modeling the Birmingham Division, so if you would like to have a conversation sometime,  I'd be glad to talk with you.

Jack Wyatt

On Sunday, September 19, 2021, 03:17:04 PM EDT, James Walton <whovianwil@...> wrote:

I'm interested in the line for both historical and potential modelling purposes. 

Do you know what steam and diesel locomotive types were commonly used?

On Sun, Sep 19, 2021, 13:53 C J Wyatt <cjwyatt@...> wrote:
Southern Railway System had two more pairs of passenger trains on that line during your era. You had another Frisco connection, The Sunnyland, and what could be best described as an overnight local, Nos. 11-12

I can tell you what steam locomotives were common up until '47 or so, but when dieselization got in full swing, the best steam locomotives were more freely moved around the system to runoff remaining flue time.

Just curious if you interests are historical, or are you looking for a location to model.

Hope this helps.

Jack Wyatt

On Sunday, September 19, 2021, 09:29:27 AM EDT, James Walton <whovianwil@...> wrote:

I've been trying to figure out locomotive classes and traffic were common on the Southern's Atlanta-Birmingham line in the late 40s and 50s. I don't have a copy of Richard Prince's book, so I'm having to make do with sources like steamlocomotive.com - not exactly ideal. 

I know only that the Southerner and the Kansas City-Florida Special used the line, but not much more.

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