locked Florida Sunbeam via Crawford, FL?? and Southern OC-5

George Eichelberger

We had a productive work session at the SRHA/TVRM archives this weekend. When someone comes to the archives for the first time, we usually suggest that the simply open one of the Presidents' archive boxes and look through its contents. As every item will never be cataloged, or even seen, it is impossible to predict what might be found.

For those that read the article in the current "TIES" about the Southern/Seaboard junction at Hampton, FL, I found an interesting telegram while scanning the file on the post war "Florida Sunbeam" and "The New Royal Palm" (Box 523A, File 1).

Apparently, there had been discussions to abandon the Palatka line earlier than a telegram dated Sept. 13, 1945. (A logical idea; WWII was over and the logging and lumber operations at Palatka and along the St. Johns River were winding down. If the line had been abandoned, the Southern would have missed the development of the phosphate mines near Lake City and the large paper mill built outside of Palatka.)

The gist of the 9-13-1945 telegram was a suggestion to discuss moving the Sou/SAL route of the "Sunbeam" from Hampton to Crawford, FL. Crawford is on the GS&F between Valdosta and Jacksonville and would have removed the Sunbeam from the Palatka line completely. Although slightly longer, Sou. VP Harry DeButts, thought the schedule to and from St. Pete would be "just as good" because of the slow speed on the Palatka line. 

A third item in the short telegram mentioned that President Norris would approve operating the train but only if it included coaches and Pullmans rather than an all-Pullman train.

Dates for the remaining 2019 archives work sessions are posted on the SRHA web site at www.srha.net.

And...in late breaking TVRM news....Norfolk Southern Official Car No. 8 "Tennessee", ex Southern car No.5, has been acquired and will be moving to Chattanooga soon. The purchase price has been donated but probably another $60,000 will be needed for the move and to restore it as Southern 5. For potential operation off of TVRM, if possible, the car will be upgraded to Amtrak specifications (Much of that work has been completed.) The Hayne Shop maintenance records in the SRHA archives for car 5 begin with the conversion from Pullman car "Point Richmond" in 1956. Anyone interested in helping with the effort please contact me off list.


Join main@SouthernRailway.groups.io to automatically receive all group messages.