locked Info on last runs of Tr 17 & 18 found

Jim King

Recent discussions with Jerry Ledford, Bill Schafer and Frank Scheer (USPS expert) regarding last run of trains 17 and 18 on the Murphy culminated in what I found yesterday while digging thru online newspapers from 1947-48.  In the Waynesville Mountaineer (see attachment), a weekly pub, was an article dated 7-13-48 stating that the last run “from Asheville” would be 7-14 and “last train from Murphy” train would be 7-15.  Mail and express would then be handled in a “special car” sent out on the morning freight train.  This was temporary until the USPS could establish a highway postal service that replaced rail.  From photos taken by Wayne Brumbaugh (available from Bob’s Photo), we have proof that, on at least 1 occasion following the 1948 cessation of passenger trains, a double-headed 2-8-0 set with a single RPO/baggage and caboose (no freight train) was run.  We have no documentation associated with the photo but various pieces of the “Murphy Puzzle” indicate this is what is happening in the 2 photos.  Further, Frank Scheer states that, while the trains ended, the mail contract would continue until a suitable highway alternative was reached, which explains why the RPO/baggage was in use after 7-15-48.  The newspaper article also indicates that rail service would continue for mail/express.  Frank stated that the rest of the RPO/baggage was likely empty … only the mail/express section would have been manned.


I’ve read somewhere that there were 2 passenger trains operating on the line at the same time (17 and 18) and that they met (typically) around Addie or Willitts, maybe Bryson if the WB was running late.  There’s a photo of the WB #17 in the Willitts siding waiting on another train, “assumed” to be an EB freight, in Mike George’s book.  Timetable dated 5-30-48 shows #17 arriving in Asheville at 10:30 AM and Tr 18 leaving AVL at the same time which is physically impossible if the same equipment was used.  17 started at Murphy after 6:15 AM and 18 arrived Murphy 3:30.  The top of the column says “daily”, meaning these trains ran 7 days a week, yet the newspaper article indicates this may have been the same train and simply was “a turn” operating tri-weekly (6 days a week, not on Sunday) because it took 2 days per round trip.


Does anyone have info to confirm/expand or refute any of this?


Can someone scan the entire T/T #7 dated 5-30-48 and post here or send to me as a pdf?  I need to study the footnotes associated with Tr’s 17/18 on the schedule but I only have those 2 pages.


Jim King



Jim King

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