Date   

locked Re: Pickens Railroad "Explorer"

Robert Hanson
 

While I never rode the train, I was told by those who did that the X-Plorer did not cover itself with glory on any of the few trips on which it was used.

Most unreliable.

Bob Hanson
Loganville, GA


-----Original Message-----
From: Carl Ardrey <carlardrey2005@...>
To: main <main@SouthernRailway.groups.io>; Ed Mims <wemims@...>
Sent: Sun, Feb 9, 2020 1:01 pm
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] Pickens Railroad "Explorer"

Here it is in 1965 on the SAL.  Evidently, the motive power wasn't too reliable.
On February 9, 2020 at 10:25 AM Ed Mims <wemims@...> wrote:

Here is a photo that I took in the winter of 1965 as the X-plorer departed Augusta, GA. I don’t remember why is was there but know that it’s destination was Atlanta. You can see the small crowd that turned out to watch it pass by so it must have had some publicity. I don’t know why I was not at my duty station (Fort Gordon) unless this was on a Sunday. Fifty five years later I realize that I should have kept a note book but at my age then, I could remember these things.
 
Ed Mims
 
From: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io [mailto:main@SouthernRailway.groups.io] On Behalf Of George Eichelberger
Sent: Sunday, February 09, 2020 9:58 AM
To: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io
Subject: [SouthernRailway] Pickens Railroad "Explorer"
 
The SRHA Southern Presidents' files include proposals for new interurban lines, branch lines and passenger trains.

There are multiple items through 1966 that discuss operating the ex NYC "Explorer" train on the Southern. Internal memos in the file make it clear that the Southern had no interest whatsoever in the concept. (attached)

Ike

PS The next SRHA work session at the TVRM archives building is next weekend.
 


 


locked Re: Pickens Railroad "Explorer"

Carl Ardrey
 

Here it is in 1965 on the SAL.  Evidently, the motive power wasn't too reliable.

On February 9, 2020 at 10:25 AM Ed Mims <wemims@...> wrote:

Here is a photo that I took in the winter of 1965 as the X-plorer departed Augusta, GA. I don’t remember why is was there but know that it’s destination was Atlanta. You can see the small crowd that turned out to watch it pass by so it must have had some publicity. I don’t know why I was not at my duty station (Fort Gordon) unless this was on a Sunday. Fifty five years later I realize that I should have kept a note book but at my age then, I could remember these things.

 

Ed Mims

 

From: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io [mailto:main@SouthernRailway.groups.io] On Behalf Of George Eichelberger
Sent: Sunday, February 09, 2020 9:58 AM
To: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io
Subject: [SouthernRailway] Pickens Railroad "Explorer"

 

The SRHA Southern Presidents' files include proposals for new interurban lines, branch lines and passenger trains.

There are multiple items through 1966 that discuss operating the ex NYC "Explorer" train on the Southern. Internal memos in the file make it clear that the Southern had no interest whatsoever in the concept. (attached)

Ike

PS The next SRHA work session at the TVRM archives building is next weekend.

 



 


locked Re: Pickens Railroad "Explorer"

Ed Mims
 

Here is a photo that I took in the winter of 1965 as the X-plorer departed Augusta, GA. I don’t remember why is was there but know that it’s destination was Atlanta. You can see the small crowd that turned out to watch it pass by so it must have had some publicity. I don’t know why I was not at my duty station (Fort Gordon) unless this was on a Sunday. Fifty five years later I realize that I should have kept a note book but at my age then, I could remember these things.

 

Ed Mims

 

From: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io [mailto:main@SouthernRailway.groups.io] On Behalf Of George Eichelberger
Sent: Sunday, February 09, 2020 9:58 AM
To: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io
Subject: [SouthernRailway] Pickens Railroad "Explorer"

 

The SRHA Southern Presidents' files include proposals for new interurban lines, branch lines and passenger trains.

There are multiple items through 1966 that discuss operating the ex NYC "Explorer" train on the Southern. Internal memos in the file make it clear that the Southern had no interest whatsoever in the concept. (attached)

Ike

PS The next SRHA work session at the TVRM archives building is next weekend.


locked Pickens Railroad "Explorer"

George Eichelberger
 

The SRHA Southern Presidents' files include proposals for new interurban lines, branch lines and passenger trains.

There are multiple items through 1966 that discuss operating the ex NYC "Explorer" train on the Southern. Internal memos in the file make it clear that the Southern had no interest whatsoever in the concept. (attached)

Ike

PS The next SRHA work session at the TVRM archives building is next weekend.


locked Re: Lcal passenger trains on the Southern 7-8-1941

Marv Clemons
 

It's very kind of you to recommend the books, Ike. Thanks!

As I think you know, "Birmingham Rails" sold out in 10 months and remains out of print. Copies sell for a ridiculously high premium, and since so many missed seeing the book I've published a digital edition which can be viewed on a computer.
The images are absolutely stunning on a high definition monitor. 

If anyone in the group is interested in copies of either the digital edition and the Terminal Station book, they are available at a discount with free shipping on my website at www.bhamrails.com.

Thanks again for the recomendation.

Marv


locked Re: Lcal passenger trains on the Southern 7-8-1941

George Eichelberger
 

In case anyone is not aware, Marvin and Lyle Key were authors of THE two books on the railroads of Birmingham. “Birmingham Rails” covers the freight and passenger services of the Class 1 railroads in the city as well as extensive industrial operations in the area. “The Great Temple of Travel” provides a history of Birmingham Terminal Station, 1909-1969.

Both belong on the bookshelves of anyone interested in railroading in the South.

Ike
'

On Feb 4, 2020, at 7:21 PM, Marv Clemons <mclemonsjr@...> wrote:

I should add that due to the preponderance of posts, camps and stations in and around Alabama, Birmingham Terminal Station was a hub for troop movements during World War II. 

I have records showing an average of 85 daily movements through the station in 1942 handling a peak of 50,000+ passengers, of which the majority were soldiers on furlough or family members making trips to camps.

Southern trains for New Orleans routinely departed Terminal Station with 1200 passengers, compared to a pre-war peak loading of 775 on holiday excursions. 

I worked the operator-towerman job at Terminal Station in the mid-1960s and thought we were busy with 26 daily arrivals and departures.  I can't imagine handling 3 times that many trains with all of the switching moves, plus mail and express.  Now that was big-time railroading!

Marv


locked Re: Lcal passenger trains on the Southern 7-8-1941

Marv Clemons
 

I should add that due to the preponderance of posts, camps and stations in and around Alabama, Birmingham Terminal Station was a hub for troop movements during World War II. 

I have records showing an average of 85 daily movements through the station in 1942 handling a peak of 50,000+ passengers, of which the majority were soldiers on furlough or family members making trips to camps.

Southern trains for New Orleans routinely departed Terminal Station with 1200 passengers, compared to a pre-war peak loading of 775 on holiday excursions. 

I worked the operator-towerman job at Terminal Station in the mid-1960s and thought we were busy with 26 daily arrivals and departures.  I can't imagine handling 3 times that many trains with all of the switching moves, plus mail and express.  Now that was big-time railroading!

Marv


locked Re: Lcal passenger trains on the Southern 7-8-1941

Marv Clemons
 

Fascinating reading, Ike. I had no idea Southern axed so many passenger locals just to free up equipment for the pending war effort.

Thanks for digging out and sharing such jewels from the archive, and for all you do for SRHA..

Marv Clemons


locked Re: Lcal passenger trains on the Southern 7-8-1941

Stephen Warner
 

Ike, you are correct in that most of today's airfields in the South were built as AAF training fields, mainly due to the newly year-round good flying weather. Also, in south Ga. as well as Fla. in my time flying and training SAR ops in Ga., I flew over or into many of these fields. Cordele, Tifton, Valdosta, and Brunswick come to mind.  Today's remaining fields still show their heritage.  From above, one could see the triangle of runways, allowing into-the wind ops in to/any direction. Of course, they are now a single runway operation today, with the other two closed and overgrown.

Stephen


locked Re: Southern Passenger Trains on the NE Corridor in 1968

George Eichelberger
 

As the “Southerner” began service, the Southern asked the PRR to run it as a separate train from DC to NYC. The PRR responded with (to paraphrase) “are you nuts? It’s 1941with a war in Europe, we cannot tie up the PRR main line and a GG-1 for a SEVEN car train!”

After several “testy” letters back and forth the PRR offered to run a Southerner-only train for one week for publicity photos. There is evidence the Southerner ran north of DC as a seven car train only once.

Ike


On Feb 3, 2020, at 12:12 PM, Bill Schafer <bill4501@...> wrote:

That’s generally what happened - adding/subtracting cars for locals to use on the NEC between Washington and New York - to the secondary trains from the south, mentioned by Michael Young. You experienced, Tim, a longtime practice from the dark ages. In fact, except for the Florida streamliners and the Southerner and Crescent, most trains carrying through cars from the south were usually combined with regularly scheduled PRR trains anyway so that if a northbound train was late, the connection could leave on time, serving the local market, while the cars from the south could be added to the next train. Southern’s practice was to favor the Pullman passengers with through cars, while coach passengers (except those in reserved seats on the Southerner) were obliged to get off in Washington and reboard a PRR coach for the remainder of the trip to NYC.

—Bill

On Feb 3, 2020, at 10:40 AM, Tim <tarumph@...> wrote:

My recent experience on the Palmetto and the Carolinian on the NE corridor was that there were several cars on the head end on the southbound trains for local traffic, with through passenger being seated behind these cars. The "short" cars were pulled off with the engine in Washington.

Tim Rumph
Lancaster, SC



locked Re: Lcal passenger trains on the Southern 7-8-1941

George Eichelberger
 

The Florida Sunbeam, and all other “seasonal and excursion” trains were prohibited by the Office of Defense Transportation (ODT) about the time of the memos. As an upcoming TIES article on the Sunbeam mentions, the first postwar Sunbeam was Dec 7th, 1946. The Southern marketing people wanted to get the train back in operation because the IC, C&EI and PRR announced they would restore the seasonal “Sunchaser”, “Jacksonian” and “Dixieland” to Florida for the ’46 season.

There are quite a few “ODT” files in the SRHA and National archives. The subject certainly warrants some serious research and publication.

The reduction in Florida services came at the same time many new Army bases and Naval Air stations were being built there to take advantage of the weather. Virtually all of the major airports in Florida today began as WWII training or anti-submarine bases. Many much smaller towns have airport facilities today built at that time. The race track at Sebring and the runways in my home town of Venice, Fla were built as bomber (usually B-25s) training bases.

Ike 

 

On Feb 3, 2020, at 12:02 PM, Bill Schafer <bill4501@...> wrote:

Interesting reading. If anybody doubted that the U.S. was gearing up for war before Pearl Harbor, this memo should put those doubts to rest. 

The memo came from “H A D”, Harry A. DeButts, at the time VP-Operations; he was writing to S. R. Prince, SOU’s General Counsel and the guy in charge of filing for discontinuance of passenger trains across the system. The “Copy to Mr. Norris” was of course to Ernest E. Norris, SOU’s President.

Attached, for contrast, are two pages from the January 1941 Official Guide. One lists all the U.S. military posts and bases served by Southern Railway System; the other is a “business as usual” ad for the seasonal Florida Sunbeam, 1940-41 season version.

—Bill




On Feb 3, 2020, at 9:51 AM, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

From the SRHA archives.....probably not seen since 1941....

Two addl items....

The next SRHA work session will be Friday and Saturday, Feb 14 & 15. There are several projects underway and some new ones we can begin if we have help.

Norfolk Southern official car 8 arrived in Chattanooga, was set on trucks and moved to Soule Shop at E. Chattanooga. The car is is remarkably good condition, TVRM may be able to have it in service late this year. As always, donors and volunteers are needed to complete the work. We'll stop by the car on one of our lunch breaks.

Ike
<1941-7-8 Disc local pass trains Pg 1.jpg><1941-7-8 Pg 2.jpg><1941-7-8 Pg 3.jpg><1941-7-8 Pg 4.jpg>

<List of U.S. Military Posts on SOU System - from Jan 1941 Official Guide.pdf><Ad for SOU Florida Sunbeam in Jan 1941 Official Guide.pdf>


locked Re: Southern Passenger Trains on the NE Corridor in 1968

Bill Schafer
 

That’s generally what happened - adding/subtracting cars for locals to use on the NEC between Washington and New York - to the secondary trains from the south, mentioned by Michael Young. You experienced, Tim, a longtime practice from the dark ages. In fact, except for the Florida streamliners and the Southerner and Crescent, most trains carrying through cars from the south were usually combined with regularly scheduled PRR trains anyway so that if a northbound train was late, the connection could leave on time, serving the local market, while the cars from the south could be added to the next train. Southern’s practice was to favor the Pullman passengers with through cars, while coach passengers (except those in reserved seats on the Southerner) were obliged to get off in Washington and reboard a PRR coach for the remainder of the trip to NYC.

—Bill

On Feb 3, 2020, at 10:40 AM, Tim <tarumph@...> wrote:

My recent experience on the Palmetto and the Carolinian on the NE corridor was that there were several cars on the head end on the southbound trains for local traffic, with through passenger being seated behind these cars. The "short" cars were pulled off with the engine in Washington.

Tim Rumph
Lancaster, SC


locked Re: Lcal passenger trains on the Southern 7-8-1941

Bill Schafer
 

Interesting reading. If anybody doubted that the U.S. was gearing up for war before Pearl Harbor, this memo should put those doubts to rest. 

The memo came from “H A D”, Harry A. DeButts, at the time VP-Operations; he was writing to S. R. Prince, SOU’s General Counsel and the guy in charge of filing for discontinuance of passenger trains across the system. The “Copy to Mr. Norris” was of course to Ernest E. Norris, SOU’s President.

Attached, for contrast, are two pages from the January 1941 Official Guide. One lists all the U.S. military posts and bases served by Southern Railway System; the other is a “business as usual” ad for the seasonal Florida Sunbeam, 1940-41 season version.

—Bill




On Feb 3, 2020, at 9:51 AM, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

From the SRHA archives.....probably not seen since 1941....

Two addl items....

The next SRHA work session will be Friday and Saturday, Feb 14 & 15. There are several projects underway and some new ones we can begin if we have help.

Norfolk Southern official car 8 arrived in Chattanooga, was set on trucks and moved to Soule Shop at E. Chattanooga. The car is is remarkably good condition, TVRM may be able to have it in service late this year. As always, donors and volunteers are needed to complete the work. We'll stop by the car on one of our lunch breaks.

Ike
<1941-7-8 Disc local pass trains Pg 1.jpg><1941-7-8 Pg 2.jpg><1941-7-8 Pg 3.jpg><1941-7-8 Pg 4.jpg>


locked Re: Southern Passenger Trains on the NE Corridor in 1968

Tim
 

My recent experience on the Palmetto and the Carolinian on the NE corridor was that there were several cars on the head end on the southbound trains for local traffic, with through passenger being seated behind these cars. The "short" cars were pulled off with the engine in Washington.

Tim Rumph
Lancaster, SC


locked Lcal passenger trains on the Southern 7-8-1941

George Eichelberger
 

From the SRHA archives.....probably not seen since 1941....

Two addl items....

The next SRHA work session will be Friday and Saturday, Feb 14 & 15. There are several projects underway and some new ones we can begin if we have help.

Norfolk Southern official car 8 arrived in Chattanooga, was set on trucks and moved to Soule Shop at E. Chattanooga. The car is is remarkably good condition, TVRM may be able to have it in service late this year. As always, donors and volunteers are needed to complete the work. We'll stop by the car on one of our lunch breaks.

Ike


locked Re: Southern Passenger Trains on the NE Corridor in 1968

Michael Young
 

Your pass not being accepted on the Silver Meteor might have been due to the fact that all "premier" long-distance trains were not permitted to handle local travel within the NEC.  IIRC, this included the Crescent and Southerner, as well as all the Florida trains.  And Amtrak continues the practice, at least up to my retirement in 1996.  If you check the timetables, you will find a reference mark designating NEC stations (New York-Washington) as "Receive Only" on southbound trips, and "Discharge Only" on the northbounds.  This obviously was done to prevent short haul traffic within the NEC from tying up long haul space.  There were a few exceptions, some "lesser" trains (such as the Palmetto in the Amtrak era) were allowed to handle local traffic.  You could get around the rule southbound by buying a ticket to Alexandria, or, in the case of a pass rider, you might convince a conductor to let you ride without a ticket, but ticket agents could not reserve space or issue tickets via the restricted trains for travel within the Corridor.

Michael Young

M


-----Original Message-----
From: Gary Bechdol <garyeb1947@...>
To: main <main@southernrailway.groups.io>
Sent: Mon, Feb 3, 2020 8:16 am
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] Southern Passenger Trains on the NE Corridor in 1968

Of course, policy and practice often varied greatly.

I started with Penn Central in July, 1970, fresh out of Georgia Tech.  That Fall, I decided to travel back to Atlanta for the Thanksgiving holiday and watch the Tech-Georgia game with friends. At that time,Southern was offering half rate tickets to holders of foreign railroad passes, so I planned to ride the Crescent from Washington to Atlanta and return.  I could catch the Crescent in Philadelphia, but I might not have enough time in Washington to run to the ticket counter and purchase a half fare ticket before the Crescent departed, so I decided to take the train leaving Philadelphia ahead of the Crescent. which happened to be the Silver Meteor.  The kicker was that the Silver Meteor was the only train on the Northeast Corridor besides the Metroliners on which my pass was not accepted.  But I went down to the platform anyway, and explained my situation to the motorman on the GG1 on the head of the Meteor.  He was agreeable, but I would have to stand in the narrow access passage behind him for the entire trip.  I wedged myself in and we were off.  The weather was wet and gloomy, so photos were pretty much out of the question.  Plus, the sand pipes were clogged.  The wheel slip lights stayed on almost continuously until the stop in Baltimore, at which point the fireman got down and banged on the sand pipes to open them up.  Apparently, it worked.  We left Baltimore 8 minutes late, and had a 35 mph speed restriction through the B&P tunnel south of the station.  Once clear of the tunnel, the motorman started notching back on the controller.  I watched the needle on the speedometer climb past the authorized maximum speed of 80 mph, then hit 100 mph and keep on going.  The speedometer on a G only goes up to 100, and we were well past that.  I best guess is that we were maintaining a speed of 110 mph, bases on the divisions on the speedometer.  The motorman apologized a couple of times for slowing to 90 mph through some interlockings.  It is 40.5 miles by timetable from Baltimore to Washington Union Station.  We did it in 32 minutes start to stop.

As an aside, I regularly rode the Bucks County Express (First stop, Cornwells Heights) out of Suburban Station while I was with PC.  The St.Louis-built Silverliners had speedometers.  On many a trip home we would run at 90 mph once we cleared the reverse curves at Frankford Junction.

Gary Bechdol

On Sat, Feb 1, 2020 at 3:02 PM George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:
The attached memo is from a period when the Southern was attempting to cut off passenger trains and altering remaining schedules to adjust arrival and departure and connecting train times. The Penn Central speed restrictions on conventional passenger trains were supposedly not due to poor track conditions (on PC in 1968?) but due to equipment failures with conventional power and passenger equipment. As the Southern trains on the NEC were combined with PC schedules north of Washington, and virtually everything was pulled by aging GG-1s, there likely were equipment reliability issues.

....but having "conventional" trains approaching Metroliner schedules would not have been something PC would have wanted.

Ike


locked Re: Southern Passenger Trains on the NE Corridor in 1968

Gary Bechdol
 

Of course, policy and practice often varied greatly.

I started with Penn Central in July, 1970, fresh out of Georgia Tech.  That Fall, I decided to travel back to Atlanta for the Thanksgiving holiday and watch the Tech-Georgia game with friends. At that time,Southern was offering half rate tickets to holders of foreign railroad passes, so I planned to ride the Crescent from Washington to Atlanta and return.  I could catch the Crescent in Philadelphia, but I might not have enough time in Washington to run to the ticket counter and purchase a half fare ticket before the Crescent departed, so I decided to take the train leaving Philadelphia ahead of the Crescent. which happened to be the Silver Meteor.  The kicker was that the Silver Meteor was the only train on the Northeast Corridor besides the Metroliners on which my pass was not accepted.  But I went down to the platform anyway, and explained my situation to the motorman on the GG1 on the head of the Meteor.  He was agreeable, but I would have to stand in the narrow access passage behind him for the entire trip.  I wedged myself in and we were off.  The weather was wet and gloomy, so photos were pretty much out of the question.  Plus, the sand pipes were clogged.  The wheel slip lights stayed on almost continuously until the stop in Baltimore, at which point the fireman got down and banged on the sand pipes to open them up.  Apparently, it worked.  We left Baltimore 8 minutes late, and had a 35 mph speed restriction through the B&P tunnel south of the station.  Once clear of the tunnel, the motorman started notching back on the controller.  I watched the needle on the speedometer climb past the authorized maximum speed of 80 mph, then hit 100 mph and keep on going.  The speedometer on a G only goes up to 100, and we were well past that.  I best guess is that we were maintaining a speed of 110 mph, bases on the divisions on the speedometer.  The motorman apologized a couple of times for slowing to 90 mph through some interlockings.  It is 40.5 miles by timetable from Baltimore to Washington Union Station.  We did it in 32 minutes start to stop.

As an aside, I regularly rode the Bucks County Express (First stop, Cornwells Heights) out of Suburban Station while I was with PC.  The St.Louis-built Silverliners had speedometers.  On many a trip home we would run at 90 mph once we cleared the reverse curves at Frankford Junction.

Gary Bechdol

On Sat, Feb 1, 2020 at 3:02 PM George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:
The attached memo is from a period when the Southern was attempting to cut off passenger trains and altering remaining schedules to adjust arrival and departure and connecting train times. The Penn Central speed restrictions on conventional passenger trains were supposedly not due to poor track conditions (on PC in 1968?) but due to equipment failures with conventional power and passenger equipment. As the Southern trains on the NEC were combined with PC schedules north of Washington, and virtually everything was pulled by aging GG-1s, there likely were equipment reliability issues.

....but having "conventional" trains approaching Metroliner schedules would not have been something PC would have wanted.

Ike


locked Southern Passenger Trains on the NE Corridor in 1968

George Eichelberger
 

The attached memo is from a period when the Southern was attempting to cut off passenger trains and altering remaining schedules to adjust arrival and departure and connecting train times. The Penn Central speed restrictions on conventional passenger trains were supposedly not due to poor track conditions (on PC in 1968?) but due to equipment failures with conventional power and passenger equipment. As the Southern trains on the NEC were combined with PC schedules north of Washington, and virtually everything was pulled by aging GG-1s, there likely were equipment reliability issues.

....but having "conventional" trains approaching Metroliner schedules would not have been something PC would have wanted.

Ike


locked Re: Mail on passenger trains....

Carl Ardrey
 

And here is Charleston Division brief file on discontinuance of RPO's on trains 35, 36, 135, and 136 in 1949.
CEA

On January 31, 2020 at 9:47 AM George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

The Southern Railway Presidents' files in the SRHA archives include many pieces of correspondence, PUC filings, responses and ICC Dockets on discontinuing passenger trains

While everyone is probably familiar, to some degree, about why passenger trains were cut off due to lack of passengers, revenues and expenses, the SRHA Presidents' files discuss three other topics that had large roles in the process. The impact on US Mail and Railway Express services on the trains or routes being dropped and how contracts and revenues from those services affected train-off data and arguments are heavily documented.

Although each case was somewhat different a recurring theme was that the Southern wanted OUT of the passenger business (particularly under DW Brosnan's administration but continued under Graham Claytor) but wanted to maintain mail and express revenues. One concept was to combine REA shipments with the railroad's "package" (LCL) services in local freight trains. (A TIES article on Southern's package services is being prepared, anyone with information on the subject is invited to help.)

That idea fell apart with the demise of the Railway Express Agency and the loss of LCL business. (REA is also well documented in the archives, mostly at the overall business level rather than detailed operations.) Southern's alternative, to operate trucks parallel to passenger train routes could generate more paper than killing passenger services because trucking companies saw that as "the camel's nose in the tent" insofar as railroads getting into the trucking business. The Post Office would agree to operate “Star” routes and REA would attempt to schedule truck routes along the same route. (An example of correspondence about mail on SR passenger trains is attached.)

US Mail coming off passenger trains may have had a larger role in the development "Piggy-Back" (PB) and containerized services than we realize. Moving mail out of labor intensive RPO and storage mail cars and into containers (sometimes on the same passenger trains) is discussed in several train off files. Once the concept of moving mail in containers took hold, the focus changed to improving how the containers were moved, including the idea of solid PB trains and interchange between railroads to better meet PO demands. Mail via PB became a strategy for the Southern to use to eliminate passenger routes and quickly became a prime concept in the development of piggy back services.
 
All of these topics are well represented in the archives files and could become important TIES (or commercial magazine) articles. The February archives work session will be Friday and Sat the 14th and 15. If anyone is interested in researching passenger train-offs, REA, RPO and mail services or piggyback services on the Southern, join us at the archives!
 
Ike
 
PS Weather permitting, we can visit newly arrived NS business car No 8 at East Chattanooga, probably on Saturday.

 


locked Mail on passenger trains....

George Eichelberger
 

The Southern Railway Presidents' files in the SRHA archives include many pieces of correspondence, PUC filings, responses and ICC Dockets on discontinuing passenger trains

While everyone is probably familiar, to some degree, about why passenger trains were cut off due to lack of passengers, revenues and expenses, the SRHA Presidents' files discuss three other topics that had large roles in the process. The impact on US Mail and Railway Express services on the trains or routes being dropped and how contracts and revenues from those services affected train-off data and arguments are heavily documented.

Although each case was somewhat different a recurring theme was that the Southern wanted OUT of the passenger business (particularly under DW Brosnan's administration but continued under Graham Claytor) but wanted to maintain mail and express revenues. One concept was to combine REA shipments with the railroad's "package" (LCL) services in local freight trains. (A TIES article on Southern's package services is being prepared, anyone with information on the subject is invited to help.)

That idea fell apart with the demise of the Railway Express Agency and the loss of LCL business. (REA is also well documented in the archives, mostly at the overall business level rather than detailed operations.) Southern's alternative, to operate trucks parallel to passenger train routes could generate more paper than killing passenger services because trucking companies saw that as "the camel's nose in the tent" insofar as railroads getting into the trucking business. The Post Office would agree to operate “Star” routes and REA would attempt to schedule truck routes along the same route. (An example of correspondence about mail on SR passenger trains is attached.)

US Mail coming off passenger trains may have had a larger role in the development "Piggy-Back" (PB) and containerized services than we realize. Moving mail out of labor intensive RPO and storage mail cars and into containers (sometimes on the same passenger trains) is discussed in several train off files. Once the concept of moving mail in containers took hold, the focus changed to improving how the containers were moved, including the idea of solid PB trains and interchange between railroads to better meet PO demands. Mail via PB became a strategy for the Southern to use to eliminate passenger routes and quickly became a prime concept in the development of piggy back services.
 
All of these topics are well represented in the archives files and could become important TIES (or commercial magazine) articles. The February archives work session will be Friday and Sat the 14th and 15. If anyone is interested in researching passenger train-offs, REA, RPO and mail services or piggyback services on the Southern, join us at the archives!
 
Ike
 
PS Weather permitting, we can visit newly arrived NS business car No 8 at East Chattanooga, probably on Saturday.

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