Topics

moderated 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

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>

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>

sgwarner88@...
 

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

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

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

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

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