Mixed trains

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Mixed trains

Post by SouthernRailway »

There is an interesting article in the current issue of The Railroad Press about the Georgia Railroad's mixed trains that ran until 1983, with one coach (or caboose) and a slew of freight cars. The trains sound horrible- dirty windows, old equipment (with windows that opened)- and, amazingly, usually no riders. The article states that in a year, all of the mixed trains had fewer than 1,000 riders, and over 600 of those were schoolchildren in groups. No wonder, given the bad conditions on the trains.

Has anyone else taken mixed trains in a First World country? Were they decrepit, or just slow due to being mixed with freight?

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Re: Mixed trains

Post by CarterB »

See also: http://railfan.com/extraboard/rf_extra_may2011.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; for some good info on GRR mixed trains.

Also from "train orders" "Georgia Railroad ran a mixed between Atlanta and Augusta that lasted into the early 1980s. The one time

It left the company PV yard next to the downtown office building with two GP40s and one lightweight stainless coach lettered "Georgia Railroad". At Hulsey Yard, it picked up freight cars behind the coach.

Georgia also ran mixed trains from Camak to Macon and on one other route. I saw the Camak to Macon train when traveling on the "Nancy Hanks" in March 1971. It had an ancient combine trailing its freight cars. I don't think these branch line trains lasted past May 1, 1971.

Soo Line would carry passengers on a couple of segments in northern Wisconsin, but I understand that they were accommodated in cabooses.

One of the most interesting mixed trains that didn't make it to Amtrak Day, but came close, ran from Clifton Forge to Hot Springs to serve the Homestead resort. It carried a through 11-bedroom sleeper until about 1969, possibly the only mixed in North America with first class service!

B&O ran a mixed from Parkersburg to Huntington that I believe lasted until A-Day. There were also some mixed trains in coal country run by N&W and C&O, but I think they were all gone by the late 1960s. One ran from Ashland, KY to Elkhorn City on the Big Sandy subdivision. When I rode the Big Sandy in 1979, the passenger stations were still mostly standing on the line."
Bring back the Slumbercoaches!!

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Re: Mixed trains

Post by shlustig »

Did anybody ever ride the UP's Platte Valley Express mixed train that sometimes had a Challenger or a Big Boy as power?

Was covered in a Trains article many years ago.

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Re: Mixed trains

Post by TomNelligan »

Out west, the Union Pacific, Santa Fe, and Burlington all ran a number of branchline mixed train routes into the mid-1960s, many with a single coach tacked onto a freight, some with caboose accommodation. Up north, Canadian National ran a lot of rural mixed trains through the 1960s, and some lasted quite a bit longer. I fondly remember riding the narrow gauge mixeds on the Carbonear and Argentia branches in Newfoundland (single coach or combine behind a local freight) in 1982 as they approached the end.
CarterB wrote: Soo Line would carry passengers on a couple of segments in northern Wisconsin, but I understand that they were accommodated in cabooses.
The cabeese assigned to those runs actually had one designated passenger seat added, and Soo would carry no more than one passenger per trip. The trains existed as mixeds for about ten years after Amtrak only because of a legal requirement that eventually went away.

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Re: Mixed trains

Post by ExCon90 »

About 1957 a friend of mine and I rode a Boston & Maine mixed from Portsmouth to Manchester, N. H. -- the timetable in the Official Guide denied it even the dignity of a train number -- which hauled a string of miscellaneous freight cars, trailed by a wood-bodied, open-platform coach, undoubtedly dating from before the 1st World War, heated by a potbellied stove (this was typical of mixed trains, since there was no way to get steam from the locomotive through the freight cars). It was neither dirtier nor cleaner than the typical commuter car of the period, and we were the only passengers. It had scheduled stops at all intermediate stations, but did not handle checked baggage. An interesting study in contrasts -- RDCs (fairly new in 1957) from North Station to Portsmouth and from Manchester to Boston.

David Benton
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Re: Mixed trains

Post by David Benton »

The Coastal Pacific, Between Christchurch and Piction, New Zealand, was a mixed train, up to about the year 2000.
However it was no slouch by NZ speed standards, averaging the same speeds as other passenger trains.
Its purpose was to carry freight to connect with the daytime ferry crossings to the North Island. Otherwise almost all NZ freight trains run at night.
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