• Southern's secondary passenger trains in the '70s

  • Discussion relating to the NS operations. Official web site can be found here: NSCORP.COM.
Discussion relating to the NS operations. Official web site can be found here: NSCORP.COM.
  by SouthernRailway
Does anyone have any first-hand experience with Southern's secondary passenger trains in the 1970s? I see that there were a few:
* Asheville Special
* Piedmont
* Unnamed 1-car train in Virginia

The Asheville Special seemed nice-looking, with a dome car, but the Piedmont looked pretty no-fills, with what seem to be 2 coaches, perhaps a food service car, baggage cars and 10-20 TOFCs (trailers on flatcars) behind. The unnamed Virginia train looked dire, with a renovated heavyweight coach or 1 lightweight car only, and maybe TOFCs behind sometimes.

Did Southern put ANY effort into these trains? Were they marketed well, punctual and well-kept? The Crescent seemed so long and well-kept that I'm surprised that these others didn't at least seem to do more business.

  by MJRuef
I rode all of the secondary trains (5,6,7 & 8) often during the early and mid seventies between Washington and Charlottesville. They were very clean, punctual and well run. They could also be well patronized at times. The food service car on 5 & 6 made a really good club sandwich. The coach on 7/8 was usually a spotless dark green modernized six wheel truck heavyweight. 5/6 had a lot of head end traffic with mostly heavyweight mail storage/baggage cars. The passenger cars were usuall stainless. It was a wonderful oasis while it lasted. The crews were very friendly.
  by matthewsaggie
I can agree with MJR above. I rode #7 from Washington to Lynchburg in August of '74. We left DC on time with 2 "F" units and one coach- a little overpowered, but in ALX we stopped and added 30+ TTX cars which we cut off in Monroe VA, and then went into Lynchburg with just the coach. It was a very clean, green heavyweight.

I was waiting for #1 to take it on to New Orleans so I had about 6 hours to kill. The 2 car knockers that were in the station saw me taking photos of a business car that was in the station at the time and asked if I wanted to see and photograph an old RS-3. I said sure so they said "get in" so I rode in their maintenance truck over to a nearby yard (not exactly sure where), where there was a string of dead RS-3''s. Still have the slides in my collection. About dark, they dropped me off at a place that they said had good food and then let me walk back to the station to wait on #1 to NOL.

In the '75-'76 period a I would often ride #1 from GRO to ATL for meetings and then ride the Piedmont from ATL to CLT, attended another meeting and then go onto GRO the next day. The Piedmont was usually 3-4 coaches, usually stainless but occasionally mixed, and some sort of lounge with some table seating. I wish now I could remember better. I do recall having a good breakfast out of ATL and sandwiches, too. When they cut the Piedmont back to CLT to WAS I was not able to make this work any more then I changed jobs.

I really regret missing the Asheville train, as I live here in the area now and go to Asheville on a regular basis.

Otherwise great memories!
  by Gadfly
It was the American Freedom Train that rekindled my banked-fire ambition to work for Southern. And I rode that train from Gastonia, NC to Salisbury when it came thru on its tour in '76. I used the Carolinian (?) to return home to Charlotte, getting someone to pick us up there. And it was on that day I knew what I was going to do! It took about a year until I was trudging around the track material yard loading rail and unloading gons of plates. By the time I really got started, these trains were gone; only the Crescent was left. And I rode it LOTS! All I had to do was ask for a trip pass from my supervisor, and we rode to Atlanta and to Washington a few times, and used it to get to Greensboro to visit family. I knew the engineers well, and often the conductor, Mr. Dereberry (sic), would simple ignore me, and seeing me aboard, he'd just say "HI, how're doin'?". He wouldn't even ask to see my pass---unless there was an unfriendly Trainmaster aboard! LOL!

  by Jeff Smith
I'm going to do some research into this. I live in SE Georgia, not far from Savannah. Want to see if I can get me some timetables......
  by Tadman
I know of a certain former railroad site owner that has a wicked good timetable collection, drop him a line.
  by jhdeasy
Here are the schedules of Southern Railway passenger trains 1/2, 3/4, 5/6 and 7/8 as published in Amtrak's national timetable of June 10, 1973:

http://www.timetables.org/full.php?grou ... &item=0045

http://www.timetables.org/full.php?grou ... &item=0046

Trivia item: Southern Railway (x-Wabash) dome coach 1613, which operated on trains 3/4 between Salisbury and Asheville, is now on the Quebec, North Shore and Labrador Railway, an isolated mineral hauling line in far northeastern Quebec, Canada.