Southern Crescent Miscellany

I rode the Southern Crescent in both 1977 and 1978, but I probably collected these in 1978 with yesterday’s timetable. The first is a nice piece of stationery that shows the Southern’s distinctly painted E units and the logo with the C in a crescent-moon shape.

Click image to download a 184-KB PDF of this letterhead.

Second is a napkin that doesn’t specifically mention the Crescent, but since it was the railway’s only passenger train at the time, it wouldn’t have been used anywhere else. Continue reading

Southern Railway April, 1978 Timetable

The Southern Railway refused to join Amtrak in 1971, as Southern President Graham Claytor decided that, “We could afford to keep our primary train and make it the finest in the country.” The Crescent ran daily overnight from Washington to Atlanta, and three days a week it continued to New Orleans where it met (and exchanged a sleeping car with) Amtrak’s Sunset Limited. People who rode the Sunset and continued on the Crescent, as I did when I collected this timetable in 1978, noted a distinct upgrade in service, as the Crescent was more genteel and reflective of Southern hospitality.

Click image to download a 0.9-MB PDF of this 20-page timetable.

Claytor left the Southern in 1977 and his successor passed the train to Amtrak in 1979. I rode the train shortly after and it still had the same personnel and the same quality service, but the food was a step down. Graham Claytor went on to become president of Amtrak in 1982, a position he held for 11 years, longer than any other Amtrak CEO. Coincidentally, Amtrak has its own copy of this particular timetable available for download on its web site. Continue reading

Southern Crescent Brochure

In 1970, Southern discontinued the Crescent through Montgomery while keeping the Southerner through Birmingham. Probably because the Crescent name had more prestige, it renamed the Southerner the Southern Crescent. This appeared to combine the names of the two trains but also could be read as the Southern [Railway] Crescent.

Click image to download a 549-KB PDF of this brochure.

This brochure appears to have been given to passengers boarding the train in New York or other cities north of Washington. It notes that a full dining car and a club-lounge car would be added to the train in Washington, DC.

Southern Railway October 1966 Timetable

The Southern had three different trains between Washington and New Orleans in 1966, each following different routes. The Crescent and the Southerner each went through Atlanta, but the former went through Montgomery and the latter Birmingham. The Pelican went through Chattanooga instead of Atlanta, then through Birmingham to New Orleans. The Crescent and the Southerner are the only trains in the timetable advertised as streamlined, suggesting that at least some of the cars on the other trains were heavyweights.

Click image to download a 15.1-MB PDF of this 20-page timetable.

Other named trains in 1966 included the Washington-Atlanta Peach Queen, Washington-Salisbury NC Piedmont Limited, Greensboro-Asheville Asheville Special, Washington-Birmingham (via Chattanooga) Birmingham Special, Chattanooga-Memphis Tennesseean, Cincinnati-Greenboro Carolina Special, Cincinnati-Atlanta Ponce de Leon, and Cincinnati-Valdosta Royal Palm. Many of the trains to Washington continued to New York on the Pennsylvania Railroad. Continue reading

Southern Railway April, 1964 Timetable

Fast forward nearly 40 years from yesterday’s 1925 timetable and the Southern still has lots of trains on its trunk routes. This one shows eight trains a day from Washington to Charlottesville, five of which continue to Atlanta, four to Birmingham, and two to New Orleans. Cincinnati-Chattanooga is down to three trains a day and Chattanooga-Memphis has two.

Like some other timetables, this image is the back cover while the front cover is an ad. Click image to download a 18.7-MB PDF of this timetable.

Although Southern had a route from Washington to Jacksonville, it never competed with Atlantic Coast Line or Seaboard Air Line on that route. Instead, it offered the Royal Palm and Ponce de Leon between Cincinnati and Jacksonville, continuing to south Florida on the Florida East Coast. Even that route was not very lucrative, as with this timetable the Ponce de Leon was terminated at Council, Georgia–a town about 50 miles short of Jacksonville that no longer seems to exist–and the Royal Palm would be cut back to Valdosta, Georgia, in 1966.

Southern Railway June, 1925 Timetable

Here’s a timetable from the end of the Golden Age of passenger trains. Though only half the size of most timetables, this one has 72 pages, the equivalent of 36 pages in a regularly sized table. The larger size would probably have been more legible, as many of the schedules in this one only show traffic in one direction, so travelers had to skip back and forth between pages to plan round trips.

Click image to download a 28.7-MB PDF of this timetable.

Southern certainly was a hopping railroad in 1925, having six trains a day each way between Washington and Birmingham, with four trains from Birmingham to New Orleans. There were also six trains a day each way between Cincinnati and Chattanooga, and four or more on several other routes. The narrow timetables have enough room to display four trains a day in each direction, but counting local trains some routes have as many as eight in each direction. For example, there are eight trains between Washington and Manassas and seven between Charlotte and Danville.

San Antonio: Where Life Is Different

This 24-page booklet is undated, but it refers to the “new” San Antonio Coliseum. Since the coliseum opened in October, 1949, I’m guessing the booklet was issued in 1950, when the population of San Antonio’s urban area was about 450,000, of which 408,000 were in the city itself, nestled in 90 square miles. Since then, the population has quadrupled while the urbanized land area has hextupled.

Click image to download a 21.9-MB PDF of this booklet.

In addition to the coliseum, the booklet highlights the San Antonio River Walk, which was built just before World War II with local and WPA funds. The walk made (and still makes today) San Antonio much more livable during the hot summers when temperatures often exceed 100 degrees.

Missouri Pacific May, 1966 Timetable

In 1966, Missouri Pacific’s timetable shrank from an eight-page booklet to the equivalent of six pages in a folder. The actual train schedules filled three pages of the previous edition, but only two are needed in the 1966 version.

Click image to download a 4.8-MB PDF of this timetable.

Routes cut from the 1966 schedule included Memphis-Little Rock, Houston-Brownsville, and Kansas City-Omaha. In addition, the four daily trains on the St. Louis-Kansas City route were cut to three. The train that was dropped was 11 & 12, once known as the Colorado Eagle, but it lost that name (as well as its dome cars, diner, and other amenities) in 1964. With this timetable, the train completely disappeared.

Missouri Pacific April, 1965 Timetable

A little attrition is evident since the previous timetable that was shown here yesterday. Where the winter 1964 timetable had two trains a day between Fort Worth and El Paso, the spring 1965 timetable has only one.

Click image to download a 5.3-MB PDF of this timetable.

The train that disappeared was the El Paso leg of the Texas Eagle, with dining car service and domes scheduled for daylight viewing, while the coach-only, overnight, no-meal-service train that remained was nameless, so this represented an extra hard loss in service. Otherwise, no trains appear to have been dropped.

Missouri Pacific Fall, 1964 Timetable

This timetable is down to eight pages, but Missouri Pacific still had plenty of passenger trains in 1964. In fact, it had two to four daily trains on many routes. St. Louis-Kansas City had four trains a day, one of which continued to Pueblo where it met the Rio Grande to Salt Lake and San Francisco. St. Louis-Ft. Worth had three a day, two of which went on to El Paso where they met the Southern Pacific to Los Angeles. New Orleans-Ft. Worth had two a day, which merged with the St. Louis trains to go to El Paso.

Click image to download a 5.0-MB PDF of this timetable.

Texarkana-San Antonio had two a day, one of which went on to Laredo where it met NdeM’s Aztec Eagle to Mexico City. New Orleans-Houston also had two a day, while Kansas City-Omaha, Memphis-Little Rock, Little Rock-Alexandria, Houston-Palestine, and Wichita-Geneseo (the latter being on the Kansas City-Pueblo line) each had one a day. Continue reading