Southern Railway System

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Southern Railway System

Postby Gadfly » Wed Dec 26, 2007 10:22 pm

I am curious as to why there almost NO mention of the Southern Railway System prior to its merger into Norfolk Southern. This company was a very interesting and vibrant company for whom I had the pleasure to work in the 70's prior to merger in 1982. There are many kudos due to this company that seem to be totally ignored or unacknowledged.

Southern Railway was known as the "road of the innovators" and this was reflected in its logo "Southern Railway Gives a Green Light to Innovations--Look Ahead, Look South"! Many people do not know that Southern was at the forefront of track maintenance modernization and mechanization circa 1955 and continuing today under it's parent company, Norfolk Southern. Southern had a hand in the Plug Door Boxcar, the Cushion drawbar, and the famous "Big John" hopper car that was at the center of a huge lawsuit against Southern and the old ICC---which the government LOST! It was one of the very first to dieselize, buying the GM demonstrator set. Yet on these pages, few words are devoted to this road's contributions to the industry. Did you know, for example, that Southern Railway was not ONLY named one of the best-managed railroads in the nation, but ALSO ONE OF THE TOP TEN BEST MANAGED COMPANIES IN THE USA, PERIOD??! It's TRUE!!! True, it wasn't one of the biggest, but it was certainly one of the envies of the industry with its cash position, it's properties and its' lack of debt prior to merger. Some mis-informed people on "the other side" of the merger thought they 'saved" Southern, but nothing was farther from the truth. It's no-nonsense management style, its firm refusal to do deferred track maintenance, its sensitivity to its image so reflected in its premier passenger train, The Southern Crescent---all created a pride among both the management AND the employees. This was reflected in the early 80's with a bumper sticker that appeared on company trucks and employees' cars" "Southern is MY Railroad", sporting a large Green Dot inside the "O" in "Southern". Employees wore what was known to its employees as "The Greenlighter" jacket---a forest green windbreaker with an "SR logo in Yellow surrounded by the words, "Safe Worker-- Safety First". It ran an extensive steam excursion program with various power such as ex-Sou 4501, 630 and 622. Seldom did you ever hear of a Southern derailment, and if there was one, OH BOY! There was he-- to pay!!! It was pretty darn fun to come to work in those days (pre NS), and we even pointed with pride to the beautiful PS-4 in the Smithsonian.

So why is this company omitted but plenty of copy exists for New York Central and Pennsy as if the Southern didn't exist? If folks spent a little time researching Southern Railway, they'd be pleasantly surprised! :-D


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Postby GOLDEN-ARM » Sat Dec 29, 2007 5:49 pm

Long hood forward, toilet-in-a-bucket, firing employees for any, and every imagined infraction of the Rules. Yep, that's a real innovative road. But seriously, I grew up, for a period of time, outside of Atlanta, with my next door neighbor being Jack Martin, Sr. VP of Operations, of the Southern. Cab rides, and lots of "swag" were the main benefits of his being next door. The folks at the Chamblee yard, as well as Inman, were always gracious to me. The real fear of being fired, for such "trivial" things as stepping on a rail, reaching over a drawbar, or running on the property, were not things one took lightly. The CTC program on the Southern was innovative. Dieselization of any road, that carried coal for it's living, was surely a "bold" move. The majority of Forum users here, seem to be located in the northeast, thus those roads are represented in more detail, and with more followers in their forums. Seeing hundreds of all black locos, with a bit of gold, and white striping, made for some "boring" days of fanning, the Ga., Al., and S.C., area. Thank God for the SCL, L&N and Ga. railroads. At least there was the Crescent, with it's gleaming green and and gold covered wagons in charge.
IF there was enough demand, there would be a forum for the Southern. It's there, in the NS forum, you just have to talk about the Southern, if that's what you want to discuss. I've got a couple of hundred good photos, of all black, high hood units, with the white stripe and gold pinstriping. I might even post some, one day......... :wink:
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Postby Gadfly » Sun Dec 30, 2007 12:21 am

GOLDEN-ARM wrote:Long hood forward, toilet-in-a-bucket, firing employees for any, and every imagined infraction of the Rules. Yep, that's a real innovative road. But seriously, I grew up, for a period of time, outside of Atlanta, with my next door neighbor being Jack Martin, Sr. VP of Operations, of the Southern. Cab rides, and lots of "swag" were the main benefits of his being next door. The folks at the Chamblee yard, as well as Inman, were always gracious to me. The real fear of being fired, for such "trivial" things as stepping on a rail, reaching over a drawbar, or running on the property, were not things one took lightly. The CTC program on the Southern was innovative. Dieselization of any road, that carried coal for it's living, was surely a "bold" move. The majority of Forum users here, seem to be located in the northeast, thus those roads are represented in more detail, and with more followers in their forums. Seeing hundreds of all black locos, with a bit of gold, and white striping, made for some "boring" days of fanning, the Ga., Al., and S.C., area. Thank God for the SCL, L&N and Ga. railroads. At least there was the Crescent, with it's gleaming green and and gold covered wagons in charge.
IF there was enough demand, there would be a forum for the Southern. It's there, in the NS forum, you just have to talk about the Southern, if that's what you want to discuss. I've got a couple of hundred good photos, of all black, high hood units, with the white stripe and gold pinstriping. I might even post some, one day......... :wink:



Sounds more like the N & W part of NS! I actually had some fun in that atmosphere of "fear". Yes, the rules were/are very serious and they DID mean for you not to step on a rail. But there was a REASON for it. To keep people from getting hurt! If you followed the rules, you didn't get into trouble! Pretty simple.

Where *I* saw Southern's innovation was from INSIDE their Roadway Shops in Charlotte, NC where Mr Brosnan's underlings developed many track maintenance improvements and mechanization. IOW, while some some of those "big", Northern roads were doing track work with picks and shovels, Southern was doing it with machines which they later sold patent rights to. The likes of Tamper, Fairmont, and Nordberg were beneficiaries of Southern's work in that shop. To the day some of those men retired, they STILL drew out new systems in the floor of the back shop with yellow chalk. I worked to the sounds of the raucous putt-putt of the M-19 motor cars being overhauled in that same shop. It was in the early days of my career they built what we came to know as "Gravel Gertie", a ballast cleaner that was to be the answer to the dust caused by the conventional methods of ballast cleaning. It was to use WATER to clean the ballast and return it to the RoW. Short story? It didn't work well enough to continue, so it resides today at the NC Transportation Museum at Spencer, NC.

I wasn't really a "fan" in the truest sense, but you spoke of riding engines, etc. I, too, had the privilege of riding the E8's on the Crescent and more than once crossed over the couplers going from the cab to the baggage car thru the little access door. Doing it at 70 per is sort of exciting. I was aboard the Crescent the last weekend it ran under the Southern banner, riding in Engine 6908, train #2 detraining at Salisbury to await the return trip. I recorded that last trip, not for professional consumption, but for my own use--just a mono recording that I still have.

I had a varied and interesting career ranging from Laborer to Clerk, Station Agent, Train Order Clerk, Extra Board and back to Roadway Shops. Like you, I knew many supervisors and managers, most of whom I got along with well.

Everybody has a different outlook on various roads. I had NO trouble while I was on Southern. The real SOB's I ran into came off NW and those smart-a--'es out of Ohio that came down HERE---THEY were the ones I had trouble with. :-D I mean no harm but those guys were the biggest know-it-alls I ever ran into!!! :P

Still, facts are facts, and the facts I mentioned about Southern ARE true. It was one of the most efficient, and well-run railroads in the nation, and while they were mostly railfan friendly, they really couldn't care LESS about what a fan thought of their engine paint or how they ran things within the company. Their object was to make $$$$$. They'd tell you right quick what they thought about a fan's ideas of how to do things!!!!!!
I never ran into but a FEW employees that weren't unhappy about the merger into NS. But, yes, a lot of that stubborn, no-nonsense still lives within in NS. I lived that, too, after 1982. I was MORE afraid of getting run off AFTER merger than BEFORE!

Anyway, I just noticed that there was not much mentioned about this road.
Even CSX, the road that we laughingly mocked as "the Slowboard Clothesline: the Derailment Road" gets more mention! :P HeeHee! I used to take exchange waybills over to their yard and the station was so delapidated, I was almost afraid it might collapse on me!
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why no mention of the southern railway System

Postby bill haithcoat » Fri Jan 04, 2008 10:40 am

I was born in Chattanogaa in 1944 and thus was familiar with the Pelican, Tennessean, BIrmingham Special , Royal Palm, winter-season New Royal Palm, Ponce de Leon and the Memphis local.

I remember the trainsets from the early mid-50's, when , for example, there was that through Bristol to Nashville sleeper on the Tennessean that was swapped out each night in Chattanooga with the NC&STL(later L&N) Railroad. I remember how beautiful the New Royal was in the winter with at least 14 streamlined cars.

I also remember us putting my sister on the Birmigham Special one morning and seeing a lone sleeper sittng there all by its lonesone, for no apparent reason. Then, around 8 a.m.. people began filing out from this lone seemingly empty sleeper! That was my introduction to the world of set-out sleepers. That sleeper had arrived at 3:35 a.m. from Memphis, detached from the rest of the train(which left at 4 am. to Knoxville, WAS and NYC), and allowed to sit there until 8 a.m. Thus people could deboard any time between 3:35 a.m and 8 a.m.

But I also have fond Chattanooga memores of the NC&STL (later L&N) also. Such as the Dxie Flagler, Georgian, Dixie Flyer, new Dixieland, etc.

i have lived in Atlanta the last 30 years.
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Postby C430 » Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:03 pm

Hey gadfly,
I think you've asked a good question. I like the Southern Railway. Get this, I like the black/white tuxedo locomotives but, I don't like the green ones. For some reason the steam locos in green look o.k. to me. I model HO trains. Right now I'm researching the two PA-3's that were painted black. Southern was a big railroad, as we all know, too bad there is not a separate discussion topic for it.

Posting photos of Southern locos from about 1960 to 1976 would be appreciated. :-)
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Re: Southern Railway System

Postby peconicstation » Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:22 am

The Southern Railway was a one of a kind company, and it's distinctive box cars with the green dots, as in "The Southern Gives a Green Light to Innovation", along with it's jade green passenger locomotives will live on forever in the model train world.

Speaking of passenger trains, the Southern Railway was one of the few companies that "opted out" of Amtrak, and it continued to run it's own passenger trains.
In the 1970's these trains were the Southern Crescent, the Piedmont, and a connecting train that served the Crescent.

Does anyone remember what was this connecting train in terns of the branch line it served ??

For the railroads that "opted out" of Amtrak, they had to maintain their 1970 schedules for at least 5 years. That said the connecting train came off in 1975,
and the Piedmont in 1976. The other "opt outs" were, Rio Grande, Rock Island, and the Georgia Roads "mixed trains".

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Re: Southern Railway System

Postby Gadfly » Tue Oct 20, 2009 2:46 pm

Absolutely Southern was a unique company. Oh yes, make NO mistake; they were very strict, but it was somewhat selective depending on the yard you were working at. At Charlotte, NC, for example, you kinda had to walk on eggshells, keep your head down, hope you won't get noticed. Hayne Yard was pretty laid back in those days. When I worked 1st trick porter at Hayne, my first "assignment" was to clean up the Yard Office and Freight House, empty the trash and vacuum. The very NEXT thing was, you went around to all the clerks and even the Superintendent to get their Biscuit order! Then it was, hop in the crew truck and hie thee down to Herron Circle and Hardees to bring everybody's breakfast! This went on EVERY morning, and was part of the porter's routine. Try THAT at Charlotte, and you'd find your butt "on the ground" so fast........................ :P
We knew who we could work with and who to avoid, and we had nicknames for the TM's and YM's ("Roly Poly" for one who rolled from side when walking, "Pretty Boy" for another with curly locks which he always combed regularly, "Boogety-boogety" for another for his habit as a conductor prior to promotion of signing his train ahead on the radio with "OK, le's boogety-boogety!!" You, of course, did not call them names to their faces. I never actually got taken out of service at Charlotte Yard even tho it was the harder of the two yards (of which I am familiar)
to work at! If I had had my "druthers I would have remained at Hayne simply because it was the easiest place to work. But it was 57 miles one way to work, so it was a no-brainer as to where I would bid my seniority.

Southern was not easy to work for, but most of us became fiercely proud of SR and were sad to see the merger into NS. When the NW people came down they were WORSE than the ones we had known. It was these NW types that gave me my first
run-off time
For those who are only familiar with the northern roads, you should explore the Southern Railway System. Often, the northerners unknowingly put down the South and anything associated with it. They did it when they came down here, too.
They had no idea that a lot of the technology they assumed came from somewhere up north was invented by Southern! They don't know that, in its heyday Southern was the ENVY of the rail industry. it wasn't the largest road. either. IT HAD THE LOWEST EXPENSE TO INCOME SHEET, THE LOWEST OPERATING RATIO IN-THE-INDUSTRY! iT WAS NOT ONLY ALWAYS IN THE ROSTER OF THE TOP RAILROADS IN THE COUNTRY, BUT IT WAS IN *THE TOP FIVE BEST-MANAGED CORPORATIONS IN THE USA*--SOMETHING NO OTHER RAILROAD COULD BOAST!!!!! Yes, Southern was lean and mean, but most of us were mighty proud of it!!!

"Ruinoke " The city that "ruined" the Southern Railway!

GF
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Re: Southern Railway System

Postby Ocala Mike » Wed Oct 21, 2009 12:35 am

peconicstation wrote:The Southern Railway was a one of a kind company, and it's distinctive box cars with the green dots, as in "The Southern Gives a Green Light to Innovation", along with it's jade green passenger locomotives will live on forever in the model train world.

Speaking of passenger trains, the Southern Railway was one of the few companies that "opted out" of Amtrak, and it continued to run it's own passenger trains.
In the 1970's these trains were the Southern Crescent, the Piedmont, and a connecting train that served the Crescent.

Does anyone remember what was this connecting train in terns of the branch line it served ??

For the railroads that "opted out" of Amtrak, they had to maintain their 1970 schedules for at least 5 years. That said the connecting train came off in 1975,
and the Piedmont in 1976. The other "opt outs" were, Rio Grande, Rock Island, and the Georgia Roads "mixed trains".

Ken



I believe the connecting train off the Southern Crescent you are looking for that came off in 1975 was a remnant of the Asheville Special that ran from Salisbury, NC to Asheville, NC.

Also, you left the Reading Railroad System out of your "opt out" list.
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Re: Southern Railway System

Postby peconicstation » Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:54 am

Ocala Mike wrote:I believe the connecting train off the Southern Crescent you are looking for that came off in 1975 was a remnant of the Asheville Special that ran from Salisbury, NC to Asheville, NC. Also, you left the Reading Railroad System out of your "opt out" list.


Thanks you, and you are correct about the connecting train.

A interesting footnote is that the un-named connecting train became the first "non-Amtrak" passenger train to be cleared by the ICC for
discontinuance after Amtrak's formation.

...and yes, The Reading Company was another railroad that "opted out" of Amtrak (I knew I was missing one).

With a growing number of states in the south now supporting passenger rail service, I wonder if we will see a resumption of a 2nd daily train between
Atlanta and Washington, or New York following a schedule similar to the Southern's Piedmont ??

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Re:

Postby litz » Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:31 pm

Gadfly wrote:Where *I* saw Southern's innovation was from INSIDE their Roadway Shops in Charlotte, NC where Mr Brosnan's underlings developed many track maintenance improvements and mechanization. IOW, while some some of those "big", Northern roads were doing track work with picks and shovels, Southern was doing it with machines which they later sold patent rights to. The likes of Tamper, Fairmont, and Nordberg were beneficiaries of Southern's work in that shop. To the day some of those men retired, they STILL drew out new systems in the floor of the back shop with yellow chalk. I worked to the sounds of the raucous putt-putt of the M-19 motor cars being overhauled in that same shop.


I own a MT-19 that was overhauled in that shop in '87 ... it never returned to service, however, and was auctioned off with the rest of the Southern/NW (NS) Fairmont equipment ... 20 years later, I got my hands on it and rebuilt it. The motor had never been run since the work in '87.

I put new points in it, bolted the carb (which was still in a 20 year old ziploc bag) on, installed two new plugs, and it fired right up. That is quality workmanship. I didn't even have to adjust the carb. Or the points/timing.

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Re: Re:

Postby Gadfly » Thu Oct 22, 2009 7:03 pm

litz wrote:
Gadfly wrote:Where *I* saw Southern's innovation was from INSIDE their Roadway Shops in Charlotte, NC where Mr Brosnan's underlings developed many track maintenance improvements and mechanization. IOW, while some some of those "big", Northern roads were doing track work with picks and shovels, Southern was doing it with machines which they later sold patent rights to. The likes of Tamper, Fairmont, and Nordberg were beneficiaries of Southern's work in that shop. To the day some of those men retired, they STILL drew out new systems in the floor of the back shop with yellow chalk. I worked to the sounds of the raucous putt-putt of the M-19 motor cars being overhauled in that same shop.


I own a MT-19 that was overhauled in that shop in '87 ... it never returned to service, however, and was auctioned off with the rest of the Southern/NW (NS) Fairmont equipment ... 20 years later, I got my hands on it and rebuilt it. The motor had never been run since the work in '87.

I put new points in it, bolted the carb (which was still in a 20 year old ziploc bag) on, installed two new plugs, and it fired right up. That is quality workmanship. I didn't even have to adjust the carb. Or the points/timing.

- litz


I was probably the guy that loaded it up at Roadway Shops when it was bought for I forklifted a huge number of them out of that gated lot that existed prior to the shops' being remodeled around that time. One fellow brought (of all things) a large HORSE TRAILER and I loaded................Oh, maybe 6 or 7 of the things on it.

We had an entirely different take on the Motor Cars as employees. We mused among ourselves, "What in the world do these guys WANT with these things?"
Several of us went to the Shop Superintendent and asked if he wasn't afraid some of these fans might actually put one of them on a "live" track and get killed? From what some of them said to us when we asked about what they would do with them, they didn't seem to know there was any danger from having unauthorized equipment on the RoW.

I used to know the name of the old boy that rebuilt the M-19 Fairmonts at Charlotte Roadway, but I can't recall it now. He was a good mechanic--- one of the ones that came from Spencer years prior. Those things, btw, were LOUD, and you could tell when the mechanic was testing one of them clear across the property! (POP- POP POP- POPPITY-POP-POP). Ear protection was mandatory!

GF
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Re: Southern Railway System

Postby nctm6133 » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:05 pm

The Southern Railway System is hands down the MOST underated Railroad mentioned in the USA. It is disheartening to say, as I have always been a fan of the Railroad that served the South. You hear all of these things about how "amazing" the Northeastern RR's were compared to the Southern. Is it me, or did the Penn Central and others go bankrupt while Southern was the most efficient and best-ran railroad in the country? People who live in the south have an entirely different perspective of the southern. It was our Railroad, The railroad that everyone everywhere benefitted from, but also the road that everyone didn't know about. Southern had the last major passenger operation in America, and that's probably why AMTRAK named one of their trains after it. Southern was the first railroad in the country to completely dieselize, in 1953. And, one of SR's predecessors, the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company, was the first Railroad in America to offer a passenger service in 1830. You see, the Southern was sucessful, still is with NS, and its memory will live on forever. You UP and Pennsy types can boast how "great" your RR is, but always remember the The Southern Railway System Served The South, and Its sucess and operation should earn the respect of every single railfan on the face of the earth.
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Re: Southern Railway System

Postby Gadfly » Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:47 am

nctm6133 wrote:The Southern Railway System is hands down the MOST underated Railroad mentioned in the USA. It is disheartening to say, as I have always been a fan of the Railroad that served the South. You hear all of these things about how "amazing" the Northeastern RR's were compared to the Southern. Is it me, or did the Penn Central and others go bankrupt while Southern was the most efficient and best-ran railroad in the country? People who live in the south have an entirely different perspective of the southern. It was our Railroad, The railroad that everyone everywhere benefitted from, but also the road that everyone didn't know about. Southern had the last major passenger operation in America, and that's probably why AMTRAK named one of their trains after it. Southern was the first railroad in the country to completely dieselize, in 1953. And, one of SR's predecessors, the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company, was the first Railroad in America to offer a passenger service in 1830. You see, the Southern was sucessful, still is with NS, and its memory will live on forever. You UP and Pennsy types can boast how "great" your RR is, but always remember the The Southern Railway System Served The South, and Its sucess and operation should earn the respect of every single railfan on the face of the earth.


The northerners DO talk extensively about "wonderful" the Pennsylvania was (WAS as "in no longer exists", even the Penn Central, awash in red ink and hopeless inefficiency was doomed to failure. Even Conrail, afflicted with the same tired old ideas that infected their former roads, was marked for failure save for the government cash that propped it up. How did Conrail become a really effective railroad? They had to get a former CEO of a (heaven forbid!) "SOUTHERN" railroad to go up there and show 'em how to run a railroad! :) That man was L. Stanley Crane, retired CEO of Southern Railway System! And Southern gets hardly a mention in the annals of railfandom---books, film, and the myriad of fan videos offered for sale. It's all about Pennsy steam, or "Lackawanna" this, or New York Central that. Who cares? I don't! Southern Railway still exists tho within the fold of Norfolk Southern, a lean, mean, money-making enterprise that holds its own with the best of 'em.
Southern was (and is) the "Road of the Innovators", and I cannot help feel pride in my association with SR, for it was the road upon which I embarked on a long, tho rough, career. Innovation and invention was the hallmark of Southern which I witnessed firsthand when I first showed up at 312 W. Liddell Street, Charlotte, NC for such ventures as "Gravel Gertie", a water ballast cleaner that was to revolutionize ballast cleaning and cut down exponentially on the horrific dust generated in such operations. I knew the designers of these machines, some of whom cut their engineering teeth under the terror of DW Brosnan's seething gaze, and I remember these men down on their knees on the backshop floor (built 1916) scribbling on the concrete with lumber chalk. They'd set barrels around these drawings, and woe be unto the hapless one who ran over one of these "drawings" with a forklift! Many of SR's track technology innovations came out of that particular shop, and I was proud to be a witness to some of them.

Southern should get a lot more credit and recognition than it does! I'm looking forward to seeing the heritage diesels come to my town, painted in the colors of "the Southern Crescent" passenger train, something else I have history with, and rode pass on, and deadheaded in the cabs of!

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Re: Southern Railway System

Postby Noel Weaver » Sun Mar 25, 2012 11:04 pm

The Southern had some good points AND some bad points. They were NOT the first railroad to be all diesel, The GM&O, New Haven and some others predated them in that respect. In many years past their passenger trains were decent but they were somewhat slow with long station stops on some of them as well. They also had passenger trains that ended their runs basically in the middle of nowhere during their period of train offs. I have more than one Southern timetable where former named trains were downgraded and removed at state lines, thus becomming a local ending the trip in some far off location with no connections. I do agree that the Southern had some good management, some were very good, and they had some good points but they had their faults too.
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Re: Southern Railway System

Postby Gadfly » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:21 am

Noel Weaver wrote:The Southern had some good points AND some bad points. They were NOT the first railroad to be all diesel, The GM&O, New Haven and some others predated them in that respect. In many years past their passenger trains were decent but they were somewhat slow with long station stops on some of them as well. They also had passenger trains that ended their runs basically in the middle of nowhere during their period of train offs. I have more than one Southern timetable where former named trains were downgraded and removed at state lines, thus becomming a local ending the trip in some far off location with no connections. I do agree that the Southern had some good management, some were very good, and they had some good points but they had their faults too.
Noel Weaver


There is no perfect enterprise, or company, in mortal control. However, insofar as Southern Railway is concerned, it was, by far, one of the best managed railroads in the nation and earned grudging respect from its competitors. It was named, ....I believe it was Standard and Poors.............not only one of the best-managed railroads in the country, but one of the top FIVE best-managed corporations in the nation. This was an enviable position to be in, and it also allowed Southern to continue to run passenger beyond Amtrak even tho it was a drain on the company's finances. Southern STILL made a profit even with this millstone about its neck. It paid dividends and its stock split numerous times: I know---I was in the SR Stock Purchase and "retirement plan", and it made me $$$$$$ as a lowly laborer. A person would have had to have been a fool NOT to belong to it.

Southern wanted rid of passenger trains, and had long faced the fact that automobiles and interstate highways had rendered the Golden Age of passenger trains part of history. Those "trains to nowhere" you use as "strikes" against Southern were really nothing but a deliberate strategy and part of same to rid itself of burdensome trains. I heard this story from the inside as an employee: When Amtrak came calling in '71, Southern, like the BROKE railroads of the north was glad to hear of this relief. BUT! Amtrak was rife with old-style thinking and government control types who were accustomed to bankrupt, or near-bankrupt, railroads with hat in hand. They were going to TELL Southern where they would run Amtrak trains, HOW they would run 'em, WHERE and WHEN they would run 'em---including clogging up the profitable "rat hole' division from Cincinnati to New Orleans. WHOA! HOLD THE PHONE! Negotiations broke down and Msrs. Claytor, and later Crane, told Amtrak to "go *F* themselves and stick it up their collective arses"! So the Southern "trains to nowhere" continued to run into 1979. Claytor is reported to have said he'd run the damn things for free before Amtrak would tell SR what to do! :( I got to ride a lot of trip passes on The Crescent during those years for FREE as an employee, and my wife and I rode to Washington, DC, Atlanta, and New Orleans, courtesy of those trains, and I distinctly remember the dining car being top notch (Crescent) with towel-draped waiters and attendants, and the food was delicious. One photo I wish I have, but its only a memory, was of the morning of one trip to Washington, we arose and went to the dining car to polished china and sparkling crystal. The sun was just coming up and shining brightly into the diner. As we rounded a curve, I was greeted by the sight of 6 positively glittering green and gold E8's, streaking around the turn, Nathan 5-chimes whistling for a crossing. "DING-DING-DING-DING-ding-ding-ding" went the crossing bell and lights flashed as we crossed the highway, and I told my wife, "Turn around and look at the sun shining on the engines; isn't that pretty!" The silverside coaches, too, were shining brightly in the waking sun, and it was a picturesque scene as we traversed the Virginia countryside near Alexandria. There was nothing "dirty "about that train that morning as we anticipated our arrival in Washington, and I remember being very proud of it.

No, Southern wasn't perfect, and while I* never said it was first to dieselize (it was one of the first and bought the GM demonstrator set), it has many firsts to its credit---many of which have been swept under the rug. It had the best operating ratio of any railroad in the country (income vs expense). It held many patents for track machine technology, the rights to which it sold to companies such as Tamper, Fairmont, Nordberg and others. It continued to experiment and does so today at its Roadway Shop at 312 W. Liddell Street, Charlotte, NC as well at its other facilities thu out the Norfolk Southern system. It has been ignored, and the other roads (and the fans of these roads) have only grudgingly admitted to its accomplishments. It has failures and foibles, but facts cannot be denied: they are there. Its management was fierce, but quite fair, actually and if you did your job one had no problems getting along. Overall, most employees were quite proud of Southern and being employed by it, and one bumper sticker popular in the 70's proclaimed, "Southern is *MY* Railroad" with a big green light beside the slogan. it really was one of the best: no one is perfect! :)

GF
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