Southern Crescent : LUSENET : Southern Railway : One Thread

Did the Southern Crescent ever run as a freight ? If so, what style of caboose did they use ? I am a beginner in model railroading and have just purchased a MTH Southern Crescent Pacific engine and Tender and am considering running the Crescent as a freight. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Paul Perkins

-- Paul Perkins (, December 16, 1998


Paul, the Southern Crescent was a passenger train that ran from New York to New Orleans, it was one of the latest passenger trains to run in the U.S. after Amtrak took over, Amtrak took over the train from Southern Railway some time around 1980

-- randy burke jr. (, December 19, 1998.

Paul, during my career with Southern Railway several of my fellow workers related to me first hand accounts of locomotives of the type assigned to the Crescent being used in freight service. In steam days the Ps4 Pacifics were sometimes used on perishable trains coming off the Columbia Division. Also during the heavy Christmas mail season Ps4's would power "box car mail trains". These were trains of sealed mail carried in freight service boxes and reefers with a caboose on the rear. I understand these trains were run due to shortages of passenger equipment. In the 70's green E8 passenger diesels lettered for the Southern Crescent were also used on Kentucky Derby Specials and schoolboy patrol trains. In 1973, four Southern Crescent E8's off a Kentucky Derby special were used to power piggyback train No. 719, the "Jacksonville Jet" back to Atlanta. I am told that the engineer out of off Spencer, Big Maxie Williams, gave those pigs the ride of their lives.

-- Ben Lee (, January 24, 1999.

Paul, The name "Southern Crescent" is acctually fairly modern, and did not exist in the days of steam. The train name in the days of PS- 4 and other Pacifics was "Crescent Limited", an all-pullman, deluxe passenger train, which debuted in 1925. It carried no freight cars, such as those found on a traditional freight train. It was still all- pullman in the early sixties. In 1967, the Southern Railway began combining the "Crescent" and their other premier north south train, the "Southerner", on certain portions of the north-south run. Finally, in 1970, they were officially combined, given new train numbers (1 and 2), and renamed, "Southern Crescent". During the "Southern Crescent" era, there WERE two other passenger trains on the Washington, DC-South run which were combination freght and passenger trains. One ran Washington, DC to Lynchberg, VA, carring a heavy weight coach or two and a string of piggybacks. It was simply called Number 7 and 8(long before, it was called the "Birmingham Special". The second train was called the "Piedmont", and it carried a mixture of lightweight and heavyweight passenger equipment, along with a string of piggybacks on a Washington, DC to Atlanta run. The "Southern Crescent" was a streamliner, with all stainless lightweight equipment, sleepers, coaches, diner, lounge, and even a dome car from Atlanta to New Orleans. It ran with usually four green, gold and imitation aluminum E-8 locomotives. It carried no piggybacks.

-- Charles C. Cake (, December 16, 1999.

Let me tell you this for a fact. I have been and still am employed by NS but was hired in 12-26-72 by Southern RR as a gandydancer and now call the tract dept. or M&W Dept. But for the last 5 years have been a track Welder. When I started the Southern Crescent was mostly passengers but toward the end would carry what we call hot cars on the rear of the train but never ever carried a cab with them.Toward the end also they used the crescent engines on ballast trains or rocks trains to you and I myself was there and ran back and forth in the engines from one location to the other . They were also used on frieght trains for extra power.This is a fact. Wayne in Greenville,SC

-- frecrick wayne eason (, February 10, 2001.

Paul, an interesting question with equally interesting responses. I think what Frederick may be referring to is something I've seen in the videos "Passenger Trains of the 60's". There is a view of the Crescent on Southern rails in a very abbreviated form (maybe four or five cars, including the 2dr-master room-lounge) very late in its life just before Southern turned over its passenger operations to Amtrak. On the "tailpin" is an express box car that looks to have been tacked on somewhere along the line.

-- Ray Brown (, July 25, 2003.

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