Use of Streamlined passenger equipment : LUSENET : Southern Railway : One Thread

I am interested in Southern passenger trains that ran to New Orleans (late 50's/early 60's); particularly The Pelican and Southerner. I was wondering if any of these trains were ever made up of Streamlined Corrugated-side consists. I have seen such a set of new passenger cars made by IHC lettered for Southern, but was not sure if these types of cars were ever used in that area. Also concerning the Pelican and Southerner, what specific types of cars were assigned to them that would have arrived in or departed from New Orleans? Any help will be most appreciated!

-- Cliff Powers (, January 31, 1999


Cliff, I can answer part of your question. The Southerner was totally streamlined with Pullman Standard corrugated side cars in 1941. There's a good book avalible "Official Pullman Standard Library, Vol. 7 which includes these cars, plus all other Southern PS cars. By your era the consists had been mixed up a bunch, but this book would be a good start. Some of the new IHC cars are dead ringers for Southern cars, especially the Baggage, Dorm, Coach. It is a Southern one else had that configuration.

-- Bill Cox (, March 17, 1999.

Springhaven Shops produces numerous brass car sides for these trains in HO including the observation cars and divided coaches, which are not accurately represented by the IHC series. See December 1991 and January 1992 Mainline Modeler magazines for drawings and info on streamlined cars.

-- Joe Daniels (, May 19, 1999.

Cliff, The "Southerner" was origionally built as an all streamlined, matching train by PS, complete with round-end obstervation. It was the only Washington-New Orleans Southern train to use all Southern rails to reach the Gulf. It remained a streamlined train always, even after combined with the Crescent. In later years, the Southern had the combined equipment of three streamliners, the "Southerner", the "Crescent", and the "Royal Palm". Even though it was all stainless equipment, it was made by three different companies: American Car and Foundry, Pullman Standard, and Budd. Therefore, not all the flutting matched(small consequence, since today Amtrak is hard-pressed to produce two cars that are even the same SHAPE. They have truly redefined the "mixed train"). As for the "Pelican", it was always a less fancy train than the "Southerner", and for most of its life, ran with rebiult heavyweight equipment. It also used the Norfolk and Western between Lynchburg and Bristol, Virginia. Therefore, the train shared cars from NW, mostly coaches and a dining lounge car. The only time it would have had lightweight cars was in the late 1960s, when the once streamlined "Royal Palm" had been reduced to a coach-lounge and a heavyweight coach consist, and there were surpluss newer cars available as a result.

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

The Pelican was much less classy than the Southerner that is for sure. However almost all of its pullmans were lightweight. They were tuscan red N&W cars(which resembled Pennsy). The Pelican had four or five sleepers out of NY but most of them went shorter distances, only one went all the way to NOL. There was a heavyweight pullman from Washington to Shreveport, La., switched to the IC at Meridian, MS.

-- bill haithcoat (, May 26, 2004.

During World War II my father was stationed at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. My grandparents lived in Birmingham, Alabama. I rode the Southerner quite often, especially during holidays. It was a beautiful streamliner with seven stainless steel streamlined cars. S1 was a baggage/passenger car; S2, S3, S4 and S5 were streamlined coaches each seating about 56-60 passengers. Reservations were required. Going to Birmingham from Hattiesburg the train (number 48) departed Hattiesburg at 10:18 a.m. having departed from New Orleans at 8:00 a.m. and arrived in Birmingham at 3:05 p.m. I always enjoyed having lunch in the Dining Car when the train approached Meridian, Mississippi and then enjoying the Observation/Lounge Car which was the rounded "boot" car at the end of the consist. An exciting moment was when the Southbound Southerner and Northbound Southerner would pass each other near Bessemer, Alabama. During those years there was a hostess on the train and she was always attentive, especially if I was traveling without my family. When the train arrived in Birmingham it would back into the Terminal Station. During the war years only passengers were permitted at the platforms but because I was a child and if traveling alone, my grandparents were permitted to meet the train. When I returned to Hattiesburg after visiting, the Southbound Southerner departed Birmingham at 1:58 p.m. and arrived in Hattiesburg at 6:40 p.m. and would terminate in New Orleans at 9:10 p.m. Most of the time my reservations would be in car S2 or S3. I always tried to make it to the "boot" car when the train was backing out of Birmingham and would stand with the conductor while the train backed out to the main line. The Southerner carried seven stainless steel cars in its consist. It's diesel was the original green, gold and sort of an off white. There would be times when the train was pulled by steam locomotives and I think that was due to diesel fuel shortages in the World War II era. Later, in the 50's, there was a stainless steel pullman car.

I rode the Pelican on several occasions when reservations were not available on the Southerner. It was a mixed consist and departed Hattiesburg, Mississippi at midnight having left New Orleans about 9:00 p.m. and arrived in Birmingham the next morning around 7:30. The Southbound Pelican left Birmingham at 8:45 p.m. and arrived in Hattiesburg about 3:30 a.m. and into New Orleans around 6:00 a.m. Reservations were not required and the Pelican made frequent stops while the Southerner did not. There were several mail and baggage cars in the Pelican's consist.

It grieves me that we have lost those wonderful trains of yesteryear. However, my wife and I ride the Amtrak Crescent from Anniston, Alabama to New Orleans several times a year. It follows the same route the Southerner took those many years ago and as we travel my minds eye always returns to those earlier days when I rode the Southerner with anticipation.

I hope I've not bored you with my recollection of some wonderful years of train travel. You have probably realized I am a real train buff who had a tremendous admiration for the streamlined trains of the eariler days. I was privileged to ride on so many of them...The Hummingbiird, The Pan American, The South Wind, The City of Miami, The Silver Comet, some of the Santa Fe greats, The California Zephyr and many others that will always be a part of me. But The Southerner was always most special...I guess because it was the first train I ever rode. It was a beautiful sight to be in the Hattiesburg station when she made her approach from New Orleans...her gleaming silver coaches making a proud streamliner for the Southern Railway System. return to those days!

-- Robert H. Tant (, June 03, 2004.

Mr. Tant, you are not boring me for a minute. I have the many of the same memories. I am 59, grew up in Chattanooga, now live in ATL.

When we lived in Chattanooga my sister went to school at the Univ. of Ala. So she would either ride the Pelican straight through, or sometimes ride the BHM Special to BHM and from there either transfer to the local old nos. 43-44, remants of the long gone Queen and Crescent, or to the Southerner.

Sometimes, as a student she would ride the Southerner to New Orleans.

I can be found on Amtrak's Crescnet two or three times a year, usually.

-- bill haithcoat (, June 03, 2004.

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