Southern DL 109 : LUSENET : Southern Railway : One Thread

The Southern DL 109 is an interesting train both in it's appearance and its history. Does any one know what routes it covered, what type cars it pulled and what the problems were that left Southern so dissatisfied with the trains? I've seen the photos in Wither's book showing it paired with matching Dl-110 and with other DL-109's . Considering SOU had three of each this seems odd. Any bits of info would be appreciated. Thanks.Roy

-- Roy Williams (, May 18, 2000


I asked a lot of the old engineers I fired for on the North Charlotte District about the DL109's. One set of the Alcos did see service on my district running into Spencer from the south. In the early years of World War II, a set of the DL109's had an assignment on no. 34, the Piedmont Limited into Spencer. They went back south on no. 35, the Washington, Atlanta, & New Orleans Express. The DL109's alternated on this set of runs with Ps4 no. 1401. The assigned fireman was an engineer I later fired for. Other men firing the DL109's remembered that they had trouble maintaining oil pressure, resulting in shutdowns. Some resorted to the common fix of blocking the low oil shutdown button in with a wooden peg. As engines go, they were not well remembered by my brothers on the North Charlotte District.

-- Ben Lee (, May 19, 2000.

The DL109s were photographed occasionally in Atlanta during the mid 1940's - both on Tr.35 (as stated by Mr. Lee), as well as Trains 1 & 2, the "Ponce de Leon" from Cincinnati to Jacksonville, Fla. I've never heard any specifics on the problems with these units, but the PA's which replaced these six units were plagued with numerous problems. They were eventually assigned to the Atlanta-Jacksonville runs so that they could rotate into Peagram Shop as often as needed. The crews complained that the boilers in the PAs would go out at every station stop, requiring the fireman to relight them each time the train left a station. This was especially frustrating in the cold winter months, as the firemen literally had to ride in the rear of the units to keep the boilers lit.

-- Tom Alderman (, May 21, 2000.

I've seen photographs of the DL-109/DL-110 on the Tennessean and Birmingham Special trains running Bristol west. The PA-3s were also used on these trains. I've seen 1941 era ads showing the DL-109 on the wintertime CNO&TP trains to Florida, but don't know what portions of the route they ran on.

The early Alcos used what were basically switcher engines. They had numerous crankshaft and turbocharger problems. The big GE traction motors handled overloading well so the engines were very well suited to low speed, heavy load assignments... read freight and yard switching. They did not hold up well at high speeds.

-- Tom Warne (, September 05, 2001.

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