Vacationer and Champion in 1940-1942 : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

It would seem that FEC did not have enough EMD diesel equipment at this time to handle all the name trains through Florida. I have seen pics of ACL hauling Vacationer thru Fla on FEC lines.

Was this on a regular schedule, or did FEC 400 st series steam do most of the work? Were any specific E6's assigned?

Also, was The Champion a turnaround in Fla during this time with FEC E3 1002, or were there 2 separate trains in Fla?

Thanks, Gerald Johnson

-- Gerald Johnson (, March 15, 2001


As far as I know,except in case of emergency,L&N units never ran into Jacksonville.I know they did not go south of J-Ville.

-- J.Oates (, March 15, 2001.

You are correct in that FEC did not have enough equipment for all of the named trains.

When the two roads introduced the Champion/Henry M. Flagler, they purchased four locomotives with the four consists. ACL 500 and 501, FEC 1001 and 1002 were equipped with ACL intermittent automatic train stop and RF&P continuous inductive train control systems. Since the FEC 1001 was normally used on the Flagler, its speed generator-used for RF&P train control was not normally installed, but was carried onboard the locomotive. These four locomotives were able to run through between Washington DC and Miami-but in actuality, FEC units rarely ventured north of Jacksonville.

Since FEC had no form of train control system, any ACL locomotive could traverse its lines, but the reverse was not true-few FEC locomotives other than the 1001-1002 had ACL train stop or RF&P cab signals. Normal operation was to have the FEC run its power between Miami and Jacksonville, and the ACL run north. When FEC did not have sufficient units, ACL power ran through.

The Champion was a run through as was the Vacationer. Remember, the Vacationer was introduced in 1938, before ACL or FEC had Diesels-so it ran exclusively under steam until enough ACL/FEc units were purchased-this was not until 1941-42..

During the mid 1940's, the specifically after May 1943, the ACL/RF&P run through agreement was allowed to lapse, and RF&P steam then pulled the Champion-and ACL steam did so when necessary-One of the reasons behind the 1943 Milan NC wreck of the Champion was that it was being pulled by two ACL Pacifics which were limited to 70 mph, while the following train had diesels, which were permitted 80 mph. When the first train stopped for coal and water at Milan, the disapatcher decided to allow the second train to pass the first, except that the second train hit the first while it was being routed into the siding.

Following the war, FEC power normally stayed below Jacksonville. This presented a real problem to the ACL right after the strike-it suddenly needed to fill the void left when FEC power was no longer available. That was when one could regularly see PRR, IC, and L&N units south of Jacksonville.

The limitations on run through power were created by the need to have train stop on the ACL and cab signals on the RF&P. Emergencies-such as the 1958 snow storm which crippled the PRR, were exceptions-one saw ACL and RF&P power on the PRR-where both sets of units did not have PRR compatible cab signalling/train stop. This was allowed in an emergency-but the non equipped units ran under absolute block rules between interlockings-i.e. no other trains were permitted in the block while they were in it, and they were limited to a maximum speed of 40 mph.

-- Michael W. Savchak (Savchak, March 15, 2001.

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