Sleepers on "new" Dixieland : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

When the cooperating railroads decided to fully streamline the Chicago-Fla. DIXIELAND in 1954, a Cheasapeke & Ohio 5-Dbrm-Bar-Lounge was stated to be part of the consist. Was this one of the square-ended observation cars, and if so, does anyone know if it was regularly placed on the tail? Thanks for all info. BTW- a great meeting in Rocky Mount- a fine effort by all!

-- Bob Venditti (, May 15, 2002


Regarding the Guthrie KY accident-I made a mistake-a "Senior" moment- only 6 persons were killed-3 passengers, 1 train service employee and 2 dining car employees. 21 were injured. The Dixieland was southbound, behind L&N units 604 and 612, one dormitory baggage car, two sleepers, a diner (ACL "Philadelphia"), a tavern lounge, one sleeper and six coaches. It was struck by a southbound freight 3 units and 30 cars, plus caboose. While moving at about 6 miles per hour, the freight struck the Dixieland on the side of the first car. The front of the second unit of the freight struck the diner and demolished it. The engineer of the freight was killed. The ICC found that the freight crew did not operate their train in accordance with the signal indications.

-- Michael W. Savchak (, May 20, 2002.

For grins, here is an arial photo of Guthrie, KY as it appears in recent times. The "scene of the the crime"...the long gone, replaced with some elaborate connecting interchanges.

Click for photo

-- Buck Dean (, May 17, 2002.

I went home and checked my references. The rear car, at least prior to the end of the 1956-1957 winter season, was one of the Florida East Coast's round end observation tavern cars. This car was replaced by a mid train lounge in the spring of 1957.

The new "Dixieland" was basically the "Dixie Flagler" with new sleeping cars and new coaches added to the consist. The sleepers were 4 section 4 roomette 5 double bedroom 1 compartment cars built by Pullman-Standard. Ownership of the sleepers was divided amongst the FEC, ACL, NC&STL, L&N, and C&EI. Most of the new coaches came from the FEC and C&EI. The re-equipping was a last attempt to revive the fortunes of this train.

The "Dixieland" was involved in a grade crossing collision on June 29 1957, where it's diner was struck by an L&N freight at Guthrie Kentucky. The diner, the ACL "Philadelphia" was destroyed, and 13 people were killed. This event, plus the severe recession of 1957, caused ridership to plummet and the train was discontinued on November 29, 1957.

The book "Midwest Florida Sunliners" by R. Lyle Key has a photo of the train with a C&O mid train lounge car.

Bob: I have made copies of the referenced sections from the above noted book, as well as some floorplans and photos of the C&O cars. I lost your address, so e-mail me off forum and I will send the info to you.

-- Michael W. Savchak (, May 17, 2002.

I have a December 1956 Official Guide that lists car line D-94 as being "5 Double bedrooms, Bar-Lounge" under the equipment for trains #5 and #6 the "Dixieland". The cars show operating between Chicago and Miami. As further indication that these cars were probably used mid-train, there is also a "Tavern-Lounge-Observation" car listed for this train also. If the order that the equipment is listed in the guide is any indication of placement in the train, the Bedroom/Lounge car is shown just ahead of the diner, which is shown near mid-train, while the Tavern-Lounge-Observation car is shown as last on the list perhaps indicating it was on the rear.

As info the train shows a total of 5 sleepers, including the sleeper/lounge refered to in the original question. If I am right, that would mean just this one train, of many, many trains, in 1956 had more sleeper capacity than Amtrak has on all it's trains now operating into Florida.

Hope this info helps.

Bryan Smith

-- Bryan Smith (, May 16, 2002.

Bob: All of the C&O 5 double bedroom bar lounge cars were built as square ended observation cars. Unfortunately, these cars rarely ran in the rear of trains. On the new Dixieland, the car was planned to run mid train. Now-the issue as to whether the cars actually ran on the train- I would have to go and check some of my Official Guides for the period 1954-1955 and see what they show.

C&O never really had much use for these cars-they immediately sold four cars to the B&O and then converted their cars to sleeper-diners in 1961-1962.

-- Michael W. Savchak (, May 16, 2002.

Bob - I am pretty sure the cars ran mid-train only. Someone who has a copy of the TLC C&O passenger car book can probably answer whether these were square-end observation cars.

-- Larry Goolsby (, May 15, 2002.

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