Auto-Train engines in SCL freight service : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

Photos document that the original Auto-Train Corporation's U36Bs were used in SCL freight service in A-T's last years before it went bankrupt in 1981. Apparently this started as early as 1977 and ontinued for the next several years. Many of us remember "hearing" that A-T did this to help pay SCL for running its trains over the line, since A-T was very short of cash in its final years. However we cannot find any specific documentation of the reason this happened or how long it went on. Thanks for any help - we need this info for an upcoming Lines South article.

-- Larry Goolsby (, June 03, 2003



Could it be that the SCL was also short on power during this time and that Auto-Train had surplus units after abandoning the Louisville route? It seems to coincide with the time frame that SCL had to supply L&N with motive power and the SCL was seen running Espee & Frisco units on more than just pooled power trains. Back in '78, those AT units were still pretty nice to look at. By '81, they were trashed up pretty bad from lack of maintenance. See photo:

-- Mark Kuehler (, June 11, 2003.

Paul always comes through! THANKS!

-- Joseph Oates (, June 10, 2003.

Larry, On a family trip to the midwest in 1984, I stopped at Oelwein,Iowa, and was amazed to discover 4 or 5 original A-T units among CGW and C&NW power in what appeared to be a deadline. As far as relating to usage as SCL freight power, it least gives an indication as to when those units had changed ownership. Speaking of A-T, the Peninsular Railfan Club of St. Pete rode the Champion from St. Pete to Poinciana and back. The hotel across from Poinciana station had a Sunday buffet which the Club took advantage of. I have full photo coverage of the trip,including station facilities. Regarding the test trip that Auto-Trak made, I understand that Amtrak rented a full carload of autos to simulate working conditions.If the rumors were true,the auto-carrier equipment used for the test had standard freight trucks instead of high-speed ones. The resulting jolting of the autos caused a large amount of damage which was one of the factors which decided Amtrak against the Auto-Trak program. Also, the route from Poinciana to Disney was twice as far as from Kissimee to wdw.

-- Paul Coe (, June 10, 2003.

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