Why did the Tennessean cease to be a streamliner

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Southern Railway : One Thread

I know the Tennessean had some heavyweight sleepers in it from the beginning. That is not my concern. I know in the late 50's much of it was still sreamlined. But when I first began to ride it, early 60's it had become completely heavyweight except for the sleeper.I never had a streamlined coach on it from that time forward except once for a very beautiful N&W coach.

I have heard two things, one, that the equipment was needed more to maintain the Southerner, and also perhaps for the Washington-Augusta coaches which ran partly on The Crescent. I have also heard that the Southern Railroad' 1941 stainless steel cars were more sheating and not pure stainless steel inside and that thus those cars from 1941 for the Tennessean and Southerner began to rust. Anybody know for sure?

-- bill haithcoat (bhaithcoat@ajc.com), May 26, 2004


Your information is correct on both counts. Lightweight coaches were primarily assigned to the Washington-Atlanta-New Orleans trains, especially the Southerner and later the Southern Crescent. Heavyweight coaches made it onto the Crescent from time to time when it ceased to be an all Pullman train but as a rule of thumb only the 1032-1046 modernized heavyweights would make it to the Crescent. Southern took delivery of six lightweight coaches in 1958 and with the 1949 Budd and ACF cars, there were still less than 35 lightweight coaches on the roster. That is after you took away the 1941 model cars. Most of the 1941 model coaches (both straight and divided) were removed from service in the 1960's due to the deterioration of their structures. They were stainless fluting over mild steel which when wet, deteriorated quickly. The six observations cars only lasted a little over 15 years before they were scrapped. The Budd cars were constructed of all stainless steel, including the frame and side sill, except for the last 15 feet of the frame and body bolsters which were a mild steel casting. They were riveted to the stainless and to this day show very little deterioration. The 1958 Pullman coaches and the ACF lightweights were stainless fluting over a stainless sheet over a mild steel frame. As long as this arrangement is kept dry, it has held up well. That construction was applied to Southern's lightweight Pullman sleepers and observation cars. The New York Central and Florida East Coast also participated in that 1949-1950 order but refused the stainless sheet between the fluting and the structure, opting for the mild steel sheet instead and it shows today. The fluting is falling off the FEC's observation car. The Pullman cars without the stainless sheet were doomed when they were put on the drawing board.


-- Chris Williams (cwilliamssouth@msn.com), May 26, 2004.

Chris, many thanks for your answer.

One more related question. It is often loosely noted that the Southern "completely re-equipped" the Southerner, Crescent, Royal Palm and Tennessean in 1949. But were any new cars actually ordered for the Tennessean, aside from the pullmans? I gather that the 1941 coaches, diner and lounge really were NOT replaced. Right?

-- bill haithcoat (bhaithcoat@ajc.com), May 27, 2004.

The coaches, coach-lounges, dining cars, and 10-6 sleepers were primarily for Crescent and Southerner service as well as some of the more well-known trains on other routes such as the Royal Palm. The 14-4 sleepers were primarily intended for service on the Tennessean. This was the 'Valley' series such as Tennessee Valley, Roanoke Valley, etc. These cars made it to the Crescent from time to time but were very undesirable due to bedroom configurations and number of roomettes. They were retired in the late 1960's and early 1970's. To the best of my knowledge, the last revenue run for a 14- 4 sleeper was on Christmas Eve in either 1970 or 1971. The Royal series of observation cars was primarily used on the Crescent up to the time they were rebuilt to 11 double-bedroom cars. Other railroads contributed Royal series observation cars to the Crescent. These included the Western Railway of Alabama, the New York Central, and the Louisvile and Nashville. The other cars that are important to note are the Crescent series of sleeper-lounge cars. To the best of my knowledge, these cars did not stray from the Crescent. Since the master-room service was only available on those four cars, it took all four to support the service on the Crescent. To finally answer your questions, the 14-4 sleepers were the only cars ordered for the Tennessean. The 1941 coahces, dining cars, etc stayed on the Tennessean until both the cars and the train deteriorated to the point that it was finally discontinued.

-- Chris Williams (cwilliamssouth@msn.com), May 27, 2004.


I know that this doesn't relate specifically to the Tennesseean cars, but I can corroborate Chris's statements about the Pullman Standard- built "stainless steel" sleeping cars. Five or six years ago I saw one of the "River" series 10-6 sleeping cars at the Mad River Museum (Bellevue, Ohio) on the privately-owned car tracks. While the top and sides of the car had withstood the weather and other elements, the area at the side sills was a different story. The corrosion and built-up mildew had swelled so badly that the side sheeting of stainless steel was separating from the steel side sheet.

-- Ray Brown (bbrown21@columbus.rr.com), May 29, 2004.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ