By the 1960s the railroad was a premier southern Class I system and
fiercely competed with the Atlantic Coast Line for both passengers and
traffic (its “Air Line” named referred to the shortest distance and
fastest delivery between two points). By its latter years the Seaboard
had a quite diverse freight traffic base which included agriculture,
aggregates, cement, perishables, and iron ore. The railroad likewise
was one of the first to champion the trailer-on-flat-car (TOFC) concept
in 1950 (it also holds the distinction of being one of the relatively
few railroads to name its premier freight trains).
|A former SAL RS12, #207, performs switching work at the Richmond yard on September 15, 1968.|
The SAL also had an extensive and popular
passenger train fleet (partly due to the southeastern markets it
reached) including famous trains such as the Orange Blossom Special (also known as the OBS), Silver Meteor, and Silver Star
(the SAL also had a number of seasonal trains). The railroad offered
top-notch passenger service and was one of the few to continue such
right up until the end when Amtrak took over operations in 1971.
Because of this and the markets the railroad served a number of its
train soldier on today including the Silver Meteor and Silver Star. By the latter 1960s the SAL and ACL began to understand that because the
railroads operated in virtually every market as the other that merging
would be very beneficial. Mergers, if planned and implemented correctly
can save a railroad millions of dollars in the long term and this was
the very reason behind the Seaboard Air Line and ACL discussing the option seriously, as early as the late 1950s.
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Diesel Locomotive Roster
The American Locomotive Company
The Baldwin Locomotive Works
|A former SAL RSC3, now designated #1115, sits behind the Bryan Park Shops in Richmond on January 15, 1971.|
Steam Locomotive Roster
|B, B1||Santa Fe||2-10-2|
|400, D Through D-5||Decapod||2-10-0|
|100-104, E (Various), G Through G3||American||4-4-0|
|F1 Through F7, L5||Switcher||0-6-0|
|F1 Through F4||Switcher||0-6-0|
|H, H1, L, L1, L3||Consolidation||2-8-0|
|E8, I (Various), K (Various), L (Various)||Ten-Wheeler||4-6-0|
|M, M-1, M-2||Mountain||4-8-2|
|P, P-1, P-2||Pacific||4-6-2|
|Q Through Q-4||Mikado||2-8-2|
Notable Passenger Trains
Cotton Blossom: (Washington - Atlanta)
Gulf Wind: (Jacksonville - New Orleans)
New York-Florida Limited: (New York - Miami/St. Petersburg)
Orange Blossom Special: (New York - Miami)
Palmland: (New York - Tampa/Miami/Boca Grande)
Silver Comet: (New York/Portsmouth - Birmingham)
Silver Meteor: (New York - Miami/St. Petersburg/Venice/Fort Meyers)
Silver Star: (New York - Miami/St. Petersburg/Venice/Boca Grande)
Sunland: (Washington/Portsmouth - Miami/Venice)
Suwanee River Special: (Cincinnati - Florida)
Tidewater: (Raleigh/Norlina, North Carolina - Portsmouth, Virginia)
|Several first generation Electro-Motive units sporting various predecessor liveries (including former SAL GP7 #967) take a break at the yard in Richmond on November 16, 1968.|
While the SAL and ACL were fierce competitors, similar to the Pennsylvania
Railroad and New York Central who would also merge during the same
period, the difference between the PRR/NYC and SAL/ACL partnerships was
that the ACL and SAL spent many years planning their new system in an
effort to ensure the marriage would go smoothly. Their planning would
pay off as the new Seaboard Coast Line, formed in the summer of 1967,
which soon became a very profitable venture itself for 13 years before
merging again, this time with the Chessie System to form today’s CSX
Related Reading You May Enjoy
Other Classic Railroads Of The South
The "Coast Line"
CoG, "The Right Way"
IC, "Main Line Of Mid-America"
FEC, "Flagler System"
C&O, "George Washington's Railroad"
GM&O, "The Rebel Route"
L&N, "The Dixie Line"
NC&StL, "The Dixie Line"
N&W, "Precision Transportation"
Norfolk Southern (Original)
Oneida & Western
RF&P, "Linking North & South"
Southern..."Serves The South"
The "TAG" Route
TC, "The Nashville Route"
AN, "The Port St. Joe Route"
A&StAB, "The Bay Line"
L&C, "The Springmaid Line"
Sandersville, "The Kaolin Road"
AD&N, "Serving Southern Forests"
D&S, "Service With Courtesy"
The "Tweetsie," ET&WNC
F&C, "The Kentucky Midland Route"