Regarding the railroad’s steam locomotive fleet it rostered a wide range
of wheel arrangements, from large to small. While the company
rostered impressive power such as 2-8-8-2s to haul coal out of the
mountains in western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee (known as the
Appalachia Division), the railroad is perhaps best known for its fleet
of Ps4-class Pacifics, which were built by the American Locomotive
Company (Alco) in 1926 and used to carry the very best passenger trains
the company had to offer. The Ps4s are best remembered for their days
hauling the Southern’s finest passenger train, the Crescent.
They were adorned to match their trains in the company’s beautiful
green, white, and gold-trimmed livery and are argued to be the most
beautiful (from an aesthetic standpoint) steam locomotives ever built.
Fortunately one has been saved, #1401, which today resides at the
Smithsonian and is proudly on display in her original green, white, and
|Class MS 2-8-2 #4501 (coincidentally the first such Mikado the road ever owned) pulls an excursion near Lake Ponchatrain with the assistance of an FP7 during November of 1985.|
Much of what made company such a highly
profitable railroad was its many fine business leaders. It began with
Samuel Spencer in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which expanded
the company to much of how it looked when it merged with the Norfolk
& Western in 1982. Later Ernest Norris began dieselizing the
company’s fleet of motive power and Harry deButts was able to understand
the future economic growth of the South, and prepared the railroad
accordingly. By the time D.W. Brosnan rose to the helm of the company it was
well on its way to becoming a powerhouse in its industry.
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Diesel Locomotive Roster
The American Locomotive Company
The Baldwin Locomotive Works
|RS3||2025-2062, 2131-2145, 6208-6239, 6875-6882||1950-1953||93|
Electro-Motive Corporation/Electro-Motive Division
|GP9||302-303, 2500-2501, 6245-6249, 6898-6899, 8214-8215||1955-1956||13|
|SW1||2002-2004, 2007-2011, 8565||1940, 1947||8|
|GP7||2063-2077, 2156-2197, 6200-6205, 6240-6244, 6540-6544, 8210-8213||1950-1953||55|
|NW2||2200-2207, 2233-2284, 6050-6056, 6850-6851, 8560||1940-1948||68|
|SD24||2502-2524, 6950-6953, 6305-6325||1959-1960||48|
|GP35||2526 (Second), 2641 (Second), 2645-2704||1965||62|
|TR2||2400A-2404A (Cow), 2400B-2404B (Calf)||1947||10|
|FTA||4100A-4108A, 4100D-4108D, 4105B, 4105C, 4120-4127, 6100A-6102A, 6100D-6102D, 6800A-6803A||1939-1945||38|
|FTB||4100B-4104B, 4100C-4104C, 4106B-4108B, 4106C-4108C, 4116-4119, 6100B-6102B, 6100C-6102C, 6800B-6803B||1939-1945||30|
|F3A||4128-4206, 6106-6113, 6702-6713, 6804-6806||1946-1949||100|
|F7A||4207-4269, 6114-6120, 6714-6719||1949-1951||65|
|F3B||4320-4384, 6156-6159, 6750-6755, 6829||1946-1949||76|
|F7B||4385-4428, 6160-6183, 6756-6758||1949-1951||71|
|SW9||6060-6073, 6505-6509, 6852-6863, 8200-8203||1950||35|
|H24-66 (Train Master)||6300-6304||1954||5|
|Class Ps-4 4-6-2 #1374 awaits to depart Charlotte, North Carolina with its passenger train on June 4, 1940.|
|44-Tonner||1950-1953, 6010, 6520, 6840||1945||7|
Steam Locomotive Roster
|G-2, H Through H-4, I, J/2, K (Various)||Consolidation||2-8-0|
|F-1 Through F-14||Ten-Wheeler||4-6-0|
|P-1 Through Ps-4||Pacific||4-6-2|
|Ss, Ss-1||Santa Fe||2-10-2|
|Led by GP50 #7072 a northbound freight flies over the high bridge spanning the Cumberland River near Burnside, Kentucky on May 24, 1981.|
Notable Passenger Trains
Aiken-Augusta Special: (Washington - Salisbury - Augusta)
Asheville Special: (Washington - Greensboro - Asheville)
Birmingham Special: (Washington - Birmingham)
Carolina Special: (Cincinnati - Greensboro/Charleston)
Crescent: (New York-Washington-Atlanta-Montgomery-New Orleans)
Florida Sunbeam: (Cincinnati - Florida)
Kansas City-Florida Special: (Kansas City - Brunswick, Georgia/Florida)
Peach Queen: (Washington - Atlanta)
Pelican: (New York-Lynchburg-Bristol-Knoxville-Chattanooga-Birmingham-New Orleans)
Piedmont Limited: (Washington - New Orleans)
Ponce de Leon: (Cincinnati - Jacksonville)
Queen & Crescent: (Cincinnati - New Orleans)
Royal Palm: (Cincinnati-Chattanooga-Jacksonville)
Skyland Special: (Asheville - Jacksonville)
Southerner: (Washington-Atlanta-Birmingham-New Orleans)
Sunnyland: (Memphis - Atlanta)
Washington-Atlanta-New Orleans Express: (Washington - Atlanta - New Orleans)
|Two GP30s hustle past the historic Huntsville, Alabama depot (which dates to the Civil War) with a freight train during November of 1984.|
go on to expand the railroad in terms of new technologies and
efficiencies, such as updating bottlenecks across its system and using computers
for even better operations. Graham Claytor would be the railroad's
last president and continued operations much as his previous
In the Southern’s final days the railroad was a well-oiled machine.
Even as the railroad industry hit an all-time low in the 1970s with many
bankruptcies and outright
liquidations (this was most prominent in the Northeast), the railroad
continued to roll in profits, topping out at almost $1.8 billion in
revenues in 1981, its last year as an independent company.
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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"
Seaboard, "Through The Heart Of 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"