ACL PASSENGER TRAIN SOUTHLAND : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread


-- WILLIAM H. TURNER (WTURNER226@AOL.COM), February 12, 1998


Can't help you with any 1930's vintage info but someone might find my memories of a trip on the Southland during WWII to be of some interest. The year was either 1943 or '44 and together with my Aunt who lived in Bradenton, Fla. I was a passenger in an open section Pullman from Tampa to Gary, Ind. As a twelve year old this was my first trip in a sleeper and I had the upper berth while my Aunt had the lower. The Southland during the war years was a popular train with about 15 cars as I recall. Motive power was an ACL 4-8-2. I was either told or read later that speed was limited to 30 mph from Trilby North due to this loco's weight and the light rail and sparse ballast of the Perry Cutoff.

Excited as I was, I must have slept good because my next recollection is the following morning waking up and eating breakfast in the diner as we highballed over the CofG toward Atlanta. The daylight trip North of Atlanta through the mountains on the L&N was exciting. Frequent views of the locomotive and forward cars as we snaked around one curve after another. I remember three highlights of the trip through Tennessee: 1) an interchange with the Southern at a small mountain town with a couple of SR mallets and lots of coal hoppers visible; 2) a junction at still another unknown mountain town with the Kentucky and Tennessee and the sight of several of their loco's.; and 3) stopping at Oak Ridge - lots of passengers getting off and my Aunt pointing out the atomic plant cleary visible across the valley.

I was asleep long before we got to Cincinnati and got off in the snow and cold next morning at the Pennsy staion in Gary. Thus ended about a 40 hour magic carpet ride for me on the old Southland!

-- Mark S. Foster (, November 17, 2000.

Finding your post regards the Southland brought back fond memories of my teen years. During the war and into the late 40s I rode the Southland many times from Tampa,Fla. to Macon,Ga. As I remember it left Tampa Union Station at 8:05 P.M. and arrived in Macon in the A.M. following day. I can remember the all night ride in the coach seat much too excited to sleep,listening to the whistle and looking out the window for a glance at the engine. Some of the coaches did not have air conditioning and the windows were opened and soot soon covered your clothes. I remember going thru towns such as Albany, Thomasville, Perry and many others. Oh how I wish I could take that ride one more time.Always wanted to work on the railroad and did work for the Coast Line In 1952 for a short time,but never could get on the road, so I finally quit.

-- Charles H. Cleveland (, August 20, 1999.

Hi William, Feb. 12, 1998. I happen to have an ACL public timetable from Nov. 1930 which contains some SOUTHLAND info; hopefully this might be of some use to you. Launched in Nov. 1915 Chicago to Jacksonville, rerouted via the ACL "Perry Cutoff" in Dec, 1928; it carried No.'s 33 southbound, 32 northbound.

Equipment shown is: Obs. Car Chicago-St.Pete (3comp, 2DR) Dining Car Sleepers Chicago-Tampa (8sect, 2comp, 1Dr)- extended to Sarasota 12/1/30 Detroit-Tampa (12sect, 1comp,1Dr)- extended to Sarasota and changed to a 10-2-1 on 12/1/30 Cleveland-St.Pete (Dr) Detroit-St.Pete (10sect, 2Dr)- effective 12/1/30 Chicago-St.Pete (Dr)- effective 12/1/30 Coaches all points It was scheduled daily out of Chicago, Grand Rapids & Cleveland on the PRR, Detroit on the Wabash (the Chi/GR/Det routes converging at Ft. Wayne); and south to Cincinnati on the L&N (where the Cleveland route joined up). Continuing south on L&N to Knoxville,(a connecting train from Indianapolis through Louisville joined in at Corbin, KY). Switching to CofG at Atlanta, throught to Macon and Albany. Southward from Albany, the SOUTHLAND was on the ACL, showing stops at Camilla, Pelham, Thomasville, Monticello(FL) Perry, Wilcox, Dunnellon, Inverness, and Trilby. From here, the SOUTHLAND split, with sections(2) going to St.Pete via Tarpon Sprgs, Dunedin, Clearwater. The other leg to Tampa via Dade City, with the seasonal extention onward to Palmetto, Bradenton, and Sarasota. Departure times were shown out of Chicago at 11:45PM; Grand Rapids at 6:35PM; Detroit 11:30PM; Cleveland 8:50PM; Cincinnati 7:50AM Knoxville was attained at 3:46PM sb, 12:50PM nb; Atlanta 9:05PM sb 7:25AM nb; Albany at 3:35AM sb 2:50AM nb; Perry 6:49AM sb 11:26PM nb; Trilby 10:38AM sb 7:49PM nb; St.Pete- Arr 1:05PM, Dep 5:30Pm; Tampa- Arr 12:05Pm, Dep 6:35Pm. Sarasota- Arr 6:25PM, Dep 11:50AM ( a footnote indicates Sarasota cars are on connecting train) Jump to Dec. 1944 timetable. Now things get hazy, as my timetable-reading skills really begin to falter. It appears the SOUTHLAND's schedule has been combined south of Atlanta with the DIXIE FLYER, and also with the SEMINOLE south of Albany, and now shows Albany-Jax via Waycross, Jax-Tampa via Haines City, and a Jax-Miami section via FEC. But I highly suspect these are all just thru cars handed off to connecting trains. The original Albany-St.Pete route via Perry is retained, for now. Equipment roster substantiates thru sleepers to the new destinations, too many other car lines to list here. Things clear up a bit with the June 1955 schedule, which shows the original schedule intact, with offshoot routes clearly indicated as via connecting train. By Dec. 1957, the SOUTHLAND was rerouted off the Perry Cutoff, runing instead to Jacksonville, which became its southern terminus that year. The train was discontinued entirely in 1959, last run being on July 25.

I'll be at the train show and meeting in Jax on Feb 21; if you'd like copies of SOUTHLAND's schedules, I'll bring them with. It was fun digging up info on this train, as I learned A LOT I didn't know previously about the ACL and such. Somewhere, I have a railroad modeling mag that has a feature on modeling the Perry Cutoff, and it mentions the SOUTHLAND prominently. If I find it, I'll make a copy of that too. I'll look for you at the show if you'll be there. 'till later! Bob Venditti.

-- Bob Venditti (, February 13, 1998.

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