ACL Passenger Service
nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Sat Sep 10 08:22:17 EDT 2005
Mr. Sellers, this discussion is all well and good, but railroads aren't
using steam engines any more for haul anything. The discussion is moot.
nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org wrote:
>Don't you just have to love it! I dropped that little tid-bit about the N&W
>J class locomotive just to get a rise out of you N&W buffs, and you didn't
>me down. O.K. fellows, you can put aside your slide rules, etc. as I could
>care less how a J stacks up against an ACL 1800. The mechanical
>departments of the ACL and the RF&P were not all dummies. They knew
>what they wanted in the way of power for high-speed passenger service.
>Indeed, the preponderance of motive power on the RF&P was assigned to
>passenger service, and their 4-8-4's were carbon copies of the ACL R-1's.
>The ACL and the RF&P chose not to limit the speed of their passenger
>trains by using 70 inch drivers. I stand by my original statement that
>compared to the ACL, passenger business on the N&W was meager at
>best. The ACL was a speed merchant, along with the PRR, the RF&P,
>and the FEC whisking those snowbirds up north down to Florida, which was a
>1,000 mile trip covered in about 25 hours. When I was in passenger
>service on the ACL we routinely had a scheduled running time of two
>hours and 40 minutes to cover that 172 miles between South Rocky Mount
>and Florence, S.C. And many is the time we have covered it in two hours
>and 30 minutes flat. That's 172 miles in 150 minutes with a better than 60
>MPH average, including a stop in Fayetteville, N.C. , and possibly Wilson.
>About the only location on the entire N&W that permits over 60 MPH
>running is that flat tangent between Petersburg and Norfolk. And yes,
>Harry, there is more potential for fatalities on a road that carries ten times
>the passenger traffic as does the N&W. While enumerating accidents on the
>ACL, you overlooked a little matter in July 1943 when No. 7 plowed into
>the rear of No. 1, the East Coast Champion, in Milan Yard in Fayetteville
>telescoping the rear car on No. 1 with about 12 fatalities. And where did
>you get your information about No. 8 hitting a broken rail in that incident
>at Buie, N.C. ? Yes, No. 91 derailed account of a broken rail, and a
>couple of sleeping cars were fouling the northbound mainline. The fireman on
>No. 91 was Joe Batchelor, who followed me on the seniority roster. He
>failed to provide proper flagging per Rule 99, and No. 8 being run by
>engineer Frank Belknap was at a track speed of about 80 MPH when he
>plowed into the sleepers which is where the most of the fatalities occured.
>Joe couldn't live with the guilt, and later took hi own life. When my
>best friend fireman Charlie Hunt was killed in April 1953, he was on No.
>2 the East Coast Champion when they hit a cocked facing point switch at
>Maple Siding just south of Dillon, S.C. while running at a track speed of
>90 MPH. When it came to getting over the road on passenmger trains,
>don't even mention the N&W and the ACL in the same breath. Think about
>what the RF&P had to accomplish. Not only did they handle 6 or 8 ACL
>name trains in each direction and their extra sections which could amount
>to 3 or even 4 sections, they also had to handle all the trains of the
>between Richmond and Washington. Everything was not peaches and
>cream on the N&W either. I have a mental picture of a photo I saw
>somewhere of a J class locomotive being pulled out orf the Tug Fork River.
>Anyone with half a brain knows that comparing passenger service on the
>N&W and the ACL is comparing apples and oranges. Bill Sellers.
>NW-Mailing-List at nwhs.org
>To change your subscription go to
More information about the NW-Mailing-List