The End of the Southern’s Crescent

October 2, 2012 Todd DeFeo 0

ATLANTA — While Amtrak started its operations in 1971, not all railroads gave up passenger service. Southern Railways’ Crescent route between New York and New Orleans was once such example. However, by May 1978, Southern was spending $560,000 per month operating the train, which passed through Atlanta. The railroad petitioned the Interstate Commerce Commission to discontinue the service, which at that point was the railroad’s only passenger route. In 1978, 195,000 people took the train, down dramatically from the roughly 9 million who used the service during World War II. On Dec. 13, 1978, Amtrak’s board of directors agreed to

Railroads’ Humble Beginning (Part II)

October 2, 2012 Todd DeFeo 0

Click here for Part I In 1772, Oliver Evans created a 21-ton boat on wheels that could travel on both land and water. The vehicle boasted a paddle that helped it glide across the water. A steam engine helped it ride along the land. In 1812, Evans noted: The time will come when people will travel in stages moved by steam engines from one city to another almost as fast as birds fly – fifteen to twenty miles an hour. Passing through the air with such velocity – changing the scenes in such rapid succession – will be the most

The Brief Tenure of the Illinois Central Gulf in Middle Tennessee

October 1, 2012 Todd DeFeo 0

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — After the Tennessee Central wrapped up its operations on Aug. 31, 1968, some of the railroad’s locomotives were parked in Hopkinsville, Ky., news accounts suggest. The next day, the Illinois Central assumed the line’s operations between Hopkinsville and Nashville, Tenn. The line operated as part of the Illinois Central’s — and subsequently the Illinois Central Gulf’s — Evansville District. But, about a decade later, the railroad announced its intention to vacate its line through Middle Tennessee. In March 1978, the (Hopkinsville) Kentucky New Era newspaper reported the railroad was looking at closing the 158-mile line between Evansville,

Railroads’ Humble Beginning (Part I)

October 1, 2012 Todd DeFeo 0

The earliest railroads looked little like their modern ancestors. Beyond the rails and wheels on cars, they had little in common. They couldn’t haul the huge loads that today’s railroads can and their mode of power was either man or animal, usually horse or ox. The earliest ancestors of modern day railroads date back to the Roman Empire. It was during that period that stone tracks were used with wagons. The closest resemblance to modern railroads dates to the mid 16th century when German miners started using wooden rails to help transport wagons with flanged wheels. Like modern railroads, the

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