Distinctive Equipment For The 'Crescent Limited'
Reprinted from the "Southern News Bulletin," Volume 16, Number 11, November, 1929, p. 1.
Making the exterior appearance and interior appointments of the "Crescent Limited" as distinctive as the service this de luxe train offers to passengers between New York and New Orleans, via Washington and Atlanta, new equipment, just built by the Pullman Company, was placed in operation on October 21st, complete trains having started from New York and New Orleans on that date. (1)
The exteriors of the cars are painted in two shades of green. The sides of the cars up to the window sills and the panels above the windows are painted Virginia Green, the shade which Southern Railway passenger locomotives are painted. The panels between the windows are in a lighter shade. All the cars are lettered "Crescent Limited" in gold leaf in the upper panels. Each train includes one club car; one 8-section, 2 compartment, 1-drawing room sleeping car; one 14-section car; four 10-section, 2-drawing room cars; (2) one 3-compartment, 2-drawing room observation car. Southern Railway postal car is handled between Washington and Atlanta and dining car between Monroe and Atlanta, making the maximum consist ten cars between Monroe and Atlanta. (3) The Southern Railway cars are painted just as the Pullman cars with the exception that the word "Southern" is painted at the ends of the upper panels in place of the word "Pullman."
The interior arrangements of the sleeping cars include all the latest developments of the Pullman Company's car designers. The color scheme and upholstery are very attractive and great improvement has been made in the lighting fixtures. The aisle lights are placed in divisions between the sections so that a passenger desiring to read has the light to come over his shoulder. The side lights are of the bracket type. Both upper and lower berths are fitted with box spring mattresses, providing the maximum of comfort. The vestibules are provided with safety doors, the upper half of which can be opened while the lower half remains firmly locked.
The complete trains present a stream of green from locomotive to observation car. As these handsome and distinctive trains pass from New York to New Orleans and in the opposite direction they immediately attract attention and are bound to prove one of the best possible advertisements for the Southern's service. Before being put into service, one of the trains was exhibited at Washington and then run to New Orleans with stops at Greensboro, High Point, Salisbury, Concord, Charlotte, Atlanta, Montgomery and Mobile. Large crowds turned out everywhere and many favorable expressions were heard. The first train to leave New York was also exhibited in the Pennsylvania station.
The "Crescent Limited" is the successor of the pioneer through train between New York and New Orleans and is operated over the historic route, using the Pennsylvania Railroad between New York and Washington, the Southern between Washington and Atlanta, the West Point Route between Atlanta and Montgomery, and the Louisville and Nashville Railroad between Montgomery and New Orleans. (4)
(1) These distinctive colors as well as the name Crescent Limited would fall by the wayside during the depression because running a premier class train during hard times didn't make for good public relations. The name was officially discontinued in 1934 after having been absent from the time tables for several years. At that time, the train was referred to by its numbers (37 & 38) and began to include coaches. In 1938, the train was renamed the Crescent and began using the first air conditioned coaches on the Southern System. Southern Railway kept the Crescent out of AMRAK until February 1, 1979. The lead locomotive on the last run of the Crescent under Southern Railway control was Sou Ry #6901. This E8 passenger diesel is on display at SRM.
(2) The Crescent Limited served Atlanta via Terminal Station which opened on Spring Street on May 13, 1905. Terminal Station also served the Central of Georgia, Atlanta & West Point, and the Seaboard Air Line Railroad. The station was demolished in 1972. Today's AMTRAK Crescent serves Atlanta via Brookwood Station which began as a stop for suburban riders in 1918.
(3) The 1929 sleeper Thomas Ruffin (Sou Ry #2442) is the only known survivor of this trainset. In 1935, it was modified to its current configuration of 10 sections, two bedrooms and one drawing room. The car is under restoration at SRM.
(4) The train dates back to the Washington and Southwestern Vestibule Limited, which began running between Washington and Atlanta in January, 1891 on the Richmond and Danville Railroad. With the formation of the Southern Railway, which included the R&D, in 1894, the train--which had expanded its service to New Orleans via Montgomery--was renamed the Washington and Southwestern Limited. The train was renamed the New York and New Orleans Limited in 1906 and the Crescent Limited in 1925.
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