Classic Streamliners - TRAINCYCLOPEDIA
The Southern Railway's Birmingham Special.
The Pennsylvania ended through service north of Washington in 1956. Through service to Memphis, Tennessee (connecting in Chattanooga) ended on 31 January 1967. The Southern Railway dropped the name itself on February 1, 1970; service south of Bristol ended August 11, 1970, although a rump train operated north from Birmingham to the Alabama/Tennessee border for a few more months. The train was the last to serve Chattanooga's Terminal Station. At the start of Amtrak on May 1, 1971, the former Birmingham Special remained as a Washington—Bristol service. The Norfolk & Western joined Amtrak; Amtrak chose not to continue the Lynchburg—Bristol portion of the train. This left the Southern Railway, which had not joined Amtrak, with the Washington—Lynchburg train as the sole remnant.
The Southern Railway continued to operate a nameless Washington–Lynchburg train until June 1, 1975, using the new numbers No. 7 (southbound) and No. 8 (northbound). The Southern Railway joined Amtrak in 1979.
Birmingham Special Overview
Service type: Inter-city rail
First service: May 17, 1909
Last service: February 1, 1970
Former operators: Southern Railway, Norfolk and Western Railway, Pennsylvania Railroad
Route: Start Birmingham, Alabama / End New York, New York
Train numbers: 29, 30
The Birmingham Special
The Birmingham Special was a named passenger train operated by the Southern Railway, Norfolk and Western Railway, and Pennsylvania Railroad in the southeastern United States. The train began service in 1909 and continued, with alterations, after Amtrak assumed control of most long-haul intercity passenger rail in the United States on May 1, 1971. The Birmingham Special is the namesake of the famed big band tune "Chattanooga Choo Choo."
The Southern Railway began the Birmingham Special on May 17, 1909. The new train ran from Birmingham, Alabama to New York City via Atlanta, Georgia and Washington, D.C.. The Southern operated the train between Birmingham and Washington; from Washington the Pennsylvania carried through cars to New York. The new train carried both coaches and Pullman sleepers and a dining car. Its road numbers on the Southern Railway were No. 29 (southbound) and No. 30 (northbound).
On May 15, 1932, the Southern re-routed the Birmingham Special to skip Atlanta. The new route took the train via Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Bristol, Virginia. This new route involved the Norfolk and Western Railway, which hauled the train between Lynchburg, Virginia, and Bristol. This led the unusual (though not unique) situation of the Birmingham Special using two unconnected sections of the Southern Railway: Washington—Lynchburg and Bristol—Birmingham. Mack Gordon and Harry Warren wrote "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" while traveling aboard this train, although the Birmingham Special is not mentioned directly by name.
Text: wikipedia.org. Images: Public Domain; http://www.commons.wikimedia.org (unless otherwise specified) and 17 U.S. Code § 107 fair use. References: Lewis, Robert G. The Handbook of American Railroads. New York: Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation, 1951, 2nd Edition 1956. Site Map Contact webmaster HERE.
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