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Silver Comet
The Silver Comet was a streamlined passenger train inaugurated on May 18, 1947, by the Seaboard Air Line Railroad (Seaboard Coast Line after merger with the Atlantic Coast Line on July 1, 1967). Before its inaugural run, the new train was christened by actress Jean Parker at Pennsylvania Station in New York City.

Daily service extended from New York via Washington, D.C., Richmond, Virginia, Raleigh, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia to Birmingham, Alabama. From New York to Washington, the train was handled by the Pennsylvania Railroad; from Washington to Richmond, by the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad; and by Seaboard from Richmond to points south. Under its original schedule, the trip took 23 hours at an average speed of 48 miles per hour.

The consist of the Silver Comet included baggage cars, coaches, Pullman sleepers, and a dining car between New York and Birmingham, along with through coaches and Pullmans to or from Portsmouth, Virginia, connecting at Hamlet, North Carolina. A 48-seat observation car brought up the rear of the train.

Owing to declining passenger and mail revenues, the Silver Comet was discontinued in stages in 1969: the last trip between Atlanta and Birmingham was made on January 18; between Washington and Richmond, May 7; and between Richmond and Atlanta, October 14. The last through sleeper had run on December 31, 1968.

Following abandonment of the Atlanta to Birmingham segment of the Silver Comet right-of-way by SAL-SCL successor CSX in 1989, portions were converted to the Silver Comet Trail in Georgia and the Chief Ladiga Trail in Alabama.

RF&P 1007 with Train 33, The Silver Comet, passing AF tower, Alexandria, VA on March 23, 1969. Photo by Roger Puta.

A Silver Comet slideshow.

Silver Comet Overview
Service type: Inter-city rail
Status: Defunct
Locale: Eastern United States
First service: May 18, 1947
Last service: October 14, 1969
Former operators: SAL (1947–1967), SCL (1967–1969)
Start: New York City, New York
End: Birmingham, Alabama
Distance traveled: 1,106.3 miles (1,780.4 km)
Train numbers: Southbound, 197-33 (PRR-SAL); Northbound, 34-196 (SAL-PRR)
On-board services
Seating arrangements: Coach
Sleeping arrangements: Pullman
Catering facilities: Dining car
Observation facilities: Observation coach
Baggage facilities: Baggage car
Track gauge: 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)
Track owners: PRR (New York–Washington), RFP (Washington–Richmond), SAL (Richmond–Birmingham)

Silver Comet route 1947-1969
Routes of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad in 1955 including the Silver Comet from New York to Birmingham
Distance - Station

0 New YorkNew York–New Jersey border
10.0 mi (16.1 km) Newark
58.1 mi (93.5 km) TrentonNew Jersey–Pennsylvania border
85.9 mi (138.2 km) North Philadelphia
91 mi (146 km) PhiladelphiaPennsylvania–Delaware border
118.1 mi (190.1 km) WilmingtonDelaware–Maryland border
185 mi (298 km) BaltimoreMaryland–District of Columbia border
225 mi (362 km) Washington, DCDistrict of Columbia–Virginia border
280.7 mi (451.7 km) Fredericksburg
343.1 mi (552.2 km) Richmond
365.8 mi (588.7 km) Petersburg(to Portsmouth)Virginia–North Carolina border)
456.5 mi (734.7 km) Henderson
500.3 mi (805.2 km) Raleigh
596.9 mi (960.6 km) Hamlet
649.5 mi (1,045.3 km) MonroeNorth Carolina–South Carolina border
694.5 mi (1,117.7 km) Chester
740.2 mi (1,191.2 km) Clinton
768.0 mi (1,236.0 km) Greenwood
783.1 mi (1,260.3 km) AbbevilleSouth Carolina–Georgia border
814.4 mi (1,310.6 km) Elberton
848.8 mi (1,366.0 km) Athens
911.4 mi (1,466.8 km) Emory
921.7 mi (1,483.3 km) AtlantaGeorgia–Alabama border
1,005.7 mi (1,618.5 km) Piedmont
1,024.3 mi (1,648.5 km) Wellington
1,031.1 mi (1,659.4 km) Ohatchee
1,041.0 mi (1,675.3 km) Ragland
1,050.1 mi (1,690.0 km) Wattsville (northbound only)
1,106.3 mi (1,780.4 km) Birmingham

See also:

Silver Service

Silver Star

Silver Meteor

Named Passenger Trains

Silver Comet drum head.
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RF&P 1007 with Train 33, The Silver Comet, passing AF tower, Alexandria, VA on March 23, 1969. Photo by Roger Puta.

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