Passenger Consists Restructuring ca 1960

Discussion in 'General' started by kenmc, Dec 25, 2017.

  1. kenmc

    kenmc KenMc Supporter

    Between 1960 and 1962, the Frisco restructured the consists of the Meteor and Kansas City-Florida Special trainsets. The main objectives were to modernize some portions and to improve the efficiencies of the trains overall. I thought I would introduce this thread to share what I know and to invite those of you, who are more knowledgeable than I am, to correct and to expand on this interesting topic. My HO model of the KCFS mirrors the 1962 version, although some minor aspects are pre-1960 just because my research was incomplete when I built it.

    By 1960 sleepers and coaches from the defunct Texas Special were available to equip the KCFS's three trainsets with two streamlined coaches and a sleeper as regular fare, supplemented by heavyweight and Southern Ry extra cars as necessary. In addition, the heavyweight coach-dormitory cars between Springfield and Birmingham were eliminated and the modernized heavyweight diner-lounges had their lounge sections reduced to accommodate crew dormitory sections. I think the diner-lounges were also cut back about that time to run only between Springfield and Birmingham, which reduced the need from three cars to two regularly assigned.

    Head end traffic remained strong, and some of the baggage/express/mail storage cars needed retiring, including the RPO cars 2037, 2045, and 2054. These 60 foot RPOs dated from 1910 and held down the only remaining runs of full RPO cars on the Frisco, between Memphis and Birmingham. So the company rebuilt two of the newer 1930 RPO-baggage cars from the discontinued Wichita trains into RPO cars 2055 and 2056. They also rebuilt two others, plus one heavyweight sleeper, into baggage cars 444, 445 and 446 for this train.

    So the 1962 KCFS operated more efficiently and with its largest consist between Memphis and Birmingham being one or more express boxcars continuing on to Atlanta via the Seaboard Air Line Ry, the RPO, two baggage cars (one for mail and one for express), two streamlined coaches, the diner-lounge-dormitory, and the streamlined sleeper.

    In the same time frame, the Meteor's diner-lounge-observation cars were rebuilt for mid train operation and the dormitory-coaches were removed. I assume the dining car crews did not stay on the trains all night but were replaced by morning crews for breakfast, but I don't know for sure.

    I am looking forward to a great and interesting discussion and "aha" revelations..

    Ken McElreath
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  2. pbender

    pbender Member Supporter

    Sometime during the time period you are discussing, the KCFS or the Sunnyland ( and the later southland ) started running with either an SAL Flexivsn car, mixed with the head end cars, or a single piggyback flat, loaded with seaboard Razorback trailers, on the rear. My understanding was that these cars serviced a Kansas City to Jaxonville,FL mail route, but I don't remember where I got that information.

    I have somewhere a VHS type that includes video footage of these cars in the consist. I think I have mentioned that elsewhere on the site.

    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  3. gstout

    gstout Member Supporter

    It's in a VHS called "Passenger Trains of the '60s, Vol. 3: Trains of Birmingham" from Green Frog. Might still be available as a DVD.

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  4. TAG1014

    TAG1014 Supporter Supporter

    That DVD which was three VHS programs combined is still available from Green Frog. It's also on sale ($19.95 regularly $29.95)! There are at least twenty Frisco passenger runbys!! There are DOZENS of runbys of mostly southeastern railroads and a few from New England. The movies are by railfan and author Lyle Key who wrote the great Birmingham Rails book among others.

    Tom G. NOSM (not on social media)

    PS: Green Frog has a large website with videos (DVDs) of railroads from everywhere.
    PS #2: Hereon Video also has some videos with some Frisco interest. Railroads around St. Louis comes to mind.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
  5. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Ken, excellent summary and enjoyable to read. I had not realized that almost-new passenger cars were being built/rebuilt at such a late in the life of Fresco passenger ops. I'd have to guess these would have been some of the West Shops' last big hurrahs, short of converting retired cars to MoW service?

    I'm going to have to go backhand read some of the old threads and FMIG newsletters for pictures and to refresh my memory.

    Thanks for starting the discussion. I'm also looking forward to what others have to offer.
    Joe Lovett likes this.
  6. pbender

    pbender Member Supporter

    Tom G, thanks for the heads up on the DVD sale. I went ahead and ordered s DVD copy of those to replace the VHS ( we still have a VCR, but rarely use it... )


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