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Southern Belle Flashback / Prelude

December 8, 2015

“A simultaneous flashback and prelude? It’s not possible! Is this some sort of temporal anomaly?”
“Negative, Captain. Sensors do not indicate any temporal disturbances in this sector-stand by for an explanation.”

The 2015 KCS Holiday Express wrapped up its Rosenberg subdivision tour last week. As you know, the Holiday Express is a Christmas-themed 6 car display train. It’s added to the rear of KCS’s Southern Belle business train as it makes its annual trek over the KCS system.

It stopped at Kendleton, El Campo, Victoria, Ganado, and Wharton between 11/29 and 12/3. Bad weather and work obligations didn’t allow me to check it out on the first 4 days it was in the area, but things came together for me last Thusday, 12/3/15.

Yes, I did get some nice images. But before we look at them, I thought it might be fun to look at a few vintage views of the original Southern Belle.

First up is a 6/18/1961 view of Train #2, the northbound Southern Belle at Joplin, MO. It’s led by E3A 21 which is notable for being the KCS’ first diesel locomotive.

E-KCS 21 Joplin MO SouBell trn 2 6-18-61_WEB

KCS E3A 21 was built 9/1938 as EMC 822, a demonstrator of EMC’s new-fangled diesel locomotives. KCS acquired it in 1939, and a sister unit, to inaugurate KCS’ foray into the streamliner business, the Southern Belle.

A new passenger train was a big deal back then, evidenced by this KCS-produced news reel:

Next up is an interesting June, 1966 view of the Southern Belle with E8A 25 doing the honors and a second E8 trailing.. One E-unit was the norm for this train. No location is noted on the slide, but it looks like Arkansas or Oklahoma.

E-KCS 25 6-66_WEB

Last up is KCS E8A 28 is moving at track speed in this 12/1967 view. The power and train are quite clean, belying the trains imminent demise. Again, no location noted on the slide.

KCS E8A 28

The Southern Belle of these images had its best days behind it (I suppose that’s true for most of us…) and was nearing the end of its tenure. Its last run was Nov. 2, 1969.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Howard Bingham permalink
    December 8, 2015 1:38 am

    And the KCS Good Cheer and 3 other round end “Observation – Lounges” brought up the end… Too bad the Good Cheer is sitting on a flat car hidden in an industrial park off navigation in Houston’s east end.. 😦

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