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Southern Railway

Look Ahead - Look South

More than 25 years after it passed out of existence as an independent company, the story of Southern Railway remains relevant as a case study in how to operate a railroad efficiently and productively. Southern generated dividends for its shareholders and provided jobs for its employees, but its most lasting impact was it contribution to the economic wellbeing of the region it served. Today's railroaders, whether they realize it or not, all share in the legacy of this remarkable railroad.

Tom Murray, Southern Railway, 2007

Crisscrossing the southeastern United States like a sprawling X, the Southern Railway over its long history managed to weave 150 individual predecessor line into a single, coherent transportation system. From the nation's capital to New Orleans, from Jacksonville to St. Louis, the Southern system truly "served the south" with service to every state in the region. The first national railroad to convert completely to diesel motive power, the Southern paved the way for many other innovations that the industry now takes for granted. The road even turned a profit in the 1970s -- a decade of difficulty for the American railroad system -- sticking to its core business while many other systems diversified into other transportation modes. The last Class 1 operation to turn its passenger service over to Amtrak, the Southern Railway remained a strong transportation player right into its 1982 incorporation into the Norfolk Southern system.

Southern Railway System Map

1921 system map

Motive Power

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