Silver Comet (train)
The Silver Comet arriving at Alexandria VA., 1969
|Service type||Inter-city rail|
|Locale||Eastern United States|
|First service||May 18, 1947|
|Last service||October 14, 1969|
|Start||New York City, New York|
|Distance travelled||1,106.3 miles (1,780.4 km)|
|Train number(s)||Southbound, 197-33 (PRR-SAL); Northbound, 34-196 (SAL-PRR)|
|Catering facilities||Dining car|
|Observation facilities||Observation coach|
|Baggage facilities||Baggage car|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
PRR (New York–Washington)|
|Silver Comet route 1947-1969|
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.
- Crescent - now operated by Amtrak, which runs from New York to New Orleans via Washington, Atlanta, and Birmingham (a route partly parallel to that of the Silver Comet, but over ex-Southern rails)
- Silver Star - now operated by Amtrak, which runs from New York to Miami via Washington, Raleigh, Hamlet and Columbia (a route partly parallel to that of the Silver Comet, but over ex-Seaboard Coast Line rails)
- Bowen, Eric H. (May 18, 1947). "The Silver Comet - June, 1947 - Streamliner Schedules". Retrieved 2010-12-29.
- Campbell, Malcolm (June 13, 2006). "SRM Features: Magic Carpets". Southeastern Railway Museum. Retrieved 2010-12-29.
- Silver Comet timetable and consist as of May 1947 at streamlinerschedules.com, accessed 25 October 2012.
- Baer, Christopher T. "Named Trains of the PRR Including Through Services," Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society, 8 September 2009, accessed 25 October 2012.
- Silver Comet timetable and consist as of May 1947
- Seaboard ad announcing the new Silver Comet, 1947
- Cobb County, Georgia, official site of the Silver Comet Trail
- Links to information and maps about the Silver Comet Trail and Chief Ladiga Trail
- Silver Comet Trail at Georgia's Railroad History and Heritage
- Baer, Christopher T. "Named Trains of the PRR Including Through Services," Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society, 8 September 2009, accessed 28 May 2012 - includes details of commencement and discontinuance of service