What was the Nancy like as the final days drew near?

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Many of us will remember that the final run of the Nancy Hanks II was quite a media show, with a huge consist filled with nostalgic passengers and even a steam locomotive to send it on its way into history. But what was a typical consist for the train during its final six months or so of service? What ran on the head end and how many other cars followed it? The Man O' War ended up just being the Fort Mitchell dragging behind a single E7, but what was the Nancy running at the time? Also, when were the original ACF cars repainted from blue to green? Any advice for modeling a typical "the end is near" Nancy Hanks II would be appreciated. Thanks.

-- Rob Richardson (RichDent10@aol.com), August 18, 2000


I took the train to Savannah in 1970. The train had 4 cars including the dome car and the dining car. I was 11 and was going down to see my uncle, who worked for ACL. My Grandfather was in passenger rail operations when he was alive and the conductor and the porter recognized my mother. It was a neat trip. Terminal Station had been demolished at that point and you had to pick up the train on a platform outside the Southern Railway building. To a young boy who had been raised on railroad myths, it was truly a magical trip.

-- Chirstopher H. Mitchell (CHM1880@netzero.net), June 06, 2001.

Probably the most common blue and gray car in the last years was the heavyweight grill lounge 691, which often substituted for 690. Other substitute and overflow equipment could include the Southern's rebuilt 1000 series heavyweight coaches. Things got interesting when the ex-N&W dome coach 1602 arrived - Jan. 68?? - and ran for a while in N&W blue with only the new CofG lettering applied. As late as 1967 the train could be 10 or so cars long on Saturday, when shoppers from Savannah and Macon rode up for a day's shopping at Rich's. The ACF cars had 2 phases of SR green paint - the first continued the CofG- style lettering and the second changed to the much more condensed SR- style Gothic font. (For that matter a fair amount of head-end equipment had a third style of yellow lettering on green, the Illinois-Central style letters - sounds like your next decal set project, Allen)

-- Larry Goolsby (LGoolsby@aphsa.org), August 28, 2000.

It seems that the "Nancy Hanks II" didn't suffer quite the same humiliation as the "Man o' War" in her waning years. Typical power for the "Nancy" was almost always Central E7's, sometimes a single unit but often a pair. On occasion, Southern FP7's would be assigned instead, but the E7's were more common. The consists were usually from three to five cars. It seemed that regardless of the number of ticket reservations for a given day, they always included the combine (#390), the grill-lounge (#690 or 691), and the dome (#1602 or 1613), along with at least one ACF coach. On rare occasions, I have seen the train as short as 2 cars, but 3 to 5 was average. As to when the cars were repainted from the blue & gray into the pullman green, my guess is late 1961. In July 1961, the "Nancy" was involved in a head- on collision with a freight train at Griswold, just East of Macon. The lead unit (E7 #809) was scrapped as a result of the damage. All of the coaches derailed, but remained upright. I would assume that this required a major visit to the car-shop. I would venture a guess that they emerged in fresh pullman green paint - this is merely my theory. I have seen photos of the "Nancy" as late as 1962 with blue & gray cars, but many of these were from the vast reserve of rebuilt older cars that were used as "stand-ins" for the ACF equipment. It was also not unusual to see brown & orange IC-style cars as well as the Budd streamlined "Man o' War" coaches on the "Nancy."

-- Tom Alderman (Topa12283@aol.com), August 18, 2000.

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