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The Flimsy Fanatic

There was more than one CNW...

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Indeed. These initials almost always bring into mind "Chicago & North Western" to the majority of fans. But there were actually others. California Northwestern was one. And also the Carolina and Northwestern yet another. I'd not be surprised to learn there were others....

These two companies now on my web site to explore:


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  1. Dave Jones's Avatar
    You just about have to be a Carolina boy to realize that there was another C&NW Rwy. The CR&N (other initials) was the combination of several Southern owned or associated roads in the two Carolinas.

    In the diesel era their power was RS-2s, 3s, and a single RS-11. Atlas has produced a model of this RS-11 lettered for both C&NW and Southern. Understand that this latter unit caused some little heartburn at Southern HQ because Southern, while soliciting quotes from ALCO, really had no intenton of ever buying more ALCOs.
  2. BoxcabE50's Avatar
    What was the CR&N? I'm not recognizing those initials this morning...
  3. Dave Jones's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by BoxcabE50
    What was the CR&N? I'm not recognizing those initials this morning...
    The CR&N reporing marks were issued by the AAR to seperate the Carolina & North Western from the "other" C&NW.

    Don't have a complete history of the Carolina Road but in 1951 a group of roads that were long Southern-owned or affiliated were merged into the C&NW. Among which were the Yadkin; Blue Ridge; Danville & Western; High Point, Randleman, Asheboro and Southern railways.

    These roads dieslized with RS-2/3 units or borrowed Southern units. Have b&w photo somewhere showing RS-2 lettered for the Blue Ridge, but otherwise standard Southern early 50's paint scheme. Also, in Paul Faulk's book "Trackside Around Atlanta With Howard Robins" are color photos of C&NW (CRN) units painted in a very-close to Southern green and one even has the sub-lettering "Danville & Western" under the cab window with the C&NW (CRN) double roundel herald with the letters very plain "C&NW Rwy. Co."

    The line ran from Chester, S.C. to Lenoir, N.C. and I believe parts are even in service today.
  4. BoxcabE50's Avatar
    Ah. I follow you now.

    Roads which went into the Southern RY System are very confusing. It is hard to figure out if they were actuall absorbed immediately, or still operated as an independent subsidiary. I once wrote to the Southern and even they could not clarify what happened, dates, etc.
  5. Dave Jones's Avatar
    Well, it was called a "System" for very good reason and you're right - very difficult to sort out. Southern must have had a crackerjack Accounting group.

    Another endearing Southern habit (aside from the beautiful high nose hoods) was that the units could operate system wide. While you often saw the C&NW (CRN) units on their home rails, Southern was not at all shy about putting these units into the consist of their own road freights. I do know that the C&NW units were common visitors all over Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia. It got even worse when Southern gradually absorbed the Central of Georgia and Savannah & Atlanta.

    Strange thing about that C&NW (CRN) RS-11, #11 is that when Southern sent it into GE as a trade-in, yep, you guessed it, the "other" C&NW bought it from GE where it was the only RS-11 on that railroad. It ran for 10 more years as C&NW #4251, Guess that motive power guy on the C&NW (CRN) was slightly wiser than the guys at Southern's HQ.


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