Southern Railway advertising rates to Mardi Gras 1896.
Mardi Gras 1896
“Reduced Rates – Mardi Gras via Southern Ry. and Alabama Great Southern Railroad . . . Double Daily Train Service between New York, Washington, and New Orleans . . . ”
Ad for the Southern Railway, January-February, 1896. The ad features a man in a classic jester costume, along with a railway logo, “SR” bisected by an arrow.
Route and fares
Southern Railway evolved into the large system we know now over a century. In 1896, the Queen and Crescent route operated from New York City to New Orleans. The route ran over tracks owned by a number of railroads. Trains originating at New Orleans began the trip from the New Orleans and Northeastern (NO&NE) station at Press and Royal Streets in the Bywater. From NO&NE, the route traveled north to Birmingham, Chattanooga, to Atlanta. It continued north from Atlanta, to Washington and NYC. This ad shows the round-trip rates from various cities along the way.
Alabama Great Southern Railroad
The Queen and Crescent transitioned from NO&NE tracks to AGS as it traveled north. AGS later became a major component of the Southern Railway System. From Wikipedia:
The Alabama Great Southern Railroad (reporting mark AGS) is a railroad in the U.S. states of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. It is an operating subsidiary of the Norfolk Southern Corporation (NS), running southwest from Chattanooga (where it connects with the similarly owned Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railway) to New Orleans through Birmingham and Meridian. The AGS also owns about a 30% interest in the Kansas City Southern-controlled Meridian-Shreveport Meridian Speedway.
So, the Queen and Crescent, Crescent Limited/Southern Crescent, Southerner, and Pelican passenger routes traveled through AGS territory and tracks. Amtrak’s Crescent continues through AGS territory. The Amtrak route is more-or-less the same as the Southern Crescent.
While later incarnations of the New Orleans to New York City route operated across the merged Southern system, equipment changed in 1896, as the route entered new territory. Since the Pullman Company operated all the sleeping cars for the railroads, booking a Pullman compartment enabled “through” service. No matter whose locomotives pulled the train, sleeping car passengers got to Carnival with no need to change seats/cars.