No. 10632 Alco/General Electric DL-109/110 AB Diesel Locomotive, heading up the "Royal Palm" Heavyweight Passenger Train
The "Royal Palm" dates from the 1920s as a deluxe all-year-round heavyweight sleeper- equipped steam-powered passenger train between Cincinnati and Jacksonville and later Miami through Atlanta and Jacksonville. As traffic expanded, the list of cities served by the "Royal Palm" grew to include Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Indianapolis (see No. 10314). In the later 1920s, the "Royal Palm DeLuxe" was added as a seasonal all-Pullman second section, replaced by the seasonal streamlined "New Royal Palm" in post-World War II service, operating between Cincinnati and Miami.
The "Royal Palm" in its glory days was primarily a Cincinnati-Miami train operated by the Southern Railway, but it was largely comprised of through sleeping cars out of Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, and Cleveland to Cincinnati by overnight New York Central trains (see No. 10314).
Following the early morning arrival of those trains at Cincinnati, the through sleepers were added to the main consist of the "Royal Palm." The seasonal "New Royal Palm" was introduced in December, 1949, streamlined and diesel-powered, replacing the non-streamlined heavyweight steam-powered "Royal Palm DeLuxe," as we have seen. The "New Royal Palm" followed the same sleeper practice as the "Royal Palm," accepting sleepers in Cincinnati from other cities served by the New York Central Railroad. The "New Royal Palm" streamlined lightweight stainless steel sleeping cars, lounges, diners, coaches, and observation cars were built by American Car & Foundry, the Budd Company, and Pullman-Standard, similar to the new cars on Southern's flagship New York-New Orleans streamliner, the "Crescent" (see No. 10633).
The "Royal Palm" remained a traditional heavyweight train until 1955, when it was streamlined with lightweight equipment from the "New Royal Palm," which was discontinued at that time. But the "Royal Palm" had been dieselized in 1941, with Alco/General Electric DL-109/110 AB diesel-electric locomotives replacing steam power.
Diesel-electric locomotives were important on the Southern after 1941, and one of the most outstanding was the DL-109, designed by Otto Kuhler and built by Alco/GE in 1941-45, 2000 horsepower per unit, complemented by its matching "B" unit, designated the DL-110. These handsome locomotives could attain speeds of up to 120 mph with their trains, delivered to the Southern during World War II for both passenger and freight work. Seventy-four (74) DL "A" units were built by Alco/GE 1941-45 for nine American railroads, but only 4 "B" units were ever manufactured.
By 1960, the "Royal Palm's" southern terminus was Jacksonville, and the through sleeping cars from the New York Central had been dropped. By 1967 the "Royal Palm" had shrunk to a coach-only Cincinnati-Atlanta train, and on January 31, 1970, the last remnant of the "Royal Palm" withered into history, as a Cincinnati-Somerset, Kentucky, 3-car local.
No. 10632 represents an accurate scale model of Southern's Alco/General Electric DL-109/110 AB diesel-electric locomotive, heading up the heavyweight 6-car "Royal Palm" as it would have been seen on its run from Cincinnati to Miami 1941 through the early 1950s. The locomotive is by MTH and the cars by MTH and Williams, custom painted in Southern's highly stylized 1940s paint scheme, Pullman green with yellow striping. The train is in "0"gauge.