CENTRAL OF GEORGIA RAILWAY has added a dome car to its famous name train, the Nancy Hanks II, in hopes of sparking passenger interest in this Savannah-Atlanta service.
During the dome car's first trip, Conductor T. M. Sexton welcomes a passenger aboard at Millen, Ga.
Comments from newspaper and television representatives and other visitors during the inaugural trip of the new car on January 9 from Savannah indicated that public response to the idea should be good.
Central hopes that the availability of this new high level view of the Georgia countryside will attract more passengers, reversing the decline in patronage experienced in recent years by this train that has been serving Georgia for two decades.
"The Nancy," as it is affectionately known in South Georgia, is an all-coach, reserved-seat train with grill lounge service. It leaves Savannah daily at 7 a.m. for the six-hour run via Macon to Atlanta and starts its return trip from Atlanta Terminal Station at 6 p.m.
The name is even older than the current train derived from that of a short-lived but famous steam special, the Nancy Hanks (named after a famous trotting horse). The earlier Nancy operated in 1892 and 1893.
Even before it turned a wheel in regular service on the Central, the dome car began to come to public attention. On display at Central's Savannah passenger station the day before the first run, the car attracted a number of visitors, including newsmen and photographers from the Savannah newspapers and television stations.
Leased from the Norfolk and Western-Wabash line, where it had operated for a number of years, the dome car was thoroughly renovated for service on the Nancy Hanks II. The car is 85 feet long, of steel construction, and was originally built by Pullman-Standard. It has a dark blue exterior and interior upholstery in royal blue and gray.
The dome section seats 24 persons in double seats that may be turned in either direction. The area immediately below it is occupied by a game room-lounge, called the Saddle and Stirrup Room in which there are two tables and ten comfortable chairs. The car also has an additional 21 seats on the normal train level. These are reserved seats, assigned to longer distance passengers. The dome section and lounge are unreserved and are open to all passengers on a "first come, first served" basis.
Throughout its inaugural run, the dome car drew admiring glances and comments from passengers and bystanders. Now the Central hopes that it will draw more passengers to the Nancy Hanks II as well.