The Walter C. Dove Homecoming Special, 1971

(Photo by Louis Saillard)

In 1971, Graham Claytor wanted to honor retired Road Foreman of Engines Walter C. Dove for his 50 years of service to the Southern Railway, including playing an instrumental role in Southern’s early steam specials. The result was the “Walter C. Dove Homecoming Special,” which operated from Birmingham, AL, to New Orleans, passing through Walter’s home town of Cuba, Alabama, and laying over in Meridian, MS, where Walter hired on with Southern. (S&A 4-6-2 750 doubleheaded with 722 as far as Akron, AL, before returning to Birmingham.)

In 1994, Louis Saillard gave me his Super 8 films and several slides from that trip, saying “they’ll mean more to you than they do to me.” Just recently we had the family home movies transferred to digital, and I included Louis’ film.

I hope you enjoy Louis’ film as much as I enjoyed that day 38 years ago.