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The Southwestern Limited was a night train, as #205 of the Illinois Central Railroad in the Southeastern United States. Running from Meridian, Mississippi's Union Station to Shreveport, Louisiana, it was one of the few trains spanning the Mississippi River south of St. Louis, Missouri and north of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Southwestern Limited
Service typeInter-city rail
LocaleSoutheastern United States
First service1934
Last service1967
Former operator(s)Southern Railway for sleeper passengers
Illinois Central
StartMeridian, Mississippi
New York, New York for sleeper operations
EndShreveport, Louisiana
Service frequencyDaily
Train number(s)205: southwest-bound; 206: northeast-bound
On-board services
Seating arrangementsReclining seat coaches
Sleeping arrangementsSections, compartments and drawing rooms
Catering facilitiesCafe lounge (Jackson, Mississippi to Sibley, Louisiana)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)

For much of its history from 1934 to 1967 it was linked with the Southern Railway's Pelican. Thus, the train carried sleeper cars that originated in New York City to Shreveport via Knoxville, Tennessee and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Coach riding passengers apparently needed to take Pennsylvania Railroad coaches from New York City to Washington, and Southern Railway coaches from Washington, D.C. to Meridian. Its opposite, #206, northeast bound, from Shreveport to Meridian, was carried by the Illinois Central's Northeastern Limited.[1][2]

It also had section which connected at Meridian, continued east to Birmingham, Alabama, whereupon it linked with the Southern Railway's Peach Queen (#29/#30) and continued to Atlanta, Georgia. Coaches were provided continuous, Shreveport to Atlanta.[3]

The train's schedule, 2:40 am from Meridian to 2:20 pm arrival in Shreveport, was more for the convenience of long distance riders from areas northeast of Meridian.[4] However, by 1961 the IC no longer arranged to have Pullman sleepers carry passengers continuous from the Upper South and the Northeast down to Mississippi and Louisiana. In the train's last years it took different numbers, #201 southwest-bound, and #202 for the Northeastern Limited.[5]


  1. ^ January 1950 Illinois Central timetable, Tables D and F
  2. ^ July 1952 Southern Railway timetable, Table H
  3. ^ July 1952 Southern Railway timetable, Tables E, L (details of Atlanta-Shreveport service)
  4. ^ January 1950 Illinois Central timetable, Tables D and F
  5. ^ American's Passenger Trains, 'Illinois Central'