The Kansas City Southern had never been noted for its passenger services—prior to 1940, that is. But as the Depression was drawing to a close and with a new route available into New Orleans from its 1939 acquisition of the Louisiana & Arkansas Railway, KCS invested nearly a million dollars into new Diesel locomotives and lightweight rolling stock from Pullman-Standard for its first streamliner, the Southern Belle. A systemwide contest was held to find "Miss Southern Belle" to represent the line in its advertisements and publicity; with 18 year old Margaret Landry of Baton Rouge being chosen as the winner. The Belle entered service on September 2, 1940. 

From the pages of the Official Guide, June 1941

K.C.S - L. & A. Ry. herald

The Southern Belle

Kansas City Southern Lines
May 11, 1941

1 Train Number 2
Daily Miles Services Daily
10 00A Dp 0.0 Kansas City, MO (CT) T C Ar 7 55P
12 15P Ar 128.4 Pittsburg, KS T C Dp 5 28P
12 18P Dp Ar 5 26P
12 53P 153.4 Joplin, MO T C 4 51P
1 21P 173.1 Neosho, MO 4 20P
2 42P 228.3 Siloam Springs, AR T C 3 02P
2 52P 234.9 Watts, OK T 2 51P
4 01P 290.2 Sallisaw, OK T C F 1 46P
4 27P 310.7 Spiro, OK T C 1 22P
4 45P 325.4 Poteau, OK T C 12 59P
4 53P 332.1 Howe, OK T C F12 51P
5 01P 337.1 Heavener, OK T C 12 42P
6 01P 378.8 Mena, AR T C 11 40A
7 15P 432.4 De Queen, AR T C 10 25A
F 8 04P 466.9 Ashdown, AR T C F 9 43A
8 35P Ar 486.9 Texarkana, AR-TX T C Dp 9 15A
8 45P Dp Ar 9 05A
F 9 29P 519.6 Rodessa, LA T P F 8 24A
F 9 38P 527.0 Vivian, LA T C F 8 15A
10 30P Ar 560.1 Shreveport, LA (Union Station) T C Dp 7 30A
11 00P Dp Ar 7 00A
12 17A 604.5 Coushatta, LA C 5 31A
12 51A 628.8 Clarence, LA C 4 59A
1 31A 657.5 Colfax, LA C 4 12A
2 15A 682.1 Alexandria, LA T C 3 35A
3 01A 713.0 Mansura, LA T 2 44A
5 45A 789.2 Baton Rouge, LA T C 12 10A
F 6 09A 810.6 Gonzales, LA T F11 38P
F 6 42A 841.2 La Place, LA T F11 06P
7 12A 865.9 Carrollton Ave. 10 38P
7 30A Ar 868.1 New Orleans (CT) T C Dp 10 30P

Train 1 (Kansas City-New Orleans): 26 stops, 21:30, 40.4 MPHTrain 2 (New Orleans-Kansas City): 26 stops, 21:25, 40.5 MPH


Trains 1 and 2—Southern Belle
(Air-Conditioned—Aluminum—Streamlined—Diesel power.)

Between Kansas City and New Orleans.

Hostess Service.

Observation Lounge-Diner.

De Luxe Chair Cars.

10 Section 3 Double Bedroom Sleeper. (Open at New Orleans at 9:00 p.m. and may be occupied New Orleans until 8:00 a.m.).

10 Section 3 Bedroom Sleeper between Shreveport and New Orleans. (Open at Shreveport and New Orleans at 9:00 p.m. and may be occupied at Shreveport and New Orleans until 8:00 a.m.).

Optional Route Arrangements

One-way or round-trip tickets reading via the Kansas City Southern and Louisiana & Arkansas Railways are honored between a number of points via optional routes.

1. Tickets reading from or via points on the Kansas City Southern Ry. north of Texarkana to Houston, Texas, or beyond, will be honored via Texarkana TP-IGN, Shreveport SP, or Beaumont and GCL or SP.

2. Tickets reading from Shreveport or points beyond destined to Little Rock, Memphis or St. Louis or beyond will be honored via Kansas City Southern via Texarkana or Louisiana & Arkansas Ry., via Hope.

The above optional routes are also good in the reverse direction from those shown.

Consist Information
Contributed by Alan L. Pettet

Ordered November 1939
Delivered August 1940
Built by Pullman Standard

EMD E3A 2,000 HP Diesel Passenger Cab Unit
64 Baggage 30’ Railway Post Office 9 Crew Dormitory Car
235 JOPLIN 74 Revenue seat Divided Coach
237 ALEXANDRIA 74 Revenue seat Divided Coach (New Orleans – Shreveport)
SILOAM SPRINGS streamlined heavyweight 10 Section 3 Double Bedroom Sleeping Car
STATE CAPITAL streamlined heavyweight 10 Section 3 Double Bedroom Sleeping Car (New Orleans – Shreveport)
54 KANSAS CITY 2 Day Room Stand Up Lunch Counter 24-seat Dining 17 seat Parlor Lounge Observation

An 18 minute promotional film from 1940 which shows the "Southern Belle" contestants and an extensive look inside the new train.

Kansas City Southern's investment proved to be timely. As the roads between Kansas City and Shreveport were generally poor and since no other railroad offered direct service along the route, K.C.S. had a virtually captive market. Moreover the line served a number of military bases, and with the start of World War II ridership exploded. The Southern Belle would continue to prosper into the 1960s.