The Interstate Commerce Commission voted yesterday to investigate the planned discontinuance of the famed "Southern Crescent" passenger train by the Southern Railway Company.

The action insures that the train, which runs daily between Atlanta and Washington and three times a week between Atlanta and New Orleans, would continue operation at least until August.

On March 6 of the Southern field a request with the ICC to discontinue the train on April 6.

During 1977 the Crescent carried more than 165,000 passengers according to Southern, but lost more than $6 million on the operation.

The Crescent, which is one of the only long-distance passenger train outside the Amtrak system, has been the subject of negotiations between Southern and Amtrak over whether Amtrak would assume operations of the train. No decision has been made.

"If the train ran at 100 percent seating capacity, we still could not break even," said Southern President L. Stanley Crane, last year. He cited labor costs as a primary reason for the deficit.

Termination of the train would have affected daily service in 18 stations in Washington, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, as well as tri-weekly service to 12 stations in Alabama, Mississippi, andLouisiana.