Columbian Envelope

Though the Columbian only had a diner-lounge car to entertain passengers bored with their coach or sleeping car seats, it apparently was fancy enough to offer this stationery. It apparently wasn’t fancy enough for the stationery itself to be very fancy.


Click image to download a PDF of this envelope.

The Columbian began operating as the companion to the Olympian in 1911. As a secondary train, it was terminated, like so many other secondary trains, with the onset of the Depression in 1930. It was revived in 1947, when the new Olympian Hiawatha was inaugurated, with the Columbian using the Olympian‘s old equipment. The Milwaukee Road could not sustain two transcontinental trains, however, so the Columbian was phased out in 1955-1957, first going as far as Avery, Idaho, then cut back to Marmarth, ND, then Aberdeen, SD, then, in February 1957, Ortonville, MN, and finally, in April 1957, dropped entirely.

Milwaukee Pacific Northwest Timetable

This 1951 timetable focuses on the Olympian Hiawatha and Columbian. It also includes schedules for the Morning Hiawatha from Chicago to the Twin Cities, but for some reason not the Afternoon Hiawatha, even though that train continued to operate for another 19 years. The only other train on the timetable is one that terminates at Aberdeen; this one evidently connects with the Morning Hiawatha in Minneapolis, which must be why that train is on the timetable.


Click image to download a 2.7-MB PDF of this single-sheet (16″x9″–effectively four pages) timetable.

The equipment list shows that, in addition to coaches and sleeping cars, the Olympian Hiawatha had a diner, Skytop lounge car, and Tip-Top grill car all the way from Chicago to Tacoma, as well as a drawing room-parlor car from Chicago to the Twin Cities. The Columbian only had a diner-lounge car. This made it less attractive than, say, the Western Star, which had a diner, grill car, and observation lounge. The timetable describes the Olympian Hiawatha as “speedlined” while the Columbian was merely “electrified,” indicating that most if not all of its cars were heavyweights.

Yellowstone Via Gallatin Gateway

The Milwaukee Road did not have a great claim to have access to Yellowstone Park. Where the NP and UP went right to park entrances in Gardiner and West Yellowstone, Milwaukee’s closest approach to a park entrance was Gallatin Gateway, 76 miles from West Yellowstone. Even the Burlington, whose station at Cody was about 50 miles from the east entrance to the park, had a better position.


Click image to download a 25.9-MB PDF of this 32-page brochure. Note that the cover consists of mirror images of Old Faithful with superimposed horseback riders.

Gallatin Gateway wasn’t even on the Milwaukee’s main line, so cars full of passengers to Yellowstone would be detached from Milwaukee trains at Three Forks, Montana, and towed to the Gallatin Gateway Inn, which also served as the station. The Inn had a large dining room and several, but not a lot, of guest rooms. Buses to Yellowstone Park left the Inn after lunch.

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Olympian Hiawatha Brochure

This is a more plebeian version of the elegant color brochure issued about this train. Like the postcard, but unlike the color brochure, the black-and-white image on the cover of this brochure just has one train rather than two trains passing one another.


Click image to download a 4.8-MB PDF of this brochure, which unfolds to be 9″x24″.

Where the color brochure is dated May, 1947, a month before the train entered service, this black-and-white version is dated April 10, 1947. All of the illustrations in this one can be found in the much-longer (20 pp.) color one.

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Victory Vacations

This 76-page booklet says it was originally titled “Veterans Victory Vacations,” apparently in an attempt to justify recreational travel on the part of returning vets while World War II was still underway. This particular version, minus the “Veterans,” was published right after the war ended.


Click image to download a 40-MB PDF of this booklet.

The booklet has numerous black-and-white photos accompanied by silly comics showing men doing all kinds of manly things surrounded by scantily clad, admiring women–just what returning veterans no doubt hoped was waiting for them. One comic on page 23 would qualify as racist today, but even if you ignore the Sambo appearance of the waiter, just the fact that all the tourists are white while the servant was black was racist enough.

Milwaukee Road 1940 Timetable

The Milwaukee Road was a direct competitor over many of its routes with the Chicago & North Western. Both offered a dozen trains a day between Chicago and Milwaukee and several more trains a day to various cities in Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Until 1955, the North Western had the advantage of being the favored partner with the Union Pacific for its trains to the West Coast. The Milwaukee had its own like to the West Coast which, unfortunately, was tertiary in importance after the GN and NP.


Click image to download a 36.1-MB PDF of this 48-page timetable.

For what it’s worth, the 1940 Milwaukee timetable was 20 pages shorter than the North Western’s 1939 timetable. Where the North Western had more than 120 tables (not counting connecting roads), the Milwaukee had 106.

C&NW 1962 Timetable

After the Union Pacific removed its City trains from the Chicago and North Western to the Milwaukee Road in 1956, C&NW passenger service rapidly declined. By 1962, when this timetable was produced, it had just five routes left:

  • Chicago-Twin Cities (with the once-a-day Twin Cities 400);
  • Chicago-Rochester-Mankato (the Rochester 400);
  • Chicago-Clinton, IA (the Kate Shelley 400);
  • Chicago-Ashland (the North Woods Fisherman and Flambeau 400, as well as the twice-a-day Green Bay 400s that only went as far as Green Bay); and
  • Chicago-Ishpeming, MI (the Peninsula 400 as well as the Sunday-only, northbound Valley 400 and companion southbound Shoreland 400 that only went as far as Menominee, MI).


Click image to download a 4.1-MB PDF of this three-panel (24″x9″) timetable.

Except for the Kate Shelley 400, most of these trains went through Milwaukee, thus providing seven trains a day between Milwaukee and Chicago, down from 13 in 1939. But only the Twin Cities 400 made it as far as Minneapolis, down from five in 1939. Trains to Omaha, Des Moines, Duluth, South Dakota, and Wyoming were long gone.

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C&NW 1939 Timetable

This well-worn timetable features the 400s, the not-yet-daily Streamliners, and numerous steam-powered, heavyweight trains. For some reason, the City of Portland is trains 1 & 2, while other streamliners are numbered much higher: 101 & 102 City of San Francisco, 103 & 104 City of Los Angeles, and 111 & 112 City of Denver. The heavyweight counterparts to these trains are all double-digits: 7 & 8 Los Angeles Limited, 12 & 15 Columbine, 17 & 18 Portland Rose, and 27 & 28 San Francisco Overland; all but the Columbine were combined between Chicago and Omaha.


Click image to download a 57-MB PDF of this 68-page timetable.

Other trains on the Chicago-Omaha route include 48 & 49, the Forty-Niner (get it?), 87 & 88, the San Francisco Challenger, 717 & 818 Los Angeles Challenger, 14 & 21 Pacific Limited, and 11 & 22 Corn King Limited. Between Chicago and the Twin Cities there were the 400 & 401 400, 405 & 406 North Western Limited, 501 & 502 Viking, and 514 & 515 Victory. Like the limiteds, the Challengers were combined from Chicago to Omaha.

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Rock Island 1964 Timetable

Just like the 1957 timetable, this one has 20 pages with its red cover on the back. But there are a lot fewer trains in this edition.


Click image to download a 14.4-MB PDF of this timetable.

  • Train 1 now went from Chicago to Rock Island and had no counterpart in the other direction (meaning its cars were tacked onto some other train, probably train 6, to go back to Chicago);
  • Trains 3 & 4 were still the Golden State;
  • Train numbers 5 & 6 were back, applied to the Chicago-Des Moines Des Moines Rocket;
  • Trains 7 & 8 were still the Rocky Mountain Rocket;
  • Trains 9 & 10, the Corn Belt Rocket, continued to connect Omaha with Chicago;
  • The Peoria Rockets were now numbered 11, 12, 13, & 14, and no longer used the “Jet Rocket” super-lightweight equipment;
  • Trains 15 & 16 (renumbered from 16 & 17 in 1957) still connected Minneapolis with Kansas City but were no longer called the Short Line Express;
  • The Twin Star Rocket was renumbered 17 & 18;
  • The Minneapolis-St. Louis Zephyr Rocket had lost the name and been renumbered 19-190 & 201-20;
  • The Memphis-Tucumcari Cherokee, formerly numbered 14 & 15, had lost its name and been renumbered 21 & 22–it still meets Southern Pacific train 39 & 40, no longer called the Imperial, in Tucumcari;
  • Rock Island’s own 39 & 40 still met SP’s train at Tucumcari but only went as far east as Kansas City;
  • Finally, the RDC Choctaw Rockette continued to connect Memphis and Amarillo as trains 21 & 22 but no longer used the name.

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Rock Island 1957 Timetable

A reader named Bruce Adams sent scanned some of the items in his collection for us, including this timetable for the Rock Island. Like the 1938 timetable, this one has a bright red cover (which, like the 1938 edition, is really on the back cover). The 1957 edition has only 20 pages, as opposed to 36 in 1938, but many of the trains in the two timetables are similar or have been streamlined in the intervening years.


Click image to download a 27.3-MB PDF of this 20-page timetable.

Here are some of the similarities and changes between the two timetables.
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