1950 Olympian Hiawatha Booklet

The Milwaukee Road inaugurated the Olympian Hiawatha in 1947, but didn’t fully streamline it until 1949. I’ve previously shown a 1947 booklet advertising the train. This one is very different, both in format (portrait rather than landscape) and colors (the 1947 one had color on every page while this one is mostly black-and-white with a little magenta trim).

Click image to download a 15-8-MB PDF of this 16-page booklet.

Despite the minimal use of color, the booklet has a very nice car-by-car description of the train. Page 2 and the back cover have full-color, but heavily retouched, photos of the interior and exterior of the Skytop lounge car. The interior photo shows an obviously painted outdoor scene while the exterior photo shows some people who have been painted to appear to be inside the car. Still, it makes me wish I’d had a chance to ride in a Skytop car.


1950 Olympian Hiawatha Booklet — 1 Comment

  1. More Milwaukee Road material! For me, the MILW and it’s Olympian Hiawatha is the most legendary of the pre-Amtrak passenger lines, even more than the NP and it’s North Coast Limited. As I’ve posted before, I came of train-riding age in Seattle at around 12, about 4 years before the private passenger trains threw in the sponge & Amtrak was born. I was only 6 when the Olympian Hiawatha was discontinued, and I don’t remember ever seeing it in person. To me it epitomizes a double tragedy: one, the overall rejection of such a high-quality, superior service provided by the railroads at such a great cost of dollars and optimism, by the American public; and two, the bookkeeping errors that resulted in the wholesale abandonment of the Milwaukee Pacific extension. How cool must it have been to ride in such comfort and convenience through beautiful areas that even today are wild and roadless, over a route that will never again host a train, a lot of which is now accessible only by foot or bicycle. (Which is OK by me; they are along with train riding my favorite forms of transportation!). I appreciate your good work at keeping these memories alive, and keep on posting all things Milwaukee!

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