New York Central 1947 Timetable

During his proxy battle to take over the New York Central, Robert Young famously said, “A hog can cross the country without changing trains–but you can’t.” But that wasn’t quite true. As shown on page 2 of this timetable, New York Central sleeping car passengers from New York had at least five ways to travel to Los Angeles or San Francisco without changing cars, albeit the cars would change trains.

Click image to download a 38.4-MB PDF of this 52-page timetable.

The best option in 1947 was to leave New York City on the 6:00 pm 20th Century Limited, which had a car continuing on the Santa Fe Chief. Someone who left New York on Friday would arrive in Los Angeles at 8:30 am on Monday, thus losing no business time. Even better, timewise, was to take the Chicagoan, which left New York at 11:30 pm and had a sleeping car that connected with the Golden State, arriving in Los Angeles at 8:45 am. The prestige of these trains was not as great as the previous pair, but that was made up for by lower fares and a shorter layover in Chicago. (The combinations of trains were slightly different eastbound.)

The Chicagoan also had a car going to San Francisco on Overland Limited, while passengers who preferred the more-scenic Exposition Flyer could leave New York on the 4:45 pm Commodore Vanderbilt. Neither western train was as fast as the Los Angeles trains, so passengers who departed Friday arrived in San Francisco at 6:50 pm Monday on the Overland and 8:50 am Tuesday on the Expo, thus losing a whole business day. Finally, Los Angeles passengers could take the 5:00 pm Water Level, which had a sleeping car that continued on the Los Angeles Limited, arriving in L.A. at 11:10 am. Of course, the Pennsylvania offered similar connecting service, so there were a lot of ways someone could go coast-to-coast without changing trains.

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