Nickel Plate April, 1964 TImetable

The four passenger trains on the cover of this timetable showing are deceptive, as by 1964 the Nickel Plate operated only two trains a day: one from Buffalo to Chicago and the other from Chicago to Buffalo. The former was called the City of Chicago, while the latter was confusingly called the City of Cleveland. Between Chicago and Cleveland, the trains included sleeping cars and a club-diner-lounge, but only coaches between Cleveland and Buffalo.

Click image to download a 2.5-MB PDF of this timetable.

At least as late as 1960, the Nickel Plate and Lackawanna offered through trains between Chicago and New York City (or Hoboken, where the Lackawanna terminated), but by 1964 passengers had to change trains in Buffalo. This wasn’t so bad westbound, as travelers could leave New York City on a 9 am ferry, catch the train in Hoboken, and change trains during a 25-minute layover in Buffalo. Eastbound was a lot less convenient as it required a five-hour layover in Buffalo and the Erie-Lackawanna train then arrived at Hoboken at 4 am. Since the ferry didn’t begin operating until 7, New York-bound passengers would take a PATH train to Manhattan.


Nickel Plate April, 1964 TImetable — 1 Comment

  1. This is about the saddest NKP timetable there is. It was published just six month before it merged with the N&W. The merger had been in progress since 1960. It was assumed it would be complete by 1962 but, in the event, it took until October 16, 1964. The NKP, the only Class 1 passenger carrying railroad never to own an F unit, trusted its entire passenger schedule to ALCO PA-1s, the famous Bluebirds. Given the upcoming merger, the NKP sold all the Bluebirds to EMD and cut passenger service to 2 trains a day. It didn’t have much choice since it only had two remaining steam generator locomotives, a pair of RS-36’s, also from ALCO. These soldiered on for two more years with increasingly slower schedules and increasingly dirtier passenger equipment. I was a train buff at 18 in 1964, and the NKP ran within a couple hundred yards of my house, and even I wouldn’t take an NKP train in 1964. The NKP never cared for passenger service, but they ran modest trains that were well maintained and had good diners right up until the late 50’s. With the coming merger, passenger service was the first thing to go to hell, and go to hell it did.
    Regards, Jim

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