Great Northern 1960 Timetable

Great Northern’s summer, 1960 timetable had a similar cover to the 1957 timetable, but that similarity disguises dramatic changes in the schedules for some of the railway’s major trains. Most important, starting in the summer of 1960, trains 3 & 4, the Western Star, were combined with trains 27 & 28, the Fast Mail, with the new train taking the name of the Western Star but the numbers of the Fast Mail.


Click image to download a 24.3-MB PDF of this 40-page timetable.

The previous Western Star had been routed through Grand Forks, ND, and Great Falls, MT, leaving the shorter, but more thinly populated, routes through New Rockford, ND, and Chester, MT to the Empire Builder. When combined with the Fast Mail, however, the train now took the shorter route. To serve Grand Forks and Great Falls, two new trains have been added, both confusingly numbered 3 & 4. The first 3 & 4 connects St. Paul with Minot via Grand Forks, while the second connects Havre with Shelby via Great Falls.

The new timetable cut nearly seven hours off of the Western Star‘s time between St. Paul and Seattle. The train now left St. Paul an hour later than it had the previous year, it arrived in Seattle 5-3/4 hours earlier, thus turning what had been a three-night trip from Chicago into a two-night trip.

Several other trains on the eastern end of the railway had their schedules altered. The St. Paul-Grand Forks Red River now terminated at Fargo. To compensate Grand Forks for this loss of service, the Winnipeg Limited was rerouted on a slightly longer route through Grand Forks, adding about 35 minutes to the northbound trip and 40 minutes southbound. On the west end, the Seattle-Vancouver Internationals were cut from three trains per day to two while the Seattle-Spokane Cascadian had been cancelled in 1959. In the middle, the Billings-Great Falls link between the Burlington’s Kansas City-Billings train and GN’s Western Star was replaced by a bus.

I count 39 local or branch line trains in the 1957 timetable, ranging from Duluth-Grand Forks to the Tuesday-only Evansville-Elbow Lake. Fourteen of these trains are gone from the 1960 timetable including both of the ones just mentioned as well as trains to Sioux Falls, SD, and Sioux City, Iowa.

Despite the changes in service, the 1960 timetable is actually four pages longer than its predecessors. Three of the new pages feature freight service, including two pages of condensed freight timetables and a full-page ad for piggy-back trains. The fourth new page shows drawings of the various Pullman accommodations on overnight trains.


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