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.

C&NW also had three trains a day between Omaha and the Twin Cities with peculiar numbers: 209-9 & 10-210 Mondamin, 201-2-201 & 202-1-202 Nightengale, and 203-22-203 & 204-9-204 North American. Train 511, the Duluth-Superior Limited connected its namesake cities with Chicago; the reverse trip would be on train 512-514, the Arrowhead Limited. Six more named trains went from the Chicago to Milwaukee, continuing on to various cities in Wisconsin including Ashland, Green Bay, Ishpeming, and Menominee. Not counting the schedules of connecting trains on other railroads, this timetable has more than 120 numbered tables of mostly unnamed C&NW trains serving the upper Midwest.


Click image to download this brochure that I downloaded from archive.org.

One route I’ve always wondered about was C&NW’s extension to Lander, Wyoming. In the 1920s, C&NW advertised this as the “Teton Mountain Route to Yellowstone Park.” But by 1939 (as shown on page 48 of the above timetable), the route’s clear disadvantage when compared with Union Pacific’s West Yellowstone route led C&NW to just have a motorcar from Casper, which met a six-day-a-week train from Omaha.


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