Illinois Central World’s Fair Blotters

This blotter bragged that Illinois Central’s three daily trains between Chicago and St. Louis were all “air-cooled.” Note that only the Daylight is “mechanically air-cooled” while the other two trains are merely “pre-cooled.” Good luck in staying cool on the Michigan Boulevard all the way to St. Louis on a hot summer evening. The blotter doesn’t have a specific date, but it mentions that Chicago’s 1933 World’s Fair is “now under construction,” so I infer it is from 1932 or, perhaps, early 1933.

Click image to download a 0.4-MB PDF of this blotter.

The next blotter urges residents of Sioux Falls to take the Hawkeye “direct to Chicago World’s Fair.” Though there is no date, the World’s Fair began in 1933 so presumably the blotter is from that year.

Click image to download a 0.5-MB PDF of this blotter.

Finally, we have a World’s Fair blotter that is clearly from 1934. It doesn’t advertise a specific train, but mentions the “Illinois Central electric.” IC electrified its Chicago-area commuter trains in 1926, which presumably saved the railroad some money while it relieved the city of some of its coal-fired air pollution. These electric trains continue to operate as a part of Metra, Chicago’s suburban commuter rail agency.

Click image to download a 0.5-MB PDF of this blotter.


Illinois Central World’s Fair Blotters — 1 Comment

  1. There’s an excellent paper, written by an engineering student to gain admission to an engineering fraternity at :

    Even though it’s specifically about the B&O, the methods were common with all railroads in the 30’s. The precooling was done for overnight trains, As long as the car was precooled, an ice bunker system would keep the car reasonably cool until the sun was up a few hours. The precooling was done using either a large trailer with ice and brine or a mechanical unit mounted on a trailer. The exhaust was connected to the car’s ventilation system, and the car was cool when the patrons arrived. After that, the ice bunker and circulating fans could handle the heat at night.

    Ice bunker systems didn’t work very well in the heat of the day, and were expensive to operate when the labor to load the ice bunkers and the cost of ice was factored in. York came up with the first mechanical compression unit that would operate with the existing electrical system on passenger cars. Within a few years, almost all railroads switched to these York unita for car air conditioning.


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