The Chicago & Alton (whose name was changed to simply the Alton Railroad in 1931) offered as many as seven trains a day each way between Chicago and St. Louis. The following blotter advertises its premiere train: the Alton Limited. This train was reequipped in 1924 with new cars including an observation car with a Japanese tea room, so this blotter must be from about that year.
The next blotter mentions the daytime Alton Limited and the overnight Midnight Limited. Since the blotter mentions air condition for the former but only “pre-cooling” for the latter, it must be from around 1934 or 1935, when railroads were still adding air conditioning to many of their passenger cars. This and the remaining blotters are from the Dale Hastin collection.
In 1935, Alton–then controlled by the B&O–inaugurated the streamlined Abraham Lincoln. The train was so successful that in 1937 it added a companion train, the Ann Rutledge, a reference to the claim that Lincoln was once in love with a young women by that name who died of typhoid fever. Notice that when this blotter was published, which was presumably 1937, the Alton had six daily trains each way between Chicago and St. Louis.
The locomotive pulling the streamliner on the blotter below appears to be an E7, which would date the blotter to around 1945 or 1946.
In 1947, Gulf, Mobile & Ohio bought the Alton (which B&O had shed in 1941), which is why the above blotter is probably from before that year. The following blotter incorporates Alton’s routes into GM&O’s and specifically mentions a GM&O train to Mobile but not one to New Orleans. GM&O terminated passenger service to New Orleans in 1954 but continued to serve Mobile until 1958, so this blotter must date to sometime between those two years.