It’s Always Springtime on the C&O

The Chesapeake and Ohio wanted people attending the Century of Progress Exposition know that it, too, had air-conditioned trains. While B&O might have been the first railroad to air condition an entire train, “Chesapeake and Ohio is the first railroad in the world to genuinely air-condition all its through main line passenger trains.”

Click image to download a 696-KB PDF of this brochure.

The term “genuinely” apparently referred to the fact that some railroads used stop-gap measures to cool their trains that hadn’t yet been fully air conditioned. In particular, the B&O in 1933 was still “pre-cooling” some of its sleeping cars by blowing air-conditioned air into them before they left their originating terminal.

The Air-Conditioned Train

This little booklet was given to people viewing B&O’s air-conditioned train on display at the Century of Progress Exposition. The booklet describes each car of the train and the history behind some of those cars and the names applied to them.

Click image to download an 2.8-MB PDF of this 12-page booklet.

The six cars included an observation cars, a sleeping car, a diner, a lounge car, a reclining-seat coach, and a day coach. The B&O picked cars whose names were significant to the railroad and the fair: the observation car was named Maryland after B&O’s home state; the sleeping car was named Illinois after the state where the fair was located; and the dining car was named Mary Pickergill after the seamstress who sewed the flag that, when it flew in Baltimore, inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star Spangled Banner.

B&O at the Century of Progress Fair

Since the B&O had held a great centennial expo in 1927, it was ready to have a large exhibit at the Chicago Century of Progress Exposition in 1933. Inside the fair’s Travel & Transport Building, the railroad had large dioramas of Washington, Baltimore, and historic events in the B&O’s past. Outside, it displayed the Lord Baltimore along with six fully air-conditioned passenger cars, underscoring the fact that it was the first to put an air-conditioned car and later an entire air-conditioned train into service. B&O also contributed several very old locomotives and cars to the expo’s Pageant of Transportation.

Click image to download an 8.7-MB PDF of this 32-page booklet.

While the B&O was deservedly proud of its air-conditioned train, it’s display of the Lord Baltimore was questionable. In a very real sense, the 4-8-2 locomotive was already obsolete in 1925, the year it was built, for that was also the year that Lima built the first Superpower locomotive with a four-wheel trailing truck. The four wheels were needed to carry the weight of the extra large fireboxes that produced huge amounts of steam. By 1926, Northern Pacific ordered the first 4-8-4 locomotive, whose four-wheel lead truck, like Lord Baltimore’s, allowed for high passenger speeds while the four-wheel trailing truck, like the Lima locomotives, allowed for greatly boosted steam capacity. Although B&O continued to build 4-8-2 locomotives, in 1935 it applied the name Lord Baltimore to another locomotive: a 4-6-4. Continue reading

Lord Baltimore Postcard

The Chesapeake & Ohio was the first railroad to order a 4-8-2 locomotive in 1911. That locomotive and tender weighed about 549,000 pounds and developed about 58,000 pounds of tractive effort. Rival Baltimore & Ohio did not try this wheel arrangement until 1925, when it rebuilt one of its 2-10-2 locomotives into a 4-8-2. The four pilot wheels allowed higher speeds so the locomotive could be used to pull passenger trains.

Click image to download a 643-KB PDF of this folding postcard.

B&O called this locomotive the Lord Baltimore (not to be confused with a second locomotive of that name built in 1935), and it weighed about 110,000 pounds more and had about 10,000 pounds more tractive effort than the C&O’s first 4-8-2. Although a latecomer to this wheel arrangement, B&O eventually owned 44 4-8-2s, 42 of which it built itself including the last 4-8-2 built in America in 1948. This postcard was distributed at the B&O’s centennial exhibition in 1927, where the locomotive was displayed to the public.

Delaware & Hudson Map

The Delaware & Hudson considered itself the nation’s oldest “continuously operated transportation company,” as it started in 1823 to build and operate a canal that opened in 1828. The canal was converted to a railroad in the 1860s. The railroad failed to turn this early start into an empire, so by 1940 it advertised itself as a “bridge” between Canadian and American railroads.

Click image to download a 1.8-MB PDF of this map.

This map is undated, but it uses postal codes (which began in 1943), not zip codes (which began in 1963), so it must be from sometime between those two years, and probably from the 1950s. The elegant script used for “The D&H” is also used for state and provincial names, but the envelope containing the map (below) is more prosaic. Although the map specifies it shows “freight connections,” up until Amtrak the D&H operated two passenger trains between Albany and Montreal, the overnight Montreal Limited and the daylight Laurentian. Continue reading

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.

Pennsylvania January, 1954 Timetable

Where the New York Central offered five combinations of coast-to-coast sleeping cars, the Pennsylvania had just four. First and most prestigious was the Broadway LimitedSuper Chief, an extra-fare duo that left New York at 6 pm and arrived in Los Angeles at 8:30 am on the third day. Slightly less prestigious was the Pennsylvania Limited (or General eastbound) and City of Los Angeles, which departed New York at 6:45 and arrived in L.A. at 9 am three days later.

Click image to download a 34.7-MB PDF of this 56-page timetable.

To San Francisco, the Pennsylvania–like the Central–offered every-other-day service on the Overland Limited and California Zephyr, both of which also connected with the Pennsylvania Limited westbound, though the Zephyr connected with the Admiral eastbound. Continue reading

A Review of Progress on the Pennsylvania

This 1953 booklet is mainly about freight for shippers, but it includes a photos of passenger trains and stations. The Pennsylvania (no need to add the word “railroad” in those days) was still riding high after the war, so it is somewhat disconcerting to realize that the beautiful New York Penn Station featured on page 17 would be demolished in a decade and the railroad itself only had 17 years to live (though it might have survived if the merger with the New York Central had not put it in the hands of incompetent managers).


Click image to download a 16.9-MB PDF of this 24-page booklet.

A hint at one of the things wrong with many railroads in the 1950s is given in the proud statement on page 4 that “We now have in service 316 passenger and freight road diesel-electric locomotives, in addition to 1,032 diesel switching locomotives.” Why did it take more than three switching locomotives to serve each road locomotive? The answer is that too much of the railroad’s work dealt with moving a few carloads at a time–work that was easily captured by truckers.

The Completely New Jeffersonian

Previously featured here, the all-coach Jeffersonian was the St. Louis version of the New York-Chicago Trail Blazer. The latter train was inaugurated in 1939 and was successful enough for the Pennsylvania to begin operating the Jeffersonian in 1941. After the war, the railroad reequipped both trains, and this booklet is similar to the one issued for the post-war Trail Blazer.

Click image to download a 51.2-MB PDF of this 16-page booklet. Click here to download a 15.2-MB version that has a slightly lower resolution.

This booklet devotes several pages to the Jeffersonian‘s recreation car, which featured a movie theater, game room, children’s playroom, and a buffet-lounge. This apparently wasn’t successful in attracting passengers to the train, which was discontinued in 1956. Continue reading

100 Years of Transportation Progress

This booklet is full of self-congratulations, and at the time it probably seemed well-deserved. The Pennsylvania Railroad was at one time not only the largest company in the world, it had a bigger budget and employed more people than the United States government. By 1946, it was still the largest railroad in the country and held the record for the longest string of annual dividend payments (a record it holds to this day).

Click image to download a 5.8-MB PDF of this 16-page booklet.

According to this booklet, in the company’s first hundred years, it paid more than $1.2 billion in dividends, $1 billion in interest to bondholders, and $10 billion in wages to employees. More interesting to the traveling public, in 1946 it operated 1,340 trains a day. Many of these must have been commuter trains as the 48-page, 1946 timetable doesn’t have room to show that many trains.