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Pre-Amtrak (ca 1960) passenger rail trivia question.


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#1 Don Newcomb

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 09:01 PM

When I was a child, in the late '50s and early '60s, as a regular summer vacation trip, my family would travel from Florida to Nebraska by train to visit relatives. One link of the trip was a daylight train from Chicago to Omaha. It must have been a crack train. I recall dome cars and a boat-tail observation lounge at the back. There was even a radio-telephone in the observation car that I always wanted to use but my parents said it was too expensive to use just for fun. As a young child I simply didn't appreciate the dining car lunch menu that no hot dogs or hamburgers but rather yucky stuff like fillet mignon, quail and brussels sprouts. At some point during the trip the train ran along a river, we'd go up to the dome car during that section and sit in an unoccupied seat for a while and enjoy the view. 

 

Anyone have a guess as to which train it was? I don't know the answer.    



#2 Bob Dylan

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 12:27 AM

It could have been the City of San Francisco or City of Los Angeles (ran between San Francisco and Chicago and Los Angeles and Chicago via Ogden) which were a extra fare crack trains that was jointly run by Several Railroads on various segments through the years but was basicalky a UP Train???

Also the Rio Grande/Burlington Zephyr is another possibility since it too was a crack extra fare train that ran this route.

Edited by Bob Dylan, 12 December 2016 - 12:45 AM.

"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 
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#3 MikefromCrete

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 12:52 AM

Sounds like a Burlington train, the Nebraska Zephyr, which left Chicago at 12:45 p.m. and arrived in Lincoln, Neb., at 10:30 p.m.


Edited by MikefromCrete, 12 December 2016 - 12:57 AM.


#4 Anderson

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 01:11 AM

My first guess was the Nebraska Zephyr, but I don't think that ever used a dome.  Neither did the Rocky Mountain Rocket.  I'll try to check my Official Guide soon and get back to you.

 

Edit: Couldn't have been the City...that was a night train out of Chicago.  The timing doesn't line up.  Maybe the Challenger?


Edited by Anderson, 12 December 2016 - 01:17 AM.

Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#5 Don Newcomb

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Posted 12 December 2016 - 07:34 AM

Thanks for the suggestions. The Nebraska Zephyr sounds like a good fit. It's possible that I'm combining more than one train trip. Dome car one year, observation car another year. I was about 10 when the annual train trips stopped. I do recall the both the dome and observation cars but can't be 100% sure it was the same train. We would take an overnight train from the junction town of Flomaton on the Fla/Ala line to get to Chicago. It was a regular passenger train. L&N I believe.

 

OBTW, sorry this ended up in this subforum. I was trying to post in "general" but seem to have missed.


Edited by Don Newcomb, 12 December 2016 - 08:22 AM.


#6 Don Newcomb

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Posted 13 December 2016 - 10:22 AM

It's also possible that I'm confused about cities (I was a small child at the time). Looking at some old L&N Humming Bird schedules, it might have been that we changed trains in St. Louis rather than Chicago. Some of the Wabash trains (e.g. Bluebird) ran both observation and dome cars. 



#7 railiner

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Posted 13 December 2016 - 11:25 PM

The item in your memory that stumps me is the public radio-telephone in the observation car....are you sure about that?

The only trains I recall offering that service were mainly in the northeast...PRR, NYC, NH, plus the Florida Special....not saying there weren't others, but I don't remember it on any trains to or through Omaha....


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#8 Don Newcomb

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Posted 14 December 2016 - 08:19 AM

The item in your memory that stumps me is the public radio-telephone in the observation car....are you sure about that?
The only trains I recall offering that service were mainly in the northeast...PRR, NYC, NH, plus the Florida Special....not saying there weren't others, but I don't remember it on any trains to or through Omaha....

I'm sure of very little, except that we left Flomaton on the L&N Humming Bird and somehow got to Omaha, overnight. My older brother and sister confirm that we connected in Chicago. My sister has distinct memories of visiting Marshal Fields, "The Museum" and the Lake during the lay-overs. But they don't recall the name of the train from Chicago to Omaha. These were the only long-distance train trips my family ever made.  I do recall both a dome car and a boat-tail parlor observation car and have a vague recollection that there was a phone in the parlor car but I can't say they were all the same train. Too bad that my family were not big into taking pictures or saving souvenirs, that might answer my question. 


Edited by Don Newcomb, 14 December 2016 - 08:19 AM.


#9 railiner

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Posted 16 December 2016 - 12:10 AM

Many top trains around the country had a land-line phone in the parlor or observation car, that was plugged in at terminal stations until departure time...perhaps you might have seen that?


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#10 Don Newcomb

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Posted 16 December 2016 - 09:31 AM

Many top trains around the country had a land-line phone in the parlor or observation car, that was plugged in at terminal stations until departure time...perhaps you might have seen that?

Entirely possible, although I recalled it as a radio-telephone and the reason we couldn't call someone was not because the train was moving but because it was a needless expense. Again I was 8-10 years old at the time. I wish my older siblings could recall more of the details.



#11 jphjaxfl

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Posted 17 December 2016 - 08:30 AM

My first guess was the Nebraska Zephyr, but I don't think that ever used a dome.  Neither did the Rocky Mountain Rocket.  I'll try to check my Official Guide soon and get back to you.

 

Edit: Couldn't have been the City...that was a night train out of Chicago.  The timing doesn't line up.  Maybe the Challenger?

The Nebraska Zephyr did not have a Dome car.  The 2 Nebraska Zephyr trainsets had previously been the pre WWII Twin Cities Zephyrs which were built in 1936 before Dome Cars.  In later years.  The Kansas City Zephyr was combined with the Nebraska Zephyr between Chicago and Galesburg and vv.  The KCZ did have a Dome Car but was just tacked on to the articulated NZ.



#12 Don Newcomb

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Posted 18 December 2016 - 04:01 PM

 

My first guess was the Nebraska Zephyr, but I don't think that ever used a dome.  Neither did the Rocky Mountain Rocket.  I'll try to check my Official Guide soon and get back to you.

 

Edit: Couldn't have been the City...that was a night train out of Chicago.  The timing doesn't line up.  Maybe the Challenger?

The Nebraska Zephyr did not have a Dome car.  The 2 Nebraska Zephyr trainsets had previously been the pre WWII Twin Cities Zephyrs which were built in 1936 before Dome Cars.  In later years.  The Kansas City Zephyr was combined with the Nebraska Zephyr between Chicago and Galesburg and vv.  The KCZ did have a Dome Car but was just tacked on to the articulated NZ.

 

Meaning that I could not have both been in the observation lounge and the dome car on that train. Well, unless I find some memento or photographs, this will probably remain a mystery.   



#13 Seaboard92

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 07:02 AM

Could you be thinking of the California Zephyr it had a dome observation on the route described.

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#14 railiner

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 03:56 PM

Could you be thinking of the California Zephyr it had a dome observation on the route described.

And since it left in mid-afternoon, in summertime, most of the run to Omaha would be in daylight, although the OP did say he had lunch, aboard.....


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#15 Don Newcomb

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Posted 24 December 2016 - 07:22 AM

Could you be thinking of the California Zephyr it had a dome observation on the route described.

And since it left in mid-afternoon, in summertime, most of the run to Omaha would be in daylight, although the OP did say he had lunch, aboard.....
We ate on board. I recall eating during the day. I assume it was lunch. Of course, Midwest summer days end at 9:00 pm. We have lots of old home movies, none of them include this train trip. :-/

#16 Seaboard92

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Posted 24 December 2016 - 09:40 AM

I'm fairly positive you were on the original California Zephyr actually.

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Amtrak Routes I've riden: Silver Star(NYP-ORL), Silver Meteor(KIS-NYP),Carolinian(CLT-NWK), Palmetto (FLO-NYP), Acela(WAS-NYP), NE Regional(WBG-RVR), Pacific Surfliner(SAN-OSD), Piedmont(CLT-SAL), Crescent(NYP-CLT), Cardinal (WAS-CHI), Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS), Cascade (PDX-SEA)

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Southern Pacific No. 4449

 


#17 MikefromCrete

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Posted 24 December 2016 - 12:34 PM

It sounds like the original California Zephyr, which left  Chicago around 3 p.m. It would have had dome cars and a  rounded end observation car at the rear of the train. It might have had a phone, but I'm unsure of that. I found 1969 schedule which showed the train leaving Chicago at 2:40 p.m. and arriving in Omaha at 11:05 p.m. 


Edited by MikefromCrete, 24 December 2016 - 12:38 PM.





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