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Your Experiences on Pre-Amtrak Trains?


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#21 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 12:15 PM

Wow, a lot of posts here! I'm wondering if the average age of an Amtrak Unlimited poster is well over 50. Maybe it's because trains are nowhere near as popular in the 80's/90's as it was back then (with some exceptions like Acela and California trains among others) and with planes being more popular not many people these days would even think about going from Philly to Chicago or Philly to Florida on a train.


Trains Traveled:
 
Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA) 
Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI)
Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS)
Lake Short Limited (NYP-CHI)
Silver Meteor (PHL-ORL)
Southwest Chief (CHI-LAX)
California Zephyr (CHI-SLC, SLC-EMY)
City of New Orleans and/or Illini (CHI-Champaign, IL)

 

Bring back the Broadway Limited (or Three Rivers or any Chicago-Pittsburgh-Philly train)!
 
 


#22 railiner

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 02:24 PM

The Merchants Limited,  was the top train on the New Haven...IIRC, at one time it carried nothing but parlors....it ran between Grand Central Terminal and Boston.

 

My favorite train on the PRR side of the corridor,, were the all-new in 1952, Congressional Limited's.  Their stainless steel Budd equipment contrasted with the usual Tuscan colored PRR trains.

The Afternoon Congressional made the New York to Washington trip in 3:35, pulled by a GG-1.

 

It carried unique day coaches, with smoking lounges at one end, it carried twin-unit dining cars, multiple parlor cars, each with a drawing room, tavern lounge cars, observation lounge cars, 7 room conference cars, and public telephone booths.


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#23 railiner

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 02:32 PM

Wow, a lot of posts here! I'm wondering if the average age of an Amtrak Unlimited poster is well over 50. Maybe it's because trains are nowhere near as popular in the 80's/90's as it was back then (with some exceptions like Acela and California trains among others) and with planes being more popular not many people these days would even think about going from Philly to Chicago or Philly to Florida on a train.

To answer your question....have you taken any fantrips lately?  Say, the Amtrak Autumn Express, for example?

Just look at the demographics....

I have been a member of many types of transportation historical societies, and I'm sorry to say, the membership in most of these, despite attempts to attract new blood into the organization has been dwindling....

With some exceptions, of course....most younger people today just are not interested in old trains, old planes, old cars,old ships....

they are much more into video and computer activities.... :(


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#24 DCAKen

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 12:47 PM

Back in January 1970, my family moved from Whitefish MT to northern Illinois. Since they thought passenger rail wouldn't be around for much longer, my parents decided to take the Empire Builder. Since there was eight of us (plus one cat), we had several adjoining rooms. I was six at the time, so many of the details have faded. I do remember sitting in the dome car at night and watching the lights of the towns go by.



#25 MARC Rider

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 09:37 PM

Growing up in Philly, (and in the western suburbs), nearly all of my pre-Amtrak rail experiences involved the PRR or Penn Central.  When I was in High School and had friends in the northern suburbs, I would ride the Reading occasionally.

 

Starting at about age 8 (circa 1961), I would ride the Paoli Local from Bryn Mawr to Merion to go to Hebrew School.  When I was 9 or 10, my parents once dropped me off at 30th St. and I rode a local train to visit my grandparents on Baltimore.  I think it stopped in Wilmington, Newark, Elkton, Perryville, Havre De Grace and Aberdeen.   My grandparents picked me up at the station.  On another trip, my parents dropped me off at Baltimore and I remember buying breakfast in the dining car, getting off at 30th St. going upstairs and taking the Paoli Local home, where I hung out with a friend of my mother's until my parents arrived later in the day the fetch me.  After about age 11, I was allowed to take the Paoli Local all the way downtown to go go shopping.  I would also ride the "P&W and subway," aka the Norristown High Speed Line and Market-Frankford elevated-subway.  The summers I was 8, 9 and 10, I went to a camp in western Massachusetts and rode on the "camp train" from Grand Central to Great Barrington.  This was a New Haven charter that all the camps used, and it made a whole bunch of stops north of Danbury to let kids out for various camps.  This trip also involved a PRR trip with the family up to New York, and I may have actually passed through the old Pennsylvania Station, but I have no memories of that.  I do have memories of the old PRR red passenger cars with non-reclining seats upholstered in some kind of fake velvet, no A/C and ceiling fans overhead.  The last time I rode one of those old cars was on an Amtrak train in the summer of 1972, going from New York to Philly.  It was painted Penn Central green, we were going pretty fast, and that was a bit of a thrill ride, as I don't think the car was built to go that fast.  It was pretty noisy, too.

 

In 1968, I went to Philmont with the Scouts, and though the organizers avoided using the PRR train from Philly to Chicago, based on bitter experience, we rode the Denver Zephyr from Chicago to Denver, and were then bussed down to New Mexico.  Even though they put our charter group in older cars, and fed us lower-quality food in a special dining car, I could tell that the CB&Q ran nicer trains than the PRR.  On the way home, I got tired of the dining car chow, so I went to the "Chuckwagon" grill car under one of the domes and ordered a $5 personal pizza.  I'll leave it to the reader to find an inflation calculator and see what $5 in 1968 is worth today.   Then I sat up in the dark dome and watched signals ahead go from gree to red as we rolled through Nebraska at night.

 

During the years 1968-1971, I did a lot of joyriding along the NEC.  Never made it to DC, but I would go to NY on spring break with friends or down to Baltimore to visit family.  Sometimes I just rode to Trenton or Wilmington after school.  You could ride the regional trains with a SEPTA commuter ticket, so it was pretty cheap, and I got to see a lot of different kinds of equipment.   My favorite were the New Haven cars run on the through trains to Boston.  They seemed like they were in better shape than the PRR stuff, though sometimes the regional NY-Washington trains were equipped with long distance equipment (the equivalent of Amfleet II's). I also rode the Keystone "tubular trains" as well as some streamlined stainless steel equipment with 1949 dates on the builder's plate that seemed to have been refurbished in the 60s in the style of the SEPTA Silverliners.  I guess back then the PRR/Penn Central had a lot of surplus rolling stock as they were abandoning long distance trains on a regular basis.  Naturally, when they introduced the Metroliner, I rode one of them as soon as I could find some free time.  On one of my joyrides to Wilmington, the engineer let me come into the cab and look over his shoulder and see the speedometer hit 110.  In all, I found the service on the NEC to be OK, at least as far as reliability was concerned.  It certainly wasn't as fast or frequent as it is now.  My mother would ride down to see her parents and come back complaining about how the train stopped in the middle of nowhere in Maryland for a half hour or so.  One thing I regret not having done was fork over the extra $$ for the parlor car.  I think for a NY-Philly trip it was a $1.50 upcharge on a $4.50 ticket.  Now we meekley pay a $100 upcharge on a $150 Acela ticket to ride first class, but from what I've heard, the old-time parlor car service was better.  I guess $1.50 was a lot of money in 1968, except when I was hungry on the Denver Zephyr, hungry enough to spend $5 for a pizza.



#26 railiner

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 11:26 PM

You bring back great memories of when I used to "commute" to visit my girlfriend in Chestnut Hill....

I recall the Tuscan heavyweight P70 coaches, as well as the MP-54 MU.s....and the modern Silverliner's.  I used to ride buses to Philly, and she met me at the terminal, and later, took PC, and connected at North Philadelphia for the Chestnut Hill west line....

I used to know a Reading Conductor, who ran the Hatboro local...he took me 'fanning' all over Philly, on the P&W bullet cars, SEPTA subways, and surface cars, PC and Reading locals, the Lindenwold Line, Penn-Reading Seashore Line, and his favorite...the Wall Streeter on the Reading and CNJ to Newark, NJ.

 

I vaguely remember the Keystone experimental train...it ended service in 1968, the year that I really got interested in trains.  It's design led the way to the Pioneer III and Silverliner's, and eventually the Metroliner's and Amfleet design...

 

When I was working for Trailways in Colorado, we operated many charters for the Boy Scouts of America, transporting passengers from the Santa Fe trains at Raton, to Philmont Scout Ranch....as a former Scout myself, my family could not afford to send me there, but I did spend a couple of weeks for three summers at the NY Council's 
Ten Mile River scout camp near Narrowsburg, NY (within whistle range of the Erie RR).... :)


Edited by railiner, 15 March 2017 - 11:31 PM.

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#27 hankster211

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 07:47 AM

The Southern Railways, Tennessean, roundtrip at least a dozen times in the fifties and sixties from Knoxville to Memphis, my Dad's hometown.

 

The Southern Railways, Carolina Special, roundtrip from my hometown, Clinton TN, to Cincinnati with my Little League Team to watch a Major League game at old Crosley Field in 1962,

 

As a 5 or 6 year old in 1955-56, from Knoxville to Trenton NJ with my mother to visit my Aunt (I wish I could remember the specific trains and connections but it was too long ago, and I didn't pay much attention back in those days.  I do remember being pulled by a Steam Locomotive at least part of the way)

 

As a teenager, in 1965 from Jacksonville FL to Knoxville TN.  (I could swear I changed trains in Ooltewah TN, but have never been able to confirm which trains I took by looking at vintage timetables)



#28 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 10:35 AM

I don't know if anyone's old enough (and is willing to admit it) to know when air travel became available to a mass audience in the US. There is still a market for short distance trains so I don't think the interstate highway is as responsible for killing the popularity of rail travel than the airplane. I'm guessing those who were alive before Amtrak caught trains past their prim. By the 60's I believe the Pennsylvania Railroad and NY Central merged and they were canceling trains left and right.


Trains Traveled:
 
Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA) 
Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI)
Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS)
Lake Short Limited (NYP-CHI)
Silver Meteor (PHL-ORL)
Southwest Chief (CHI-LAX)
California Zephyr (CHI-SLC, SLC-EMY)
City of New Orleans and/or Illini (CHI-Champaign, IL)

 

Bring back the Broadway Limited (or Three Rivers or any Chicago-Pittsburgh-Philly train)!
 
 


#29 chakk

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 11:28 AM

I can certainly  remember riding B&O and C&NW LDTs in the 1950's when they were not past their prime.

 

But one of my two favorite trips was in Sept 1969 (at the end of a summer job before resuming college) traveling by myself all first class on a circle trip around the USA.  B&O Capitol LImited from Washington, D.C. to Chicago; Northern Pacific's North Coast LImited to Seattle, a pool train to Portland, Southern Pacific's Cascade to Sacramento, California Zephyr to Chicago, and the remnants of the Broadway Limited back to Washington, D.C.

 

One hotel night in Chicago and in Seattle.   The rest of the nights in sleepers on the various trains.

 

Took about 100 photographs (all Kodachrome slides) on that journey.



#30 jis

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 11:28 AM

I don't know if anyone's old enough (and is willing to admit it) to know when air travel became available to a mass audience in the US. There is still a market for short distance trains so I don't think the interstate highway is as responsible for killing the popularity of rail travel than the airplane. I'm guessing those who were alive before Amtrak caught trains past their prim. By the 60's I believe the Pennsylvania Railroad and NY Central merged and they were canceling trains left and right.

It seems like you have a general problem with growing old among your various bigoted positions ;)

 

Anyhow, Air Travel became available to the general public in small steps starting with the time when the large capacity aircraft like 747 were introduced around 1969, and finally in a big way only around the time of Carter and then Reagan administration following the full deregulation. Before that in general it was a pricey proposition, though available generally, and availed of mostly by those that could afford it.

 

Air travel has never been the primary competition of passenger rail. It is highways and cars that did them in more than air travel.



#31 Seaboard92

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 12:46 PM

Wow, a lot of posts here! I'm wondering if the average age of an Amtrak Unlimited poster is well over 50. Maybe it's because trains are nowhere near as popular in the 80's/90's as it was back then (with some exceptions like Acela and California trains among others) and with planes being more popular not many people these days would even think about going from Philly to Chicago or Philly to Florida on a train.

To answer your question....have you taken any fantrips lately?  Say, the Amtrak Autumn Express, for example?
Just look at the demographics....
I have been a member of many types of transportation historical societies, and I'm sorry to say, the membership in most of these, despite attempts to attract new blood into the organization has been dwindling....
With some exceptions, of course....most younger people today just are not interested in old trains, old planes, old cars,old ships....
they are much more into video and computer activities.... :(
I am really much to young to comment in this thread but you gave me an avenue in which to.
Most trips I work the average age in first class is above 60. In coach I would say the average is 40s. We get a lot of young families. The real problem with excursions and charters is most people would rather be trackside and film it then ride the train.

But to talk about railroad owned trains.
The Santa Fe kept incredibly high standards. And had their proposal been approved they likely would have stayed out of Amtrak. What they wanted to do was akin to the Union Pacific "City of Everywhere" running all of their remaining trains combined to Kansas City where the Texas Chief and San Fransisco Chief would split off while the Super Chief/El Capitan continued on the passenger main. They would then recombine with the SFC somewhere in New Mexico and run combined to I believe Barstow. Where again they would diverge and go to their end points.

I'm shocked no one has mentioned the classiest train of the Amtrak era. The Southern Railway's Southern Crescent. Or the remains of the California Zephyr the rio grande zephyr.

The most pro passenger railroads would have to include the B&O whom was constantly maintaining good standards on their remaining service. The SCL also ran good service. Illinois Central under Johnston was good too.

View my pictures at http://trainboy1.rrpicturearchives.net

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)

Steam Engines I've worked behind

Norfolk & Western No. 611

Nickel Plate Road No. 765

Southern Pacific No. 4449

 


#32 MARC Rider

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 02:18 PM

 

I don't know if anyone's old enough (and is willing to admit it) to know when air travel became available to a mass audience in the US. There is still a market for short distance trains so I don't think the interstate highway is as responsible for killing the popularity of rail travel than the airplane. I'm guessing those who were alive before Amtrak caught trains past their prim. By the 60's I believe the Pennsylvania Railroad and NY Central merged and they were canceling trains left and right.

It seems like you have a general problem with growing old among your various bigoted positions ;)

 

Anyhow, Air Travel became available to the general public in small steps starting with the time when the large capacity aircraft like 747 were introduced around 1969, and finally in a big way only around the time of Carter and then Reagan administration following the full deregulation. Before that in general it was a pricey proposition, though available generally, and availed of mostly by those that could afford it.

 

Air travel has never been the primary competition of passenger rail. It is highways and cars that did them in more than air travel.

 

 

My first airplane trip was when I was 8.  No, my parents didn't drop me off at the airport, I rode down with a great aunt to visit my (other) grandparents in Miami.  We flew down on a DC-7 and back on a Convair 880.  A couple years later, the whole family flew down on a 4-engine prop plane, the model of which I don't remember.  It was like riding a roller coaster the whole way.   That was it for vacations by air when I was a kid, and my folks had above-average income.  The only flying in our family was when my Dad would go off to conferences on the West Coast.  All other vacations were road trips.

 

The only air trip I took before I went to college was with the Scouts the year after I went to Philmont, we went to the National Jamboree in Idaho.  We flew out to Billings, MT on a 707, then toured through the Rockies and Yellowstone on school buses to the Jamboree site.  Apparently the Philadelphia Scout council messed up the air charters and had to scramble to find us a flight home.  This they did by finding some smoke-jumping outfit in Spokane Washington called Johnson Flying Services who had a DC-4 configured for passenger service.  We flew that antique home 13 hours from Spokane to Philadelphia, including a fuel stop in Rockford, IL.  We were told the pilot had never been east of the Mississippi, and was having trouble finding Philadelphia while crossing the Appalachians.When we finally landed at Philly, the pilot mistakenly took us to the general aviation facility rather than the terminal where everybody was waiting for us.

 

Aside from a trip to visit my prospective college and a trip to Israel for a gap year program, I didn't fly regularly until I started college in 1972.  The only discounted plane fare available was standby tickets at about a 30% discount off regular coach fare.  Around 1976 or 1976 they statred with the special pre-purchase round trip tickets, but, as jis it wasn't until the end of the Carter administration (around 1979) that the deregulation went into full swing, and I was waiting for a plane at Stapleton and thought to myself, "hey, this has all the ambiance of a bus station!"  Then we had PeopleExpress, which was actually cheaper than Amtrak to fly from BWI to Newark (this was about 1982 or 1983).  With BWI as my home field, I never flew much on 747s, though British Airways ran L1011s from BWI to Heathrow, and United would fly DC-10s from BWI to Denver and San Fransisco.

 

I agree with jis, train travel outside of the northeast was on the ropes long before there was cheap air travel.  In addition to the fact that almost everybody has a car, and the government built o first class system of high-speed roadways, there was also a lot more intercity bus service than we have now, which also took advantage of those roadways.  I think the cheap air fares did more to hurt intercity bus service than rail.



#33 Bob Dylan

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 03:37 PM

Ditto to what jis and MARC Rider said!(I'm older than dirt and still ready to hop on 1)a train,2)a plane,3)a car4)a bus or 4)a truck to see whats around the corner or over the next hill!)😁
 
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 
".. I ride on a Mail Train Baby, can't buy a thrill.."--I said that!
 
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Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#34 railiner

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 09:19 PM

All of the condition's mentioned in above posts factored into the decline of the private era rail travel....but the one thing that really accelerated its demise was the watershed event of September, 1967, when the Post Office Department, ended carrying US Mail on the nation's passenger trains--both storage mail and Railway Post Office cars.

That severe loss of passenger train revenue, resulted in a flurry of train-off applications to the ICC, and in just a few short years, the creation of Amtrak.

 

Incredibly, one Railway Post Office operation continued well into the Amtrak era...the New York and Washington RPO lasted until 30 June 1977.   There used to be a special mail slot in the Penn Station, NY concourse to deposit "Train Mail"...


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#35 railiner

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 10:33 PM

Getting back to privately operated passenger trains...

Before he moved to the Illinois Central in the latter sixties, Paul Reistrup was in charge of the C&O/B&O passenger service, where he introduced many innovations...

 

After A-Day, the few railroads that elected not to join Amtrak were:

 

The Southern, because they wanted to run their own passenger trains...led by W.G. Claytor, who later became Amtrak's fourth president.  The Southern Crescent combined the best features of the Southerner and Crescent Limited passenger trains, over the Southerner's all SR route from Washington to New Orleans.   The train was pooled with Amtrak, to operated thru to New York, and briefly to Boston.  And it did carry a thru coast-to-coast 10-6 Heritage sleeper to the Sunset Limited at New Orleans.  The thru passenger's could use it as their 'hotel' for the overnite stop there, before moving on toward Los Angeles.

The train included a sleeper with a Master Bedroom (with its own shower).  The train was promoted with ads showing off its fine dining car cuisine...Who remember's that memorable ad with Chef Louis Price extolling the virtue of his scratch baked biscuits?  (Sadly, Mr Price was killed on the job later in a train wreck.)

The train also ran with a dome parlor car for a while from Atlanta to New Orleans.  The Southern finally joined Amtrak in 1979.

 

The Denver and Rio Grande Western, because they were afraid of Amtrak trains 'interfering' with their freight train operations.   

The Rio Grande Zephyr was a railfan favorite, and many thru Amtrak passengers elected to detour their trip on the SFZ, over the scenic 'Grande, even though needing an overnight layover in Denver...

The classic CZ Vista-Dome consist, and traditional CZ menu in the dining car helped.  And the Silver Sky, the dome lounge obs sleeper, still offered bedrooms and drawing room for the day long trip....one reason people booked them was that was the only way to bring your pet along....later they took out the rooms. 

They joined Amtrak in 1983.

 

The Rock Island, because 'they could not afford the membership fee'.

Besides their Chicago commuter service, they operated the Peoria Rocket and the Quad Cities Rocket.  For a period, a private operator,Butterworth Tours, leased their former Chessie, Rio Grande, dome car 'Big Ben' to The Rock for parlor dome car service on the Quad Cities train...

Service ended in 1978.

 

The Georgia RR, Not sure, but probably because they also thought it cheaper to run their remaining mixed trains then pay the membership fee..

their mixed train service ended in 1983.


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#36 Palmetto

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 09:51 AM

Ditto to what jis and MARC Rider said!(I'm older than dirt and still ready to hop on 1)a train,2)a plane,3)a car4)a bus or 4)a truck to see whats around the corner or over the next hill!)

I like that outlook on life.  BTW, my first plane ride was a DC-3 when I was about 12.  Since I was born in 1943, I guess I was old enough.



#37 Seaboard92

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 11:25 AM

The Georgia Railroad stayed out of Amtrak because they were afraid of losing their tax break if they did. As long as they had passenger service they weren't required to pay state taxes. Now we're the passenger trains any good. From what I've read not really that grand.

If anyone is interested in chartering silver sky once Bill finishes it let me know I can work something out with Bill.

View my pictures at http://trainboy1.rrpicturearchives.net

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)

Steam Engines I've worked behind

Norfolk & Western No. 611

Nickel Plate Road No. 765

Southern Pacific No. 4449

 


#38 JayPea

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 03:24 PM


Ditto to what jis and MARC Rider said!(I'm older than dirt and still ready to hop on 1)a train,2)a plane,3)a car4)a bus or 4)a truck to see whats around the corner or over the next hill!)

I like that outlook on life.  BTW, my first plane ride was a DC-3 when I was about 12.  Since I was born in 1943, I guess I was old enough.

I like that attitude too, Jim! Go while you can! I just turned 57 last month; my dad passed away at 56. My brother in law died last year at 59; my wife died at 45. I've had more than my share of reminders that life is short, you never know where it's going to take you, and go while you can. :(

My first trip aboard the rails was in 1963, to Chicago, then Champaign and back from Spokane with my mom and sister. I rode the North Coast Limited then and don't remember anything about that trip. I do recall bits of pieces of my next trip, though, in 1965. This time we rode the Empire Builder to Chicago from Spokane and the Abraham Lincoln to Bloomington, reversing the process going back to Spokane. I remember my sister and I spent a lot of time in the Vista Dome; we got to be away from Mom's watchful eye and she got peace and quiet, a win-win for both of us. I still recall how rough the tracks were in Montana, and, on our return home, watching in the dome as the mountains of Glacier Park came into view. And I also recall somewhere in Eastern Montana the train going by a pasture with a huge flock of sheep. The things one remembers. :) It wasn't until 2009 that I took the Empire Builder again westbound from Chicago, and the view I had of the mountains of Glacier Park coming into view was exactly as I had remembered it 44 years earlier.

Amtrak Routes Traveled: City of New Orleans, State House/Lincoln Service, Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Cascades, Crescent, Capitol Limited, Coast Starlight, Texas Eagle/Sunset Limited, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited, Pacific Surfliner, Cardinal. 
Pre-Amtrak Routes Traveled: Empire Builder (Great Northern), North Coast Limited (Northern Pacific), Abraham Lincoln (Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio), City of Hinkle  (Union Pacific) Panama Limited (Illinois Central)
Bustitutions: Portland-Spokane (EB),Galesburg-Bloomington (CZ/Lincoln Service ) 
Amtrak Miles: 77509

Pre-Amtrak Miles: 8478
Bustitution Miles: 450
Excursion trains ridden:  Centralia and Chehalis Railroad, Mt. Hood Scenic Railroad, Alaska Railroad, 1880 Train (Black Hills Central RR) and trains at the Illinois Railway Museum, California Railway Museum, and the Monticello (IL) Railroad Museum.


#39 railiner

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 07:27 PM

My first airplane ride, was in June of 1966, when I went into the USAF.  We were taken from the AFEES at Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn via chartered bus to JFK Int't. Airport.  There we were boarded on a Braniff B707, for the one-stop flight (Dallas Love Field) to San Antonio....

I loved the entire magical experience.  

 

After completing basic training at Lackland AFB, I was sent to Tech School at Chanute AFB, Rantoul, Il.. The summer of 1966 was notable for a major airline strike, that grounded most of the major airlines.  However, the USAF contracted with a "non-sked", aka a Supplemental Air Carrier, Modern Air Transport.   They did not quite live up to their name....we boarded a Douglas DC-7C (aka Seven Seas), and were served by what appeared to be the grandmothers of the young Braniff stewardesses.

We thought that we were flying to O'Hare or Lambert, but somewhere over the endless cornfields, we started our descent, and then saw the tell-tale red and white checkered water towers,  We landed right on Chanute!  

So instead of having three travel days, we ended up doing gruntwork in a "PATS" squadron....

Got to go home for Christmas leave, and bought my first airline ticket...I chose TWA, and boarded my second B707, for the flight to JFK.

 

Once my friend introduced me to the pleasures of airline-fanning, we purchased a Mohawk "Weekend Unlimited" package for an incredibly low fare, something like $35, IIRC,

you could cram as many flights as you desired into a Saturday and Sunday....you did have to reserve your entire itinerary, and unless you misconnected, no changes were permitted.  So I flew around 20 flights on Mohawk Fairchild-Hiller FH227's and BAC 1-11's covering their entire routes in the Northeast...

 

Later on I flew on my first DC-3... Provincetown & Boston N136PB, at the time, the highest air-time aircraft in the world, from Hyannis to Boston....I see that that aircraft is still flying.

 

My first flight on a 747 was a short one...Canadian Pacific, F class from Montreal to Toronto.  I sat in seat 1A, thinking that with the curvature up front, I might be able to press my face against the forward most window, and see a slice of forward view....unfortunately, you could not....

 

The biggest thrill of all was a flight on British Airways Concorde from LHR to JFK in 1998.  I still have the amenities kit they gave each passenger. They also invited all passengers to take turns viewing the flight deck in flight!

When the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum received its retired Concorde from BA, I was happy to see that it was G-BOAD, the very aircraft I flew on....This aircraft also happens to be the record holder for the fastest Atlantic crossing...JFK to LHR in 2:52:59 !

 

Enough plane-talk for now..... :)


metroblue?

okay on the blue!

#40 jphjaxfl

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 07:19 AM

My first airplane ride, was in June of 1966, when I went into the USAF.  We were taken from the AFEES at Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn via chartered bus to JFK Int't. Airport.  There we were boarded on a Braniff B707, for the one-stop flight (Dallas Love Field) to San Antonio....

I loved the entire magical experience.  

 

After completing basic training at Lackland AFB, I was sent to Tech School at Chanute AFB, Rantoul, Il.. The summer of 1966 was notable for a major airline strike, that grounded most of the major airlines.  However, the USAF contracted with a "non-sked", aka a Supplemental Air Carrier, Modern Air Transport.   They did not quite live up to their name....we boarded a Douglas DC-7C (aka Seven Seas), and were served by what appeared to be the grandmothers of the young Braniff stewardesses.

We thought that we were flying to O'Hare or Lambert, but somewhere over the endless cornfields, we started our descent, and then saw the tell-tale red and white checkered water towers,  We landed right on Chanute!  

So instead of having three travel days, we ended up doing gruntwork in a "PATS" squadron....

Got to go home for Christmas leave, and bought my first airline ticket...I chose TWA, and boarded my second B707, for the flight to JFK.

 

Once my friend introduced me to the pleasures of airline-fanning, we purchased a Mohawk "Weekend Unlimited" package for an incredibly low fare, something like $35, IIRC,

you could cram as many flights as you desired into a Saturday and Sunday....you did have to reserve your entire itinerary, and unless you misconnected, no changes were permitted.  So I flew around 20 flights on Mohawk Fairchild-Hiller FH227's and BAC 1-11's covering their entire routes in the Northeast...

 

Later on I flew on my first DC-3... Provincetown & Boston N136PB, at the time, the highest air-time aircraft in the world, from Hyannis to Boston....I see that that aircraft is still flying.

 

My first flight on a 747 was a short one...Canadian Pacific, F class from Montreal to Toronto.  I sat in seat 1A, thinking that with the curvature up front, I might be able to press my face against the forward most window, and see a slice of forward view....unfortunately, you could not....

 

The biggest thrill of all was a flight on British Airways Concorde from LHR to JFK in 1998.  I still have the amenities kit they gave each passenger. They also invited all passengers to take turns viewing the flight deck in flight!

When the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum received its retired Concorde from BA, I waavs happy to see that it was G-BOAD, the very aircraft I flew on....This aircraft also happens to be the record holder for the fastest Atlantic crossing...JFK to LHR in 2:52:59 !

 

Enough plane-talk for now..... :)

I joined the Air Force in July, 1971 in Louisville, KY after graduating from college.  The AF flew us from Louisville to San Antonio on an American Airlines flight with a change at Dallas Love field.  I had already had a number of flights including a trip on PanAm to Europe.  After Basic Training at Lackland AFB, I was transported by bus to Shepherd AFB for Medical Fundamentals, then back to Brooks AFB in San Antonio by bus where I completed the Public Health course.  In mid December, 1971, I traveled by train from San Antonio to Louisville, KY and then from Louisville to Grand Forks, ND for  my first and only duty station at Grand Forks AFB where I was until May, 1975 when I was discharged.  I traveled from San Antonio to New Orleans on Amtrak's Sunset Limited, caroused overnight in New Orleans and caught Southern's  Southern Crescent from New Orleans to Birmingham where I changed to Amtrak's Southwind.  I made a 3  day stopover in Nashville and then on to Louisville.  I caught the Southwind after nearly 2 weeks in the Lousiville area and headed overnight to Chicago.  I caught the North Coast Hiawatha in the morning from Chicago to Minneapolis where I had a 4 hour layover before I caught the Empire Builder to Grand Forks.  I had never been in Minneapolis before, but enjoyed my brief stay and Minneapolis later became my home for 20 years.  In late 1971/early 1972, the Amtrak trains were very similar to the private railroad trains of pre Aday.  The Southwind had gotten its through sleepers and dining car back and also had a dome coach.  The food on all the trains specially the Southern Crescent was delicious and the portions served were much larger than now.  Even though I was in the Air Force, I traveled by train whenever I could over the next few years.






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