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highest top speed of the old nyc to chicago trains?


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#1 s10mk

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 08:37 PM

I was wondering, back in the pre-amtrak "old days", out of the three major routes between new york city and chicago, NYC-PRR-B&O; which train ran the highest top speeds? I think the NYC's 20th century limited ran the route in the shortest amount of time. But which train, along their perspective routes reached the highest speed? Was it the 20th century limited, capital limited, or Broadway limited?

#2 Steve4031

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 08:46 PM

I read somewhere that the Century Rab at speeds over 100 mph on the straight away west of Toledo.

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 09:46 PM

PRR's Broadway and the NYC's 20th Century used to literally have races to see which one could get to Chicago first.

Most times the Century would win!
 
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#4 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 10:33 PM

Did the B&O Capitol Limited even serve New York? Sounds more like Washington-Chicago, perhaps via Baltimore?


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#5 ehbowen

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 10:39 PM

I was wondering, back in the pre-amtrak "old days", out of the three major routes between new york city and chicago, NYC-PRR-B&O; which train ran the highest top speeds? I think the NYC's 20th century limited ran the route in the shortest amount of time. But which train, along their perspective routes reached the highest speed? Was it the 20th century limited, capital limited, or Broadway limited?

 

Actually, of the schedules I've checked, the best time for the 20th Century Limited was 15 hours and 45 minutes between Chicago and New York, both ways (July 1956). The Broadway Limited matched that time westbound, but actually managed to beat it by 15 minutes eastbound. However, the Century on the "Water Level Route" had a run more than 50 miles longer than the Broadway via Horseshoe Curve and Pennsy's mountainous crossing of the Alleghenies, so the New York Central had the slightly higher average speed. Actual "top" speed, though, I couldn't tell you; it could be that on Pennsy's four-track electrified main to Harrisburg the speeds were comparable to NYC's water level racetrack, at least until the train had to slow down to attack the mountains.


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#6 ehbowen

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 10:41 PM

Did the B&O Capitol Limited even serve New York? Sounds more like Washington-Chicago, perhaps via Baltimore?

 

The Capitol Limited did indeed serve New York City (actually Jersey City, but it was connected to Manhattan and Brooklyn via ferry and a fleet of motor buses), at least until the Baltimore & Ohio abandoned through passenger service north of Baltimore in the mid-1950s.


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#7 Seaboard92

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 12:06 AM

The B&O actually ran quite a few trains to New York really Jersey City using the Central Railway of New Jersey which they controlled and trackage rights on Reading. This was known as the Royal Blue Route.

And it should be noted a lot of innovations were tested on this route because of the fierce PRR-B&O competition. Namely air conditioning, and several types of steam locomotives.

Fastest speed to Chicago from New York I would say the B&O wouldn't enter well in that competition. Neither would the Erie because of that roundabout route.

New York Central and PRR would be the two biggest contenders.

At one time on a side note you could go to Chicago from New York on six different routings on five railroads. And the competition was fierce.

As previously mentioned the Broadway Limited and the 20th Century literally raced out of Chicago from Englewood towards the east for several miles. It's not the only known train race either.

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#8 Anderson

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 12:26 AM

Actually, the B&O did have service into Penn Station for a time.  It was in the aftermath of the experiment with nationalizing the railroads during WWI: As that was "unwound", several railroads retained some access allocations for a few years...but the Pennsy threw them out as soon as they could.


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#9 chakk

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 07:59 AM

The B&O's premier passenger trains had speedometers in their dome cars and their end-of-train observation cars. Top speed I witnessed on the Columbian was 90 mph.

#10 s10mk

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 08:07 AM

The B&O's premier passenger trains had speedometers in their dome cars and their end-of-train observation cars. Top speed I witnessed on the Columbian was 90 mph.

What sections of track was this on? I would imagine that it was somewhere west of Pittsburgh.

#11 railiner

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 09:59 AM

I don't know what the maximum authorized speeds were in that era, probably 100 mph in cab signal, or ATS territory.
As mentioned The Broadway Limited had the shortest carded trip for a period...15 hours and 30 minutes, eastward.

The fastest ever American speed achieved by a steam locomotive, was back in the very early 1900's by a PRR engine on its PFW&C racetrack...127 mph!
The all-time speed record for American rails, was on NYC's racetrack, also in western Ohio by a specially streamlined Budd Rail Diesel Car, boosted by a pair of turbojet engines, mounted on its rooftop...183 mph!
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#12 Seaboard92

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 10:20 AM

The two trains the Broadway Limited and the 20th Century catered to exactly the same market. But the 20th Century managed to get more celebrities then its rival. And the Broadway achieved more Titans of industry it seems. But both did compete fiercely for those two markets. The Broadway also was all Pullman after the 20th Century was downgraded with coaches.

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#13 Seaboard92

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 10:22 AM

It should also be noted the 20th Century achieved its high speeds by skipping all intermediate stops between Englewood, IL and Harmon,NY. While it did stop for servicing at Harmon, Albany, Buffalo, Cleveland, Toledo, South Bend.

The Broadway limited had more stops receiving passengers and stopped more frequently.

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#14 railiner

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 11:12 AM

And the Century bypassed Cleveland Union Terminal...it made its service stop at a yard along the lakefront, following Amtrak's current route...
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#15 Paul CHI

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 12:19 PM

I read a recent article that said that plane travel is also slower now than it was at the beginning of the jet age.  Back in the day, prices were pretty much set by government, so airlines competed on time.  Now that everybody just wants the lowest fare, planes are using lower cruise speeds to save fuel.



#16 ehbowen

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 03:04 PM

I read a recent article that said that plane travel is also slower now than it was at the beginning of the jet age.  Back in the day, prices were pretty much set by government, so airlines competed on time.  Now that everybody just wants the lowest fare, planes are using lower cruise speeds to save fuel.


I just checked current flight times from DFW to LAX. If you pick a nonstop, it takes 3 hours and 30 minutes. You could make the same flight (well, from Love Field; DFW wasn't built yet) in a piston - powered DC-7 in 4:45 back in April of 1959. Of course, today's one-way coach fare is only about $127; back in the day it was $60.30 plus tax or over $530 in today's dollars taking inflation into account. However, for that $530 you did get a decent meal....
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#17 railiner

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 04:39 PM

Today's airliner's do travel considerably slower than when the 707, DC-8, and CV-880 took to the skies...
IIRC, 600-625 mph, airspeed, compared to today's 515-550 mph...
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#18 Ryan

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 04:53 PM

I don't know what the maximum authorized speeds were in that era, probably 100 mph in cab signal, or ATS territory.


Also, speed limits were a little more... flexible back in the day.
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#19 s10mk

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 08:10 PM

I don't know what the maximum authorized speeds were in that era, probably 100 mph in cab signal, or ATS territory.

Also, speed limits were a little more... flexible back in the day.
Especially since, for example, the PRR Broadway limited operated on PRR tracks. It's not like the PRR was going to give one of their trains a speeding ticket

#20 railiner

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 08:51 PM

Agreed. Back then, the ICC had oversight for railroad safety, as well as economic regulation, and it was less stringent then today's regulators.
Back then, engineer's who could "get a train over the road", making up time on late trains, were looked upon with favor...
Back then,there was no "random" substance screenings.
There were locomotive speed recorder's, but as said, rule's were indeed more...flexible. :)
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