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Early Amtrak timecards


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#1 Twin Star Rocket

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Posted 23 August 2018 - 09:29 PM

I found some relics in my collection.  One is a timecard of Santa Fe trains operated under contract by Amtrak dating from 7-12-71.

Chicago-Los Angeles services was provided by trains #17 & 18.   No train name.

 

The second timecard dates from 11-14-71.  It covers former Santa Fe service.  It refers to Chicago-Los Angeles service as trains #3 & 4 and by name---Super Chief/El Capitan.

Why the change in train #'s?

 

A third timecard dating from 6-11-72 essentially is the same as the 11-14-71 timecard except it shows the additional summer-only trains #19 and 20 on the Chicago-Los Angeles route.    I rode #20  from L.A. to Albuquerque in August 1972.

 

I did not ride #3 until my grand Railpass circle trip of fall 1976.

 

 

 


I have traveled by train since 1956 in the USA (including Alaska), Canada (including the Yukon), Mexico, Western Europe, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Zimbabwe.
My last pre-Amtrak trip was the Texas Chief from Ft. Worth to Chicago and the Capitol Limited from Chicago (Northwestern station) to Washington D.C.
I rode my first Amtrak train in April 1972. I have ridden nearly all the long-distance routes including the Texas Chief (Lone Star), Inter-American, Panama Limited, National Limited, Pioneer, Desert Wind, Spirit of California, Sunset Limited (Florida extension), Broadway Limited, and Chief. I also rode the Rio Grande Zephyr, Southern Crescent, Peoria Rocket, Georgia RR mixed train, and Soo Line mixed train in the post-Amtrak era.


#2 ehbowen

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Posted 23 August 2018 - 11:18 PM

When Amtrak started out the trains which were kept retained the original train numbers from the host railroad. The Santa Fe Super Chief operated under train numbers 17 & 18, so the Amtrak continuation of this service did as well. A few months later Amtrak renumbered all of its trains with its own number system, as it is to this day.

 

When Amtrak first started, they intended to eliminate all train names and use only numbers to distinguish between them. This flew like a lead balloon and the train names were back in short order.

 

There was enough summer patronage on the Santa Fe line in those early years...and enough serviceable Heritage equipment...to justify a second train which operated as the Chief for a season or two...I'd have to check out timetables.org to see just how many.


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#3 Woodcut60

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Posted 24 August 2018 - 06:44 AM

"When Amtrak first started, they intended to eliminate all train names and use only numbers to distinguish between them."

 

@ehbowen: That was interesting information. Personally, I've always loved the romantic train names in North America. In my opinion it's nicer to say "I'm on the Coast Starlight to Seattle" than "I'll take the #14 to Seattle." But that's just me.

 

Also, you write "This flew like a lead balloon". Does that mean there were objections from the public, or was there internal criticism at Amtrak? Just asking because I'm interested in Amtrak's history.


Amtrak Routes Traveled: Lake Shore Limited, California Zephyr, San Joaquin, Pacific Surfliner, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Cardinal, Crescent, Sunset Limited, Southwest Chief, Hiawatha, City of New Orleans, Texas Eagle, Heartland Flyer, Missouri River Runner, Lincoln, Wolverine, Northeast Regional, Acela Express, Downeaster, Vermonter, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Capitol Limited, Pennsylvanian, Amtrak Cascades, Maple Leaf, Adirondack, Ethan Allen Express, Keystone, Carolinian, Piedmont.
Other Routes in North America: Denali Star (Anchorage-Fairbanks, Alaska Railroad), The Ocean (Halifax-Montréal), Corridor (Montréal-Toronto), The Canadian (Toronto-Vancouver).
Amtrak: approx. 29,000 miles and 47 states; VIA Rail Canada: approx. 4,300 miles and eight provinces.

#4 ehbowen

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Posted 24 August 2018 - 09:15 AM

I'm not old enough to really remember the history; I've just collected the timetables and such. But I do get the sense that popular opinion was along the lines of, "There ought to be good passenger trains...even if I'm not going to ride them myself!" which resulted in general support for Amtrak. However, Americans also loved the heritage of the train names and when the "new era" Amtrak management took over and eliminated them, there was pushback...not just from the public, but from the private railroads who were still operating them (in those early years, the train service crews were still railroad employees operating under contract to the new Amtrak). Roads such as Santa Fe and SCL who had given up their premium passenger trains, somewhat reluctantly, were saying things along the lines of, "We just gave you the finest passenger train in the world...and now you're simply calling it #17?"


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Visit Streamliner Schedules - Historic timetables from the Streamliner era.


#5 Woodcut60

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Posted 24 August 2018 - 09:22 AM

@ehbowen:Thank you very much.
Amtrak Routes Traveled: Lake Shore Limited, California Zephyr, San Joaquin, Pacific Surfliner, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Cardinal, Crescent, Sunset Limited, Southwest Chief, Hiawatha, City of New Orleans, Texas Eagle, Heartland Flyer, Missouri River Runner, Lincoln, Wolverine, Northeast Regional, Acela Express, Downeaster, Vermonter, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Capitol Limited, Pennsylvanian, Amtrak Cascades, Maple Leaf, Adirondack, Ethan Allen Express, Keystone, Carolinian, Piedmont.
Other Routes in North America: Denali Star (Anchorage-Fairbanks, Alaska Railroad), The Ocean (Halifax-Montréal), Corridor (Montréal-Toronto), The Canadian (Toronto-Vancouver).
Amtrak: approx. 29,000 miles and 47 states; VIA Rail Canada: approx. 4,300 miles and eight provinces.




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