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Historic NY-Chicago routes.

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This thread is an idea I had after a discussion in the legacy club shutting down thread about historical service.

 

So I'm going to do a brief synopsis of the routes and I hope some more knowledgeable members can chime in with more specifics.

 

1. New York Central Mainline

NYC Terminus: Grand Central

CHI Terminus: La Salle St Terminal

Route: New York-Albany-Buffalo-Cleveland-Toledo-Chicago.

Most famous train: 20th Century Limited.

Other trains: Commodore Vanderbilt, Easterner, Pacemaker (Coaches only), and a few others.

Fastest run time: 16 hours

 

2. New York Central-Michigan Cantral

NYC Terminus: Grand Central

CHI Terminus: Central Station (IC)

Route: New York-Albany-Buffalo-Detroit-Kalamazoo-Chicago.

Most famous train: Wolverine

Other trains: North Shore Limited, Mohawk, and a few others.

Fastest run time: ?????

 

3. Pennsylvania Railroad

NYC Terminus: Pennsylvania Station

CHI Terminus: Union Station

Route: New York-North Philadelphia-Harrisburg-Pittsburgh-Crestline-Fort Wayne-Chicago

Most famous train: Broadway Limited

Other trains: General, Pennsylvania Limited, among others.

Fastest run time: 15:30

 

4. Baltimore and Ohio

NYC Terminus: Jersey City Communipaw Terminal

Route

Route: Jersey City-Philadelphia-Washington-Cumberland-Pittsburgh-Akron-Fostoria-Chicago

Most famous train: Capitol Limited

Other trains: Columbian, and several others.

Fastest run time:????

 

5. Erie

NYC Terminus: Jersey City

CHI Terminus: Dearborn Terminal

Route: Jersey City-Port Jervis-Binghamton-Youngstown-Chicago

Most famous train: Erie Limited

Other trains:????

Fastest run time: 24 hours I believe.

 

6. Lackawanna-Nickel Plate Road

NYC Terminus: Hoboken Terminal

CHI Terminus: La Salle St

Route: Jersey City-Scranton-Binghamton-Buffalo(NKP)-Cleveland (NKP)-Bellevue (NKP)-Fort Wayne (NKP)-Chicago (NKP)

Most famous train: Phoebe Snow/Nickel Plate Limited

Other trains: New Yorker

Fastest run time: ????

Connections: 1

 

I'm sure there are some other routes that I am forgetting. I tried to stick with thru car, and thru Trains only. Hence I left off the PRR-C&O-NYC routing. The fun thing about the 1950s you could basically go from any place to anywhere with quite a variety of routings.

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#2: While most of the New York Central/Michigan Central trains did in fact use Central Station in Chicago, the Wolverine used La Salle Street Station (at least for the dates I have researched). It had a run time of 17:35 EB/17:40 WB in 1950.

 

#5: After WWII, another Erie train which ran the full route was the Lake Cities. It got down as low as a 21:07 timing eastbound (22:45 westbound) in 1956.

 

#6: The Phoebe Snow/Nickel Plate Limited did require a connection in Buffalo, although there was a through coach and sleeper. However, the Westerner (westbound) and the New Yorker (its eastbound counterpart) appear to have been true through trains Chicago (La Salle)-Hoboken. Timing was a little better than competitor Erie (20:25 EB/21:05 WB in 1960).

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How about the”James Whitcomb Riley?”

 

It originated in Chi and I think it ran the basic route of the Cardinal.

 

Anybody have any info on it?

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There has been a call for restoration of service towards Scranton and Binghamton, l'm not holding my breath, but wishful thinking is allowed.

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Another forgotten line was the Shenandoah which operated from 1976-1981 between Washington and Cincinnati where it connected with the J.W. Riley and later the Cardinal trains. My brother was briefly an engineer on that line between Parkersburg, WV and Grafton WV when Amtrak trains sometimes used Chessie System freight engineers on that line. I remember riding that train to Reds games in Cincy in the late 70s and early 80s.

(yes, I know this train did not originate in NY but it was a connecting train to get one to Chicago...smile)

Edited by Railroad Bill

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This thread is an idea I had after a discussion in the legacy club shutting down thread about historical service.

 

So I'm going to do a brief synopsis of the routes and I hope some more knowledgeable members can chime in with more specifics.

 

1. New York Central Mainline

NYC Terminus: Grand Central

CHI Terminus: La Salle St Terminal

Route: New York-Albany-Buffalo-Cleveland-Toledo-Chicago.

Most famous train: 20th Century Limited.

Other trains: Commodore Vanderbilt, Easterner, Pacemaker (Coaches only), and a few others.

Fastest run time: 16 hours

 

2. New York Central-Michigan Cantral

NYC Terminus: Grand Central

CHI Terminus: Central Station (IC)

Route: New York-Albany-Buffalo-Detroit-Kalamazoo-Chicago.

Most famous train: Wolverine

Other trains: North Shore Limited, Mohawk, and a few others.

Fastest run time: ?????

 

3. Pennsylvania Railroad

NYC Terminus: Pennsylvania Station

CHI Terminus: Union Station

Route: New York-North Philadelphia-Harrisburg-Pittsburgh-Crestline-Fort Wayne-Chicago

Most famous train: Broadway Limited

Other trains: General, Pennsylvania Limited, among others.

Fastest run time: 15:30

 

4. Baltimore and Ohio

NYC Terminus: Jersey City Communipaw Terminal

Route

Route: Jersey City-Philadelphia-Washington-Cumberland-Pittsburgh-Akron-Fostoria-Chicago

Most famous train: Capitol Limited

Other trains: Columbian, and several others.

Fastest run time:????

 

5. Erie

NYC Terminus: Jersey City

CHI Terminus: Dearborn Terminal

Route: Jersey City-Port Jervis-Binghamton-Youngstown-Chicago

Most famous train: Erie Limited

Other trains:????

Fastest run time: 24 hours I believe.

 

6. Lackawanna-Nickel Plate Road

NYC Terminus: Hoboken Terminal

CHI Terminus: La Salle St

Route: Jersey City-Scranton-Binghamton-Buffalo(NKP)-Cleveland (NKP)-Bellevue (NKP)-Fort Wayne (NKP)-Chicago (NKP)

Most famous train: Phoebe Snow/Nickel Plate Limited

Other trains: New Yorker

Fastest run time: ????

Connections: 1

 

I'm sure there are some other routes that I am forgetting. I tried to stick with thru car, and thru Trains only. Hence I left off the PRR-C&O-NYC routing. The fun thing about the 1950s you could basically go from any place to anywhere with quite a variety of routings.

Nice...

You might want to add the Chicago terminal for the B&O/C&O trains...Grand Central Station until the end, when they moved briefly to North Western's Madison Street Station...

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Another forgotten line was the Shenandoah which operated from 1976-1981 between Washington and Cincinnati where it connected with the J.W. Riley and later the Cardinal trains. My brother was briefly an engineer on that line between Parkersburg, WV and Grafton WV when Amtrak trains sometimes used Chessie System freight engineers on that line. I remember riding that train to Reds games in Cincy in the late 70s and early 80s.

(yes, I know this train did not originate in NY but it was a connecting train to get one to Chicago...smile)

Ahhh...the route of the famous "Ampads"....the pair of Amfleet coaches, that had a pair of experimental Economy Bedroom module's (prototypes for the new Superliner EB's) installed, at one end. :)

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Another forgotten line was the Shenandoah which operated from 1976-1981 between Washington and Cincinnati where it connected with the J.W. Riley and later the Cardinal trains. My brother was briefly an engineer on that line between Parkersburg, WV and Grafton WV when Amtrak trains sometimes used Chessie System freight engineers on that line. I remember riding that train to Reds games in Cincy in the late 70s and early 80s.

(yes, I know this train did not originate in NY but it was a connecting train to get one to Chicago...smile)

Ahhh...the route of the famous "Ampads"....the pair of Amfleet coaches, that had a pair of experimental Economy Bedroom module's (prototypes for the new Superliner EB's) installed, at one end. :)

 

Yep. The eastern half of it upto Cumberland got absorbed into the Capitol Limited and the western half was abandoned, including most of the track on which it ran.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shenandoah_(Amtrak_train)

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One could also use the Lehigh Valley and CN/GTW with one change...not sure if they ever ran even a Pullman thru, though.....

And if you are going to show other options, the Mountaineer or Hilltopper via the N&W also offered a one change option.

 

But then where is the limit on that...extremes like changing in Montreal, Miami, and New Orleans could also be 'thrown in to the mix'...or St. Louis and Kansas City...or to the absolute limit...Los Angeles (via thru sleeper), also "one change" to Chicago.... :giggle:

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Another forgotten line was the Shenandoah which operated from 1976-1981 between Washington and Cincinnati where it connected with the J.W. Riley and later the Cardinal trains. My brother was briefly an engineer on that line between Parkersburg, WV and Grafton WV when Amtrak trains sometimes used Chessie System freight engineers on that line. I remember riding that train to Reds games in Cincy in the late 70s and early 80s.

(yes, I know this train did not originate in NY but it was a connecting train to get one to Chicago...smile)

Ahhh...the route of the famous "Ampads"....the pair of Amfleet coaches, that had a pair of experimental Economy Bedroom module's (prototypes for the new Superliner EB's) installed, at one end. :)

It's a shame that those are long gone. I haven't even been able to find any pictures of time. I would have loved to see what an Amfleet Roomette felt like.

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Under the NYC/PC, it was a CHI-CIN train.

 

Under Amtrak, it was essentially the forerunner of the Cardinal that we know and love.

 

Wikipeda has a decent description of the history: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Whitcomb_Riley_(train)

Thanks. I had no idea it ended in Cincinnati. I used to ride it on the Chicago to Cincinnati portion of my trip from Iron Mountain, Michigan back to school at UC.

 

The call of the train and all of the stops was very memorable.

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Another forgotten line was the Shenandoah which operated from 1976-1981 between Washington and Cincinnati where it connected with the J.W. Riley and later the Cardinal trains. My brother was briefly an engineer on that line between Parkersburg, WV and Grafton WV when Amtrak trains sometimes used Chessie System freight engineers on that line. I remember riding that train to Reds games in Cincy in the late 70s and early 80s.

(yes, I know this train did not originate in NY but it was a connecting train to get one to Chicago...smile)

Ahhh...the route of the famous "Ampads"....the pair of Amfleet coaches, that had a pair of experimental Economy Bedroom module's (prototypes for the new Superliner EB's) installed, at one end. :)

It's a shame that those are long gone. I haven't even been able to find any pictures of time. I would have loved to see what an Amfleet Roomette felt like.

 

Like a Superliner Roomette...minus the upper berth...

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Another forgotten line was the Shenandoah which operated from 1976-1981 between Washington and Cincinnati where it connected with the J.W. Riley and later the Cardinal trains. My brother was briefly an engineer on that line between Parkersburg, WV and Grafton WV when Amtrak trains sometimes used Chessie System freight engineers on that line. I remember riding that train to Reds games in Cincy in the late 70s and early 80s.

(yes, I know this train did not originate in NY but it was a connecting train to get one to Chicago...smile)

Ahhh...the route of the famous "Ampads"....the pair of Amfleet coaches, that had a pair of experimental Economy Bedroom module's (prototypes for the new Superliner EB's) installed, at one end. :)

It's a shame that those are long gone. I haven't even been able to find any pictures of time. I would have loved to see what an Amfleet Roomette felt like.

 

Like a Superliner Roomette...minus the upper berth...

They couldn't fit an upper berth?

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You know one could go New York Grand Central to New York Pennsylvania Station with one connection in Los Angeles Union station. Take the thru car on the 20th Century Limited to the Super Chief. Return on the Thru car on the Sunset Limited to the Crescent Limited.

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You know one could go New York Grand Central to New York Pennsylvania Station with one connection in Los Angeles Union station. Take the thru car on the 20th Century Limited to the Super Chief. Return on the Thru car on the Sunset Limited to the Crescent Limited.

I like the way you think.....

My "exotic" way to get from Pennsylvania Station to Grand Central Terminal, would be to take the "CZ-11" thru sleeper from the PRR to Oakland on the CZ, and return on the same car onto the NYC...

It would really be icing on the cake to do it on PRR's sole CZ Pullman, "Silver Rapids". :cool:

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Another forgotten line was the Shenandoah which operated from 1976-1981 between Washington and Cincinnati where it connected with the J.W. Riley and later the Cardinal trains. My brother was briefly an engineer on that line between Parkersburg, WV and Grafton WV when Amtrak trains sometimes used Chessie System freight engineers on that line. I remember riding that train to Reds games in Cincy in the late 70s and early 80s.

(yes, I know this train did not originate in NY but it was a connecting train to get one to Chicago...smile)

Ahhh...the route of the famous "Ampads"....the pair of Amfleet coaches, that had a pair of experimental Economy Bedroom module's (prototypes for the new Superliner EB's) installed, at one end. :)

It's a shame that those are long gone. I haven't even been able to find any pictures of time. I would have loved to see what an Amfleet Roomette felt like.

 

Like a Superliner Roomette...minus the upper berth...

They couldn't fit an upper berth?

 

I am not sure about that...my memory is 'foggy', but the car's curvature may have precluded it...I know it had the two facing seats for daytime travel, but don't remember if there was an upper or not...maybe just the overhead rack....again, not sure...sorry.

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It would be interesting to do a similar passenger service comparison with other city pairs:

1) Chicago-Twin Cities

2) Chicago-Omaha/Council Bluffs

3) Chicago-St.Louis

4) Chicago-Denver

5) Dallas/Ft. Worth-Houston

6) Kansas City-St. Louis

7) Houston-San Antonio

 

Others?

 

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It would be interesting to do a similar passenger service comparison with other city pairs:

1) Chicago-Twin Cities

2) Chicago-Omaha/Council Bluffs

3) Chicago-St.Louis

4) Chicago-Denver

5) Dallas/Ft. Worth-Houston

6) Kansas City-St. Louis

7) Houston-San Antonio

 

Others?

 

NY-Florida.

 

But if you give me some time I'll eventually complete the 1952 guide so everyone can see the actual routes traced out, departure times, and stations. So far in almost done with the New York Central. And have completed the Southern, Seaboard, Atlantic Coastline, and Santa Fe

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Another forgotten line was the Shenandoah which operated from 1976-1981 between Washington and Cincinnati where it connected with the J.W. Riley and later the Cardinal trains. My brother was briefly an engineer on that line between Parkersburg, WV and Grafton WV when Amtrak trains sometimes used Chessie System freight engineers on that line. I remember riding that train to Reds games in Cincy in the late 70s and early 80s.

(yes, I know this train did not originate in NY but it was a connecting train to get one to Chicago...smile)

Ahhh...the route of the famous "Ampads"....the pair of Amfleet coaches, that had a pair of experimental Economy Bedroom module's (prototypes for the new Superliner EB's) installed, at one end. :)

It's a shame that those are long gone. I haven't even been able to find any pictures of time. I would have loved to see what an Amfleet Roomette felt like.

 

Like a Superliner Roomette...minus the upper berth...

They couldn't fit an upper berth?

 

I am not sure about that...my memory is 'foggy', but the car's curvature may have precluded it...I know it had the two facing seats for daytime travel, but don't remember if there was an upper or not...maybe just the overhead rack....again, not sure...sorry.

Thanks. I'll take foggy memory over a lack of info whatsoever any day, so nothing to apologize for. So did you actually ride in one or just see one?

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Another forgotten line was the Shenandoah which operated from 1976-1981 between Washington and Cincinnati where it connected with the J.W. Riley and later the Cardinal trains. My brother was briefly an engineer on that line between Parkersburg, WV and Grafton WV when Amtrak trains sometimes used Chessie System freight engineers on that line. I remember riding that train to Reds games in Cincy in the late 70s and early 80s.

(yes, I know this train did not originate in NY but it was a connecting train to get one to Chicago...smile)

Ahhh...the route of the famous "Ampads"....the pair of Amfleet coaches, that had a pair of experimental Economy Bedroom module's (prototypes for the new Superliner EB's) installed, at one end. :)

It's a shame that those are long gone. I haven't even been able to find any pictures of time. I would have loved to see what an Amfleet Roomette felt like.

 

Like a Superliner Roomette...minus the upper berth...

They couldn't fit an upper berth?

 

I am not sure about that...my memory is 'foggy', but the car's curvature may have precluded it...I know it had the two facing seats for daytime travel, but don't remember if there was an upper or not...maybe just the overhead rack....again, not sure...sorry.

Thanks. I'll take foggy memory over a lack of info whatsoever any day, so nothing to apologize for. So did you actually ride in one or just see one?

 

I rode from Washington to Cincinnati in that car, but not in the room...probably why I can't remember the details, for sure....

There was that car, a standard AM-II, and a dinette-lounge. The crew directed thru passenger's into the car with the rooms, and the "shorts" into the other car.

The B&O Conductor, (Amtrak has still not taken over the T&E crews at that time), was extremely accommodating, and since we only had about 15 or 20 thru passengers, he turned every other pair of seats, and raised up all the leg rests, making every four seats into a comfortable 'bed'. He then passed out pillows, and turned down the lights, wishing us all a 'good night'...

But before doing that, he gave a heart felt 'thank you' for riding his train, and begged us to write our elected officials to keep it going, as it was an 'experimental route'.

 

In all the years of riding all manner of public transportation, I have never experienced that level of service and dedication from an employee...and I duly wrote my reps, as requested...

And...certainly commended him to Amtrak management, as well.

 

Sadly, the train was discontinued a short time later.

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The Baltimore and Ohio was actually well known for its passenger trains in the 1960s as one of the few railroads who still ran a first class outfit. The New York Central and Penn Central were known as some of the worst in the late sixties.

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Another forgotten line was the Shenandoah which operated from 1976-1981 between Washington and Cincinnati where it connected with the J.W. Riley and later the Cardinal trains. My brother was briefly an engineer on that line between Parkersburg, WV and Grafton WV when Amtrak trains sometimes used Chessie System freight engineers on that line. I remember riding that train to Reds games in Cincy in the late 70s and early 80s.

(yes, I know this train did not originate in NY but it was a connecting train to get one to Chicago...smile)

Ahhh...the route of the famous "Ampads"....the pair of Amfleet coaches, that had a pair of experimental Economy Bedroom module's (prototypes for the new Superliner EB's) installed, at one end. :)

It's a shame that those are long gone. I haven't even been able to find any pictures of time. I would have loved to see what an Amfleet Roomette felt like.

 

Like a Superliner Roomette...minus the upper berth...

They couldn't fit an upper berth?

 

I am not sure about that...my memory is 'foggy', but the car's curvature may have precluded it...I know it had the two facing seats for daytime travel, but don't remember if there was an upper or not...maybe just the overhead rack....again, not sure...sorry.

Thanks. I'll take foggy memory over a lack of info whatsoever any day, so nothing to apologize for. So did you actually ride in one or just see one?

 

I rode from Washington to Cincinnati in that car, but not in the room...probably why I can't remember the details, for sure....

There was that car, a standard AM-II, and a dinette-lounge. The crew directed thru passenger's into the car with the rooms, and the "shorts" into the other car.

The B&O Conductor, (Amtrak has still not taken over the T&E crews at that time), was extremely accommodating, and since we only had about 15 or 20 thru passengers, he turned every other pair of seats, and raised up all the leg rests, making every four seats into a comfortable 'bed'. He then passed out pillows, and turned down the lights, wishing us all a 'good night'...

But before doing that, he gave a heart felt 'thank you' for riding his train, and begged us to write our elected officials to keep it going, as it was an 'experimental route'.

 

In all the years of riding all manner of public transportation, I have never experienced that level of service and dedication from an employee...and I duly wrote my reps, as requested...

And...certainly commended him to Amtrak management, as well.

 

Sadly, the train was discontinued a short time later.

 

 

 

The fact there weren't many passengers obviously had a lot to do with cancellation. A bunch of full cars would have been much better than the extremely comfortable practically empty car.

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