Trains that kept their pre-Amtrak numbers

Discussion in 'Museum of Amtrak Timetables Discussion' started by Siegmund, Jul 28, 2019.

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  1. Jul 28, 2019 #1

    Siegmund

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    Since we've had several recent threads about the state of things in 1971... thought I'd open one more little trivia thread.

    Introducing a national timetable meant Amtrak brought in their own nationwide train numbering system - and for almost all the trains that have run continuously since 1971 they've had the same number that whole time.
    That meant most trains HAD to be given new numbers on A-day.

    So which of them got to keep their old numbers?

    SP seems to have drawn the long straw here. The pre-Amtrak Sunset was 1/2, and the pre-Amtrak Cascade from Portland to Oakland was 11 southbound.

    I'm not aware of any other long-distance examples, though I haven't made a systematic study. There are tiny little fragments that overlap... MP train 21/22 was a New Orleans-Fort Worth train that coincided with the Texas Eagle route from Longview to Ft Worth, for instance. I suppose there are so many 2-digit train numbers in Empire Service that they are bound to have accidentally repeated a NYC train number somewhere.

    Anybody have any other examples handy?
     
  2. Jul 28, 2019 #2

    Just-Thinking-51

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    Most trains that became Amtrak trains were list by the freight railroad as Train #1, Train #2. Only the Sunset keep those numbers. As for other overlaps there has been some adjustments in the train numbers by Amtrak, so the year you examine is a detail that would be need.

    I recall Coast Starlight have different numbers at one point.
     
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  3. Jul 28, 2019 #3

    dogbert617

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    Not long ago I saw a pre-1970 schedule from 1969 that was from Western Pacific for the California Zephyr, and I saw they numbered the westbound train as train #17, and the eastbound train as train #18. This was back when the CZ used a different route(west of Winnemucca, NV) going to Gerlach, NV, and Portola, CA among other places on the western part of the CZ route.

    I suspect few long distance trains aside from #1, #2, and #11 used their original train numbers. Maybe there might be a few other 3 digit Amtrak trains, still using their original pre-Amtrak numbers? This is a discussion, I'll leave to those who are more familiar with pre-Amtrak things.
     
  4. Jul 29, 2019 #4

    railiner

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    As was discussed in another thread...the first couple of years of Amtrak...most trains still in operation, kept their previous pre-Amtrak train numbers, sometimes resulting in two or more trains around the nation having the same number. Sometime around 1973, Amtrak took a more pro-active role in the operation, and renumbered most of the trains into their new integrated scheme, eliminating previous duplication's.
     
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  5. Jul 31, 2019 #5

    Seaboard92

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    Nothing like the Canadian National timetable in the 1950s. Multiple numbers repeated themselves on the railroad.

    For instance Train No. 1 refers to two different trains.

    The Continental Limited (Montreal-Vancouver)
    The Maritime Limited
    (Halifax-Montreal)
     
  6. Jul 31, 2019 #6

    railiner

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    Without seeing if the schedules of those two trains allowed a connection....
    Just a guess, but...
    I would think that was a way of them suggesting that Train No. 1 went "coast-to-coast"
    Sort of like Highway 1 going from Newfoundland, over water via the ferry, and then all the way to BC...
    Just a way to show national continuity, perhaps...or not...:)
    More likely a continuation of their premier status over their respective routes, by predecessor companies...
     
  7. Aug 20, 2019 #7

    mlanoue

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    Not exactly the same train, but the California Limited was numbered 3 & 4, at least in 1952. It generally followed the route of the SWC, but made dozens more stops.
     
  8. Sep 11, 2019 #8

    Thogo

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    First, Amtrak started out with the inherited original train numbers, but from the November 1971 schedules on, they used their own number scheme that is largely still in use today. Some train numbers back then were just kept as they were. So there are indeed a number of trains that had the same train number in April 1971. Here's a list of these April 1971 services (no guarantees for completeness):

    • ATSF 15/16 (Texas Chief, Chicago-Houston): Numbers kept until the discontinuation of the Lone Star (the name was changed in 1974) in 1979.
    • PC 31 (Spirit of St. Louis, New York-St. Louis): the westbound National Limited had the number 31 on Amtrak, route extended to Kansas City, but basically serving the same route and a similar time slot
    • PC 70 through 75 (New York-Buffalo corridor trains): some were shortened to New York-Albany trips, but basically trains with these numbers served the Empire corridor until 1989.
    • PC 100 through 113 (Metroliner trains, New York-Washington): these numbers were used for Metroliner trains until around 2000.
    • PC 170 through 177 (Boston-Washington NEC trains): still used today for trips on the NEC, the names or time slots have changed a lot over the years, but anyway
    • PC 180 through 187 (Boston-New York NEC trains): this number range was used on Amtrak for a few years for trains between Boston and New York, but later, until today, for NEC trains south of New York
    • PC 200 through 298 (New York-Philadelphia NEC trains): these services mostly kept their numbers in the first years. The higher numbers went first, but the numbers 200 to 229 were still used until they adopted 600s numbers for these trains in 1989.
    • PC 355 (Detroit-Chicago): well - train 355 (still today) runs between Pontiac, Detroit and Chicago. But it was not continuously used - until 1975 the Detroit trips had numbers in the 360s, so maybe strike that.
    • PC 600 through 617 (Philadelphia-Harrisburg corridor trains): some of these numbers are still used today for the same service
    • RFP/SCL 91/92 (Champion, New York-St. Petersburg FL): uhm... ok, trains 91/92 today run New York to Tampa and Miami as Silver Star, but of course not via the A line anymore (like the Champion), and the numbers were not used for the Amtrak Champion, so that's only a half match, if even that.
    • SP 1/2 (Sunset, New Orleans-Los Angeles), yes, well. That was mentioned before.
    • SP 11 (Cascade, Portland-Oakland), mentioned before as well, now the Coast Starlight and extended to Seattle and Los Angeles, but yes, it's a match - southbound only? Yes! The number 12 was indeed used on the Amtrak network for the Coast Daylight, but that ran Oakland to San Diego only, not between Oakland and Portland.
    That was it. It is no accident that so many PC trains kept their numbers. It was the company with - by far - most train services taken over by Amtrak, so they just stuck to that number system for the corridor and regional trains largely. And why not.

    There are some trains that have a train number today that a train on the same route used to have, but that was discontinued before 1971. I won't go into that, but one example might be worth mentioning: The Chief (formerly ATSF 19/20, until they discontinued it in 1968) - Amtrak ran a train named Chief on the same route from June to September 1972 - with through New York-Los Angeles sleepers, just like the ATSF Chief had in 1952!, and they did use the train numbers 19/20 for it.
     
  9. Sep 13, 2019 #9

    Willbridge

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    The Coast Starlight had an oddball evolution of train numbers because of passing through Oakland on the SP. On that railroad trains going toward Oakland Pier (MP 0.0) were headed westbound and away were headed eastbound. The tri-weekly San Diego <> Seattle Amtrak Starlight of course did both timetable directions in both geographic directions, so for operating purposes it actually was Trains 11/12/13/14, changing numbers at Oakland-16th Street. The quad-weekly Amtrak Coast Daylight was originally numbered 98/99, carried over from the SP. When, as discussed above, Amtrak began getting a handle on operations, the new Los Angeles<>Seattle Starlight was numbered 11/14.

    The use of these numbers on the Shasta Route goes back further. Amtrak inherited 11/12 from the tri-weekly and targeted-for-discontinuance SP Cascade. In the June 1941 Official Guide the numbers were assigned to the Portland-Oakland economy coach train Beaver. (The Cascade was then all First Class.) In the June 1916 Guide Trains 11/12 were the premiere Shasta Limited, a train with no wi-fi, but with a stenographer-typist who would either get your letter onto the next Railway Post Office car or turn it over to the next telegraph office for Western Union.
     
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  10. Sep 13, 2019 #10

    Thogo

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    If we are at it... It goes further back. The February 1901 Official Guide showed trains SP 11/12 for the Shasta Express already, featuring "Buffet Drawing-room Sleeping Cars and Tourist Cars between San Francisco and Portland".

    In the August 1895 (and also in February 1896) Travelers' Official Guide, we do find trains 11/12 on the Shasta line, but with reversed train numbers, so 12 was southbound, 11 was northbound then, and it was a mixed train between San Francisco and Red Bluff only (the same train was numbered 31/32 in the 1901 OG). I don't have anything between 1896 and 1901, so I can't pinpoint when exactly they switched the train numbers around.
     
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  11. Sep 18, 2019 at 6:25 PM #11

    NS VIA Fan

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    Up until April 1966 …the CN timetable showed several trains with duplicate numbers and you could still get all the way across the country on a Train #1.

    St. John’s – Port aux Basques; #1 & #2 Caribou (narrow-gauge)
    Port aux Basques – North Sydney: CN Ferry
    North Sydney – Turuo: #601-602 Railiner (RDC Railiners were numbered in the 600 series)
    Truro – Montreal: #1 & #2 Ocean Limited
    Montreal – Vancouver: #1 & #2 Super Continental

    In April 1966 the duplicate numbers were eliminated as CN was switching to a computerized reservation system. Now you had:

    St. John’s – Port aux Basques; #101 & #102 Caribou
    Port aux Basques – North Sydney: CN Ferry
    North Sydney – Turuo: #601-602 Railiner
    Truro – Montreal: #14 & #15 (now just the “Ocean” not "Limited" and the #s it still retains today)
    Montreal – Vancouver: #1 & #2 Super Continental


    And yes we have the “Trans Canada Highway” coast to coast but not always Highway #1. Highways are a provincial jurisdiction in Canada (although they do receive federal funding) so the Trans Canada will have different #s in each province. For example…it is #104, #105 & #106 in Nova Scotia and in New Brunswick it’s #2... but it is #1 in NL, PE, BC, AL, SK and MB and in Ontario and Quebec: several numbers
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019 at 8:27 PM
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