Flight of the Century

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Flight of the Century
Posted by BaltACD on Monday, October 30, 2017 9:01 PM

         

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Posted by Penny Trains on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 7:11 PM

Classic!

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Posted by Deggesty on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 8:51 PM

All I can say for Amtrak is that each bedroom has a shower.

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Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 11:51 PM

I don't think they inspect both sides of an employees hands,,,maybe they do? 

Everyone should have had that experience of a Century trip once in their lifetime. It truly was a National Institutuon. 

It cannot be recreated ever as it was. 

Unless you have a Holodeck

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 3:51 AM

Probably if you can afford it, and I am not counting on that, the luxury and service of VIA's prestege class on the Canadian probably matches that on the old Century or Super Chief.  Missing, however at this moment, it seems, is the commitment to on-time performance.

I rode the Century several times, including the period when coaches had been added.  First time was in 1959, NY - Chicago, return on the Broadway as far as Philly.  Service, food, puncutality of both trains at the time was excellent.  Shoes shined, of course, and also had my pants pressed on the Century.  But the kind of gleam and shine one still observed, even years later, on both the El Cap and the Super Chief, had faded, a bit more on the Century than on the Broadway.

Track was smooth enough so sleep was not a problem.  Did become a problem much later.

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 9:15 AM

Miningman
I don't think they inspect both sides of an employee's hands...maybe they do?

Yes, they did.  The hands are one of the significant things patrons will see when being served, and dirt on the backs is just as bad for the appetite as dirt on the palms...

Funny thing: when I watched this film in the past, most of what struck me was all the African-American faces diligent and proud on this premier service.  Yesterday what stuck out was precisely the arrogance in that hand-inspection scene. 

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 9:18 AM

Miningman
Unless you have a Holodeck

Holodeck won't do Lobster Newburg.

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Posted by Miningman on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 6:12 PM

"Holodeck won't do Lobster Newburg."---Overmod

Well sure it does! You just say.."Computer-Lobster Newburg"

Of course Picard and Riker  are always complaining about replicator food so I suppose it's not the same. 

In either case, it's impossible, even on VIA's Pretentious We Soak 'em and How Class , as the ambiance is not there. You need coal smoke, valve oil and steam, the whole darn NYC in full bloom from end to end. 

Since it happened, it is captured in time somewhere, worlds within worlds, black holes, it's all there somewhere, so there is a chance. We just have not discovered it yet but we will.

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 8:27 PM

One thing I thought was overly pretentious - the 2 Sections of the train, on adjacent tracks both departing down the platform together 'On Time'.  

         

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Posted by Deggesty on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 8:41 PM

Yes, even with at least double rack all the way, I doubt that the NYC kept them parallel all the way.

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 10:18 PM

BaltACD
One thing I thought was overly pretentious - the 2 Sections of the train, on adjacent tracks both departing down the platform together 'On Time'.

Actually, I can see this -- even support it -- as a piece of customer-relations theatre.  Who would want to see a 'better' section of this expensive premier train beating their train out of the station?  Better to have the sections 'leave' together, then take up some sequential order once safely in the dark under Park Avenue.

More to the point: have the sections ostentatiously ARRIVE together on parallel tracks, so the underlying service premise -- that there's just one huge Twentieth Century Limited that has to be split only for operation, but departs from and arrives at its termini 'on the advertised' -- can be supported there, too.

You wouldn't need this on the 'lesser' Great Steel Fleet trains, or the ones that ran in multiple sections as close as the signals would permit as far into the terminal plant as possible.  But for the Century?  I can see it.  (And the two trains could share one red carpet...)

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, November 02, 2017 10:24 AM

Overmod
 
BaltACD
One thing I thought was overly pretentious - the 2 Sections of the train, on adjacent tracks both departing down the platform together 'On Time'. 

Actually, I can see this -- even support it -- as a piece of customer-relations theatre.  Who would want to see a 'better' section of this expensive premier train beating their train out of the station?  Better to have the sections 'leave' together, then take up some sequential order once safely in the dark under Park Avenue.

More to the point: have the sections ostentatiously ARRIVE together on parallel tracks, so the underlying service premise -- that there's just one huge Twentieth Century Limited that has to be split only for operation, but departs from and arrives at its termini 'on the advertised' -- can be supported there, too.

You wouldn't need this on the 'lesser' Great Steel Fleet trains, or the ones that ran in multiple sections as close as the signals would permit as far into the terminal plant as possible.  But for the Century?  I can see it.  (And the two trains could share one red carpet...)

As a part of theatre I understand it.  As a part of real world railroading, it is preposterous.

         

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, November 02, 2017 1:28 PM

BaltACD
As a part of real world railroading, it is preposterous.



Thoroughly agreed.  But how many of the people riding that train actually cared about the real-world railroading 'behind the scenes'?  They wanted the meal, the amenities, a good night's sleep, a reliable arrival the next morning.  All the things we find interesting or nostalgic they would have regarded as just 'the means'.

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Posted by Penny Trains on Thursday, November 02, 2017 6:46 PM

Overmod
They wanted the meal, the amenities, a good night's sleep, a reliable arrival the next morning.

And the chance to be in a movie wasn't so bad either.  Especially a talkie!  Big Smile

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Posted by wjstix on Friday, November 03, 2017 7:51 AM

It would seem odd to me to have a second section running at the same time as the first. Running multiple sections was usually done at 10 min. intervals. During the heyday of passenger travel, multiple sections were pretty normal. The Commodore Vanderbilt had a section that left early so often that it eventually became it's own train - the Advance Commodore Vanderbilt. Not sure about the 20th Century, but I know during WW2 Great Northern's Empire Builder sometimes ran in seven full sections.

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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, November 03, 2017 8:11 AM

When the Century was a heavyweight train, extra sections could be made up by simply drawing on the Pullman pool.  Once it became a lightweight streamliner, there were occasions when a second section was operated, but no more than one second section.  Whereas I read that on one day in the 1920s seven sections were run Chicago - NYC-GCT.

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Posted by timz on Friday, November 03, 2017 12:40 PM

Guess maybe the two sections could depart GCT together and run side by side for some miles, and they could arrive GCT side by side, but if they both stopped Englewood would look pretty silly for the two sections to arrive Chicago together. First one would have to dawdle along, waiting for the second.

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Posted by Miningman on Friday, November 03, 2017 12:49 PM

Yes I've read of the famous 7 sections to the Century, but how the heck did they find the personnel to staff this. There was special training and standards for the Century. Also, locomotives, engineers and fireman and non Pullman equipment.

Now 7 sections of the Empire Builder during WWII is stunning....how did they pull that off, personnel and equipment wise, not to mention that the Great Northern was not a 4 track dedicated passenger and freight only mains. That's well over an hour of track time for what is really just one train on the timetable. How do you logistically put together all that coal, locomotives, commissary food, the list goes on and on not to mention run a viable railroad in the meantime. 

I really wish we had some good war time accounts of the nitty gritty of the Herculean and stellar effort achieved by the railroads during WWII, not the usual pap about ladies wiping down the locomotives stuff. There was a lot lot more to it by everyone involved,. 

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, November 04, 2017 9:19 AM

Miningman
Yes I've read of the famous 7 sections to the Century, but how the heck did they find the personnel to staff this. There was special training and standards for the Century. Also, locomotives, engineers and fireman and non Pullman equipment.

Now 7 sections of the Empire Builder during WWII is stunning....how did they pull that off, personnel and equipment wise, not to mention that the Great Northern was not a 4 track dedicated passenger and freight only mains. That's well over an hour of track time for what is really just one train on the timetable. How do you logistically put together all that coal, locomotives, commissary food, the list goes on and on not to mention run a viable railroad in the meantime. 

I really wish we had some good war time accounts of the nitty gritty of the Herculean and stellar effort achieved by the railroads during WWII, not the usual pap about ladies wiping down the locomotives stuff. There was a lot lot more to it by everyone involved,. 

Companies up through the middle to late 1970's didn't control their manpower as closely as they do these days (not having to guarantee Extra Boards a living wage, helped in keeping many people on the boards - just thirsting for work).  With the advent of computers and job guarantees companies have slashed their workforces to at or slightly below the number of employees they actually need.  Under the 'old ways' of handling manpower is was relatively easy to come up with sufficient qualified bodies (did I mention that the HOS for operating personnel was 16 hours then, instead of 12 today - as has been mentioned in another thread, enforcement of laws in times gone by was not as strident as it is these days.  So under these conditions, staffing for extra sections was generally available; also with advance reservations it would be known, well in advance, when these extra sections would be required.

         

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Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, November 04, 2017 11:23 AM

And, with the large pool of available sleepers, there was little, if any, problem with building additional sections of trains.

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, November 04, 2017 11:32 AM

OK, thanks Balt, makes sense. Still a heck of a thing to put it all together. Quite admirable. 

With the Empire Builder running in multiple sections and several other passenger trains as well, how on earth did the freight get through? Obviously it must and did, it was wartime. Busy freight everywhere. 

Long way on a transcon route, not like its just one train and thats it...there must have been 3 seperate Empire Builders, as in Mon Lv, Tues Lv, Wed Lv, all in multiple sections on the rails simulataneously.

Thats a lot of locomotives, engineers, fireman, conductors, cooks and Porters...and thats just one train. No computers either, towermen and station agents on the wire a lot. Those guys and gals had more mojo than us, ...can you imagine the whining today..."Oh sorry, I'm going rock climbing next week". 

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, November 04, 2017 11:54 AM

Miningman
OK, thanks Balt, makes sense. Still a heck of a thing to put it all together. Quite admirable. 

With the Empire Builder running in multiple sections and several other passenger trains as well, how on earth did the freight get through? Obviously it must and did, it was wartime. Busy freight everywhere. 

Long way on a transcon route, not like its just one train and thats it...there must have been 3 seperate Empire Builders, as in Mon Lv, Tues Lv, Wed Lv, all in multiple sections on the rails simulataneously.

Thats a lot of locomotives, engineers, fireman, conductors, cooks and Porters...and thats just one train. No computers either, towermen and station agents on the wire a lot. Those guys and gals had more mojo than us, ...can you imagine the whining today..."Oh sorry, I'm going rock climbing next week". 

I am not saying that is wan't a big accomplishment - it was HUGE - just something from our vantage point of 70 years+ later we can't quite understand the coordination and management that it took to pull it all off (I can't say flawlessly - because in any form of transportation - stuff happens).  Not just once, but day after day, month after month, year after year.

         

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Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 6:10 PM

Cannot seem to shake out of my head "How in tarnation do you make Lobster Newburg" on the Century or any train for that matter.. it requires multiple steps and some spreadin' out space to put it all together. A lot of "stuff" to make it happen. 

These guys were beyond amazing. Unbelievable what we can accomplish. 

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 7:14 PM

Miningman
Cannot seem to shake out of my head "How in tarnation do you make Lobster Newburg" on the Century or any train for that matter..

Actually, according to the NYC recipe and directions, it is surprisingly easy.  Once you know how, and have the right quality ingredients.  I too thought it was an involved and painstaking thing like making Hollandaise without curdling — but the official version (which I do think we have to accept as what was actually served) is remarkably simple.

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Posted by Penny Trains on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 7:32 PM

Pullman kitchen:

Not a millimeter of unutilized space.  However I couldn't date this image at it's source so it could be the 38 lightweight equipment.

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Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 9:52 PM

Well OK thanks for easing the stress! I've read 2 recipes, one the original from the 1880's and Martha Stewart's both of which are complex. Then I've read at least 4 other recipes that seem far more  simple as you say.  

 If the New York Central has an effective recipe then so be it. Still significant quality items needed. Had to be a tough gig serving Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner menus to what was probably quite a demanding clientele.  

I like to think the folks were classier back then, were gracious,  and didn't act like a bunch of unhappy ingrates. 

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 5:05 AM

The New York Central ‘official’ lobster Newburg recipe is available online, and you will find that it is considerably simplified from the Delmonico’s version, in my opinion to make it more straightforward to make well in a diner galley.

https://books.google.com/books?id=wfHPhP0HLLEC&pg=PA363&lpg=PA363&dq=new+york+central+lobster+newburg&source=bl&ots=MQ55fiuodt&sig=fsv-ZOClhzJp-Q0A9E2PIXqH3bk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjTkPjIt7_XAhVq5oMKHefUBlU4ChDoAQgkMAA#v=onepage&q=new%20york%20central%20lobster%20newburg&f=false

For want of a working mobile interface, here is the link I used; you will have to use the ‘previous mention’ control to get to the actual recipe but it is there.

I have looked over a couple of ‘commissary’ instructions and reprints, and they are all relatively simple... if you want ‘complicated’, look at the Pullman instructions for serving drinks to passengers!

I certainly hope you’re right about the attitude of Century clientele towards the train personnel.  But I suspect their response to anything less than ‘perfect’ service would not be pleasant to observe, and the likely result for the staff might be quick discipline or dismissal. 

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 9:00 AM

My impression from the times I rode 1959 on, to the introduction of Empire Service and the combination of all overnight east-west service into one Albany - Buffalo train, that passengers were generally polite generous people, most regular users of the service.  I was not bashful about striking up conversations in the dining car.  Nearly all people I met were older and wealthier.  I think their attitude toward porters and waiters was similar to that of their family servants in their homes.

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Posted by Miningman on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 5:35 PM

  I think their attitude toward porters and waiters was similar to that of their family servants in their homes."-- Dave Klepper

I would think that's a pretty wide spectrum of attitudes but I think I know what you mean. As in " know your place" Civil but dismissive. 

Well being a lowly Geologist/Mining Engineer with no blue blood lines and no family servants at home I'm beginning to think they wouldn't even sell me a ticket and if they did I'd probably screw things up! 

I'm making Lobster Newburg at home this weekend. All inspired now. Hope I don't screw that up. Can I do Oysters Rockefeller as a happy-tizer or is that too much. Go all out Big Apple!  Have a fine vintage quite dusty wine I've been waiting for an excuse to come along. 

Will post the results. 

 

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Posted by Penny Trains on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 6:50 PM

I'm more of a "Kentucky Fried something-or-another" kind of girl.  Laugh

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