Hanover, NH to Chicago in 1924

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Hanover, NH to Chicago in 1924
Posted by PJinChicago on Monday, August 24, 2020 11:58 AM

My name is PJ McCarthy and I am filling in some important details in a book I have written about the murder of a young man in his suburban Chicago home in 1924. For reasons that are too complicated to go into in this forum, that young man's trip from Hanover, NH (he was a Dartmouth student) to Chicago, IL in March of 1924 became important to the case. What I need to know is what was the most likely train route he would have taken back home to Chicago. He had an incentive to take the fastest route as he was about to turn twenty-one, announce his engagement to the world, and take control of a million-dollar estate that had been held in trust for him since his mother died when he was six. Would this young man have taken a train to Albany, NY to catch the Boston to Chicago train? Or would he have traveled to New York or Boston and caught a train there?

It would also help, just to flesh out the story, to know the name of any train he may have taken. I have searched Dartmouth records to see if anyone ever mentioned how Chicago kids made their way home, to no avail.  His trip would have been in the last week of March in 1924.

Any help in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

 

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, August 24, 2020 7:08 PM

I'll start, naively, by saying he drove from Hangover to White River Junction (about 5 miles) and then went south to Springfield, where he would have gotten a B&A/NYC train to Chicago.  (Time of day might indicate whether he went via the CASO or on the south shore via Cleveland missing Detroit -- I believe even with customs the former might have been faster in absolute terms.  Note that he might time this to catch the 'Boston section' of a name train at Springfield, or ride B&A to Albany and catch a Great Steel Fleet train there.

He could also have continued south at Springfield and gone to ... well, that town with a college rhyming with jail or fail... and gone via the Shore Line over the then-new Hell Gate connection and then PRR.

Relax the highest-speed consideration or amenities desired and other routings become possible: 24- and 28-hour services had much lower fare structures by agreement.  He may also have wanted to come into a particular station to minimize Parmelee Transferring...

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Posted by PJinChicago on Monday, August 24, 2020 10:35 PM

Thanks, 

Seeing as though he was coming from Hangover, I'm sure he would have avoided that place that I assume you don't want me to name. My guess is your first two options make the most sense. 

The young man's name was Billy McClintock, and I'm sure he avoided the Parmalee people at all cost. In 1907, when he was four-years-old, his millionaire father took the family for a ride in his new touring car on a beautiful spring day. He was driving south on Chicago's ritzy Prairie Avenue when he turned right on 26th street and ran into a horse-drawn Parmalee Wagon. Billy saw his father impaled on the wagon shaft. That kind of thing can sour you on a company. His feelings about Parmalee may have been the reason why drove his car back to Dartmouth because he needed to bring all his stuff back from Hangover. Now all I have to do is recreate the same route by existing 1924 highways.

Thanks for all the info, but I have one more question: If Billy had chosen either of your first two options, how long would the trip have been?

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 6:07 AM

He would provably tale a taxi from Hanover to WRJ, since his car was in Chicago, use a parlor seat on the Day White Mountains Express to Springfield, enjoying a good boiled or broaled scrod lunch in the through New Haven diner, have a close, but doabld connection with the Boston section of the 20th Century limited, where he would occupy a lower birth, and enjoy the pickled watermelon rind in the dining car with a good steak or roast-beef dinner in the top-quality dining car.

He would probably be in the Boston section's obs to enjoy the Berkshire scenery, and the attendent would remind him to return to the sleeper as the train approched Albany.

And of course the excellent 20th Century French toast at breakfast.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 11:31 AM

PJinChicago
His feelings about Parmalee may have been the reason why drove his car back to Dartmouth because he needed to bring all his stuff back from Hangover. Now all I have to do is recreate the same route by existing 1924 highways.

He would ASSUREDLY not have done this in 1924.  Even if he had a Twin Six at his disposal that would have been a long, uncomfortable, delay-ridden trip... even assuming his stuff would fit in the car.  And that is even if we further assume good weather and road conditions, both ways.  Even the organized Good Roads movement would have been only a decade old.

He would have had expressmen crate up what wouldn't be in his trunks or traveling luggage, and the whole shebang would have been trucked to his connection with whatever train he chose; thence follow him to Chicago and be drayed straight to the place in his house that the staff would supervise unloading and 'taking upstairs'.  Anyone of wealth and privilege in that age would likely be very familiar with traveling with what might be a large number of trunks... read some of the accounts of the Titanic, for example.

And I am quite sure he would have had lobster Newburg before the steak.  (I know I would...)

MEANWHILE you had better check contemporary Dartmouth policy on his having a car there as a student. Several of the Ivies notoriously banned this circa 1927 and that policy stayed in effect for decades.  To this day Dartmouth forbids freshmen from parking cars on campus...

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 1:47 PM

Overmod
MEANWHILE you had better check contemporary Dartmouth policy on his having a car there as a student. Several of the Ivies notoriously banned this circa 1927 and that policy stayed in effect for decades.  To this day Dartmouth forbids freshmen from parking cars on campus...

And I suspect, just as today, many would not abide by the policy, especially those of privledge.

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Posted by PJinChicago on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 2:05 PM

No, he definitely drove to Hanover in April 1924 and drove back at the end of May. There are letters to and from his fiancee where she complained about his driving and how much it worried her. It was testified to in open court by her and others that Billy indeed took his "big car" (I have been unable to find the model) to Dartmouth and drove it back. I know about the auto ban at Dartmouth. Billy lived off-campus at a frat house and he must have figured he was going to be leaving Dartmouth forever in a few weeks and didn't care if he got in trouble.

Since the train was going from Boston to Chicago, I would definitely take the fresh caught lobster over the steak. Going the other way, I would like the fresh cut steak from the Stockyards. But regardless of meal chosen, how long would that trip have taken? 

Overmod

 

 
PJinChicago
His feelings about Parmalee may have been the reason why drove his car back to Dartmouth because he needed to bring all his stuff back from Hangover. Now all I have to do is recreate the same route by existing 1924 highways.

 

He would ASSUREDLY not have done this in 1924.  Even if he had a Twin Six at his disposal that would have been a long, uncomfortable, delay-ridden trip... even assuming his stuff would fit in the car.  And that is even if we further assume good weather and road conditions, both ways.  Even the organized Good Roads movement would have been only a decade old.

 

He would have had expressmen crate up what wouldn't be in his trunks or traveling luggage, and the whole shebang would have been trucked to his connection with whatever train he chose; thence follow him to Chicago and be drayed straight to the place in his house that the staff would supervise unloading and 'taking upstairs'.  Anyone of wealth and privilege in that age would likely be very familiar with traveling with what might be a large number of trunks... read some of the accounts of the Titanic, for example.

And I am quite sure he would have had lobster Newburg before the steak.  (I know I would...)

MEANWHILE you had better check contemporary Dartmouth policy on his having a car there as a student. Several of the Ivies notoriously banned this circa 1927 and that policy stayed in effect for decades.  To this day Dartmouth forbids freshmen from parking cars on campus...

 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 3:31 PM

Overmod
 To this day Dartmouth forbids freshmen from parking cars on campus...

Probably not just Ivies.  When I went to Glassboro State back in the '70s (Yeah, the Jurassic Period) there was a "No freshmen cars on campus" policy as well, with one exception.  If the freshman resident student had a part-time job a distance away it was permissable to have a car once it was cleared with the school.  I have no idea what the policy is now. 

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 8:08 PM

PJinChicago
Since the train was going from Boston to Chicago, I would definitely take the fresh caught lobster over the steak. Going the other way, I would like the fresh cut steak from the Stockyards.

you mean it has to be 'either-or'???  I disagree!

Suspect these steaks will be aged, so bringing them to the Boston commissary on a previous eastbound -- perhaps only a couple of hours before -- likely still has the full Stockyards quality.  Almost likewise for the Newburg, which is a fabricated dish -- live steamed lobster would be different BUT it's easy to transport and keep live lobsters for quite a while...

But regardless of meal chosen, how long would that trip have taken? 

I thought Dave Klepper already told you that; I was sure he had quoted a time for the New Haven train but it would be easy enough to get numbers from an Official Guide if Mr. Klepper doesn't have them 'to hand'.  That time to Springfield, then the layover (quoted as 'short') to the Boston section of the Century, presumably arriving on time at the time specified in the OG for that date -- there may in fact be records for the precise time on that particular date.  The critical path is that he arrives next morning at Century time no matter when he starts from campus.

The plot thickens if he misses connection in Springfield.  I defer to people with the appropriate Guides and the distinctive competence to give you scheduled numbers and a reasonable idea of lateness.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 8:17 PM

BaltACD
And I suspect, just as today, many would not abide by the policy, especially those of privilege.

All you have to do is read 'This Side of Paradise' for a roughly contemporary account... Whistling

"Oh no, I have an Orgo test in the morning!"

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Posted by rcdrye on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 8:43 PM

If you were going from Hanover to Chicago, you would probably walk down Wheelock Street through the covered bridge to Lewiston on the Vermont side of the river, which is a walk of only about a mile.  Lewiston station still exists, in the town of Norwich, but the village was more or less eliminated during the construction of I-91.  The "Conn River" train from points north (in 1924 B&M controlled trackage north to Stanstead Quebec, as will as Groveton and Berlin NH, with through service from Montreal and connections from Quebec city) would either terminate in White River Jct or operate through to Springfield MA.  In 1924 B&M trains still opreated west from Greenfield MA to Troy NY, including a through Pullman to Chicago that lasted until 1926.  NYC's Boston & Albany offered more connections to the west at Springfield than B&M did at Greenfield.  There would be no reason to backtrack to Boston if Chicago was the intended destination, a route further complicated by having to change stations in Boston.  The only other real alternative was from White River Jct. via a Central Vermont/Canadian National/Grand Trunk Western routing via Montreal and Toronto. 

For you old movie buffs, Lewiston station is featured in the 1939 movie "Winter Carnival".  The way the station is used in nonsense, since trains only paused there.

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Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 9:04 PM

1924-- White River Jct. CV, CNR, GTW Montreal-Toronto-Chicago ... I'm as green as the passenger cars with envy. That's a lot of steam and a lot of whistles.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 10:38 PM

Miningman
White River Jct. CV, CNR, GTW Montreal-Toronto-Chicago

The $64 question is how long it would take via this route, and what the arrival time and station location of the earliest connecting train into Chicago would be.  Remember Parmelee Transfer isn't an option, so there may be convenience of access where he's going...

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 10:49 PM

The protagonist is well fixed, can afford taxis in both Hanover and Chicago, and wants the fastest and most convenient trip possible.  The approriate Official Guide should add the specific times for the trains I mentioned.

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Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 10:50 PM

Well if you're a young college student women are topmost on your mind  at any time so you go where the women are and the best chances .. the Century would be a bunch of old stuffies and boring folk for him, regardless of privilege.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 11:20 PM

PJinChicago
My name is PJ McCarthy and I am filling in some important details in a book I have written about the murder of a young man in his suburban Chicago home in 1924.

At first I thought you were writing a novel, but now it sounds like you are saying it is a true story.  Could you clarify.

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 1:42 AM

Miningman, remember he has his fiancee, and finding other young women would be far from his mind.  The route I suggested is the fastest, and most assuradly would have been chosen.

I won't argue about the food selsection!  At times the Boston diner did go through to Chicago, even when the section wasn't a separate train, which it was under heavy travel.

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Posted by rcdrye on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 6:01 AM

The CV/CN/GTW route was pretty efficient.  B&M seven miles to White River Jct.  Have some coffee in the station restaurant and then board the late afternoon Ambassador to Montreal.  CN/GTW still had through Montreal-Chicago Pullmans via Sarnia/Port Huron.  He would have arrived late the next day for a 28-30 hour trip.  The B&M/NYC via Greenfield and Troy would have been around 27 hours total, the B&M/B&A/NYC route depended on the train, but most B&A/NYC schedules ran about 22 hours Springfield to Chicago for a total travel time of around 25-26 hours.

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 10:12 AM

MidlandMike
... it sounds like you are saying it is a true story.  Could you clarify.

Not hard to look it up with the details he provided, and a book was written about it in 2005.  Billy, who was orphaned by 1907, died of typhoid, likely administered by those murdering Shepherds... who actually got away with the "fortune".  His fiancée Isabelle Pope would subsequently sue them for a 'widow's share'  and got a substantial settlement.

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Posted by PJinChicago on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 10:25 AM

It is a true story. This young man, his name was Billy McClintock, went home to Chicago for his spring break to celebrate his twenty-first birthday, announce his engagement to the world, and take control of a million dollar plus fortune. The one thing he did not anticipate was his foster parents pressuring him into signing a will. He was assured the will, which left everything to them, was only a stopgap between his taking control of the fortune and his wedding. He would return to Dartmouth by auto and return in late May. He died from typhoid in December, just weeks before his wedding. Since all four people who had controlled the same fortune (including his parents) had died in strange fashion, the press jumped on the story of Billy McClintock and his "cursed fortune." Eventually, his foster parents were charged with his murder.

The first draft is finished, but I have an editor who urged me to flesh out Billy's story. His fiancee's family supplied me with letters from Billy and with those I have been trying to trace his every movement and action in the last year of his life. The route he took might seem unimportant, but I have found that each fact is a possible lead to another. The fact that Billy chose to drive back, an arduous trip in 1924, when he could have traveled comfortably by train is something even his fiancee could not understand. The information I have already got from this forum about the ease and comfort of the train trip (especially for a young man of means) makes that decision seem even stranger to me. More mystery and more questions.

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Posted by PJinChicago on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 10:28 AM
Thank You.
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Posted by timz on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 10:30 AM

Is the guy going to Chicago fictional or not?

In 1924-26 the best time White River Jct to Chicago was 24 hours. The Boston section of the 20th Century left Springfield at 1455 and arrived Chicago 0945.

In 1926 a train left Norwich at 1002, left White River Jct 1040, arrived Springfield 1439. It seems the only train change was Springfield.

Or: in 1926 he could leave White River Jct at 1445, arrive Greenfield 1723 to change to the Minute Man leaving at 1744 carrying a thru sleeper that would arrive Chicago at 1600.

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Posted by PJinChicago on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 10:39 AM

I stumbled across this story a few years ago and I read Virginia McConnell's book. The book was a good recounting of the events of the trial, but it was lacking in the back story of what happened to the previous holders of the cursed fortune. I have discovered a lot of facts that Ms. McConnell did not have at her disposal. She was actually very helpful to me, but because I live in Chicago I have a better understanding of some of the forces at work in the case and was able to contact family members of those involved. I was even able to read a couple of unpublished memoirs from major players in the case.  

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Posted by PJinChicago on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 10:42 AM

The guy was real. Thank you for your help.

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Posted by ZephyrOverland on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 2:32 PM

I'm going to assume that the routing the young man in question would most likely be taking is a Boston & Maine (B&M) White River Junction-Springfield train and, through a change of trains in Springfield, an Albany-bound Boston & Albany (B&A) train which would include a through Boston-Chicago via New York Central (NYC) or NYC/Michigan Central (MC) sleeper. So, looking at the schedules from the March 1924 issue of the Official Guide:

White River Junction to Springfield via CV-B&M options:

#78 -daily leaving WRJ 3:10am arriving Springfield 7:25am

#712- Ex Sun leaving WRJ 6:00am arriving Springfield 11:30 am

#70 - Ex Sun leaving WRJ 11:45am arriving Springfield 4:05pm

#74 - Ex Sun leavins WRJ 2:32pm arriving Springfield 6:17pm

#728 - Ex Sun leaving WRJ 6:05pm arriving Springfield 10:58pm

#7062 -    Sun only leaving WRJ 6:05pm arriving Springfield 10:48pm

 

Some things to keep in mind about the Springfield-Chicago portion:

-at this time there were no through Boston-Chicago trains; so the best that one could do at Springfield is get on an Albany-bound train that contained a through Boston-Chicago sleeper; the trains may change but the sleeping car won't.

-not all of the trains mentioned below carried a through Boston-Chicago sleeper.

-Chicago arrivals are at La Salle Street Station; although the sleepers that were routed via Michigan Central arrived at Central Station.

 

Springfield to Chicago via NYC and NYC/MC options:

B&A #3 daily, leaving Springfield 7:55am arriving Albany 11:50am; leaving Albany 12:20pm on NYC #3 Chicago Express (from New York), arriving Chicago 7:40am;

 (no Boston sleeper available; change trains at Springfield and Albany; obtain sleeper to Chicago at Albany)

 

B&A #41 - Chicago Special; daily, leaving Springfield 12:40pm arriving Albany 3:50pm; leaving Albany 4:15pm on NYC #41 - "Number Forty-one" extra fare train - (from New York) arriving Chicago 1:00pm

(through Boston sleeper available)

 

B&A #25 - 20th Century Limited (Boston Section - extra fare); daily, leaving Springfield 2:55pm arriving Albany 5:40pm; leaving Albany on NYC #25 20th Century Limited (extra fare )(from New York) at 5:49pm; arriving Chicago 9:45am. 

(through Boston sleeper available)

 

B&A #49 - Western Express; daily, leaving Springfield 8:50pm; arriving Albany 12 Midnight; leaving Albany on NYC #49 - Boston and Buffalo Special 12:20am; arriving Buffalo 7:40am; (This is a through Boston-Buffalo train but named Western Express on B&A and Boston and Buffalo Special on NYC) - no connection from New York.

There were two Boston-Chicago sleepers; one running via NYC and Cleveand and the other running via MC and Detroit. The NYC routed sleeper left Buffalo on NYC #151 - Interstate Express at 8:30am, arrving Chicago (La Salle St. Station) at 7:30pm. The MC sleeper left Buffalo on MC #15 - The North Shore (extra fare train) at 8:30am, arriving Chicago (Central Station) at 7:30pm.  

 

B&A #43 - Albany Night Express leaving Springfield 2:05am - arriving Albany at 5:25am; leave Albany on NYC #43 - Fast Mail (train originated at Albany) at 5:50am, arriving Buffalo 12:55pm, arriving at Chicago at 1:15am; alternate service via MC and Detroit; #45 Pacific Express - leaving Buffalo at 1:40pm, arriving Chicago (Central Station) at 6:55am.

(no through Boston sleepers; only a Boston-Buffalo sleeper via Albany Night Express/Fast Mail; and a Buffalo-Chicago sleeper via MC's Pacific Express)  

 

If this routing was used; in my opinion, the individual most likely would have taken from Springfield either B&A #41 - Chicago Special, or B&A #25 - 20th Century Limited, or B&A #49 - Western Express.

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Posted by PJinChicago on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 4:29 PM
Thank you so much. The people on this forum have been incredibly helpful.
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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 8:01 PM

ZephyrOverland
... train the young man in question would most likely be taking is a Boston & Maine (B&M) White River Junction-Springfield train and, through a change of trains in Springfield, an Albany-bound Boston & Albany (B&A) train which would include a through Boston-Chicago via New York Central (NYC) or NYC/Michigan Central (MC) sleeper. So, looking at the schedules from the March 1924 issue of the Official Guide:

Note that of these only the one already confirmed by Mr. Klepper even remotely qualifies... all the others imply an extra day or substantial part thereof in travel time.  Take the No.41 mentioned, which turns the relatively short time difference at Springfield into a colossal time difference at Chicago which is not immediately evident from the clock times.

What we need you to do instead is to see the alternative timing by way of the identified best 'Northern' route to see if it offers a bit more flexibility for early-morning departure from Hangover for an earlier Chicago arrival time -- I doubt this, but it needs to be given precise 1924 numbers.

I doubt that any train with a connection through Buffalo, CASO or no CASO, is going to furnish faster arrival in Chicago, which remember is the whole major point of this exercise...

He would not take a segment of a 24-hour train, let alone a 28-hour one, unless it gave him an earlier arrival in Chicago from a convenient Hanover/WRJ departure time.  It will be very hard to beat the Day Express-to-Century connection.

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Posted by rcdrye on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 8:35 PM

Central Vermont was a two-through-trains-a-day railroad for almost its entire existence, with any accomodation runs only running within Vermont.  The northbound Ambassador's schedule changed very little between 1920 and 1967, usually leaving White River Jct. at 4:30 PM, arriving Montreal at 9:30 PM.  The Inter-City Limited left Montreal at 11PM, hitting Toronto at 7:15 AM, leaving at 8:30 AM, arriving Dearborn Station in Chicago (via Sarnia and Port Huron) at 8:10PM, for a total of 28 hrs 40 minutes.  The overnight through train (the Montrealer/New Englander) left White River Jct. at 4:30 AM.  Late night/early morning southbound trains usually did not stop at Norwich/Lewiston so getting to White River Jct from Hanover might have required a nice five mile walk.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 10:05 PM

Surely the Dartmoth-WRJ area had taxi service back then, to get him to the station.

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 10:47 PM
Absolutely

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