Northeast Corridor Service Pre-Amtrak

1947 views
40 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    December, 2016
  • 83 posts
Northeast Corridor Service Pre-Amtrak
Posted by Shock Control on Thursday, November 23, 2017 10:14 AM

Supposedly, Amtrak's bread and butter is the line between Washington, DC. and Boston, MA.  

In the 1990s, I lived in the northeast, in a few different cities, and had friends in every city between Boston and DC.  I used to take Amtrak quite a bit when I would visit them.  During rush hour trips, this train was packed to the gills with professionals. 

What was it like pre-Amtrak?  I know that the Pennsylvania Railroad had a passenger train called The Senator that linked these two cities.  What about other railroads?  I'm no expert, but it seems that much of the northeastern passenger service linked northeast cities to points further west.  

I'm just curious how many options were available to a traveler going between DC and Boston.  I'm also curious if Amtrak's current route includes any track that the PRR would have used for The Senator.  

Thanks in advance.  

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 8,585 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Thursday, November 23, 2017 11:13 AM

Shock Control

Supposedly, Amtrak's bread and butter is the line between Washington, DC. and Boston, MA.  

In the 1990s, I lived in the northeast, in a few different cities, and had friends in every city between Boston and DC.  I used to take Amtrak quite a bit when I would visit them.  During rush hour trips, this train was packed to the gills with professionals. 

What was it like pre-Amtrak?  I know that the Pennsylvania Railroad had a passenger train called The Senator that linked these two cities.  What about other railroads?  I'm no expert, but it seems that much of the northeastern passenger service linked northeast cities to points further west.  

I'm just curious how many options were available to a traveler going between DC and Boston.  I'm also curious if Amtrak's current route includes any track that the PRR would have used for The Senator.  

Thanks in advance.  

 

Well, the PRR and NH had three day trains, complete with coach, dining, and parlor car service, and one overnight train, complete with coaches. sleeping accommodations, and breakfast service that ran over the same route that Amtrak now uses between Washington and Boston. There was no service like the business class that Amtrak offers.

As to Northeast-Midwest service, both the PRR and NYC had through trains between New York and Chicago, St. Louis, and Cincinnati, with at least one NYC train to Chicago routed through Detroit. The Erie had trains New York-Chicago, with service New York-Buffalo. The B&O had through service New York-Chicago and New York-Cincinnati-St. Louis that went through Washington, and Washington-Detroit.

There were many other, shorter runs,that served cities along the way. 

If you could find a copy of The Official Guide of the Railways  from the late forties or early fifties you may be surprised at the passenger service that was offered.

 

Johnny

  • Member since
    June, 2009
  • From: Dallas, TX
  • 2,717 posts
Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, November 23, 2017 3:10 PM

If I remember corrrectly the Metroliner equipment was first delivered in PRR emblems and lettering, then Penn Central,  the Amtrak.     PRR was really the one pushing for the Corridor to get DOT funds to upgrade it's infrastructure.    That's where it started from my recollection.

  • Member since
    September, 2011
  • 3,336 posts
Posted by MidlandMike on Thursday, November 23, 2017 6:52 PM

The Reading had Phily-New York service.  The aforementioned B&O DC-NY service also ran over that route.

The last competition that the New Haven had on NY-Boston were the boat trains that ended by WWII.

  • Member since
    January, 2001
  • From: Atlanta
  • 10,507 posts
Posted by oltmannd on Thursday, November 23, 2017 8:30 PM

I remember riding between NYP and WAS in the early 60s when I was a little kid - about 5 years old.  Very nice. Clean coach seats.  Very smooth (especially compared to Ping Pong coaches on the Long Island).  They even had a snack cart come by a few times.  I remember them adding and dropping  a few P70s with those green mohair seats in Phila.  

In the late 60s and early 70s I rode a bit between Phila and NYP as a young teen.  Metroliners were rough and fast - and very cool!  Conventional trains were tired and dirty by then and AC and heating were spotty.

In the early years of Amtrak, I traveled a good bit on the NEC and from NYG to Albany-Rensselaer.  New upholstery and a bit cleaner than PC, but rough ride and many hot cars in the summer.  It was almost always worth the extra buck or two to upgrade to Metroliner on teh south end of the corridor.  

Time keeping was good south of NYP and lousy north of there to Boston.  

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

  • Member since
    January, 2001
  • From: Atlanta
  • 10,507 posts
Posted by oltmannd on Thursday, November 23, 2017 8:37 PM

The other cool thing about the corridor was the through trains from the south.  The SCL trains powered by GG1s and the through sleepers on the Crescent.  

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 4,346 posts
Posted by Overmod on Thursday, November 23, 2017 9:17 PM

Don't leave out the UA Turbotrain, which up to the oil crisis in '73 was being positioned as the Amtrak counterpart to the Metroliners north of New York.  It's interesting to consider what might have happened if improvement of track comparable to PRR's between NYP and Washington had been done north of New Haven, as was expected (to 150mph standards) starting in the mid-Seventies.  I do not know if there were across-the-platform timed transfers between the two high-speed services, but it was certainly possible, and further saved the time of a power or train change at New Haven that would still be required even if Metroliners ran through.

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 8,585 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Thursday, November 23, 2017 9:51 PM

Overmod

Don't leave out the UA Turbotrain, which up to the oil crisis in '73 was being positioned as the counterpart to the Metroliners north of New York.  It's interesting to consider what might have happened if improvement of track comparable to PRR's between NYP and Washington had been done north of New Haven, as was expected (to 150mph standards) starting in the mid-Seventies.  I do not know if there were across-the-platform timed transfers between the two high-speed services, but it was certainly possible, and further saved the time of a power or train change at New Haven that would still be required even if Metroliners ran through.

 

So far as I remember, the Turbotrain always operated into/out of Grand Central, so there was no direct connection with a Metroliner.

Johnny

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 4,346 posts
Posted by Overmod on Thursday, November 23, 2017 11:39 PM

Johnny, I thought we were discussing Amtrak operations.  Under NH and then PC, the TurboTrain ran into Grand Central.  But by the time I was riding it the train ran over Hell Gate and into Penn Station.  Someone will be able to find out the shoe modifications required.  I never connected through to a Metroliner but I read that some sort of coordination was intended.

The RTL TurboLINERS of course ran up the Hudson out of Grand Central for about 15 years ... but then they too went into Penn, over the Empire Connection.

 

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 8,585 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Friday, November 24, 2017 8:08 AM

Overmod, thanks for correcting my memory. Perhaps after my trip from Back Bay to New York in 1969 I did not pay much attention to the Turbotrain operation. I did see one set in Tuscaloosa when it was touring the country.

I just now looked in my copy of the last real Guide (April 1971)--and, Lo and Behold, there were connections, except Saturday and Sunday, between the Turboliner and a Metroliner. By then the Turboliner ran from and to South Station. The Turbotliner ran week days only.

Johnny

  • Member since
    December, 2016
  • 83 posts
Posted by Shock Control on Friday, November 24, 2017 2:43 PM

Thanks all. So was PRR the only one that went all the way from Boston to DC?

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 4,346 posts
Posted by Overmod on Friday, November 24, 2017 4:18 PM

Shock Control
Thanks all. So was PRR the only one that went all the way from Boston to DC?

"PRR" never went all the way from Boston to DC; even the dedicated trains like the Senator were handed over to NH at some point, just as the trains out of GCT went onto the New Haven at Woodlawn to travel by way of New Rochelle, and NH didn't become 'part' of a single Northeast Corridor entity until it was folded into PC at the eleventh hour.  Only under PC did the GG1s start being run through under the electrification.  I believe there was one Metroliner trip that ran straight through to New Haven under the electrification (arranged in Amtrak's first year, I think November 1971), but I think all the other sets were reserved for trips in the 'principal' corridor between New York and Washington which had been rebuilt to handle the appropriate high speeds and relatively low track impacts necessary for the Metroliners to operate properly.

There was a "Metroliner" service that ran through to Boston in the early '80s, but this was with Amfleet and more conventional power, including of course an engine change at New Haven.

All the other operations from either north or south terminated in the New York region, the PRR/PC being the only railroad with an effective passenger connection across the Hudson anywhere south of Albany.  While NYC had plenty of Chicago to Boston trains, they were split from the New York part at Albany and to my knowledge no ex-Great Steel Fleet trains from New York had a direct section going to Boston; they only received cars from there to go west.  NYC certainly had no run-through from the east side of the Hudson, and the Empire Connection (which would require a reversing move in Penn Station to continue south anyway; it runs right over the top of the North River bores at virtually a right angle as it enters the station trackage) was not completed until the late '80s.

The only possible alternative would be to use the Poughkeepsie bridge, connecting ultimately to the CNJ/Reading/B&O probably where the Belvidere Delaware crossed the West Trenton line, but after the fire in 1970 (which happened before Amtrak) it would be inconceivable to send passengers across that structure even if there were a point in directing them the Great Way Round through northern New Jersey that the Federal used before the Hell Gate Bridge route was done... a route that pointedly came nowhere near New York City.

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 8,585 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Friday, November 24, 2017 5:16 PM

Overmod, I cannot give you the time span except that it was after the War and the NYC had many new lightweight cars, but there was a time when Boston had its own train to Chicago, the New England States.

Johnny

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: US
  • 12,719 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Friday, November 24, 2017 5:54 PM

My understanding has been that the NH was not electified to Boston.  The electrification from New York all the way to Boston was done under Amtrak ownership.

         

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 4,346 posts
Posted by Overmod on Friday, November 24, 2017 9:07 PM

Deggesty
... I cannot give you the time span except that it was after the War and the NYC had many new lightweight cars, but there was a time when Boston had its own train to Chicago, the New England States.

I remember the New England States being introduced in 1938 as the connection to the new Century.  What you are thinking of was the 1949 establishment of this as 'its own train', direct between Boston and Chicago with no splitting off New York cars.  I think the train lost its name very late, in 1967, and the service persisted under PC, I think right up to Amtrak day.

  • Member since
    September, 2011
  • 3,336 posts
Posted by MidlandMike on Friday, November 24, 2017 9:59 PM

BaltACD

My understanding has been that the NH was not electified to Boston.  The electrification from New York all the way to Boston was done under Amtrak ownership.

 

Yes, New Haven to Boston electrified operation began in 2000.

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 4,346 posts
Posted by Overmod on Friday, November 24, 2017 10:01 PM

You would be correct: the New Haven electrification only went as far east as New Haven, where engines had to be changed to continue to Boston or Springfield.  There was no real point in extending the electrification in the early 'lack of money' Amtrak days, and only Federal money could justify the full electrification (which as I recall came with a very expensive realignment for higher speed that revealed an even more expensive (to deal with) line of stone monuments marking the center line of double track.  The only real justification for electrification was the absence of practical high-speed self-contained locomotives at the time 150mph service was being planned, any turbine power being understood to be too wasteful of fuel and difficult to use on some of the electrified trackage (see the TurboTrain and what would have to be done to a JetTrain for some instructive examples)

i still find it interesting there was so little practical interest in electrified commuter service in Boston, as there was in Philadelphia and to a lesser extent the feeder services to New York.  Was this a Mellen by-product?

EDIT: I did not mention this but it may be important here: starting as early as the mid-Seventies Amtrak started running "Metroliners" that did not use the MP-85 style MUs. One amusing consequence was the attempt to use rebuilt GG1s with Amfleet equipment first at 110 and then prospectively at 120mph to substitute for MUs that needed extensive "rework" to run.  This worked quite well... just as with early Audi Quattros... until the time came to stop.  Then the limited weight of the consist and the very substantial mass of the GG1 threw a substantial load on the twelve driver... tires.  Some of which then decided to go on strike, sometimes at speed.  Exit the planned higher-speed G rebuilds; enter the Rc-4 design...

The 'Metroliners' in the '80s that went through to Boston were this kind of train, likely run behind the early 'toasters' to New Haven and then something like F40s 'the rest of the way'.  

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 8,585 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, November 25, 2017 8:10 AM

Overmod

 

 
Deggesty
... I cannot give you the time span except that it was after the War and the NYC had many new lightweight cars, but there was a time when Boston had its own train to Chicago, the New England States.

 

I remember the New England States being introduced in 1938 as the connection to the new Century.  What you are thinking of was the 1949 establishment of this as 'its own train', direct between Boston and Chicago with no splitting off New York cars.  I think the train lost its name very late, in 1967, and the service persisted under PC, I think right up to Amtrak day.

 

As I recall, except for the Riley, the NYC names for trains vanished in 1968. Also, three trains were combined between Rensselaer and Buffalo--the former Century, Wolverine, and New England States. I rode from New York to Chicago via Detroit in the spring of 1969, using a Slumbercoach to Detroit. The next year, I rode from Boston to Chicago via Cleveland, changing in Rensselaer because there was no longer a through Slumbercoach, though there were still.through coaches and a sleeper.

You are right about the earlier beginning of the New England States, I just looked in a 1943 Guide that I have handy (most of my Guides are in boxes which I have difficulty in looking through because they are heavy and I need to be careful in handling the)m.

Johnny

  • Member since
    February, 2016
  • 570 posts
Posted by JPS1 on Saturday, November 25, 2017 9:54 AM
According to my PRR 1957 Passenger Train Schedule, the PRR/New Haven had four daily trains between Boston and Washington, one daily except Saturday train between Boston and Philadelphia, another Boston to Philadelphia train that ran except on Friday and Saturday, and one Providence to Washington train with a different schedule on Saturdays and Sundays.
 
The PRR had 16 daily trains – includes the Boston/Washington offerings - between New York and Washington in both directions. Another 3 trains ran on a six day a week schedule, which changed for the seventh day, between New York and Washington.  It had one train that ran only on Sunday night, and it had a train that ran from 30th Street Philadelphia to Washington except on Saturday and Sunday.
 
Between Washington and New York it one train that was carded for daily operation, with no service on Saturday and Sunday.  Another train ran on Mondays only; two others ran every day but Sunday, but they were covered by other trains that ran on Sundays with different schedules. 
 
The premier offerings between New York and Washington were the Morning, Afternoon, and Evening Congressional.  These trains were still running when I moved to New York in 1961.  I rode them frequently on business trips to Washington and back.  The quickest time was 3 hours and 35 minutes.  They were equipped with coaches, parlor (bar lounge) and dining cars.  As I recall it they were very nice rides.
 
The NEC also hosted trains to and from the south, as mentioned in another post, the PRR’s east/west trains running between North Philadelphia and New York, and trains to and from upper New England and Canada running via New Haven, Hartford and Springfield.  The New Haven Railroad also had numerous trains between New York and Boston.  Its premier offering was the Merchant’s Limited, which I was able to ride on several occasions. 

The NEC was and remains a busy passenger railroad.   

Rio Grande Valley, CFI,CFII

  • Member since
    December, 2016
  • 83 posts
Posted by Shock Control on Saturday, November 25, 2017 10:52 AM

Overmod
"PRR" never went all the way from Boston to DC; even the dedicated trains like the Senator were handed over to NH at some point, just as the trains out of GCT went onto the New Haven at Woodlawn to travel by way of New Rochelle, and NH didn't become 'part' of a single Northeast Corridor entity until it was folded into PC at the eleventh hour.  Only under PC did the GG1s start being run through under the electrification.  I believe there was one Metroliner trip that ran straight through to New Haven under the electrification (arranged in Amtrak's first year, I think November 1971), but I think all the other sets were reserved for trips in the 'principal' corridor between New York and Washington which had been rebuilt to handle the appropriate high speeds and relatively low track impacts necessary for the Metroliners to operate properly.

There was a "Metroliner" service that ran through to Boston in the early '80s, but this was with Amfleet and more conventional power, including of course an engine change at New Haven.

All the other operations from either north or south terminated in the New York region, the PRR/PC being the only railroad with an effective passenger connection across the Hudson anywhere south of Albany.  While NYC had plenty of Chicago to Boston trains, they were split from the New York part at Albany and to my knowledge no ex-Great Steel Fleet trains from New York had a direct section going to Boston; they only received cars from there to go west.  NYC certainly had no run-through from the east side of the Hudson, and the Empire Connection (which would require a reversing move in Penn Station to continue south anyway; it runs right over the top of the North River bores at virtually a right angle as it enters the station trackage) was not completed until the late '80s.

The only possible alternative would be to use the Poughkeepsie bridge, connecting ultimately to the CNJ/Reading/B&O probably where the Belvidere Delaware crossed the West Trenton line, but after the fire in 1970 (which happened before Amtrak) it would be inconceivable to send passengers across that structure even if there were a point in directing them the Great Way Round through northern New Jersey that the Federal used before the Hell Gate Bridge route was done... a route that pointedly came nowhere near New York City.

 

Thanks.  Understood about the tracks, but my point is that passengers boarding the Senator could travel from Boston to DC and back on a single train.  Was PRR the only railroad offering this route without requiring passengers to switch trains/railroads?

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: US
  • 12,719 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, November 25, 2017 11:32 AM

Shock Control
Thanks.  Understood about the tracks, but my point is that passengers boarding the Senator could travel from Boston to DC and back on a single train.  Was PRR the only railroad offering this route without requiring passengers to switch trains/railroads?

It was a joint New Haven, PRR operation.  NH was the dominate Boston-NY carrrier.  PRR was the dominate NY-Washington carrier.  The B&O-RDG-CNJ route from Washington to New York was a joint operation between those carriers.  After 1926 the B&O route terminated in Jersey City with a bus/ferry ride to Manhattan.

         

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

  • Member since
    June, 2002
  • 13,279 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, November 25, 2017 1:21 PM

The PRR-Hell-Gate-Bridge-NYNH&H route Washington (and or Philadelphia) - Boston route was the only route.  Before the Hell Gate Bridge, for a short time there was a route that did not touch NYCity and ran via the Poughkeepsie Hudson Rive Bridge, and before that a car ferry from the New Haven's Oak Pont (The Bronx) terminal to Greenville, NJ.  So, in your tiime frame there was only one route.   Between NY and Washington, the combined CofNJ-Reading-B&O route did give some competitions, but it did not last, ending well before the period you are discussing.  The Reading and CNJ did continiue some Philadelphia  -Jersey City service (the B&O had buses via the CNJ ferries to Manhattat before their service to Washington ended), but before Amtrak took over this wss down to just two trains each way, to Jersey City in the morning and to Reading Terminal in the evening.  During the PC period, the two trains were diverted from Jersey City to PRR's Newark Station.   I rode the ex-Wall Street, down to two RDC's, one with a snack bar and light meal service.  To avoid confusion in Newark, the departure was called "Reading Terminal" rather than just "Philadelphia."

The PRR service New York - Washington with GG1s, coaches, parlors, and diners during meal time trains, was hourly, inlcuding the two Congressionals and the Boston trains.   And in addition, except for a gap in the middle of the day at one period, there were hourly Philadelphia - NY trains which made a few stops, like Princeton Junction and New Brunzwick, that the Washington trains skipped.  They left the terminals a half-hour after the Washington - New York trains.  Some also had parlor cars, and two each way had diners.

While one could be assured of air-conditioning on all these trains, reclining seats were assured only on the two Congressionals and the Senators.  On the two other day Boston trains, Colonial and Patrion, and the overnight Federal (which carried sleepers), some reclining seat coaches were in the consist (often New Haven 8600's), but often also some with straight-back seats, including New Haven 8200 "American Flyers" and modernized PRR P70s.  The other NY -Washington trains used rebult P70s without reclining seats, sometime one or two with reclining seats.  An exception was the brief appearance of the 1955 Budd Keystone deprssed floor experimental consist, which did have reclining seats.

North of New York, there was hourly service to Boston during the day, mostly from GRand Central.  The trains from Washington left from Penn, but the New Haven scheduled Springfield trains to and from Grand Central that made across-the-platform connections to and from the Washington - Boston trains at New Haven.  Of the trains from Grand Central, the Merchants Limited and the Yankee Clipper was the fastest and usually had the 8600 reclining-seat coaches, and for a while the Merchants had both a diner mainly for parlor car passengers and a grill car mainly for coach passengers, although either could use both.  Other Grand Central trains used a mixture of 8200s and 8600s, often with a combine parlor-and- baggage at the head end.   These retained their as-built 2-and-1 parlor seating, while the regular parlors were mostly converted to 1-and -1.

All trains described were air-conditioned.  As a frequent traveler, the only problem I ever experienced was being too cold with the air-conditioning working too hard.

Riding was generally smooth except jiggling a lot through interlocings.

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 4,346 posts
Posted by Overmod on Saturday, November 25, 2017 2:03 PM

Shock Control
 Was PRR the only railroad offering this route without requiring passengers to switch trains/railroads?

Mr. Klepper has conclusively provided the detail on this.  Of course, technically PC and then Amtrak also 'provided' one-seat service, but it was as noted via the ex-PRR and then Shore Line.  While Amtrak for a while offered service from New York to Boston over an 'inland route' I don't believe there was any direct train up from Washington or even cuts of cars from there that continued via that route - please correct me if wrong.  [edit: yes there was, in the late '90s, and apparently to/from Richmond not just Washington.]  And that service, and I believe some of the track used to provide it, are gone now.

The only reason I brought up the Poughkeepsie Bridge in immediately pre-Amtrak times is that it represented the only possible passenger routing that could go all the way from Washington to Boston with one consist, other than going through the New York tunnels and over the Hell Gate, that would not involve great circuits or backhauls, and if stopping in New York were not a priority (e.g. for an Amtrak counterpart to the New England States from Boston to Washington instead of Chicago) Amtrak could, at least in theory, still run via Maybrook, the L&HR, Bel Del and then either PRR or the B&O New York division (bypassing CNJ, using Reading at West Trenton and then Chessie System ex-B&O further south).  Neither would be particularly likely even if the Poughkeepsie Bridge had survived; as Mr. Klepper pointed out the B&O had happily given up any service to New York in the Fifties, and while there was precedent for RDC trains to run from Philadelphia as far as Boston (B&O Daylight Speedliner a case in point) they would not happily go through the North River tunnel (perhaps having to be pulled through as the Aerotrain was) and would represent a major capacity loss for the daily Reading train service.  Compared to the simplicity of vastly better service with vastly better equipment resources, it's not very surprising that Amtrak concentrated on the ex-PRR/NH route for its through trains.

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 8,585 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, November 25, 2017 3:00 PM

There is still service on the tracks of the former Inland Route between Boston and New York, but there is no through serivce. The Vermonter uses the track between New York and Springfield, and the Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited uses it between Boston and Springfireld.

In the spring of 1997, my wife and I went through Springfield on a Boston-Richmond train as we went from Boston to New York. That routing did not last long.

In the early days of Amtrak, an Amtrak employee was amazed that the cost of travel between Boston and New York was the same no matter which route you took. He was, apparently, completely unaware of the competitive pricing that availed before Amtrak reconstructed the tariffs.

For instance, Chicago-Baltimore cost the same as Chicago-Washington, whether you rode PRR or B&O. And, as well as I can determine, Montgomery-Washington cost the same whether you went through Atlanta or Waycross (this may have come about after the ACL began operating a New York-Montgomery coach). Also, Chicago-West Coast was the same no matter what route you took or what city was your destination. 

 

Johnny

  • Member since
    February, 2016
  • 570 posts
Posted by JPS1 on Saturday, November 25, 2017 4:43 PM

In 1957, except for Sundays, there were three daily Congressionals - Morning, Midday, and Afternoon - each way between New York and Washington. 

In 1953 there were just two daily Congressionals each way between New York and Washington. 

The Afternoon Congressionals showed the best schedule times of 3 hours, 35 minutes both ways.  I rode the Morning and Afternoon trains frequently.  I remember them being on-time most of the time. 

In 1957 the one way parlor car fare between New York and Washington or vice-versa, was $12.66, and the seat charge was $2.59.  The one way coach fare either way was $8.36.  The 1953 numbers were $10.05, $2.09, and $7.58.  

Of the 16 daily trains between Washington and New York in 1957, nine of them had dining cars.  The other trains, except for The Executive, which had no food service except in the bar lounge car, and The Evening Keystone, which did not have a dining car but did have a coach lunch and refreshment car, had a Coffee Shop Tavern car. 

Rio Grande Valley, CFI,CFII

  • Member since
    October, 2014
  • 132 posts
Posted by Gramp on Saturday, November 25, 2017 10:14 PM

My grandfather, who loved trains, would every year travel roundtrip from Chicago to Springfield, MA during September on the New England States to visit family.  He did this until 1965.  After his experience of the NES arriving Springfield 21 hours late, he flew from O'Hare to Bradley from then on.  The train lost time hour by hour throughout the trip.  Not because of a derailment or bad weather or other significant event.  He didn't fail rail travel.  Rail travel failed him.  

  • Member since
    June, 2002
  • 13,279 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, November 26, 2017 2:22 AM

I rode the NES during that period.   The latest Boston arrival was four hours late.   Not good, but not as awful as 21 hours.   Occasionally it was on-time or a few miniiutes early.  By 1965 it no longer bypassed Cleveland Terminal like the Century, running along the Lake-Front, but detoured for a revenue stop at the Terminal.  I often then rode coach Dayton - Cleveland or St. louis =  Cleveland or Cincinnati - Cleveland and then a roomette on the NES to Boston.  All the equipment showed wear.  Not sparkling shiny like the AT&SF and UP.  And when between-train-time permitted, dinner was in the Terminal's Oak Room instead of the diner, and on occasion my dinner was with Walter Holtkamp Sr., organ builder.   The organ-choir arrangement at Manhattan's Corpus Christe R. C. Church, near Columbia U., resulted from one such dinner meeting, and for people who like chamber music, the "Musinc before 1800" series at the church is excellent.

Earlier it was second only to the Century.

  • Member since
    September, 2014
  • 1,000 posts
Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Sunday, November 26, 2017 10:02 AM

daveklepper

I rode the NES during that period.   The latest Boston arrival was four hours late.   Not good, but not as awful as 21 hours.   Occasionally it was on-time or a few miniiutes early.  By 1965 it no longer bypassed Cleveland Terminal like the Century, running along the Lake-Front, but detoured for a revenue stop at the Terminal.  I often then rode coach Dayton - Cleveland or St. louis =  Cleveland or Cincinnati - Cleveland and then a roomette on the NES to Boston.  All the equipment showed wear.  Not sparkling shiny like the AT&SF and UP.  And when between-train-time permitted, dinner was in the Terminal's Oak Room instead of the diner, and on occasion my dinner was with Walter Holtkamp Sr., organ builder.   The organ-choir arrangement at Manhattan's Corpus Christe R. C. Church, near Columbia U., resulted from one such dinner meeting, and for people who like chamber music, the "Musinc before 1800" series at the church is excellent.

Earlier it was second only to the Century.

 Ah David, the old oak room, thier a memory. But it did fare better the Cleveland Union terminal.

  • Member since
    February, 2005
  • 1,673 posts
Posted by timz on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 4:50 PM

Overmod
...the [1970s] attempt to use rebuilt GG1s with Amfleet equipment first at 110 and then prospectively at 120mph

The GG1s on "Metroliner" substitute trains were scheduled around 3 hr 20 min NY to Washington, so they didn't need to exceed 100 mph and the timetable never allowed them more than 100.

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 4,346 posts
Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 6:59 PM

We had this discussion before.  Trust me that some of the trains ran at 110 peak 'as improved' - physics does not lie.  It certainly didn't last very long!  

 

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy

Search the Community