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Ottawa - Washington service

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Ottawa - Washington service
Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, March 20, 2021 3:46 PM

Montreal is not Canada's capitol city.  Can someone check Odfficial Guide's to determine if the Washingtonian0Montreler pair ever carried an Ottawa through sleeper?

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Sunday, March 21, 2021 9:57 AM

It would seem unlikely.  Ottawa is not the easiest place to get to even by air. 

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, March 21, 2021 5:38 PM

The point he's making, though, is an interesting one.  In the days before widespread jet travel, there might be at least a perceived advantage in one-seat traffic "between the two national capitals" and finding the appropriate mix between direct routing and comfort/amenities might have made several routes potential 'contenders', particularly in the age of 24- and 28-hour train classes and greater tolerance of open-section Pullmans as a necessary evil of long-distance travel.  The problem is that the run from Montreal to Ottawa, although in the Montreal-Toronto corridor, is entirely in Canada and might not support full American Pullman service -- so a change of train at Montreal might be what was preferred.

Other routings might involve going north via Syracuse, the problem being that the logical routings out of Washington do not line up well with routes that go near that area of upstate New York.  Theoretically you might get from PRR to NH to NYC via New Rochelle, but that's still something of a great way round; equally theoretically you could start up the Northern Central route and then north across central and northwestern Pennsylvania, but I have no idea what parts of that route were set up for the necessary passenger support.  I'd be tempted to look at a route including B&O to the west, then up P&LE, then northeast at some point perhaps through Buffalo.  Certainly these would have been among the first services demonstrably costing more than they produced in revenue or usefulness... or dropped in toto, as most of B&O's were in 1958.

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Posted by Gramp on Sunday, March 21, 2021 9:49 PM

What occurs to me is that there would have been little demand for travel between the two cities during rail's golden age. Even today there's something like one nonstop flight between the two cities. 

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, March 21, 2021 10:23 PM

Gramp
What occurs to me is that there would have been little demand for travel between the two cities during rail's golden age. Even today there's something like one nonstop flight between the two cities.

I'd be tempted to look at whether there were through Pullmans to Toronto either from Washington via the west, or via an eastern route from New York that could either handle an interchange Pullman from the south on PRR or B&O/RDG/CNJ or provide daytime connection to a Pullman starting from New York.  Ottawa is not particularly far from Toronto in the former, and on the way to Montreal; it's a necessary stop on the way westbound from Montreal... either way, the train would have served a wide number of intermediate points, and the marginal cost of going to Ottawa would be relatively slight.

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Monday, March 22, 2021 1:21 AM

All my memories of Official Guides was that pullman cars from Washington ran either on the PRR or B&O. B&O's cars all stopped at the Hudson. Cars on PRR went to New Haven and into New England (Maine, Boston, Cape Cod and through Vermont to Montreal) Don't recall any to Montreal continuing beyond. D&H cars fromMontreal all connected to NYC which terminated in GCS. No path to the South. I rode an Amtrak sleeper from Montreal to Washington on one of my All Aboard America fare trips before they took the Montrealer off. 

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, March 22, 2021 8:29 AM

If there ever was a Wahington - Toronto sleeper, it would have been B&O - WAyn Jc. Philly - Reading -Bethahem - Lehigh Valley - Suspension Bridge - CN - Toronto.

Prob ably never happened.  But Philly - Toronto, with connection to Washington, possible.  Philly - Buffalo, sure, "What's a red car doing in Reading Terminal?"

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, March 22, 2021 7:43 PM

Vaguley remember that Eastern Airlines at one time had a one flight  Martin 404 service. How it ran and if it served  any other Canadian cities probably did not happen ?   Eastern when it had all those recip airplanes blanketed north New York state.    It could be if there was a flight it probably served Buffalo, Syracuse, Rome, Utica, Watertown, Massena, in some order to Ottawa ?

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Posted by rixflix on Monday, March 22, 2021 9:14 PM

Who would want to go to Ottawa anyway? Or Canberra, Brasilia and The Hague, for that matter. Meaning no disrespect to those cities...well maybe a little.

Rick 

rixflix aka Captain Video. Blessed be Jean Shepherd and all His works!!! Hooray for 1939, the all time movie year!!! I took that ride on the Reading but my Baby caught the Katy and left me a mule to ride.

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Posted by NKP guy on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 6:27 PM

rixflix
Who would want to go to Ottawa anyway?

   I can appreciate the playful nature of this question.  Nevertheless, in 1966 this Ohioan spent two days in Ottawa and came away with a lifetime of happy memories of that beautiful city.  I'd like very much to visit Ottawa again.

   I can't imagine there was ever enough capital-to-capital traffic to merit a designated sleeper.

   Theoretically, a Washington to Mexico City Pullman car would serve larger markets, right?

   Fantasy for 2021:  Did you hear Canadian Pacific is going to begin offering Ottawa to Mexico City passenger service with dedicated sleepers and full-service diners?

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 6:49 PM

NKP guy
   Theoretically, a Washington to Mexico City Pullman car would serve larger markets, right?

And this is precisely why?

Easy to have a sleeper to St. Louis either on PRR (two different routes) or B&O in the years the Sunshine Special ran through Pullman service to Mexico City ... one interchange within the Union Station plant.  

Of course, still more interesting might have been if the Ramsey Survey route had been built out via Pittsburgh, either after 1906 or in the Thirties.  Even a trip north from Washington to northern New Jersey might have been faster (and smoother!) for the interchange, and most of it an all-Gould route too...

 

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Posted by NKP guy on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 7:14 PM

Overmod
And this is precisely why?

Uhhh...'cuz either city is larger than Ottawa?

(C'mon, work with me; it's meant to be humor, not a business proposition.)

 

 
 

 

 
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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 7:30 PM

NKP guy
Uhhh...'cuz either city is larger than Ottawa?

That's true... but the question is not how big they are, but how big the paying traffic between them would be.

I can't imagine major diplomatic correspondence in the years the Mexico City service ran ... either via Laredo or via El Paso.  And that's in part an ongoing, shall we say, parsimony on the part of the governments involved in paying for the service...

It would be interesting to speculate on a '30s version of NAFTA involving both Mexico and Canada in an alternative New Era where the Depression did not happen (or was mitigated via appropriate measures instead of the wackiness up to the War...)

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 7:39 PM

NKP guy
... in 1966 this Ohioan spent two days in Ottawa and came away with a lifetime of happy memories of that beautiful city.

We regularly went through Ottawa (to Hull on the way to the Gatineau) every year from about 1963 for fishing, in the years before the Cabonga became incorporated in the Parc de la Verendrye and the local equivalent of Cajuns fished it out.  I always thought that, as with the Celtic names for places in Ireland, the Quebecois spelling of Ottawa was infinitely better.  There was a French restaurant just across the River in Hull that was my introduction to real onion soup, thick in a crock with melted cheese to seal it... that was one of the high points of each year.

Of course we always went through Ottawa on a weekend, when everyone rolled up the sidewalks and went home.  Few things are quite as dead as downtown Wilmington at night, but Ottawa qualified... Big Smile

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 11:55 PM

From Mike:

"Canadians and Americans loved to vacation across the border. This shared passion became a great source of passengers for both the Montrealer and the Washingtonian. During the winter, the Washingtonian included two through-sleeping cars which ferried passengers from Quebec City to Miami and St Petersburg, Florida. In the summer months, the Montrealer provided sleeping cars for American passengers travelling to Murray Bay, Quebec. Through sleeping cars were also provided for travel between Ottawa and Washington, D.C."
 http://images.techno-science.ca/?en/stories/central_vermont/

 

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 10:00 AM

Canadian snowbirds in Florida and the various Caribbean islands in the Commonwealth are still fairly common.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul

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