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» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » The "Ones That Got Away"

   
Author Topic: The "Ones That Got Away"
Gilbert B Norman
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OK,let's be straight up, this topic is directed more towards our "elder Statesmen" around here, now that the Amtrak-era is closing in on fifty years.

What are the routes that you would have liked to have ridden, including discontinued Amtrak routes, but didn't?

Mine:

NKP-DL&W(EL) "City of Chicago"; what hurts the most is that during Dec '61, I was running down the platform (yes a 20yo could do that stuff) at LaSalle St. as it was pulling out. By the time I did get to ride during Dec '62, the "Blue Bird" PA's and the Chi-Hoboken Pullman line were gone. The ride to Cleveland and a transfer to NYC #16, Ohio State Limited, was an experience I want to forget.

KCS; I was going to do a KC-NO joyride during Spring Break '62, but didn't. KCS was pro-passenger and ordering new cars during '65 (those cars are still in NCDOT service), until they suddenly pulled the.plug during '67. Funny how TRAINS had an article then declaring "we have no intention of getting out of the passenger train business", and just as it hitbthe newsstands, they did just that.

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yukon11
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My list:

AMTRAK PIONEER - A more direct route from west central states to the northwest.

SANTA FE SUPER CHIEF - With lunch in the Turquoise Room.

OLYMPIAN HIAWATHA - A route to central Montana cities and towns, beautiful country, and a means to approach Yellowstone Park from the north.

CB&Q - A passenger train along the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming.

ORANGE BLOSSOM SPECIAL - during the winter and a real classic.

Richard

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Gilbert B Norman
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Richard, yes the Olympian got away from me as well. When I first was "of age" (18) to plan, and pay for, joyrides (my train hating Mother and Father had no use for that nonsense), a friend suggested I go with the Olympian, but it died during '61.

https://youtu.be/7GGu14vvBmA

Fortunately, I did get to ride over Pipestone, St Paul, down Sixteenmile Canyon, and other Lines West segments during my eleven years with the MILW.

But the "Hi" had "had it" during the '50's, when the GN and NP were still popping for new cars, the MILW had to get on with their home grown cars from '47-'48, save the '52 vintage Super Domes.

The intermediate traffic sources, other than Milwaukee, were simply smothered by the GN and NP. They were there first and they let the MILW know it - especially with what counts - freight traffic.

Industries located on the GN and NP were not simply "open" to the MILW by means of reciprocal switching. Only ever so reluctantly as a result of the BN merger, were industries in traffic sources such as Billings, Butte, Missoula, and Spokane "opened". The MILW also gained access to the Portland gateway and the ability to make rates with the SP, but they still needed to get there over BN trackage rights - same applying to Billings.

Let your imagination run wild what happens to "your trains" when the "other guy" doesn't exactly want you around. Be it assured it happened.

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yukon11
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The Olympian Hiawatha and a journey along the Bitterroot Mountains, of Montana, would be the ultimate for me. Add to that the Skytop Lounge observation car.

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Richard

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George Harris
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Saluda Grade.

This one particularly bugs me because I had the opportunity and did not take it. I spent 2 years in East Tennessee 1964-6 and could have easily made a day of it. Knoxville to Spartanburg SC and return, or have made a loop of it, going on from Spartanburg to Atlanta and then back up to Chattanooga, then Chattanooga to Knoxville. The loop would have been on four trains. I cannot remember the train numbers and times right now and do not have the information at hand, although I do have it somewhere. The only problem with this was the timekeeping of the Southern's secondary passenger trains at that time, although at that time, "late" meant exactly that, anything not on the time in the schedule. Given that most of their secondary trains, including the Tennessean, had up to ten piggybacks on the end, being up to two hours off was not that uncommon. The loop would have gone over Saluda in the downhill direction, so I would most likely have just taken the round trip so I could go over Saluda in both directions. This would have been a full day trip, leaving Knoxville around 7:00am and getting back around 9:00pm.

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palmland
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I certainly agree with the Olympian Hiawatha and Saluda.

My preference for Saluda would have been on the Carolina Special that left Columbia, SC around noon and arrived Cincinnati the next morning. I would have probably switched to the Asheville to Chicago sleeper that connected to the James Whitcomb Riley in Cinci, a train that was steam powered late into the 50's.

I would add a trip a round trip to Chicago from NY on the Broadway and return on the 20th Century when they were both steam powered with a T-1 on PRR and streamlined Hudson on NYC.

The trip to Portland on the UP would have been good too but I would have preferred it on the City of Portland rather than the Pioneer.

For a seasonal train, the Bar Harbor Express would have been fun. You could get a drawing room out of Washington and by the time the train left New York it had 14 sleepers in high season.

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yukon11
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I think I agree, Mr. Palmland, that the "City of Portland" would have been a better choice compared to that of the Amtrak "Pioneer"

Another passenger train that I would have liked to have taken... CPR's "Trans-Canada Limited" from Montreal to Vancouver.

Here is an interesting and historical film presentation of the trains, sights, and attractions along the CPR route, taken in the 1920's. It shows a brief clip of the Trans-Canada Limited train, at 1:58 of the film footage. I wonder which CPR train had that outdoor observation car going through the Canadian Rockies? Was it the Trans-Canada LTD?

https://is.gd/emoAH1

Richard

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Jerome Nicholson
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I came of age just two months before Amtrak came to be. By the time I had the means to travel, the Southern Crescent was the non Amtrak train, and I quilt a vacation around it,but it went Amtrak just before I went.
But I would have loved the California Zephyr, City of Portland,Olympian, and 20th Century.
A trip on the CP Canadian westward and CN Super Continental would also have been sweet.

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ghCBNS
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quote:
Originally posted by yukon11:
The Olympian Hiawatha and a journey along the Bitterroot Mountains, of Montana, would be the ultimate for me. Add to that the Skytop Lounge observation car. Richard

Me too!!

My first train ride as a kid was on CN's Ocean Limited from Montreal to Halifax back in '65 and what was bringing up the markers...... but an exMilw Skytop! They had just entered service after being refurbished as 'Skyview' cars.....but I thought they were brand new! CN had also purchased some of the Super Domes....now called Sceneramics for use out west. That started my research into these unique cars and the Olympian Hiawatha.....and how I would have wanted to ride that train. But by '65 it was long gone. (In 1976 I did get to ride Amtrak's North Coast Hiawatha on a portion of the original Milwaukee route from Chicago to Minneapolis)

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I followed those cars on CN for a number of years until out of service and rusting away in the Halifax Coach Yard in '76:

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Another train would have been Delaware and Hudson's Laurentian after it was reequipped with the exSanta Fe Alco PA's. But in '74....thanks to New York State, the D&H and Amtrak I got to ride the new Adirondack complete with a PA and still in D&H colours!

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The Boston and Maine was a favourite railroad and I would have loved to have been on the original, jointly operated CN, CV, B&M, NH, PRR Montrealer/Washingtonian. But again thanks to Amtrak.....I did get to ride nearly all that original route. Below at Gare Central, Montreal and later that evening at White River Jct.

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And while we're on the B&M.....another fun ride would have been The Gull....all the way from North Station, Boston to Halifax via B&M, Maine Central, CP & CN.

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ghCBNS
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quote:
Originally posted by yukon11:
Here is an interesting and historical film presentation of the trains, sights, and attractions along the CPR route, taken in the 1920's. It shows a brief clip of the Trans-Canada Limited train, at 1:58 of the film footage. I wonder which CPR train had that outdoor observation car going through the Canadian Rockies? Was it the Trans-Canada LTD?

https://is.gd/emoAH1

Richard

Thanks for that link.....and Canadian Pacific was still using 'open' Mountain Observation cars right up 'till the early '60s on the Dominion and Mountaineer between Calgary and Vancouver.

http://www.trainweb.org/oldtimetrains/photos/cpr_rolling/7900.htm
http://www.trainweb.org/oldtimetrains/photos/cpr_rolling/four.htm

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yukon11
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Great photos, ghCBNS! Thanks for posting. I didn't know the CPR open observation cars were used so late. Would have made for some great color photos along the Canadian Rockies.

Richard

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palmland
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Great video, Richard. I found the clips of downtown street activity equally as interesting as the rail segments. Those were certainly simpler times when the core cities were the commercial hub and not a Wal-Mart in sight. But I’ll trade that for today’s medical advances and automobiles that work.

Great photos, ghCBNS. I was fortunate to see (not ride) the Adirondack similar to the photo near Fort Ticonderoga. But even better was one of those memories that stay with you. I don’t recall why but I was at Grand Central in my college days and wishing I was on the Montreal Ltd . The rear sleeper with glowing kerosene marker lights was in that great wine red paint scheme of the CP (even though I believe it didn’t really operate over them) and steam swirling around it on a cold winter night.

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bill613a
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I missed out on the BUFFALO/BALTIMORE DAY EXPRESS which ran from Baltimore-Buffalo on the PRR via Harrisburg, Williamsport and Olean thru the Susquehanna River Valley and Alleghany Mountains.

Also the WB WESTERN STAR between Glacier Park and Spokane. The scenery in NW Montana and the northern tip of Idaho is stunning. I always wondered why GN never ran a scheduled dome coach on that route.

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ghCBNS
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quote:
Originally posted by palmland:
........ But even better was one of those memories that stay with you. I don’t recall why but I was at Grand Central in my college days and wishing I was on the Montreal Ltd . The rear sleeper with glowing kerosene marker lights was in that great wine red paint scheme of the CP (even though I believe it didn’t really operate over them) and steam swirling around it on a cold winter night.

Actually the D&H did run on CP for the final 14 miles into Windsor Station, Montreal from a junction with the D&H at Delson (DELeware & HudSON) Quebec. The train was also serviced in CP's Glen Yard.

In the photo above of the Adirondack.....that's CP Windsor Station. Today the Adirondack uses Central Station a couple of blocks away and follows an entirely different route into Montreal.

And probably the 'Wine Red' CP car you saw in Grand Central NY was a 'Grove' series 10&5 Sleeper occasionally used on the Montreal Limited.

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ghCBNS
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I'm also wondering if perhaps the 'Wine Red' CP Sleeper you saw in Grand Central might have been a charter with the Montreal Canadiens returning after a game in New York against the Rangers

And looking at the map below.....the route they used was the D&H. This is from an exhibit at the Canadian Railway Museum in Delson, Quebec....highlighting how the Canadiens travelled when playing other 'Original Six' NHL Teams (Montreal, Toronto, Boston, New York, Detroit & Chicago).....back before air travel was common.

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yukon11
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It's hard to read, but I think one of the players, in the photo of the Maple Leaf travel map, is the great Maurice "Rocket" Richard. I read that it was sometimes difficult for teams to make train departures, after a game, because of inadequate time given for boarding. During the 1940's, players for the Detroit Red Wings had to leave the game, one one occasion, before the game was over to catch a train. Also, a few instances where players had to board a train wearing their hockey uniforms as they didn't have time to change to street clothes.

I'll never understand why the Amtrak Empire Builder can't find some old dome cars and refurbish them for service. In the 1950's, the Great Northern had 3 short dome cars and 1 full-length dome car lounge.

Richard

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kenchappell
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Yukon 11 - Having "blown up" the photo you refer to I can read the names Left to Right as Jimmy Peters, Maurice Richard and Kenny Masdell
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palmland
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Thanks , gbCBNS. That photo is it, I do think it was a heavyweight too, so it could have been a Christmas traffic increase or for charter service, as you surmise. Imagine today’s professional athletes on an overnight train, much less in an upper berth.
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