100 years ago: Fast food trains

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100 years ago: Fast food trains

Postby bellstbarn » Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:24 pm

Page One headline in the New York Times of 1/31/1918:
FAST FOOD TRAINS WILL START TODAY.
60-Hour schedule from Central West Answers Allies' Appeals.
TO LOAD SHIPS AT PIERS.
Hope That Radical Measures Will Abolish Delays.
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Articles are sometimes behind a New York Times paywall, but it might show up free on a search engine.
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Of course, the trains are not delivering Fast Food, but rather the adjective describes the expedited unit trains, directly from St. Louis or Chicago to New York piers. By the requisition of enough piers, twenty-five ships will be loaded at the same time. The food will not have to transferred by lighters. The 60-hour schedule replaces a eight-day to fourteen-day trip. Britain, France, and Italy desperately need the food, including food for troops. The rest of this long article lists the totals of freight cars in use for war supplies and food, and the effort to reduce the yard time of cars that are loaded and awaiting transfer to ships. The article admits that 60 hours from Chicago is still 15 miles per hour.
The article becomes quite detailed. Four NY Central piers at Weehawken will handle nine or ten steamships. Three Erie piers at Weehawken will be alloted to Belgian relief ships and one to another steamship.The DL&W at Hoboken will offer two piers for three steamships. The Lehigh Valley at Constable Hook will offer a pier to accommodate four steamships. The CNJ will accommodate two steamships, but some dredging must be done. the B&O will offer the American Docks at St. George.
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The article goes on to describe the shift of locomotives from West to East, requiring some to switch from oil to coal. Also there is a chart of car loadings and empties. A discussion about recent bad weather follows, including the repair of 19 tugboats damaged by ice.
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