Reading Company - Interstate express out of Phila

Discussion Related to the Reading Company 1833-1976 and it's predecessors Philadelphia and Reading Rail Road and then the Philadelphia and Reading Railway.

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Reading Company - Interstate express out of Phila

Postby rdgrailfan » Tue Jan 03, 2006 6:43 pm

Anyone out their have any information on this train out of Philly, I have seen postings but cant seem to find it on any schedules that I have for the Reading Company.
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Postby westernfalls » Tue Jan 03, 2006 8:38 pm

This train died slowly. By 1951, it still had a through sleeping car, but the coach came off at Scranton on the CNJ and didn't get replaced until the next stop, Binghamton on the DL&W, for the rest of the trip to Syracuse. At that time, it only accepted local RDG passengers between Wayne Jct. and Reading Terminal on the southbound run. Northbound it would only stop for passengers at Lansdale and then only if the passenger notified the agent in time to get a message to the train at Glenside tower. Indeed, it was a mial train and it quit hauling passengers sometime before 1956. (Someone else can fill in the date.) As a mail train, it survived until the end of mail service in 1963 hauling the mail and a rider coach out of Reading Terminal. In its last years it appeared in the CNJ public timetable offering middle-of-the-night service between Mauch Chunk and Wilkes Barre.
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Interstate Express

Postby JJSmith » Wed Jan 04, 2006 9:05 pm

There is a 4 part series written by Bert Pennypacker on the Bethlehem Branch published in the RCT&HS Bee Line. They are Vol. 12 No. 1-4 of 1990. There is a ton of information on the Interstate Ecpress in this Volume.
Jeffrey J. Smith
Manheim, PA
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Postby vector_one75 » Wed Jun 14, 2006 10:31 pm

Considering that only the Pullman actually opeated all the way (as was mentioned in an earlier post) that there were no coaches for at least part of the run, and I've seen public timetables attesting to this, one can consider the Interstate Expres as an "all sleeping car" train (after all, the all-sleeping car Panama Limited [before combining with the Magnolia Star]did include a parlor car part of the way for early evening short-trip travelers), and while one could place the Interstate Express in the same era as the other great all-sleeping car trains as the Panama Limited, Super Chief, 20th Century Limited, Broadway Limited, Pittsburgher, etc, the Interstate Express would have had to have been the most "downmarket" of the genre, with no diner or other amenities, but a lot of head-end traffic. There was an article a few years ago on the Interstate Express in "Railroad and Railfan" magazine.

Back in the 1960's while I was a student on day trip between Jersey City and Allentown, a trainman told me that in spite of the "apparent gap" in CNJ passenger service between Allentown and Jim Thorpe (as alluded to by a previous post: the night-time Jim Thorpe-Wilkes-Barre "shuttle"), an "all-rail" route on the CNJ was actually possible up on til the Aldene Plan from JersetyCity all the way to Wilkes-Barre by taking the "Queen of the Valley" from Jersey City and detraining at Bethlehem (short of Allentown), have dinner a few hours in Bethlehen, then walking over to the Reading (not CNJ) station in Bethlehem where the train would actually stop and you could then board the rider coach (again as alluded to by a previous post) and actually pay an officially recognized tariff cash fare to the conductor to continue to Wilkes Barre. The only intermediate stop would be Jim Thorpe.

Apparently the reason that the train appeared in CNJ timetables only as a Jim Thorpe - Wilkes-Barre "shuttle" was probably that you had to board the RDG rather the CNJ station, so in the era of discouragement of pasenger service, the Bethlehem stop was simply not shown, but the Jim Thorpe - Wilkes-Barre "shuttle" was! Previous to that info from the trainman, I had always wondered why such a middle-of-the-night service between only end points could make sense on an isolated service removed from the major passenger service areas on the CNJ. I was eventually intending to make that trip via Bethlehem in a few months' time, but I missed out when I did not notice when the Aldene Plan appeared "suddenly" in my still innocent student state. Apparently, the Pennsylvania authorities did not immediately approve the discontinuance of the "published" timetable (ie Jim Thorpe - Wilkes-Barre "shuttle"), so while the through rider coach from Bethlehem was discontinued, this non-stop service for a few more weeks continued on the night run between the two towns using a single RDC (without mention any more in the CNJ public timetables), but with the difficulties of accessing Jim Thorpe at an ungodly hour from New York, I even missed out onthat opportunity. Considering the hours and only end points, as well as no "official" information on the service in the public timetables, I wonder how many, if at all, pasengers used the "real" RDC "shuttle", as opposed to the through train that had been carded as a "shuttle"!

So as a through train at least as far as Wilkes-Barre from Philadelphia coach-only, yes, the Intestate Express, having died a slow death starting 1951 as described in an earlier post, finally died at the implementation of the Aldene Plan, though I doubt the name was even called that in its last years.

Sincerely,
Vytautas B. Radzivanas
Perth, Western Australia
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Postby kevikens » Thu Jun 15, 2006 8:26 am

I don't know if this is any help, or even that relevant, but when I was toddler in the late 1940's my father had to travel from Phila. to Hornel, Ny on a business trip, a trip today that would be a short day's drive. He loved the old B&O ( he hated the Pennsy for some reason) and rode it whenever possible, a bit of a feat with this NY State trip. He used to take me to Wayne Junction to watch the trains, many still steam powered then, and whenever he went on a trip I would follow his travels on a big wall map of the US ( I still love reading old maps). On this particulat trip to Hornel he got on at Wayne Junction and since the B&O went no where near there I guess it was the Reading. It was an overnight trip (big deal, then) and I remember the train went through Northeast Pa. into NY. Would this be the train you are referring to ? As far as I can remember he did not have to transfer at any stations but I know he stopped at the Bethlehem Station as I marked it on the map. I never knew this train had a name but maybe it is the one you are referring to.
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Re:

Postby Bethlehem Jct. » Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:59 pm

kevikens wrote:I don't know if this is any help, or even that relevant, but when I was toddler in the late 1940's my father had to travel from Phila. to Hornel, Ny on a business trip, a trip today that would be a short day's drive. He loved the old B&O ( he hated the Pennsy for some reason) and rode it whenever possible, a bit of a feat with this NY State trip. He used to take me to Wayne Junction to watch the trains, many still steam powered then, and whenever he went on a trip I would follow his travels on a big wall map of the US ( I still love reading old maps). On this particulat trip to Hornel he got on at Wayne Junction and since the B&O went no where near there I guess it was the Reading. It was an overnight trip (big deal, then) and I remember the train went through Northeast Pa. into NY. Would this be the train you are referring to ? As far as I can remember he did not have to transfer at any stations but I know he stopped at the Bethlehem Station as I marked it on the map. I never knew this train had a name but maybe it is the one you are referring to.


Wow, I realize this post is over 5 years old, but I just stumbled upon it.
If your father was heading to Hornell, he almost certainly had to transfer stations. Hornell was on the Erie. I don't have access to any schedules from that time, so I don't know the best arrangement. The most likely routes to Hornell from Wayne Jct. would involve The Interstate Express (RDG/CNJ/DLW #301) to Binghamton, NY. The DLW and Erie stations in New York were a few hundred feet apart, so he could have transferred over and caught the Erie to Hornell.
The only only other viable routing would have involved taking a through sleeper on the RDG, continuing over the Lehigh Valley at Bethlehem to Sayre, PA. Through sleepers were run from Reading Terminal to Rochester, Buffalo and Toronto via the LV at that time. The LV's Sayre station was a mile or two away from Erie's Waverly, NY station. It would have been possible to transfer via taxi from the LV to the Erie and continue on to Hornell. Depending upon the schedules, this could have been faster than a routing via Binghamton.
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Re: Reading Company - Interstate express out of Phila

Postby kevikens » Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:59 am

Thanks for the reply. As my father long ago went on to that great roundhouse in the sky I have no way to know how he did it but it is nice to think of the possibilities he could have chosen from. Thanks again.
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Re: Reading Company - Interstate express out of Phila

Postby JimBoylan » Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:26 am

Referring to a previous post, I think that the Reading's portion of the Queen of the Valley stopped about 1963, but the CNJ's portion East of Allentown lasted longer, probably until the Aldene Plan of April, 1967.
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