• $11 steam excursion in 1965

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

  by BR&P
I guess I can't bee-itch about this forum being slow if I don't contribute to make it more interesting! :wink: So here's a flyer I found in a box of old HO cars from the '60's. Sorry for the poor condition of the paper but it's still readable.

How about an all-day trip behind big steam, for a fare of $11 plus an extra buck to ride a charter bus from Rochester?
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  by C2629
In 1965 what was minimun wage ? Seems to me that it was somewhere around $1.25 or so. So thats 8 or 9 hours pay. Whats minimum wage today? That would give you a comparative price in todays dollars.
  by lvrr325
Probably an easy $150 or so in today's money.
  by Marty Feldner
As I remember minimum wage in '65 was closer to $1.75-$1.85. Adjusted for inflation, about $88.

Still not a bad deal...
  by C2629
I got a job in 66 and got $1.30 which was 5 cents over the then $1.25 minimum. I dont know if there was an increase from what it was in 65. What is the minimum today in NY ?
  by BR&P
To quote one of our forumites, "GTS - Google That Chit"!

Minimum wage at that time was $1.15. It went up to $1.25 as of September 3, 1965.

That $11.00 ticket would cost $88.31 today.
  by SST
I always find it interesting when people complain about cost. "I remember when coffee was 10 cents." They don't seem to know or recall that wages were nearly 10cents/hr or around there. I sure wish I had minimum wage of $15 back in my beginning. One of my first jobs was at a country club doing valet parking. $3.35/hr. Later on, I started working at the airport loading and unloading a Burlington Express B-707 [Buffalo Airways]. $6. Ha, I look back and thought that was good pay as it was above Min. Being around that 707 was always amazing.....every night. Wouldn't trade if for the world.
  by BR&P
Whether minimum wage is $1.15 or $15.00, every couple years we hear the same thing - "NOBODY can live on ___ an hour!" Smoke, mirrors, and political promises!

This looked like a decent fan trip to have taken part in - the cost (1965 dollars) was not one of the factors that caught my eye about this interesting excursion sponsored by both the Buffalo (now the
Niagara Frontier Chapter) and Rochester NRHS Chapters. This joint partnership helped with the
planning along with co-operation from the CNR.

I note that the train trip itself takes part entirely within Ontario - starting and finishing up in Fort
Erie. More than likely there could have been Customs issues in play if the trip went into Buffalo.

With the bus service being noted from Rochester, Buffalo and Jamestown it was easier to cross
through Customs in that manner or by personal vehicle back then - how strict was going across
the US/Canada border back in the 1960s documentation-wise?

On the subject of money: What was the US-Canada Dollar exchange rate like back then?
Were US dollars readily accepted in Canada for example on a fan trip such as this one?

For further information contacting either NRHS Chapter could be a start to see if anyone has any
pictures or other memorabilia from this trip. The trouble would be finding members that go back
that far and remember being on that trip...that have 50 year NRHS pins :wink:

I will add that when I did work at the NRHS National Library in Philadelphia they had a specific file
in which they kept trip flyers and other ephemera such as route itineraries from various NRHS fan
trips - that was placed into storage when it closed in February 2008. With NRHS Library's contents
going to Southern Methodist University's DeGolyer Library in Dallas, Texas information such as fan
trips of the past could hopefully again be found and researched... :-)

  by BR&P
Customs was no big deal. The officer just walked down the aisle of the bus and asked the normal "Where were you born?" stuff. As you say 50 years is a long time but I almost think they may have just hollered out "Is there anybody who is NOT a US citizen and is not going to ride the train?"

EDIT - There was another excursion the following year. Not sure which excursion it was, but the return was late. By the time the bus got to US Customs half the riders were asleep. The US Customs guy just asked if everybody was a US citizen, and was greeted by a lot of snoring. Didn't even talk to people individually. Sure would not happen like that today!
  by C2629
Mactraxx wondered how tough customs was back in the 60’s. Here an example from the summer of 1966. One evening myself and two other railfans decided to take a ride to Buffalo to check out the rail activity. After checking out a few places and still having some daylight left we decided to go to Canada and check out Ft. Erie. I had no ID other than my “police ID” which said I was old enough to drink in NY. The driver had a liscense, Im not sure what the third guy had. At any rate we pull up to Canada customs, the agent asks the “where were you born” question. We all were U.S. After that he asked where were going, the driver who had relatives that lived in Gananoque answered “Gananoque” because thats what he always said when he went through customs. For those that are not familiar with Gananoque it is on the St.Lawrence river, east of Lake Ontario. The agent then asked “how long will you be in Canada”. The response was “just this evening”. The startled agent then said something like “do you know where Gananoque is ?” Suddenly the driver realized what he said and answered something like “its up there on the river”, and kind of motioned with his arm and hand, the agent then said and “your only going for the evening?” Yes, then the agent said ok. And away we went. Can you imagine if three teenage guys tried that today, they would be out of the car and quized till dawn. Coming back into the U.S. was just a quick citizanship question and how long were you in Canada question.
  by ExCon90
I recall that it was quite common at that time for the railroad to ask whether the organizers wanted a diner on the train; if they did, the railroad would provide it on a "company enterprise" basis; i.e., no revenue guarantee required. It was not unusual for the railroad to print a special menu for the trip. Insurance? not a problem -- covered by the company's self-insurance. Those were the days -- I hope everyone enjoyed them while they lasted.