• Passenger Train Time Traveler

  • This forum is for discussion of "Fallen Flag" roads not otherwise provided with a specific forum. Fallen Flags are roads that no longer operate, went bankrupt, or were acquired or merged out of existence.
This forum is for discussion of "Fallen Flag" roads not otherwise provided with a specific forum. Fallen Flags are roads that no longer operate, went bankrupt, or were acquired or merged out of existence.

Moderator: Nicolai3985

  by Richard Y
Those of you living in some of the western states are, no doubt, aware of the hardware store franchise, "Orchard Supply Hardware". OSH puts out a really great train calendar, each year. The month of March has a beautiful illustration showing the Olympian Hiawatha pulling into Seattle's Union Station. I would think, if I could travel back in time, the Olympian Hiawatha run from Chicago to Seattle, in the early 1950's, would be high on my list as far as train trips are concerned.
It got me thinking...if you could travel back in time, what passenger trains would you ride and during what era would you ride them?

Here is my list:

10. The Califorinia Limited (Santa Fe RR), Chicago to LA, 1890's

9. The "Buffalo Bill" (Colorado & Sourthern RR), between Denver, Co and Cody, Wyo (east entrance to Yellowstone Park). 1930's

8. The "Capital Limited" (Baltimore & Ohio RR), from Chicago to Washington, DC, early 1930's.

7. The "Oriental Limited" (Greath Northern RR), 1920's.

6. The "Broadway Limited", (Pennsylvania RR) from New York City to Chicago, 1920's.

5. The "Twentieth Century" (New York Central), streamliner, from New York to Chicago, 1940's.

4. The "Florida Special" from New York City to Miami, 1890's and 1920's.

3. The "Olympian Hiawatha", from Chicago to Seattle, early 1950s.

2. The Sante Fe "Super Chief " , from Chicago to LA, 1940's.

1. The "Empire Builder" (Greath Northern RR) from Chicago to Seattle, mid 1950's.
  by bill haithcoat
An interesting question.

I don't necessarily have too much of a list, though just recently I have been reminded of the old Kansas City Florida Special, an unusual route for a full through train. Would like to have been in its sleeper on a cold night in Kansas City, knowing two afternoons away I would be in warm Miami.

One of my fantasies is simply to have ridden some of the trains I rode for their full route and not just part of the way. Let me explain. I grew up in Chattanooga, TN. and few trains originated there. So, rather than ride the Pelican, say, from Chattanooga to New Orleans it would have have been neat to ride it all the way form NY to NOL.

When I was young, I was such an "elitist" about streamliners, wish I had ridden some of the non-streamliners more (not instead of the streamliners but in addition to ) and gotten a taste, say, of the old heavyweight pullmans. I regret not riding more in them. Their look so charming and fascinating today as I see them in museums.

  by Aa3rt
Richard, thanks for initiating a thought provoking topic!

You've listed an impressive roster of trains. However, even as a child I was never really impressed with the big "name trains". Oh sure, it was always fun when I was in Jamestown, NY visiting my grandparents to see the revived Phoebe Snow on its' daylight runs between New York and Chicago, but I'll have to admit that the obscure little locals and mixed trains to "nowhere" somehow have a strong appeal to me. Having been born in 1953, I missed most of these railroads/trains and my desire to travel these routes is based on what I've read about them.

Here's my eclectic listing of "trains I wish I could have ridden":

10. Rapid City, Black Hills & Western in South Dakota.

9. East Broad Top-the whole line from Mt. Union to Robertsdale.

8. Huntingdon & Broad Top Mountain.

7. Jamestown, Westfield & North Western-interurban line in western New
York State.

6. Buffalo & Susquehanna over the switchbacks south of Galeton.

5. Pennsylvania Railroad's Popes Creek subdivision from Baltimore to
Popes Creek through my adopted home town.

4. Erie Lackawanna's Owl/New York Mail between New York & Buffalo.
(This one was discontinued when I was in high school. Alas, I was "too
young" for my parents to allow such a journey.)

3. Coudersport & Port Allegheny-the line between Port Allegheny and
Coudersport was severed by a flood during WWII and never rebuilt.
This is particulary intriguing as the C&PA crossed the B&S, later the
WAG, at grade at Newfield Junction, PA, literally in the middle
of "nowhere".

2. Susquehanna & New York between Williamsport & Towanda, PA. This
line ceased operation in 1942 but operated mixed train service until the

1. Pennsylvania's Buffalo/Washington Day Express between the
namesake cities. Let's throw in the connecting train between Erie and
Emporium, PA as well. I would have love to have ridden this one in the
post war era when steam was still being used, head end traffic was
heavy and the train still provided dining car service. The drive along
the West Branch of the Susquehanna River is spectacular with the PRR
and Pennsylvania Route 120 competing for space in the river valley-I
can only imagine what a remarkable train ride it would have been.
(This service ended on "A Day" in 1971, having been diminished to a
single coach travelling north and southbound on alternating days. If it
was still in existence I'd take it on my visits to my boyhood home in
northwest PA and avoid that damnable Washington Beltway.)

So there's my list-and with a couple of exceptions I've limited myself to the areas of western New York and northwestern PA where I grew up. Still there was some fascinating railroading and I only wish it had lasted long enough for me to see it.

  by Richard Y
Bill: Can't find anything on the "Pelican" in my references. Yes, I know what you mean about taking the entire train from NY to New Orleans. I have taken western portions of the Empire Builder and the Canadian VIA from Jasper to Vancouver..I would like, someday, to take the EB from Chicago to Seattle and the VIA from Toronto to Vancouver.
Art: Your list must have some very regional railroads..I could find few in what train references I have. I did find some information on the "Lackawanna Limited"..one book has a nice picture of the Lackawanna unloading at a station in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1900. It also had a picture of the Lackawanna logo..."Miss Phoebe" [ "Devoid of fear with roadbed clear, Miss Phoebe with the engineer, Notes green and white of signal light, 'Tis the safe road of anthacite"]. I guess the Lackawanna was quite a train in its day.
My main reference book is my "bible" ..."The Trains We Rode" by Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg. A very large book with hundreds of photos for trains from the late 1800's through the 1940's. My edition is from 1966. It is now out of print.

  by AmtrakFan
Top 10
10. City of Portland 1950's and 60's
9. Broadway Limited the 50's
8. 20Th Century Limited in the 40's and 50's
7. Olympian Hiawahta 50's
6. Champion 50's
5. City of New Orelans 50's
4. Super Chief 1950's
3. Denver Zeyper 1950's
2. California Zeypher 1950's
1. Empire Builder 1950's
  by bill haithcoat
Richard, the Pelican was a Southern Railroad train. Its through pullmans operated PRR from NY to Wash, then Southern from Wash to Monroe, Va., then Norfolk & Western to Bristol. Then, at Bristol, back to Southern RR all the way to NOL.

  by CarterB
Add to that list:
IC Panama Ltd Chg/NO 1950s
IC City of Miami Chg/Miami 1950s
N&W Pocohantas and Powatan Arrow under steam late 40s 50s Cincy/Norfolk
Wabash Blue Bird and Banner Blue 50s Chg/StL
C&O/B&O George Washington DC/StL 50s
L&N Pan American Cinci/NO late40s 50s.

In the days of steam, certainly the Broadway Ltd. 20th Century Ltd, B&O Royal Blue, CNJ Blue Comet, the seasonal Bar Harbor Express from Philly to Ellsworth, ME.
Under miles of wire on the Milw Olympian Hiawatha with the skytop lounge obs cars. Chgo-Seattle.

Narrow guage the D&RGW Durango to Farmington and Antonito.
and the Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes in Maine

  by ngotwalt
There is my top ten, needed to throw in a solid heavyweight train in the top end.

10. Royal Gorge
9. Panama Limited
8. Silver Meteor
7. Empire Builder
6. Super Chief
5. North Coast Limited
4. Olympian Hiawatha
3. Broadway Limited
2. Exposition Flyer
1. California Zephyr