Discussion of train names

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TheCrescent

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This is minor, but some train names aren’t the best for marketing.

For example, the names “Silver Meteor” and “Silver Star” don’t indicate Florida at all. Yes, those are famous names to railfans, but wouldn’t some other names be better, such as the “Florida Special”?

The worst train name of all time has to be the “Spirit of St. Louis”, named after an airplane, its competitor.
 

Bob Dylan

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This is minor, but some train names aren’t the best for marketing.

For example, the names “Silver Meteor” and “Silver Star” don’t indicate Florida at all. Yes, those are famous names to railfans, but wouldn’t some other names be better, such as the “Florida Special”?

The worst train name of all time has to be the “Spirit of St. Louis”, named after an airplane, its competitor.
My favorite name for a Florida Train was " The Orange Blossom Special".

The Train Name that most accurately described its Route was UPs " City of Everywhere".
 

joelkfla

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This is minor, but some train names aren’t the best for marketing.

For example, the names “Silver Meteor” and “Silver Star” don’t indicate Florida at all. Yes, those are famous names to railfans, but wouldn’t some other names be better, such as the “Florida Special”?

The worst train name of all time has to be the “Spirit of St. Louis”, named after an airplane, its competitor.
I don't think anyone other than a railfan gives a hoot what a train is called. They'll just plug in their trip start and end points and see what comes up.

I can't recall ever seeing Amtrak advertise a specific train by name on media. If they throw up a blurb on the website, they might mention the name, but they'll also give some idea of where it runs.
 

TheCrescent

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I don't think anyone other than a railfan gives a hoot what a train is called. They'll just plug in their trip start and end points and see what comes up.

I can't recall ever seeing Amtrak advertise a specific train by name on media. If they throw up a blurb on the website, they might mention the name, but they'll also give some idea of where it runs.
Amtrak markets the Auto-Train by name. Maybe calling it the “Silver Whatever” might not affect ridership much, but the name probably helps a little.
 

Northwestern

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My favorite name for a Florida Train was " The Orange Blossom Special".

The Train Name that most accurately described its Route was UPs " City of Everywhere".
The Seaboard Airline all-Pullman "Orange Blossom Special, according to Beebe/Clegg, was one the most prestigious passenger trains ever.


My favorite name for a train was CB&Q's "Nightcrawler", which ran from Billings to Casper to Cheyenne to Denver. It would be nice to have an Amtrak train run a north-south route in the midwest.
 
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MccfamschoolMom

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The Seaboard Airline all-Pullman "Orange Blossom Special, according to Beebe/Clegg, was on the most prestigious passenger trains ever.


My favorite name for a train was CB&Q's "Nightcrawler", which ran from Billings to Casper to Cheyenne to Denver. It would be nice to have an Amtrak train run a north-south route in the midwest.
An example of such a north-south route would be Minneapolis/St. Paul to Duluth (one I heard about when my daughter was applying for a job in Superior, WI); another would be Fargo, ND to Kansas City, MO (a route I traveled by car with some friends once in college).
 
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This is minor, but some train names aren’t the best for marketing.

For example, the names “Silver Meteor” and “Silver Star” don’t indicate Florida at all. Yes, those are famous names to railfans, but wouldn’t some other names be better, such as the “Florida Special”?

The worst train name of all time has to be the “Spirit of St. Louis”, named after an airplane, its competitor.
The Spirit of Saint Louis was indeed a airplane. In no way was it in competition with rail service.
 

TheCrescent

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The Spirit of Saint Louis was indeed a airplane. In no way was it in competition with rail service.
Yes, it was an airplane, but it was also an Amtrak (and Pennsylvania Railroad and Penn Central) train that was named after the airplane.

That’s like Amtrak naming a train “The Concorde” or “Boeing 787”.
 

zephyr17

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Yes, it was an airplane, but it was also an Amtrak (and Pennsylvania Railroad and Penn Central) train that was named after the airplane.

That’s like Amtrak naming a train “The Concorde” or “Boeing 787”.
I think it is more parallel to naming a train something like Apollo 11. It was named after a feat of technology of the time.

Lindbergh's plane did not carry passengers. Heck, it barely carried him with enough fuel.
 

zephyr17

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I am just happy Amtrak retained names. Look at VIA, the only train names they retained is the Canadian and the Ocean. Everything else is "Jasper - Prince Rupert train " or "Winnipeg - Churchill train". Sure, the Skeena or Hudson Bay train names are used informally by many, but never by VIA itself.

I'll take the "Silver Meteor" or "Silver Star" over "New York - Miami train" any day of the week.
 

railiner

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My favorite name for a Florida Train was " The Orange Blossom Special".

The Train Name that most accurately described its Route was UPs " City of Everywhere".
Agree on The Orange Blossom Special!

"City of Everywhere" was not real...just railfan nickname for the remaining UP combined "Cities" train...
 

TheCrescent

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I am just happy Amtrak retained names. Look at VIA, the only train names they retained is the Canadian and the Ocean. Everything else is "Jasper - Prince Rupert train " or "Winnipeg - Churchill train". Sure, the Skeena or Hudson Bay train names are used informally by many, but never by VIA itself.

I'll take the "Silver Meteor" or "Silver Star" over "New York - Miami train" any day of the week.
Agreed although I’d like for Amtrak to give names to its new trains too, instead of “______ Service”.
 
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Yes, it was an airplane, but it was also an Amtrak (and Pennsylvania Railroad and Penn Central) train that was named after the airplane.

That’s like Amtrak naming a train “The Concorde” or “Boeing 787”.
I don’t want to sound confrontational. My thought is the Spirit of Saint Louis was like a living creature involved in a happening that everyone wanted a part of.
 

railiner

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I think it is more parallel to naming a train something like Apollo 11. It was named after a feat of technology of the time.

Lindbergh's plane did not carry passengers. Heck, it barely carried him with enough fuel.
Agreed...everyone wanted to be associated with "Lucky Lindy", and his heroic feat. Besides, it was just a few years later that the PRR helped promote the fledgling air line service, by teaming up with Transcontinental Air Transport (TWA predecessor), and the ATSF Railway for the joint air-rail coast-to-coast service. PRR's overnight portion from New York to Port Columbus was named "The Airway Limited"...
And other railways also got in on the action...the NYC, and UP teamed up with UAL's predessor's with a similar operation. Some railroads tried to get into the airline business, but the Civil Aeronautics Board predecessor frowned on that, and would not allow it. Just as the ICC forced railroads to divest most of their intercity bus operations.

It is really ironic how railroads promoted their future arch rival's. Southern Railway especially, helped push the development of the national network of highways, with things like its "Good Roads" train...
 
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TheCrescent

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Name-wise, the Silver Star/Meteor are perfect. They have the image of speed, and hence, being on-time (joke). The Crescent is a type of roll, but I don't remember them being served on our trip to NO.
Fair enough. I think that the Crescent is named after the Crescent City (New Orleans).

Another terrible train name: the Mule. Named after a relatively slow alternate means of transportation (mules)?
 

jimdex

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Yes, it was an airplane, but it was also an Amtrak (and Pennsylvania Railroad and Penn Central) train that was named after the airplane.

That’s like Amtrak naming a train “The Concorde” or “Boeing 787”.
If memory serves me, Amtrak did not use the "Spirt of St. Louis" name. The story goes that by the time Amtrak took over, Penn Central's "Spirit of St. Louis" had such a bad reputation that Amtrak decided to call the train the National Limited, which was originally the name of the B&O's New York-St. Louis train.
 

railiner

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If memory serves me, Amtrak did not use the "Spirt of St. Louis" name. The story goes that by the time Amtrak took over, Penn Central's "Spirit of St. Louis" had such a bad reputation that Amtrak decided to call the train the National Limited, which was originally the name of the B&O's New York-St. Louis train.
Correct. And the National Limited name choice, although it did not travel over any portion of the B&O, did indeed have 'national' implications, since it was extended on to Kansas City, directly served five state capitols, and gained a coast-to-coast thru sleeper to Los Angeles.🙂
 

zephyr17

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If memory serves me, Amtrak did not use the "Spirt of St. Louis" name. The story goes that by the time Amtrak took over, Penn Central's "Spirit of St. Louis" had such a bad reputation that Amtrak decided to call the train the National Limited, which was originally the name of the B&O's New York-St. Louis train.
Amtrak's National Limited was a actually a Kansas City-New York train and had an LA-New York sleeper that was cut off the Super Chief/Southwest Limited that went through to New York on the National Limited. A worthy idea and one of the very few service improvements brought by AmDay.

So the fact that starting on AmDay the train no longer terminated in St. Louis may have been a factor in dropping the "Spirt of St. Louis" name. Amtrak was not shy about putting a train name on a service that was on a completely different route and railroad from the one originally holding the name.
 

railiner

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Amtrak was not shy about putting a train name on a service that was on a completely different route and railroad from the one originally holding the name.
Agreed. In turnabout is fair play, Amtrak for a time, rerouted its Broadway Limited (former PRR) over the former B&O between Pittsburgh and Chicago, as well as running the Capitol Limited (former B&O) over the former PRR and NYC between Pittsburgh and Chicago.
They ran the Empire Builder over the former Milwaukee between St. Paul and Chicago, as well as the North Coast Hiawatha over that and the former NP between St. Paul and Spokane. The Silver Meteor, an original SAL train, was routed over the former ACL, Richmond to Savannah....



That said, Amtrak did keep most named trains on their traditional routes.
 
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Thee was a ( Burligton airlines ) BN freight airline but have no idea of what if any relationship other than naming rights. One base was out of Toledo airport.
Back in the late 1980s we used to ship water samples to the lab using Burlington Northern Air Express before our agency got a contract with FedEx. They only had service to BWI and we were sampling on the Eastern Shore, so we had to save all of our samples from the week and ship them out when we returned to the office when we drove by BWI. I think I remember a Burlington Northern railroad calendar handing on the wall in the office where we dropped our shipment.
 

Joe from PA

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Speaking of the Broadway Limited. Because NYC was the first or last stop, the news media took the original train name "Broad Way Limited", and kept calling it "Broadway". In doing that, people thought the train was named after the famous street in NYC. In fact, the PRR named it because 4 tracks ran this route, and compared to 2-track routes, it was a broad way. This way, the Limited had the inner two tracks clear all the way.
 

Northwestern

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An example of such a north-south route would be Minneapolis/St. Paul to Duluth (one I heard about when my daughter was applying for a job in Superior, WI); another would be Fargo, ND to Kansas City, MO (a route I traveled by car with some friends once in college).
I see Minnesota has killed the proposed "Northern Lights Express" train from Duluth to St. Paul/Minneapolis:

 
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