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East / West through train

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railiner

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The Chief and the Super Chief carried thru sleeper's at different times, and from different roads....
In the East, the New York Central, Pennsylvania, and Baltimore and Ohio carried various thru sleepers with various 'western' roads.
I don't believe the Jersey Central ever participated in any of this. You need to peruse some old Official Railway Guides to fully research this, or maybe find some info here...
 

Willbridge

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I pulled put a 1951 CB&Q schedule and was reminded that the cars through Chicago were a novelty even when there was still a fair amount of business travel in sleepers. The CB&Q had a single transcon sleeper line running in the California Zephyr, and east of Chicago it alternated even and odd days of the week via the Pennsy and the New York Central. There were more potential customers then who might have understood the pros and cons of all that, but not enough of them.

And you could hope that your friend in Manhattan knew which station to meet you at. I've spent enough time behind ticket counters to know how hard it is to explain something that tricky.

My understanding of this short-lived phenomenon is that it was a grudging reaction to Robert R. Young's quote that "a hog can cross the country without changing trains -- but you can't."

Robert R. Young - C&O > NYC
 

Palmland

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The Chief and the Super Chief carried thru sleeper's at different times, and from different roads....
In the East, the New York Central, Pennsylvania, and Baltimore and Ohio carried various thru sleepers with various 'western' roads.
I don't believe the Jersey Central ever participated in any of this. You need to peruse some old Official Railway Guides to fully research this, or maybe find some info here...
According to my 1954 OGR, the PRR had two daily sleepers to LA. One was via the UP City of Los Angeles and the other on the Super Chief, The NYC
had the same two a day service to LA on those trains.

The NYC and PRR also both had a one a day sleeper to San Francisco. Each road alternated each day between routing via UP- San Francisco Overland and the CZ.

The B&O had daily service from Washington via the Super Chief. That makes a total of 7 sleepers through Chicago each day to the west coast.

My first trip to New York as a kid was on the B&O. All B&O trains operated on a Reading/CNJ routing from Philadelpia to Jersey City. Then connecting buses provided the transfer via ferry to different parts of Manhattan. Not speedy, but certainly pleasant. The west coast and Texas sleepers all originated in Washington. Tough to compete with the PRR and NYC. The Jersey City terminal has been renovated and as part of Liberty State Park with a small ferry to Manhattan. Sadly, tracks are no where to be seen.

Liberty State Park
 

bms

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According to my 1954 OGR, the PRR had two daily sleepers to LA. One was via the UP City of Los Angeles and the other on the Super Chief, The NYC
had the same two a day service to LA on those trains.

The NYC and PRR also both had a one a day sleeper to San Francisco. Each road alternated each day between routing via UP- San Francisco Overland and the CZ.

The B&O had daily service from Washington via the Super Chief. That makes a total of 7 sleepers through Chicago each day to the west coast.

My first trip to New York as a kid was on the B&O. All B&O trains operated on a Reading/CNJ routing from Philadelpia to Jersey City. Then connecting buses provided the transfer via ferry to different parts of Manhattan. Not speedy, but certainly pleasant. The west coast and Texas sleepers all originated in Washington. Tough to compete with the PRR and NYC. The Jersey City terminal has been renovated and as part of Liberty State Park with a small ferry to Manhattan. Sadly, tracks are no where to be seen.

Liberty State Park
Did any of those through sleepers depart from the same Chicago station where they arrived? I'm guessing most of them had to be moved to a different station in the city.
 

railiner

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Did any of those through sleepers depart from the same Chicago station where they arrived? I'm guessing most of them had to be moved to a different station in the city.
The PRR and Burlington shared Union Station...so the CZ sleeper didn't have to change stations on the days it ran on PRR...
 
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Palmland

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The PRR and Burlington shared Union Station...so the CZ sleeper didn't have to change stations on the days it ran on PRR...
And starting one year later, in 1955, the UP started using the Milwaukee Road into Union Station for their Chicago connection. Prior to that it was the C&NW station.

Can you imagine Amtrak making all those switch moves? I wonder if many through passengers went into the city for lunch and returned to their arrival station to find their sleeper was gone. Probably most did the Parmelee Transfer first!
 

railiner

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And starting one year later, in 1955, the UP started using the Milwaukee Road into Union Station for their Chicago connection. Prior to that it was the C&NW station.

Can you imagine Amtrak making all those switch moves? I wonder if many through passengers went into the city for lunch and returned to their arrival station to find their sleeper was gone. Probably most did the Parmelee Transfer first!
I wasn’t sure if they were still running the thru sleepers when the “City” fleet switched from the North Western to the Milwaukee...
 

Palmland

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Good point, railliner. It looks like 1957 was the last year for west coast and southwest through sleepers. I remember we took my father to the airport for an overseas flight and I saw my first 707 a year or two later. Things went downhill fast from there.
 

railiner

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Good point, railliner. It looks like 1957 was the last year for west coast and southwest through sleepers. I remember we took my father to the airport for an overseas flight and I saw my first 707 a year or two later. Things went downhill fast from there.
1957? So then there must have been a year or two of the thru sleepers between the PRR and Milwaukee at Union Station..
 

Palmland

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1957? So then there must have been a year or two of the thru sleepers between the PRR and Milwaukee at Union Station..
And the answer is........

It is remarkable that as late as '57 all seven were still operating, two to the City of LA, three to the Super Chief, one to the City of SF, one to CZ (not shown). But that was the end.

That same OGR also lists airlines. American had two non stop, New York to LA named the Royal Coachman on their 'DC-7 Flagship'. The morning flight left at 9 am and arrived at 3:15 pst with a fare of $99. Believe I'll stick with the Broadway and Super Chief.

IMG_8992.jpg IMG_8991.jpg IMG_8994.jpg
 
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railiner

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Having an OGR from the streamliner era is a real educational experience...if anyone doesn't have at least one, I would strongly recommend searching the internet (ebay?) for a copy....
 

jis

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What I find somewhat illustrative is that even in the heyday of train travel there were less than a dozen through cars running coast to coast. Compare that with what amounts to an armada of non stop flights operating coast to coast. Trains really shine for serving the little towns and villages en route better, but cannot generally complete with planes on end to end LD travel. Somehow those that keep trying to diss trains quoting end to end numbers need to change their thinking and paradigm to make much sense.
 

jiml

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Having an OGR from the streamliner era is a real educational experience...if anyone doesn't have at least one, I would strongly recommend searching the internet (ebay?) for a copy....
Hard to find in both good condition and at a reasonable price. There's a reason they bring top dollar at hobbyist shows.
 

sttom

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It also must be said that the price of travel prior to the Jet Age was significantly more expensive, relatively speaking, than it is now. Taking the train cross country in a berth would run you the equivalent of $1600 round trip in a tourist berth with a "discounted" coach rate to Chicago and a flight would cost the equivalent of $4000 in 1940/late 30s prices. And a good wage for a person was $28,000 after inflation. A discounted fare would run the average person 6% of their income and 2 days travel each way. Now a days, I can fly from Oakland to New Jersey for ~$600 or about 1.5% of my annual income (pre COVID at least) and the flights combined are less than a day all together. So not only is travel far faster than it used to be, it is also far more accessible, financially at least, to more people than it used to be.
 

Cal

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Okay, first off, please don't compare Amtrak to Indian Pacific. The Indian Pacific is a true land cruise for tourists, and has funding (or else it wouldn't be able to run). Amtrak is government subsidized, public transportation.
 

Philly Amtrak Fan

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That is the biggest obstacle to this proposal. Then there is the matter of maintenance and servicing. The longer the run, the more complications from any problems.
I don't think there are enough potential through passenger's to make this really worth the effort...it would be more like a "vanity" thing...having a transcontinental train.

As a passenger, I used to welcome the change of equipment in Chicago. Back in the days of Heritage trains to Vista-Dome trains, and now from Viewliner/Amfleet to Superliner. A change of scenery in the train itself was welcome variety on a long trip...
And yet,

Texas Eagle CHI-LAX run time: 65 hr, 50 min

Capitol Limited run time: 17 hr, 40 min
Southwest Chief run time: 43 hr, 10 min
Total: 60 hr, 50 min
Add in the 6 hr, 5 min connection time as service time and you get 66 hr, 55 min

Texas Eagle CHI-LAX distance: 2728 miles

Capitol Limited+Southwest Chief = 780+2265 = 3045 miles

So 3045 miles is too much trouble but 2728 miles isn't a problem. 66 hr, 55 min would have too many issues for compounding lateness but 65 hr, 50 min, knock yourself out! Sure, makes sense.
 

MARC Rider

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And yet,

Texas Eagle CHI-LAX run time: 65 hr, 50 min

Capitol Limited run time: 17 hr, 40 min
Southwest Chief run time: 43 hr, 10 min
Total: 60 hr, 50 min
Add in the 6 hr, 5 min connection time as service time and you get 66 hr, 55 min

Texas Eagle CHI-LAX distance: 2728 miles

Capitol Limited+Southwest Chief = 780+2265 = 3045 miles

So 3045 miles is too much trouble but 2728 miles isn't a problem. 66 hr, 55 min would have too many issues for compounding lateness but 65 hr, 50 min, knock yourself out! Sure, makes sense.
Uh, the CHI-LA "Texas Eagle" is really two cars from the CHI-San Antonio Texas Eagle that are switched on to the New Orleans - LA Sunset Limited. 421/422 is not really a 2700 mile long distance train that serves Chicago and Los Angeles.
 

Cal

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Uh, the CHI-LA "Texas Eagle" is really two cars from the CHI-San Antonio Texas Eagle that are switched on to the New Orleans - LA Sunset Limited. 421/422 is not really a 2700 mile long distance train that serves Chicago and Los Angeles.
Yes, but those two cars are operated as a normal long distance train for the entire trip
 

toddinde

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For years, I have been intrigued of a coast to coast route starting in Washington and ending in LA. This would be an amazing train, and I believe it could be marketed as one of the worlds great rail journeys. Essentially, the Crescent would continue to run with Viewliners from New York to New Orleans, but Superliners would originate in Washington as this new service. The Crescent's Viewlners could be attached to the rear of this new service. The Superliners would split in Birmingham and create a new route through to Fort Worth. At Fort Worth connections could be made to the Texas Eagle and the through cars from Chicago to LA on the Eagle could get added to this new train. The train would continue to west Texas via Midland and Odessa joining the Sunset Route just east of El Paso. It would then continue on the Sunset Route to LA. This would be a three night, coast to coast run. It would also make the Texas Eagle's through Chicago-LA cars a two night run. Not only would this improve service and open up new markets, it could be marketed as one of the epic train journeys in the world.
 

toddinde

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Okay, first off, please don't compare Amtrak to Indian Pacific. The Indian Pacific is a true land cruise for tourists, and has funding (or else it wouldn't be able to run). Amtrak is government subsidized, public transportation.
I think that rail passenger service has traditionally been able to be all things to all customers in a way that no other mode can. The pre-Amtrak California Zephyr is a prime example of that. Land cruise: Yes. Transportation: Yes. It doesn't need to be an either or. But I am with you; I totally oppose turning the long distance trains into a land cruise like the Canadian. Amtrak is transportation for rural America and it needs to be.
 

Philly Amtrak Fan

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Doesn't the significant "dwell time" at San Antonio and the indirect route of the TE skew the above comparison?
The dwell time in San Antonio is 9:55pm-2:45am (4 hr, 50 min). Assuming the TE didn't dwell at all and the CL/SWC didn't stop at all in Chicago (big assumptions), that would put the run time of the TE at 61 hrs flat and the CL/SWC combo at 60 hr, 50 min so they're practically comparable time wise. the CL/SWC is longer by 317 miles but is that really a big deal once you're up to 2728 miles? If you want to say trains running three days is too long that's fine but then the TE to LA is too long. Just stop it in San Antonio and force the transfer to the Sunset Limited (maybe have a through branch starting in Dallas for the Texas people).
 
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