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Historical Amtrak service to Central Ohio

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Willbridge

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I believe the line the Cardinal uses from Indianapolis to Crawfordsville was a New York Central route that ran from Indianapolis to Pekin/Peoria, IL, and had passenger service till the mid-50s.
In the 1941 Guide reprint it had 2x daily service. And, of course, lots of connections in Peoria.
 

railiner

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Lots of good examples above. One thing that makes the Port Road unique is, I don’t believe it ever had passenger service prior to Amtrak, while the others did...
 

Willbridge

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Nice job on the recap, Seaboard. Those were the days.



How many other routes were freight only before Amtrak began operating a passenger train?.

This was former C&O freight only trackage Chicago to Cincinnati. I rode it once from Peru, IN to Baltimore in 1984. I had to board late at night and missed a famous high bridge on the approach to Cincinnati In early morning hours.
As with a lot of lines it wasn't always freight only. The last C&O passenger local on that line didn't pull into Chicago. Its northern terminal was in Hammond.
 

Willbridge

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The most amazing one to me is the Downeaster route north of Haverhill, which returned as a full-fledged corridor after 35-plus years as a freight-only route. Most of the others I can think of were, like the already-discussed Port Road and the C&O route through Peru, IN, essentially long-term/permanent detours that were made necessary when the traditional or direct route was downgraded or abandoned:
-- the Silver Star/Carolinian route between Raleigh and Selma (replacing the old Seaboard line through Henderson);
-- the City of New Orleans route through Yazoo City (replacing the old Illinois Central line from Memphis to Jackson);
-- the Sunset Limited route through Maricopa (replacing the line through Phoenix).

There were also some routes where passenger service went dark for a few years in the '70s and then returned, including the Lake Shore route west of Buffalo, the Adirondack route north of Albany and the Boston & Albany route west of Worcester, plus the Montrealer/Vermonter line north of Springfield.

And there was a period beginning in 1989 when the Montrealer was shifted onto the Central Vermont line from East Northfield, Mass., to New London, CT, which had been freight-only for many years,
Plus big chunks for the Pioneer and Desert Wind.
 

fdaley

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Lots of good examples above. One thing that makes the Port Road unique is, I don’t believe it ever had passenger service prior to Amtrak, while the others did...
I had to go back to my 1916 Official Guide reprint, but I did find that at that point there were a half-dozen passenger runs per day between Perryville and Octararo (a couple of which went as far as Conowingo), and two that proceeded all the way to Columbia PA. But it looks like all of this was gone before the Depression, so it really was freight only for decades before Amtrak showed up in the '70s. I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to ride it before it disappeared from the Amtrak map.
 

fdaley

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Plus big chunks for the Pioneer and Desert Wind.
Yes, those are big chunks of track that were freight only for a time before they were revived. And there's the on-and-off-again UP route across southern Wyoming, plus the North Coast Hiawatha route, which had been freight only for a time before Amtrak revived it in the early '70s -- and where I gather there is some effort to restore service now.
 

railiner

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I had to go back to my 1916 Official Guide reprint, but I did find that at that point there were a half-dozen passenger runs per day between Perryville and Octararo (a couple of which went as far as Conowingo), and two that proceeded all the way to Columbia PA. But it looks like all of this was gone before the Depression, so it really was freight only for decades before Amtrak showed up in the '70s. I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to ride it before it disappeared from the Amtrak map.
Good research!!
Amtrak did revive it for an Autumn Excursion a few years ago which covered lots of freight only mileage.
I sure do miss those...I rode all of them.😎
 

Willbridge

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The most obvious one of those was the PRR “Port Road” between Baltimore and Harrisburg, branching off the NEC at Perryville. The Washington section of The Broadway Limited and the National Limited were routed that way for a while, since the former Northern Central line thru York was eliminated...
I just looked up the Port Road line in the 1916 Guide reprint. We can all be disgusted to know that it had multiple daily locals running Columbia<>Perryville via Safe Harbor and Philadelphia<>Perryville via Media. And a couple of times a day a Philadelphia<>Harrisburg local deviated via Columbia. The focus was on Philadelphia on all these schedules, with secondary connections to Baltimore and Washington.
 

Willbridge

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Going back to the Midwest it's useful to note how much of the "steam" network had competition from the electric interurban lines. I see that fdaley has the 1916 Guide reprint, too. It's chock full of competing interurbans and waterways. [That year's Guide reprint is important because it's just before the USRRA deleted some of the wilder route duplications and low-productivity diners and sleepers. It also coincides with the beginning of many state highway programs, which first killed duplicative branch lines, interurbans and small waterways operators.]

TW17Aug29-01.jpg
 

railiner

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I just looked up the Port Road line in the 1916 Guide reprint. We can all be disgusted to know that it had multiple daily locals running Columbia<>Perryville via Safe Harbor and Philadelphia<>Perryville via Media. And a couple of times a day a Philadelphia<>Harrisburg local deviated via Columbia. The focus was on Philadelphia on all these schedules, with secondary connections to Baltimore and Washington.
More good research!
Thanks!🙂
 

railiner

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Going back to the Midwest it's useful to note how much of the "steam" network had competition from the electric interurban lines. I see that fdaley has the 1916 Guide reprint, too. It's chock full of competing interurbans and waterways. [That year's Guide reprint is important because it's just before the USRRA deleted some of the wilder route duplications and low-productivity diners and sleepers. It also coincides with the beginning of many state highway programs, which first killed duplicative branch lines, interurbans and small waterways operators.]

View attachment 19640
Didn’t “E M Frimbo”, attempt to travel coast-to-coast via interurban’s?

My kind of quest....😉😎
 

Palmland

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and Philadelphia<>Perryville via Media.
I grew up on that line In the small town of Mendenhall. It had a regular daily freight and during WWII with gas rationing my parents took that to Philly changing at Media. I only remember the one occasion seeing a FM Trainmaster that brought in a train fulll of the Philadelphia orchestra for a concert at Longwood Gardens.
 
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bms

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Does anyone have knowledge of the current tracks between Columbus and Pittsburgh? Are there any tracks that could support 79 mph passenger service?
 

railiner

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I believe parts of the original PRR 'Panhandle line are gone...other parts remain, but are downgraded. There are alternate routes available around this, but not as direct.
 

librarian

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Does anyone have knowledge of the current tracks between Columbus and Pittsburgh? Are there any tracks that could support 79 mph passenger service?
The Panhandle Line from Weirton, WV to Pittsburgh, PA is gone. Most of it is a trail. The bridge in Pittsburgh is now a local transit system. From Columbus, OH to Steubenville, OH the Panhandle Line is now single track for freight.
 

Willbridge

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My recollection from reading his book All Aboard was that it was from NYC to Chicago by interurban.

There were some interurbans with sleepers in Indiana, as well as dining cars. (On the Indiana Interstate line). That must have been quite an experience.
It was NYC to Chicago. The journey has been written up by several people.

The Oregon Electric Railway had Portland<>Eugene sleepers and parlor-lounge observation cars. The sleepers were bought in anticipation of extensions south to meet up with the Sacramento Northern. The PDX<>EUG service was rather clever. The typical last local from Portland tied up at Albany for a couple of hours and then continued into Eugene as the first morning local. Northbound they waited in Salem to become the first suburban train into Portland.

As the network map that I uploaded shows, that would have been possible on a number of midwestern city pairs. However, ownership was divided in many cases and the steam road network offered more competition than in the West. The lengthy Illinois Terminal network had a couple of routes on which steam road competition was indirect, so they had nine sleepers in their fleet (8 to cover schedules and one spare).
 

dlagrua

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The Broadway Ltd traveled a more Southern route than the existing NY and WAS to CHI trains. After departing
Pittsburgh, it stopped in Ohio at Youngstown, Akron/Canton, Fostoria/Lima and then going through Indiana at Ft Wayne before crossing the state. Much of that former Pennsylvania mainline was restored a few years ago by Norfolk Southern RR and could potentially be another NY or PH -CHI Amtrak route
 

railbuck

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The Broadway Ltd traveled a more Southern route than the existing NY and WAS to CHI trains. After departing Pittsburgh, it stopped in Ohio at Youngstown, Akron/Canton, Fostoria/Lima and then going through Indiana at Ft Wayne before crossing the state. Much of that former Pennsylvania mainline was restored a few years ago by Norfolk Southern RR and could potentially be another NY or PH -CHI Amtrak route
For clarity, there are actually two Broadway routes west of Pittsburgh. The original PRR route was Canton, Crestline, Lima, and Ft. Wayne. The 1990 reroute of the Broadway to the B&O line included Akron, Fostoria, Garrett (dropped when the Three Rivers started), and Nappanee. It's the old PRR that has been upgraded somewhat from its previously neglected condition. The B&O route, now CSX, is in better shape but has a lot of freight traffic.
 
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