Remembering the Golden Age that Preceded Amtrak

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20th Century Rider

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If it's the Sun Lounge of the "Hollywood Beach" you desire to ride, you don't have to pay nearly that much, according to the linked brochure...
To ride in the lounge portion, its $299. per person, or if you want to ride in one of that car's bedrooms, it's $319. per person...
The lounge cars look good to me! Beautifully restored and a chance to share the experience with others 🙂

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WWW

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Sounds like an amazing fall trip in a truly beautiful part of the country. Although at $599 a pop for Chairman's class seems mucho dinero! Is that per couple or per person / and $1200 per couple$$$

Looks like beautifully restored cars:)
The fare is PER PERSON
Riding in the Chairman's car(s) maybe be a highlight lark but there are also coach and domed cars.
The Chairman fares include meal and beverage service - - -

Side note:
The Frank Thompson car was pulled and replaced with the NYC Hickory Creek -
From what I have noted the Hickory Creek and the Friends 261 Milwaukee Road Cedar Rapids will be the end cars of the consist.
One way will have the Amtrak locomotives blocking the view.

This is a 4 day event - plenty of options to find a way to take part in at least one day.
Appears that there is 3 Amtrak locomotives pulling this 18+ car consist from Huntington WV with a stop (boarding point) at Charleston and then
to the return point at Hinton following the New River (Gorge). The locomotives are repositioned from the front to the rear of train to pull it back
to Huntington. The stop turn around point at Hinton is some 4+ hours - lots of time to take in local fare activity.

Major hotels are about 8 blocks from the Huntington depot and shuttle service is planned.

Leading up to this is another rail trip called the Cincinnati Daylight Express leaving Chicago about 11 am Tuesday October 19 with the consist of
cars destined for Huntington to make up the rest of the week activity.

The Amtrak Cardinal trains 50 & 51 offer a way to connect the dots - hopefully it will be on a 7 day schedule - right now it is only on a 3 day schedule.


I am booked on both the CDE (10/19) and Thursday & Friday (10/21-22) on the ACE returning to Chicago on the Cardinal Friday night if anyone
is interested in a discussion of sorts.

I usually do a late autumn Alaska cruise in coordination with the Alaska RR but that is not happening this year of the virus.
 

Willbridge

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I had forgotten that many top trains carried an ORG aboard. Pullman cars also carried "Hotel Red Books", and Western Union Telegraph blanks, which you could send enroute.
...........................

The later merged SCL's William Rice maintained top-notch service, right up to the advent of Amtrak...the winter only Florida Special was a superb train with its candle-light dinners, and recreation car features and activities...:cool:
Was it Seaboard or ACL that used Northern Pacific cars in the winter? Or SCL?

I used the Western Union blanks a few times. This one I pdf'ed for a Western History prof who was trying to explain to his students how people communicated before the internet. Sorry I spelled the railroad president's name wrong. The middle of the night telegram likely did not have the result that I requested but it may have led to a follow-up that changed my career plans.


Rynerson1967-Biaggiani.jpg
 

WWW

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Was it Seaboard or ACL that used Northern Pacific cars in the winter? Or SCL?

I used the Western Union blanks a few times. This one I pdf'ed for a Western History prof who was trying to explain to his students how people communicated before the internet. Sorry I spelled the railroad president's name wrong. The middle of the night telegram likely did not have the result that I requested but it may have led to a follow-up that changed my career plans.


View attachment 20706
Was that $1.29 to send this telegram ?
Imagine the terrabites that $1.29 could buy in todays communications market !
 

Willbridge

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Was that $1.29 to send this telegram ?
Imagine the terrabites that $1.29 could buy in todays communications market !
Yes, you said it right! As a college student back then, it cost so much that I remember wondering if I'd gone overboard.

A few months later I tried sending a telegram to a passenger on a train and it didn't work. I knew that used to be possible but by 67-68 WU and the railways were noticeably falling apart.

The last time I sent a telegram was in Spring 1968 and I received a reply by telegram. DDD (Direct Distance Dialing) was introduced in that era and long-distance rates plunged, although just as with e-mail there were time zone advantages to sending a telegram.

In 1973-74 I worked in an office that had RCA Telex for our San Francisco<>Tokyo link and that was a superb way of working around the clock. In 1974 RCA introduced a new service, a Computer, and they could save your analog Telex message in digital form and send it later when the line was open. That was my introduction to e-mail. Noting the years in this posting, that was a relatively short time for what was a huge transition.
 
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Brings back memories...in the summer of '64, I was a bicycle messenger for Western Union...still have my yellow and black plastic badge. It was a terrible job...my route took me into a 'ghetto' neighborhood, where people often didn't have telephones, and invariably, the telegrams were sent bearing mostly bad news...especially from the Defense Dept., as the Vietnam War was ramping up...
 

Willbridge

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Brings back memories...in the summer of '64, I was a bicycle messenger for Western Union...still have my yellow and black plastic badge. It was a terrible job...my route took me into a 'ghetto' neighborhood, where people often didn't have telephones, and invariably, the telegrams were sent bearing mostly bad news...especially from the Defense Dept., as the Vietnam War was ramping up...
William Saroyan wrote about his experience in rural California in WWII as a bicycle messenger for Postal Telegraph, the "plan B" of telegraphy. He had to deliver those telegrams and it hurt.

It seems cruel now but some countries treated it with even less consideration. In my website I have pictures of the graves in Germany of unknown Soviet soldiers who left home and just never returned.
 

Bob Dylan

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The fare is PER PERSON
Riding in the Chairman's car(s) maybe be a highlight lark but there are also coach and domed cars.
The Chairman fares include meal and beverage service - - -

Side note:
The Frank Thompson car was pulled and replaced with the NYC Hickory Creek -
From what I have noted the Hickory Creek and the Friends 261 Milwaukee Road Cedar Rapids will be the end cars of the consist.
One way will have the Amtrak locomotives blocking the view.

This is a 4 day event - plenty of options to find a way to take part in at least one day.
Appears that there is 3 Amtrak locomotives pulling this 18+ car consist from Huntington WV with a stop (boarding point) at Charleston and then
to the return point at Hinton following the New River (Gorge). The locomotives are repositioned from the front to the rear of train to pull it back
to Huntington. The stop turn around point at Hinton is some 4+ hours - lots of time to take in local fare activity.

Major hotels are about 8 blocks from the Huntington depot and shuttle service is planned.

Leading up to this is another rail trip called the Cincinnati Daylight Express leaving Chicago about 11 am Tuesday October 19 with the consist of
cars destined for Huntington to make up the rest of the week activity.

The Amtrak Cardinal trains 50 & 51 offer a way to connect the dots - hopefully it will be on a 7 day schedule - right now it is only on a 3 day schedule.


I am booked on both the CDE (10/19) and Thursday & Friday (10/21-22) on the ACE returning to Chicago on the Cardinal Friday night if anyone
is interested in a discussion of sorts.

I usually do a late autumn Alaska cruise in coordination with the Alaska RR but that is not happening this year of the virus.
I wouldnt count on the Cardinal being Daily, it's a 3× a week Train and probably will stay that way even when Daily LD Service resumes.
 
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William Saroyan wrote about his experience in rural California in WWII as a bicycle messenger for Postal Telegraph, the "plan B" of telegraphy. He had to deliver those telegrams and it hurt.

It seems cruel now but some countries treated it with even less consideration. In my website I have pictures of the graves in Germany of unknown Soviet soldiers who left home and just never returned.
Dramatically portrayed in this Oscar nominated performance...thank Goodness I never had to read one for a recipient...

 

TrackWalker

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Was it Seaboard or ACL that used Northern Pacific cars in the winter? Or SCL?...
re: North Coast Limited

"Each of the 5 trainsets carried 2 of the dome sleepers, with 1 going to Seattle and 1 to Portland. In the winter, the Portland car was removed. In 1959 the dormant cars were temporarily traded for IC sleepers and ran on the Chicago - Florida IC-CofG-ACL/SCL(1967)-FEC "City of Miami" and the PRR-L&N-ACL/SCL(1967)-FEC "Southwind".

The "trading" occurred again in the 5 years 1963-1967 except that in 1963 they did not run on the "City of Miami" but ran on the IC "Panama Limited" instead.

The cars on the "Southwind" remained in NP colors, but the cars used by IC were repainted (TWICE!) each year..."

-Trainweb
 

Siegmund

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Trainwalker beat me to it. Far as I knew the sharing deal was only between NP and IC, and it was more or less coincidental that they happened to reach Florida on through service sometimes... if they operated on the South Wind and not just the IC-routed service, I learned something new today.
 
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Trainwalker beat me to it. Far as I knew the sharing deal was only between NP and IC, and it was more or less coincidental that they happened to reach Florida on through service sometimes... if they operated on the South Wind and not just the IC-routed service, I learned something new today.
Which leads me to believe it was the Pullman Company itself that made that move, or it could have been the ACL/SCL since they handled both the City of Miami, and the South Wind (and at one time also the Dixie Flagler).

The pooling of equipment was a delight for railfans of the streamliner period. It meant sometimes seeing the cars of fiercely rival carrier's like PRR and NYC being used on each other's trains...
 

Willbridge

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Which leads me to believe it was the Pullman Company itself that made that move, or it could have been the ACL/SCL since they handled both the City of Miami, and the South Wind (and at one time also the Dixie Flagler).

The pooling of equipment was a delight for railfans of the streamliner period. It meant sometimes seeing the cars of fiercely rival carrier's like PRR and NYC being used on each other's trains...
And the surplus heavyweight Pullmans turned up on excursion and troop trains. My father claimed that a 1950's excursion wasn't complete without an open section Pennsy sleeper. On the West Coast. On a Labor Day 1956 Portland<>Seaside excursion ($4.95 round-trip) my dad was on the trip committee so our family had a drawing room in a standard heavyweight lettered Western Railway of Alabama. The same train had a standard heavyweight in Armour Yellow lettered Union Pacific. A UP traffic man who was on the excursion went through the old sleeper explaining to passengers that the regular UP trains had much nicer streamlined cars.

It was so common to see a mash-up on tours of symphonies, theater road shows, etc. that in the following 1965-67 era photos I didn't try to document all the different Pullmans. However, if you look closely you can see that Portland Union Station had Eastern visitors. The GN train - including a heavyweight - is Pool 459.

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---_0276.jpg
 
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fdaley

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The discussion of telegrams above makes me think of how different the logistics of travel were in the golden age, particularly if we define that as the late '40s to late '50s. No cell phones and no Internet, of course, but there also were no ATMs -- and very few people had charge cards. Most travelers had to rely on cash and travelers checks, and this required staying within whatever budget one had set at the outset of one's trip, as getting more cash while traveling was difficult and potentially costly.

I remember my grandmother describing how she traveled by train from New Jersey to Grand Rapids MI to visit her brother in the mid-1950s (probably 1956, give or take a year). She took the Pennsylvania Railroad's Red Arrow from Newark to Detroit, then the Pere Marquette to Grand Rapids. On the return trip, she somehow missed her connection in Detroit and had to spend "half the night" at the old Fort Street station before the PRR's next departure. She wanted to let my mother, who was supposed to pick her up the next morning in Newark, know about the delay, but she could only spare enough cash to send a three-word telegram: "Wait at Newark."
 
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Willbridge

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The discussion of telegrams above makes me think of how different the logistics of travel were in the golden age, particularly if we define that as the late '40s to late '50s. No cell phones and no Internet, of course, but there also were no ATMs -- and very few people had charge cards. Most travelers had to rely on cash and travelers checks, and this required staying within whatever budget one had set at the outset of one's trip, as getting more cash while traveling was difficult and potentially costly.

I remember my grandmother describing how she traveled by train from New Jersey to Grand Rapids MI to visit her brother in the mid-1950s (probably 1956, give or take a year). She took the Pennsylvania Railroad's Red Arrow from Newark to Detroit, then the Pere Marquette to Grand Rapids. On the return trip, she somehow missed her connection in Detroit and had to spend "half the night" at the old Fort Street station before the PRR's next departure. She wanted to let my mother, who was supposed to pick her up the next morning in Newark, about the delay, but she could only spare enough cash to send a three-word telegram: "Wait at Newark."
I just unearthed my budget for attending a weekend college broadcaster conference at Stanford from Portland. It shows the train fare but I ended up sharing an overnight ride with friends (hey, college students are authorized to do risky things!) and there is a receipt attached for my share of the gas.

Traveling in Europe was even trickier in 1969-71 due to juggling advance purchases of multiple foreign currencies. I have one of my expense notebooks from those trips, kept because other guys would ask for projected costs for their leaves.

For the 1966 Intercollegiate broadcasting trip, the figures on the right are the actual.

IBS travel expense 001.jpg
 

fdaley

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I just unearthed my budget for attending a weekend college broadcaster conference at Stanford from Portland. It shows the train fare but I ended up sharing an overnight ride with friends (hey, college students are authorized to do risky things!) and there is a receipt attached for my share of the gas.

Traveling in Europe was even trickier in 1969-71 due to juggling advance purchases of multiple foreign currencies. I have one of my expense notebooks from those trips, kept because other guys would ask for projected costs for their leaves.

For the 1966 Intercollegiate broadcasting trip, the figures on the right are the actual.

View attachment 20772
It seems amazing now that you could budget $10 for a night at a hotel and $6 for an entire day's meals.
 

jis

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The Frank Thompson car was pulled and replaced with the NYC Hickory Creek -
I have ridden the Hickory Creek a couple of times on a New York - Albany - New York turn which they used to do at least once every year. It was kind of fun to ride it on its original route imagining what it must have been like for the riders of the 20th Century limited along the Hudson Valley.
 

bms

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I just unearthed my budget for attending a weekend college broadcaster conference at Stanford from Portland. It shows the train fare but I ended up sharing an overnight ride with friends (hey, college students are authorized to do risky things!) and there is a receipt attached for my share of the gas.

Traveling in Europe was even trickier in 1969-71 due to juggling advance purchases of multiple foreign currencies. I have one of my expense notebooks from those trips, kept because other guys would ask for projected costs for their leaves.

For the 1966 Intercollegiate broadcasting trip, the figures on the right are the actual.

View attachment 20772o
College expenses from a few decades later were submitted to the Student Government. I was the treasurer for a couple of years. The Trivia Team was honest and easy to deal with, and was nationally recognized. We always approved these expenses for them, because they traveled throughout the country and represented the University.
 

Willbridge

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College expenses from a few decades later were submitted to the Student Government. I was the treasurer for a couple of years. The Trivia Team was honest and easy to deal with, and was nationally recognized. We always approved these expenses for them, because they traveled throughout the country and represented the University.
The radio station had its own budget with a subsidy from the student fees. I think that our registration was paid for. The rest came out of our pockets. We stayed at Roberts-at-the-Beach in San Francisco, at the end of the L-Taraval line.

For Portlanders, San Francisco was our Paris. A couple of our group had never been there before. (I was an 'expert' by way of having made two previous trips.) Somewhat the role that New Orleans played for the South. So when the conference was over we lingered for another day. Then back onto US99. Oregon had finished I-5 but far northern California still was one lane in each direction.

Which brings us back to the thread topic. The "Golden Age" for coach and parlor car travel varied according to the status of highway construction. On our drive home we paused to take a look at this. Around Thanksgiving and year-end holidays it was not uncommon for college students pushing the envelope to have accidents or breakdowns between Oregon and California points.

---_0115k Highway hazard.jpg

---_0131k Technical Difficulties.jpg
 
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bms

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The radio station had its own budget with a subsidy from the student fees. I think that our registration was paid for. The rest came out of our pockets. We stayed at Roberts-at-the-Beach in San Francisco, at the end of the L-Taraval line.
Our college radio station WRUW was independently funded, and many of my friends hosted shows. It was totally normal to be talking with someone at a party after midnight, only to have them leave totally sober to go host their show at 2 am or whatever time they could get on.
 

Palmland

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My college radio station was definitely low power, but was fun to listen to the latest hits and occasional news. I was there, talking with a friend, when news of the Cuban missile crises came over the teletype. Not long after I saw multiple trains (tracks ran through campus) loaded with tanks and other military equipment headed to Florida from Quantico. It seemed very incongruous as they were interspersed with the Florida streamliners.
 
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