Fifteen Thousand Miles a Day Scheduled at Sixty Miles an Hour
SOME SPEED GIANTS of America are seen in this illustration, taken in the Chicago yards. From left to right they are the “Hiawatha”, streamlined steam locomotive of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St Paul and Pacific Railroad, the “400” of the Chicago and North Western line, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad’s “Zephyr”, and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s “Abraham Lincoln”.
MANY people have the impression that the Americans experience very little in the way of high speed on their railways. Those who hold such an opinion might be surprised to hear that in the United States runs aggregating over fifteen thousand miles in length are booked daily to be covered at speeds of sixty miles an hour and more from start to stop; and their number is constantly increasing. Further, the fastest scheduled run in the world with steam as the motive power is now being made daily on American metals.
Some of these incorrect ideas, no doubt, have arisen out of the stories that circulated in some British newspapers after the return to England of British engines which, during recent years, have travelled across the Atlantic for exhibition purposes. In 1927 the Great Western Railway sent their four-
Again, when “Royal Scot” of the LMS returned to England in 1932, after its triumphant tour across North America and back, the British public was told that no express train in America travelled at over forty miles an hour, because “Royal Scot” was limited to that speed on many of the main line routes over which the engine ran. Again the explanation was simple. The locomotives of the kind concerned are fitted with “automatic traffic control” (or, for short, “ATC”) equipment, whereby the position of the signals is repeated in the engine-
Another fact stressed in the newspapers after the return of “Royal Scot” was that the British locomotive had worked its train without assistance from Vancouver right up to the summit of the Kicking Horse Pass, 5,329 ft above sea-
Nevertheless, though ahead of Britain in some respects concerning the working of express trains, in other ways American railways lag behind. Not only do the vast majority of American roads cross the railways on the level, but there are also innumerable places where the railways cross one another on the level instead of by overbridge or underbridge. Many of these crossings require reductions of speed to sixty or fifty miles an hour. The great freight yards outside American cities have often to be threaded by passenger trains at very low speeds. Even worse handicaps are presented by the lines through such cities as Syracuse, where the busy, main line of the New York Central from New York to Chicago is carried up the main street for a mile, to the “depot”, or station, with the trains travelling at no more than fifteen miles an hour, and the engines mournfully tolling their great bells to warn street traffic to keep clear. Millions of dollars are being expended by the New York Central Lines to remove this anachronism by raising the line to viaduct level.
THE “TWENTIETH CENTURY LIMITED” at speed, along the shores of the River Hudson, from which the standard “Hudson” (4-
When such hindrances as these are taken into account, it will be realized that a high speed is needed between slacks to permit the overall maintenance of reasonably high average speeds over long distances. Exceptional powers of acceleration from slowings are also needed by the locomotives. This fact, together with the enormous weight of the trains, explains the vast development of locomotive power in America, where the largest express locomotive types are twice the weight, size, and tractive power of the biggest engines in Great Britain.
Most of the speed developments in America have been the outcome of competition. Between many of the great American cities two or three routes, under different ownerships, are in operation, and at various periods of American railway history competitive time-
The result has been to produce, in the year 1935, the most remarkable wave of railway acceleration on record. Many different parts of the United States are affected by these vigorous speedings-
Perhaps the best known of all passenger train rivalry in the USA is the time-
The Pennsylvania Railroad has the advantage in distance with a route 902½ miles in length. But it leads through the heart of the Allegheny Mountains, and at Gallitzin, twelve miles west of Altoona, passes over a summit no less than 2,194 ft above sea-
The New York Central, however, has for its slogan “Water Level Route -
This is a more circuitous course, measuring 958.7 miles in all, but the level character permits high speed to be sustained over most of the journey, except through the great cities of Buffalo and Cleveland, and, for reasons previously mentioned, through Syracuse.
For many years the two crack competing expresses between New York and Chicago have been the “Twentieth Century Limited” of the New York Central, and the “Broadway Limited” of the Pennsylvania, composed exclusively of luxurious Pullman cars. For the special amenities of these flyers, in addition to the fare and Pullman supplement, a “service charge” is made, which in 1935 was reduced from ten to seven and a half dollars (approximately £2 to £1.10.0).
Twenty hours was for many years the running time of the “Broadway” and the “Century”, except during a brief period when a schedule of eighteen hours was tried. But it proved too exacting for the engines of the day, and after a disastrous accident to one of the trains it was abandoned. In 1932, however, the eighteen-
For reasons already given much higher speeds must prevail over certain sections of each route. Between New York and Paoli, on the farther side of Philadelphia (106.3 miles), the traction is now electric; and powerful streamlined electric locomotives take the “Broadway Limited” over the 75.7 miles between Newark, just outside New York, and Philadelphia North in 75 minutes. But steam beats electricity on the “Broadway’s” daily journey. For it is booked on the eastbound run to cover the 140.9 miles from Englewood, a suburb of Chicago, to Fort Wayne in 131 minutes, at an average of 64.5 miles per hour from start-
Between Fort Wayne and Chicago other and considerably faster runs are made daily over the Pennsylvania. Chief among them is a Chicago-
Another quick run of the many in this area is made by the “Union”, from Cincinnati to Chicago, which runs from Fort Wayne to Englewood, 140.9 miles, in 133 minutes, three stops included. From Fort Wayne to Plymouth the 64.2 miles are allowed only 54 minutes, at a start-
THE “INTERNATIONAL LIMITED” of the Canadian National Railways at full speed. At the height of the speed competition between the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Railways, this train was booked to run the 334 miles between Montreal and Toronto in six hours; but the traffic has now been pooled, and the time has been extended to six and a half hours.
On the New York Central, the fastest running is similarly made in the flat country along the south shore of Lake Erie, between Buffalo, Cleveland, and Toledo, and onwards through Elkhart to Chicago. The eastbound “Twentieth Century Limited” has to cover the 227.9 miles from Englewood (Chicago) to Toledo in 222 minutes, inclusive of a stop at Elkhart. Another very fast train is the “Commodore Vanderbilt”, also from Chicago to New York. This covers the 133 miles from Elkhart to Toledo in 125 minutes, while in the other direction the “Lake Shore Limited” accomplishes the 123.1 miles from Toledo to Goshen in 115 minutes, at a scheduled speed of 64.2 miles an hour.
Between Buffalo and Cleveland the longest non-
So remarkable has been the 1935 speed-
An alternative route of the New York Central is used by certain of the Chicago expresses, taking the north side of Lake Erie from Buffalo, and so through a corner of Canada to Windsor, after which the Detroit River is crossed to Detroit, and the run is continued on USA territory to Chicago. The lines concerned belong to the Michigan Central Railroad, a subsidiary of the New York Central. This section is noted not only for its high speed -
“ABRAHAM LINCOLN”, one of the new high-
On the “Twentieth Century Limited”, and other expresses nearly as fast, loads exceeding a thousand tons in weight are not uncommon. They are hauled by the magnificent “Hudson” type 4-
Ninety Miles an Hour
Another historic competition has for many years taken place between the Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad, or the “Reading” for short, for the traffic between New York and Philadelphia, and between both these cities and the popular resorts of the Atlantic coast.
It was the Reading Company that here established what for a considerable time was the world’s fastest railway run. Phila-
The train was an amazingly good time-
Speeds of 90 miles and over were common, and the fastest time on record -
Now, however, the Pennsylvania and the Reading have joined forces, and consolidated their city-
Other very fast trains of both companies connect New York and Philadelphia every hour in either direction. For the Reading Company this means that the 49.2 miles between Bound Brook and Jenkintown must be covered in a standard hourly time of 49 minutes in one direction, and 50 minutes in the other, every run including an intermediate stop at West Trenton. All the short runs on this service must thus be reeled off at start-
“FLYING YANKEE” is the Boston and Maine Railroad’s new three-
As for the Pennsylvania, a procession of flying expresses, day and night, travels to and from all parts of the Middle West, the western, and the southern states, and occupies the main line between New York and Philadelphia. This is easily the busiest main route in the world. Between Newark and North Philadelphia, thirty-
This electric speed-
This brings us back to Chicago, and to what, in 1935, proved the most exciting burst of competition in speed that America had ever known. The exploits of a Diesel train were again responsible for precipitating an advance in speed so great that it has cut ten-
First of all the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad built a Diesel-
But the competitors decided to get ahead of their rivals, and to demonstrate what could be done with steam. First of all, the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific staged a journey with a 4-
DIESEL PROPULSION is seen in the new “City of Portland” express of the Union Pacific Railroad, which is now in service between Chicago and Portland, on the Pacific coast. This six-
Then the Chicago and North Western quietly stepped in, and, in fact, got a substantial lead over its competitors. On January 2nd, 1935, a new express, called “The 400”, was introduced, the name being derived from the fact that four hundred miles of its daily journey were to be covered at a mile a minute. The 85 miles between Chicago and Milwaukee were booked to be covered in 80 minutes, and the 408.6 miles between Chicago and St. Paul, stops included, in seven hours. Reliance was placed on existing “Pacific” locomotives, three of which were rebuilt with higher pressure, oil-
No Seats for Passengers
Again the public response was immediate. Each three-
A new type of coach, reduced one-
ELECTRICITY plays a prominent part in express train operation in the eastern states of America. The Pennsylvania Railroad has now electrified its main line throughout the 224.8 miles from New York to Washington. The best express covers the distance in 235 minutes, including stops at Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore. In this photograph one of the hourly express trains is seen leaving Broad Street Station, Philadelphia, for New York.
Starting from Chicago, the “Hiawatha” on its normal run first races over the eighty-
Meanwhile, of course, the Chicago and North Western has also come down to a six and a half hours run between Chicago and St. Paul. As with the CMSt.P & PRR, the eighty-
It is therefore clear, from such details as these, that high speed pays, and that the challenge of Diesel propulsion has resulted in the discovery of possibilities in steam locomotion hitherto unexploited. Before these accelerations it took an average of ten hours to travel by rail between Chicago and St. Paul.
Eight Daily Flyers
Now there are eight flyers daily performing the run of from 408½ to 431 miles, according to route, in six and a half hours -
There is yet another competitor between Chicago and Milwaukee, and that is an electric line known as the Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad, which has the distinction of operating one of the fastest electric services in the world. It is one of America’s many so-
THE RIVALS. One of the latest streamlined electric locomotives of the Pennsylvania Railroad alongside a standard “Pacific”. The “Broadway Limited” and other famous Pennsylvania expresses are worked by electricity between New York and Paoli (Philadelphia), but steam takes over from there to Chicago. The fastest steam-
The Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee makes use of street lines at either end of its journey, but intermediately, along the western shore of Lake Michigan, the trains do some extremely fast travelling. The “Chicago Special” runs the 74.1 miles between Harrison and Howard Street, Chicago, in 68 minutes, including three intermediate stops. From Kenosha this flyer must cover the ten miles to Racine in eight minutes, start-
In many other directions American speeds are gradually creeping up, and not a few journeys of over one thousand miles in length can now be completed at over fifty miles an hour throughout. The “St. Louisan” of the Pennsylvania, for example, takes the passenger over the 1051.7 miles from New York to St. Louis in 21 hours at 50.1 miles an hour. The “South Western Limited ” of the New York Central, with 105 miles farther to go, takes 22 hours to minutes, and averages 52.2 miles an hour. The latter uses the tracks of the Cleveland, Cincinnati and St. Louis RR, or the “Big Four”, as it is known, subsidiary, from Cleveland to St. Louis.
From New York, Philadelphia, and Washington southward to the popular Florida coast resorts, also, similar speed is now maintained by the principal trains. West of St. Louis and Minneapolis lies the broad rampart of the Rocky Mountains, which reduces average speeds to and from the Pacific Coast; though these have risen very considerably since the introduction of the Union Pacific Railroad’s six-
Competition in Canada
The New England lines have hitherto proceeded more sedately in the matter of speed, but here also Diesel propulsion is making headway. The Diesel-
The result was that, over its double-
Enough has been written, not only to show that the Americans are no strangers to high railway speeds, but also that, if American acceleration proceeds in the future as rapidly as it has done during the past year or so, the Americans will presently have few rivals in the’ speed of their crack trains, unless there are rapid developments elsewhere.
STREAMLINING on the New York Central Lines. The “Commodore Vanderbilt” is one of the famous “Hudson” (4-
[From part 33, published 13 September 1935]