Broadway Limited

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For the 1941 film, see Broadway Limited (film). For the episode of Boardwalk Empire, see Broadway Limited (Boardwalk Empire).
The Pennsylvania Special, circa 1902 to 1907.
Observation car Mountain View at Union Station (Chicago) in 1963

The Broadway Limited was the Pennsylvania Railroad's (PRR) premier named passenger train, operating daily in each direction between New York City and Chicago, via North Philadelphia. It replaced its predecessors, the Pennsylvania Limited (1887–1902) and the Pennsylvania Special (1902–1912). The Broadway was inaugurated in 1912 and outlasted the Pennsylvania Railroad, operating under Amtrak until 1995. The name referred not to Broadway in Manhattan, but rather to the "broad way" of the Pennsylvania Railroad's four-track right of way along a large portion of the route.

The schedule was 20 hours until 1932; it dropped to 16 hrs 30 min in 1935 and 16 hours flat when lightweight cars took over on June 15, 1938. From 1920 until 1936 the New York to Chicago fare was $32.70 plus the extra fare of $9.60, plus the Pullman charge (e.g. $9 for a lower berth).

Equipment used[edit]

1912–1938[edit]

In the heavyweight era, the PRR normally operated the Broadway Limited as an extra-fare, eight-car all sleeper (no coach service) train with an open-platform observation car at the end, such as Continental Hall and Washington Hall.[1] Inside, the observation cars were paneled in walnut and furnished with large, upholstered chairs, fresh flower bouquets, writing desks with engraved stationery, and a secretary to take dictation. The Pullman sleeping cars built in the 1920s had all private rooms, consisting of compartments, drawing rooms, and single bedrooms.[1]

Equipment and services on the Broadway Limited in the 1920s

1938–1948[edit]

On June 15, 1938 the Broadway Limited got lightweight streamlined cars to replace its heavyweight steel cars;[2] on the same day rival New York Central's 20th Century Limited was streamlined as well.[3] Raymond Loewy styled the new cars and the PRR GG1 electric locomotive as well as some streamlined steam locomotives for the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), notably the S1 and T1 Duplex drive engines. This train was one of four pre-World War II PRR trains to receive such equipment; the others were the General (New York–Chicago), the Spirit of St. Louis (New York–St. Louis), and the Liberty Limited (Washington–Chicago). Other PRR trains used heavyweight cars until after the War. Most of the 1938 cars were built new by Pullman-Standard between March and May of that year, but the diners, RPO and baggage cars were rebuilt from heavyweight cars by the railroad's Altoona shops. The 1938 consist included:

  • sleeper (18 roomettes ), one of 8 cars named City of Baltimore, City of Cincinnati, City of Columbus, City of New York, City of Philadelphia, City of Pittsburgh, City of St. Louis or City of Washington.
  • sleeper-lounge (2 double bedrooms, secretary's room, barber shop, shower-bath, bar/lounge), either Harbor Point or Harbor Springs.
  • diner, a heavyweight car rebuilt at the Altoona shops.
  • sleeper (4 compartments, 2 drawing rooms, 4 double bedrooms), one of four cars named Imperial Park, Imperial Pass, Imperial Plateau or Imperial Point.
  • sleeper (13 double bedrooms), either Allegheny County or New York County.
  • sleeper-buffet-lounge-observation (2 master rooms, 1 double bedroom), Metropolitan View, Skyline View, "Federal View", "Washington View". (The latter two were built for the Liberty Limited, but sometimes made appearances on the Broadway as well.

The streamlined equipment ran the 908 miles (1,461 km) between New York and Chicago in 16 hours: the same as the New York Central's 20th Century Limited. The Pennsylvania's route was 53 miles shorter, but slower speeds across the Allegheny Mountains between Altoona and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania equalized the two trains' times.

Sample Consist[edit]

Westbound train #29 - Broadway Limited; sampled at Alliance, Ohio on 1941-11-13.[4]

  • Locomotive: Class K4s (4-6-2 PACIFIC) Locomotive PRR 5147.
  • Class MB Baggage-Mail Car: PRR 5247
  • Class BE Baggage-Express Car: PRR 6051.
  • Class CS Baggage-Club Car: NYC VAN TWILLER.
  • Class PS Sleeper (18 Roomettes) CITY OF FORT WAYNE.
  • Class PSL Sleepers (2 Double Bedrooms; Buffet Lounge) HARBOR POINT.
  • Class DA Diners; PRR 4512.
  • Class PS Sleeper (4 Double Bedrooms; 4 Compartments; 2 Drawing Rooms); IMPERIAL CREST.
  • Class PS Sleepers (13 Double Bedrooms); HAMILTON COUNTY.
  • Class PSO Sleeper-Buffet-Lounge-Observation (2 Master Rooms; 1 Double Bedroom); METROPOLITAN VIEW.

Westbound train #29 - Broadway Limited at Newark, New Jersey on 1924-07-02.[5]

  • Locomotive: Class K4s (4-6-2 PACIFIC) Locomotive PRR 5375.
  • Class MA Railway Post Office Car: PRR 9760
  • Class CS Baggage-Club Car: PRR TOMS RIVER.
  • Class PS Sleeper: (12 Sections; 1 Drawing Room) FREDERICKTOWN.
  • Class PS Sleepers: (12 Sections; 1 Drawing Room; 1 Compartment) ZENO; DEMOSTHENES.
  • Class DA Diners; PRR 4486.
  • Class PS Sleeper (12 Sections; 1 Drawing Room; 1 Compartment); STRABO.
  • Class PS Sleepers (7 Compartments; 2 Drawing Rooms); GLEN FINLAS.
  • Class PO Sleeper-Lounge-Observation (6 Compartments); PITCAIRN.

1948–1971[edit]

In 1949, the PRR again re-equipped the Broadway Limited with new streamlined equipment. The all-sleeper train offered compartments, bedrooms, duplex rooms, roomettes for a single occupant and drawing rooms for three persons. The buffet-lounge-observation cars built by Pullman Standard were named Mountain View and Tower View. They had squared-off observation ends, instead of the tapered or rounded ends in the 1938 version, and contained two master rooms with radio and showers.[citation needed]

Also introduced was a twin-unit dining car and a mid-train lounge car, such as Harbor Rest, described by a PRR brochure as "cheerful, spacious...richly appointed for leisure with deep, soft carpets...latest periodicals are in the libraries.[6] Harbor Rest also had a phone and bar.[7]

The February 1956 Official Guide listed the westbound Broadway Limited (train #29) consist as having fourteen cars normally assigned: nine sleeping cars between New York and Chicago, one additional sleeping car from New York continuing through to Los Angeles on the Santa Fe's Super Chief, the twin-unit dining car, lounge car, and observation car.[8] The train departed New York at 6:00 P.M. Eastern Time and arrived at Chicago the following morning at 9:00 A.M. Central Time.[9]

Station stops[edit]

Until 1933 the train stopped to change engines at Manhattan Transfer, nine miles west of New York Penn Station; passengers from downtown Manhattan could ride the H&M train to Manhattan Transfer and board the Broadway there. After electrification eliminated the engine change the train continued to stop there for downtown passengers until 1937, when the transfer was moved to Newark itself.

Station Stops, 1958[edit]

Amtrak's Broadway Limited[edit]

The Broadway Limited at Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1974.

When Amtrak began operations on May 1, 1971, the Broadway Limited continued to use the all-PRR route, with a split at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for trains to Washington, DC via Perryville, Maryland along the former Harrisburg, Portsmouth, Mount Joy and Lancaster Railroad, Columbia and Port Deposit Railway and Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington Railroad until November 30, 1975. On November 12, 1990, due to Conrail's desire to abandon part of the former Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railway in northwest Indiana, the line was rerouted to use the former Baltimore and Ohio Railroad west of Pittsburgh into Chicago. After the trips departing New York and Chicago on September 9, 1995, the Broadway Limited ended service, though it was briefly brought back as the Three Rivers, discontinued in 2005.

The Broadway Limited featured Slumbercoach sleeping car service.[10] [11]

The Pennsylvanian, a daylight coach and snack-car train between New York Penn Station and Pittsburgh (subsidized by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania), is now the only passenger train west of Harrisburg along the former PRR mainline.

Amtrak consist[edit]

During 1978 and 1979, the Broadway Limited ran with this consist:[12]

  • GG1 engine (New York-Harrisburg)
  • GG1 engine (Washington D.C.-Harrisburg)
  • E8 engine (Harrisburg-Chicago)
  • E8 engine (Harrisburg-Chicago)
  • E8 engine (Harrisburg-Chicago)
  • Mail-Baggage (New York)
  • Mail-Baggage (Oakland-Washington D.C.)
  • Heritage coach (Chicago-Washington D.C.)
  • Heritage coach (Chicago-Washington D.C.)
  • Heritage coach (Chicago-Washington D.C.)
  • Heritage Slumbercoach (Chicago-Washington D.C.)
  • Heritage Slumbercoach (New York)
  • Heritage Coach (New York)
  • Heritage Coach (New York)
  • Heritage Coach (New York)
  • Heritage Coach (New York)
  • Heritage Pub Car (New York)
  • Heritage Diner (New York)
  • Heritage Kitchen Dorm (New York)
  • Heritage Sleeper Lounge (New York)
  • Heritage Sleeper (New York)
  • Heritage Sleeper( New York)
  • Heritage Sleeper (Chicago-Washington D.C.)


Between 1980 and 1987, the Broadway looked like this:

  • E60 engine (New York-Harrisburg)
  • F40 engine (Harrisburg-Chicago)
  • F40 engine (Washington D.C.-Chicago)
  • Heritage Fleet 10/6 (Washington D.C.)
  • Amfleet II Coach (Washington D.C.)
  • Amfleet II Coach (Washington D.C.)
  • Amfleet II Coach (Washington D.C.)
  • Amfleet II Coach (Washington D.C.)
  • Heritage Fleet lounge (Washington D.C.)
  • Heritage Fleet diner (New York)
  • Amfleet II Café (New York)
  • Amfleet II Coach (New York)
  • Amfleet II Coach (New York)
  • Amfleet II Coach (New York)
  • Amfleet II Coach (New York)
  • Amfleet II Coach (New York)
  • Heritage Fleet slumbercoach (New York)
  • Heritage Fleet 10/6 sleeper (New York)
  • Heritage Fleet 10/6 sleeper (New York)
  • Heritage Fleet baggage-dorm (New York)
  • Heritage Fleet baggage (New York)
  • Heritage Fleet baggage (New York)

Between 1987 and 1995, the Broadway looked as such:

  • E60 engine (New York-Harrisburg)
  • F40 engine (Harrisburg-Chicago)
  • F40 engine (Harrisburg-Chicago)
  • Material Handling Car
  • Material Handling Car
  • Material Handling Car
  • Heritage Fleet baggage car
  • Material Handling Car
  • Heritage Fleet baggage car
  • Heritage Fleet 44-seat coach
  • Heritage Fleet 44-seat coach
  • Heritage Fleet 44-seat coach
  • Heritage Fleet 44-seat coach
  • Amfleet II Café
  • Heritage Fleet diner
  • Heritage Fleet 10/6 sleeper
  • Heritage Fleet slumbercoach

Starting in 1993, one of the Broadway's equipment sets looked like this:

  • E60 engine (New York-Harrisburg)
  • F40 engine (Harrisburg-Chicago)
  • F40 engine (Harrisburg-Chicago)
  • Material Handling Car
  • Material Handling Car
  • Material Handling Car
  • Heritage Fleet baggage car
  • Material Handling Car
  • Heritage Fleet baggage car
  • Amfleet II Coach
  • Amfleet II Coach
  • Amfleet II Coach
  • Amfleet II Coach
  • Heritage Fleet lounge
  • Amfleet II Café
  • Heritage Fleet 10/6 sleeper
  • Heritage Fleet slumbercoach

In addition to these consists, during the summer an extra Amfleet II coach and Heritage Fleet 10/6 sleeper was added to the equipment sets. As the Three Rivers, it often ran with GE P40DCs instead of F40s.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b William W. Kratville, Steam, Steel & Limiteds. Omaha, Neb.: Barnhart Press, 1962, pp. 190–193.
  2. ^ The Broadway Limited schedule, July 31, 1938 The Official Guide, September, 1938. National Railway Publication Company
  3. ^ Johnston, Bob and Welsh, Joe (2001). The Art of the Streamliner. New York: MetroBooks. pp. 42–46. ISBN 1-58663-146-2. 
  4. ^ Wayner Publications; Robert J. Wayner; Passenger Train Consists; 1923-1973. P.21
  5. ^ Wayner Publications; Robert J. Wayner; Passenger Train Consists; 1923-1973. P.4
  6. ^ Johnston and Welsh, pp. 53–54.
  7. ^ Ball Jr., Don (1986). The Pennsylvania Railroad 1940s—1950s. New York: W. W. Norton. p. 203. ISBN 0-393-02357-5. 
  8. ^ Official Guide of the Railways. New York: National Railway Publication Co., February 1956, p. 300.
  9. ^ Official Guide of the Railways, p. 292.
  10. ^ "Slumbercoach Amtrak bargain". Baltimore Sun. 20 July 1976. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "Sleeping on a Train is Still News". The Milwaukee Journal. 28 September 1980. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  12. ^ Amtrak Annual 1978-1979

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]