Daylight Speedliner

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One of the converted RDC-2 baggage-dining-coach combines on a fantrip in 1969

The Daylight Speedliner was an American named passenger train of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) in the 1950s and early 1960s. Equipped with three or four streamlined, self-propelled Budd Rail Diesel Cars (RDCs) coupled together, it initially operated between Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, via Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington, D. C., as Trains #21–22.[1]

The B&O had been using RDCs in local Baltimore–Washington, D.C., commuter service since 1950. Pleased with their reliability and lower operating costs compared to heavyweight passenger trains drawn by steam locomotives, the B&O decided in 1955 to replace its money-losing Washingtonian steam train with RDCs, ordering four RDC-1s with reclining coach seats and two RDC-2s with baggage compartments. The RDC-equipped Daylight Speedliner entered service on October 28, 1956, and reduced the railroad's operating expenses by almost half, compared to the Washingtonian train it replaced.[2]

After B&O discontinued passenger service north of Baltimore on April 26, 1958, the Daylight Speedliner operated between Baltimore and Pittsburgh, covering the 333-mile (536 km) route on a seven-hour schedule, until its discontinuation on January 21, 1963.[2]

Schedule and equipment[edit]

In 1961, the westbound Daylight Speedliner, operating as B&O's Train # 21, departed Baltimore at 9:00 a.m. and then Washington, D.C., at 10:00 a.m., arriving in Pittsburgh at 4:20 p.m. on the following schedule (principal stops shown in blue):[3]

Route of the Daylight Speedliner (in orange)
City Departure time
     Baltimore, Md. (Camden Station)       9:00 a.m.
     Washington, D.C. (Union Station)     10:00 a.m.
     Silver Spring, Md.     10:11 a.m.
     Harpers Ferry, W. Va.     11:02 a.m.
     Martinsburg, W. Va.     11:25 a.m.
     Cumberland, Md.     12:55 p.m.
     Connellsville, Pa.       3:00 p.m.
     McKeesport, Pa.       3:55 p.m.
     Pittsburgh, Pa. (P&LE Station)       4:20 p.m.
source: Baltimore and Ohio Railroad System Time Tables, April 30, 1961

Unusual for RDCs, the lead RDC-2 car was configured by B&O as a combination dining car/baggage car/coach (pictured) offering full meal service, with the addition of a kitchen and six tables, listed in B&O's 1961 time table as a "refreshment diner". Two of these unique cars were built for the service; both survive today. One is on display at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, Md; the other is at the Danbury Railway Museum in Danbury, Conn.[3][4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Herbert H. Harwood, Jr. (1990). Royal Blue Line. Sykesville, Md: Greenberg Publishing. ISBN 0-89778-155-4. 
  2. ^ a b Harry Stegmaier, Baltimore & Ohio Passenger Service, Vol. 2 – Route of the Capitol Limited. Lynchburg, Va.: TLC Publishing, 1997 (ISBN 1-883-089-00X).
  3. ^ a b Baltimore & Ohio Railroad System Time Tables, April 30, 1961.
  4. ^ Stephen J. Salamon; David P. Oroszi; David P. Ori (1993). Baltimore and Ohio – Reflections of the Capitol Dome. Silver Spring, Md.: Old Line Graphics. ISBN 1-879314-08-8.