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.
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.
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.
Schedule and equipment
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):
|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.
- Herbert H. Harwood, Jr. (1990). Royal Blue Line. Sykesville, Md: Greenberg Publishing. ISBN 0-89778-155-4.
- Harry Stegmaier, Baltimore & Ohio Passenger Service, Vol. 2 – Route of the Capitol Limited. Lynchburg, Va.: TLC Publishing, 1997 (ISBN 1-883-089-00X).
- Baltimore & Ohio Railroad System Time Tables, April 30, 1961.
- 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.