Washington–Chicago Express

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Washington–Chicago Express (westbound) / Chicago-Washington Express (eastbound)
La Paz B&O Jul 1963 2-33.jpg
The Washington–Chicago Express at La Paz, Indiana in 1963.
Overview
Service typeInter-city rail
StatusDiscontinued
LocaleMid-Atlantic United States; Midwestern United States
First service1935
1960
Last service1936
c. 1969
Former operator(s)Baltimore & Ohio Railroad
Route
TerminiWashington, D.C.
Chicago, Illinois
Distance travelled767.5 miles (1,235.2 km)
Service frequencyDaily
Train number(s)9 (westbound)
10 (eastbound)
On-board services
Seating arrangementsReclining Seat Coaches (1961)
Sleeping arrangementsRoomettes, Duplex roomettes, double bedrooms,
Observation facilitiesDining Lounge car
Technical
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm)

The Washington–Chicago Express, an American named passenger train of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O), was one of four daily B&O trains operating between Washington, D.C., and Chicago, Illinois, via Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during the 1930s–1960s. Other B&O trains of that period on the route were the Capitol Limited, Columbian, and the Shenandoah.[1]

Operating westbound as Train # 9, the Chicago Express, and eastbound as Train # 10, the Washington Express, it was an "accommodation" train, meaning that it made stops at most stations along the route bypassed by B&O's other trains, resulting in a slower timecard than the more prestigious Capitol Limited. The Washington–Chicago Express required a leisurely 18½ hours for its 767-mile (1,234 km) journey, compared to the faster Capitol Limited's 16-hour pace. The Washington–Chicago Express was also B&O's primary train for mail and Railway Express Agency shipments, having heavy head end equipment consisting of several Railway Post Office (RPO) cars, baggage cars, and bulk mail boxcars.[2] The Washington–Chicago Express continued to offer Pullman sleeping car and dining car service into the mid-1960s.

Latter years[edit]

The ending of B&O's mail contract in the late-1960s by the U.S. Postal Service spelled the doom of the train, resulting in the discontinuation of its westbound train in 1967 before the advent of Amtrak in 1971. Between 1965 and 1967 the train's sleeping cars were shortened from Washington - Chicago to Pittsburgh - Chicago. Between 1967 and 1968 the train lost its sleeping cars and its dining car.[3][4][5] The eastbound train Washington Express continued into 1968. The train was terminated by 1969, leaving the Capitol Limited as the B&O's only eastbound Chicago-Washington train.[6][7][1][8] The Gateway, an eastbound-only Chicago-Pittsburgh train, briefly continued the #10 designation. The train operated as a daytime coach, with a food bar.[9]

Stations[edit]

Station State
Baltimore (Camden Station) Maryland
Washington (Union Station) District of Columbia
Silver Spring (B&O station) Maryland
Martinsburg West Virginia
Cumberland Maryland
Connellsville Pennsylvania
McKeesport
Pittsburgh (P&L.E. Station)
New Castle
Youngstown Ohio
Akron (Union Station)
Deshler
Gary (Union Station) Indiana
South Chicago (South Chicago) Illinois
Chicago (Grand Central Station)

Schedule and equipment[edit]

Route of the Washington–Chicago Express (in orange)

In addition to a Washington–Chicago through sleeping car and dining car providing full meal service en route, the B&O's Washington–Chicago Express also offered a "set-out" sleeper in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1961, for example, the set-out sleeper for Washington was parked on a siding at Pittsburgh's Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Station (used by B&O's long-distance trains) and available for occupancy by passengers at 9:00 p.m., prior to the arrival of the eastbound Washington Express at 10:30 p.m. The sleeper was then coupled to the rear of the train during the 25-minute layover there.[10]

In 1961, the westbound Chicago Express Train # 9 operated on the following schedule (departure times at principal stops shown in blue, connecting Budd Rail Diesel Car from Baltimore, Maryland, in yellow):

City Departure time
     Baltimore, Md. (Camden Station)            1:00 p.m.
     Washington, D.C. (Union Station)       2:15 p.m.
     Silver Spring, Maryland (B&O station)       2:30 p.m.
     Martinsburg, W. Va.       3:56 p.m.
     Cumberland, Md.       5:45 p.m.
     Connellsville, Pa.       8:20 p.m.
     McKeesport, Pa.       9:16 p.m.
     Pittsburgh, Pa. (P&L.E. Station)     10:10 p.m.
     New Castle, Pa.     11:16 p.m.
     Youngstown, Ohio (B&O Station)     11:41 p.m.
     Akron, Ohio (Union Station)     12:56 a.m.
     Deshler, Ohio       3:47 a.m.
     Gary, Ind. (CT) (Union Station)       6:36 a.m.
     South Chicago, Ill. (South Chicago)       6:55 a.m.
     Chicago, Ill. (Grand Central Station)       7:40 a.m.
source: B&O timetable, October 29, 1961[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Herbert H. Harwood, Jr., Royal Blue Line. Sykesville, Maryland: Greenberg Publishing, 1990 (ISBN 0-89778-155-4).
  2. ^ Stephen J. Salamon, David P. Oroszi, and David P. Ori, Baltimore and Ohio — Reflections of the Capitol Dome. Silver Spring, Maryland: Old Line Graphics, 1993 (ISBN 1-879314-08-8).
  3. ^ "Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, 'Passenger Train Service'". Official Guide of the Railways. National Railway Publication Company. 98 (2). July 1965.
  4. ^ "Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, 'Passenger Train Service'". Official Guide of the Railways. National Railway Publication Company. 100 (2). July 1967.
  5. ^ "Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, 'Passenger Train Service'". Official Guide of the Railways. National Railway Publication Company. 101 (1). June 1968.
  6. ^ C&O/B&O timetable, February 7, 1968, Table A
  7. ^ "Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Table 1". Official Guide of the Railways. National Railway Publication Company. 102 (3). August 1969.
  8. ^ Trains.com 'Trains on the eve of Amtrak' http://ctr.trains.com/~/media/import/files/pdf/f/7/7/passenger_trains_operating_on_the_eve_of_amtrak.pdf
  9. ^ "Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Table 1". Official Guide of the Railways. National Railway Publication Company. 102 (3). August 1969.
  10. ^ a b Baltimore & Ohio — Passenger Train Schedules, October 29, 1961.