One of the many forgotten footnotes from Amtrak’s early years is how on May 1, 1971, many of Amtrak’s contract railroads published timetables just as they had done for decades.
But what was different is that these folders had notices on the cover that the trains shown were being operated under contract for the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, which is Amtrak’s formal name.
I have in my collection 10 timetables issued by the following contract railroads on May 1, 1971: Burlington Northern; Illinois Central; Penn Central; Chesapeake & Ohio; Seaboard Coast Line; Southern Pacific; Union Pacific; Louisville & Nashville; and Richmond, Frederickburg & Potomac.
I do not have a first day timetable published by the Santa Fe, although I do have schedules/travel guides published by the AT&SF for Amtrak trains that the Santa Fe operated. Likewise, I do not have a first day timetable published by Gulf, Mobile & Ohio, although I have one dated Sept. 27, 1971.
I’ve never seen an Amtrak timetable published by Missouri Pacific even though MoPac handled the St. Louis-Kansas City leg of a New York-Kansas City train.
Some railroads that joined Amtrak did not host any trains and had no need to publish a timetable. These included the Baltimore & Ohio, Chicago & North Western, Central of Georgia, Delaware & Hudson, Grand Trunk Western, Norfolk & Western, and Northwestern Pacific.
The railroad-published Amtrak timetables generally used the same design and style as those published by those roads in the immediate years before Amtrak. But some were bare bones products that did little more than show timetables and were printed on newsprint.
Some railroads published a timetable on May 1 and that was it. But other railroads, IC and PC being notable examples, continued to publish their own Amtrak timetables well into 1972.
Shown above is a portion of my collection of first day Amtrak timetables. These railroad published timetables might be found at railroad flea markets and shows oriented toward timetable collecting, but I’ve seen few of them at general railroad collectible shows.
The railroads probably did not publish that many of these timetables and most of those printed have long since been discarded.
Nonetheless, these folders are among the most prizes pieces in my collection of Amtrak memorabilia. You can click on the image to enlarge it.
Tags: Amtrak, Amtrak collectibles, Amtrak contract railroads, Amtrak memorabilia, Amtrak timetables, early Amtrak, Illinois Central Railroad, Louisville & Nashville, railroad collectibles, railroad timetables, RF&P, Seaboard Coast Line, Union Pacific Railroad