Posts Tagged ‘Broadway Limited’

Ex-PRR Cars to Celebrate Memory of Broadway Limited

July 3, 2019

To help celebrate the memory of the former Broadway Limited of the Pennsylvania Railroad, three former PRR passenger cars will travel from New York to Pittsburgh and return on Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian.

The cars will operate westbound on July 12 and return on July 14.

The cars are Catalpa Falls, a six double bedroom-buffet lounge; Colonial Crafts, a one drawing room/three double bedroom-buffet lounge; and Frank Thomson, a bedroom-observation-lounge.

The Pennsylvanian plies the original route of the Broadway Limited which in its day was one of the two premier passenger trains between Chicago and New York.

The Broadway Limited was an all-Pullman train until 1967. It operated under Amtrak through September 1995 when it was discontinued west of Pittsburgh and replaced by the now defunct New York-Pittsburgh Three Rivers.

The Pennsy launched the Broadway Limited in 1912.

The private car trip this month will feature 1949 cuisine prepared using original Pennsylvania Railroad recipes.

Some passengers will have the opportunity to sleep aboard the three PRR cars during the Pittsburgh layover while the other passengers will spend two nights at the Hotel William Penn.

For more information, visit http://www.BroadwayLimited1949.com.

Private Car Trip Set on the Pennsylvanian

March 14, 2019

A private car journey will be offered between New York and Pittsburgh to mark the 70th anniversary of the introduction of streamlined equipment to the fabled Broadway Limited of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

The trip will use three cars that went into service on the Broadway Limited in 1949 and will be carried on Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian on July 12-15.

The cost of the trip will be $1,300 for a lounge seat, $2,800 for a bedroom (based on double occupancy) and $4,200 for a drawing room (based on triple occupancy).

The ticket prices include five on-board meals and overnight accommodations in Pittsburgh.

Rail cars being assigned to the trip include sleeper-buffet Catalpa Falls, sleeper-buffet-lounge Colonial Crafts and sleeper-observation Frank Thomson.

All three cars still wear their PRR liveries and are now privately owned.

In Pittsburgh passengers holding sleeping room accommodations will stay aboard the train in their rooms. Lounge car passengers will be booked into a hotel.

Meals during the journey will be prepared to Pennsylvania Railroad dining car recipes.

Additional information is available at www.BroadwayLimited1949.com.

Late Broadway Limited in Massillon

November 30, 2018

Amtrak F40PH No. 282 heads a late westbound Broadway Limited as it goes through Massillon, Ohio, on June 22, 1978.

At the time Conrail was doing quite a bit of track work, and that may have been the reason the Broadway Limited was late.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Legacy of the Broadway Limited

May 22, 2018

All of America’s premier passenger trains had dining cars, but only the most elite trains had twin-unit diners in which one of the cars contained the kitchen and the other a dining room.

Twin-unit diners operated on the New York Central’s Twentieth Century Limited and the Pennsylvania’s Broadway Limited for many years.

Amtrak had four sets of twin-unit diners, all of them built in 1949 by Budd for the Pennsy.

These cars were assigned to the Broadway Limited in the early to mid 1970s.

One set of those diners now resides at the Midwest Railway Preservation Society in Cleveland.

It is former PRR 4610-4611, which carried Amtrak roster numbers 8800-8801.

The cars still wear Amtrak’s Phase I livery but the effects of wear and tear from sitting in the elements over the years has taken a toll.

A PC herald is bleeding through the Amtrak red, white and blue paint on one end of the cars.

This twin-unit diner set was retired by Amtrak in October 1983. Presumably it was stored for several years before that.

Like so many pieces of equipment sitting outside the MRPS roundhouse the fate of these twin-unit diners is uncertain.

Presumably they will be at least cosmetically restored some day when money for that becomes available.

That day may be a long time in coming, but in the meantime they serve as reminders of what once was in another time and era that increasingly seems like a lifetime ago.

Last Dinner on the Broadway Limited

February 3, 2018

It Saturday night in the dining car on Amtrak’s eastbound Broadway Limited. Despite the train having departed Chicago at 8:55 p.m., the dining car is open and serving.

At first glance, there is nothing out of the ordinary about these scenes. What is playing out has occurred countless times aboard this car, whose heritage predates the creation of Amtrak by two decades.

It was built in 1948 by Budd for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, which named it Silver Cafe.  Amtrak modernized it when it rebuilt the car in June 1980 for head-end power as part of the Heritage Fleet.

Tonight every table and nearly every seat in the Silver Cafe is taken as train No. 40 roars toward New York through Indiana on CSX tracks that once belonged to the Baltimore & Ohio.

But this trip was different because it would be the last run of the Broadway Limited.

The next day, Nos. 40 and 41 will began operating only between Pittsburgh and New York and will be renamed the Three Rivers.

The change was part of a route rationalization plan launched amid a budget cut and the cutbacks could have been more severe than they were.

These images that I made during the last dinner on the Broadway Limited were made on color print film and turned out grainy.

Nonetheless, they remind me of one of my most memorable dinners aboard Amtrak.

The entree, I believe it was trout with a mustard sauce was served with steamed carrots and a rice pilaf, and was quite tasty. The desert was chocolate cake that I recall was embellished by the server, John Long.

Despite it being a last run, the dining car crew was courteous and seemed to go out of their way to make the event something special and worth remembering.

That 90s Look at Lewistown

December 26, 2017

I made this image of  Amtrak’s eastbound Broadway Limited at Lewistown, Pennsylvania, in 1992. In my mind, it was’t that long ago. Yet its been 25 years since this photograph was made on color negative film.

Much can change in a quarter century and there is much to be seen here that is gone.

That starts with the Broadway Limited itself, which would made its last trips between Chicago and New York in September 1995.

On the point on this day is GP40TC No. 192, one of eight such units that Amtrak operated in the 1990s. All were built for Toronto’s GO Transit agency and were purchased by Amtrak in October 1988.

The locomotives could be found in service on routes east of the Mississippi River, but have since been retired.

Behind the GP40TC is an F40PH. Most of those have been retired by Amtrak, but a handful have survived as cab cars while others have gained second lives on other railroads.

The consist includes seven material handling cars, which were common on long distance trains in the 1990s. Amtrak had begun earning additional revenue hauling mail and the MHCs were acquired for that purpose. They’ve since been retired and Amtrak no longer carries mail.

Most of the passenger cars in the consist of No. 40 are Heritage Fleet cars, including the baggage car. Most of those have been retired although in late 2017 a handful of Heritage dining cars continue to work in revenue service.

The Challenge of Penn Central

November 3, 2017

Amtrak faced many challenges in its early years, one of which was operating over track owned by Penn Central.

Years of deferred maintenance by PC predecessors New York Central and the Pennsylvania Railroad took a toll in slow orders, derailments and greatly delayed trains.

With Penn Central in bankruptcy proceedings, the prospect of things improving were not that great.

What Amtrak could do was to warn passengers of what they were getting into.

Shown above is a schedule for the Chicago-New York/Washington Broadway Limited that was published in 1975. Notice the note about how these schedules are slower than Penn Central is supposed to provide.

A similar notice appears with schedules of the New York-Kansas City National Limited.

Earlier versions of this notice warned that Nos. 40/41 and Nos. 30/31 were subject to delay west of Pittsburgh. With those delays unlikely to go away due to poor track conditions, Amtrak simply adjusted its schedules to make them slower.

Last Broadway Limited in Akron

January 16, 2017

bway-15-2
It’s the wee hours of the morning on Sept. 10, 1995. Amtrak’s Broadway Limited is making its final trips.

Earlier, No. 41 had passed through Akron, Ohio, en route to Chicago. Now, No. 40 is making its final station stop in Akron.

A small crowd had gathered on the platform. One guy was even hawking tee shirts to mark the end of an era.

No one knows that within a couple years Amtrak will be back in Akron using the numbers 40 and 41 although under the name Three Rivers.

Actually, Nos. 40 and 41 didn’t go away after this September 1995 day. The trains simply began operating under the Three Rivers name between Pittsburgh and New York.

I rode the last Broadway Limited from Chicago to Akron. I’ve just disembarked and I’m walking toward the station. The view is looking eastward. I made this hand-held view with print film that I later scanned.

Although the image shows Amfleet coaches, I rode in a Heritage Fleet coach to Akron. Heritage Fleet sleepers, a dining car and a baggage car are on the head end behind the two F40PH locomotives.

Ex-Amtrak Station Frozen in Time in Akron

December 21, 2016
That tree growing behind the former Amtrak station in Akron wasn't originally part of the station, but it does add a touch of color in autumn.

That tree growing behind the former Amtrak station in Akron wasn’t originally part of the station complex, but it adds a touch of color in autumn.

Akron was left off Amtrak’s initial route map in 1971. The city saw an occasional Amtrak detour move over the years, most notably during the 1970s, but it didn’t become an Amtrak city until November 1990 when the Broadway Limited was removed from Conrail’s Fort Wayne Line and routed onto the Chicago-Pittsburgh mainline of CSX (former Baltimore & Ohio).

Although Akron Union Depot still stood, it had been taken over by the University of Akron. Amtrak built a modular station and used part of the platform area of the former union depot.

The Broadway Limited was discontinued in September 1995 in a massive route restructuring. That might have been the end of the story of Amtrak in Akron, but the New York-Pittsburgh Three Rivers was extended west to Chicago in November 1996.

That train, though, blew through Akron without stopping until August 1998. The Three Rivers used the same station and platform as the Broadway Limited, but the hang up had been who would pay for whatever repairs were needed to the facilities — such as they were — before Amtrak would agree to stop the Three Rivers in Akron.

During the Broadway Limited days, the Akron station had a ticket agent. But during the Three Rivers days, the station had a caretaker.

The Three Rivers made its last trips through Akron in March 2005, a victim of low patronage, and the end of the great mail and express gambit. Carriage of the latter was the primary reason why the Three Rivers had been extended west of Pittsburgh.

More than a decade after Nos. 40 and 41 halted in Akron for the final time, the Amtrak station in the Rubber City is frozen in time.

I paid a visit to the station in early November to see what remained. It has changed little since my last visit there in March 2012 and, for that matter, it had not changed much since service ended in 2005.

There is a tree growing behind the building that didn’t used to be there and the exterior appearance of the station is the same save for the plywood placed behind the front windows that wasn’t there in 2005. Remarkably, the building is largely free of vandalism and graffiti.

Taped to a front window is a November 2004 schedule for the Three Rivers, various notifications about Amtrak policies, a sign that says this is an unstaffed station, and a sign that says the Three Rivers no longer stops at this station. In fact there is no Three Rivers anymore anywhere.

What is missing is the platform,which CSX ripped out in 2012 when it was conducting a clearance project as part of the development of its National Gateway.

Otherwise, Amtrak’s Akron station remains frozen in time more than a decade after the trains left for good.

The front of the former Amtrak station in Akron.

The front of the former Amtrak station in Akron as seen in March 2012. It still looks like this four years later.

Unless you looked carefully and found this sign you might think that Amtrak still served Akron.

Unless you looked carefully. you might miss this sign and think that Amtrak still served Akron.

In this March 2012 view work has begun to remove the Amtrak platform. The walkway from the station to the platform had already been removed.

In this March 2012 view, work has begun to remove the Amtrak platform. The walkway from the station to the platform had already been removed.

The Amtrak platform has since been removed by CSX. The view is looking west toward the site of the former Akron Union Depot.

The Amtrak boarding platform was removed by CSX in 2012. The view is looking west toward the site of the former Akron Union Depot.

Quaker Square looms over the former Amtrak station in Akron, but even it has changed. It is now owned by the University of Akron and used for student housing and special events.

Although Quaker Square still looms over the former Amtrak station in Akron, even it has changed. It is now owned by the University of Akron and used for student housing and special events.

A schedule from 2004 remains taped to the front window of the Akron Amtrak station despite the fact the train was discontinued more than a decade ago.

A schedule dated Nov. 1, 2004, remains taped to the front window of the Akron Amtrak station even though the train was discontinued more than a decade ago.

Abandoned and Forlorn in Crestline

December 9, 2016

x-crestline-amshack

Unless you are familiar with the Fort Wayne Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Penn Central and Conrail, you might be puzzled that when Amtrak began service on May 1, 1971, its Chicago-New York/Washington Broadway Limited stopped at Crestline, Ohio.

This village of 4,600 is near Mansfield, which has a population of 46,000. But Amtrak chose to stop in Crestline and not Mansfield. In fact, Amtrak never stopped in Mansfield even though between 1971 and 1990 it put four trains a day through the county seat of Richland County.

Crestline was a crew change point for Penn Central, which probably had a lot to do with why it was chosen rather than Mansfield as an Amtrak stop.

Amtrak’s early planners sought to minimize the number of station stops on most routes and therefore the Broadway Limited would serve just three stations in Ohio: Lima, Crestline and Canton.

Crestline wasn’t any ordinary town. The PRR had a roundhouse and yard here. There was a large union station in the northeast quadrant of the diamonds where the PRR crossed the Cleveland-St. Louis line of the New York Central. There was a railroad YMCA.

The union station and YMCA were gone by the time I first visited Crestline. In fact, Amtrak was also gone, the Broadway Limited having been rerouted off the Fort Wayne Line in November 1990.

This image was made in September 1998. Amtrak had been gone for nearly eight years and the Amshack that it had used in Crestline was in disrepair.

I haven’t been back to Crestline for several years, but I believe this structure was removed when the Fort Wayne Line was reworked after the Conrail split. There isn’t much of the railroads left in Crestline except the tracks themselves.

There was no need to keep the Amshack given that Amtrak is unlikely to return to the Fort Wayne Line through Crestline.