EARLY AMERICAN STREAMLINED TRAINS – During the Golden Age of Rail Travel…

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THIS booklet was designed to provide a brief, running commentary on the country along the trail of The Milwaukee Road between Lake Michigan and the Pacific Coast for the great streamliner – OLYMPIAN HIAWATHA. This is a view of the dome car.

EARLY AMERICAN STREAMLINED TRAINS…


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Preserved Chesapeake & Ohio No. 490 “Class L 4-6-4″ steam locomotive showing the streamlining that was applied to passenger train locomotives in the 1920s and 1930s. Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, Maryland.

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The Comet was a diesel electric streamliner built in 1935 for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad by the Goodyear-Zeppelin Company. Smaller than the other streamliners, it was a three-car, double-ended train that could operate in both directions and thus did not need to be turned at destinations.

It was initially placed into service between Boston, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island on a 44 mile, 44 minute schedule as advertised. This service lasted until the beginning of World War II, when increased traffic volume overwhelmed the capacity of the Comet, after which it was placed on local commuter services around the Boston area. The trainset was withdrawn from service in 1951 and scrapped.

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Between 1947–1948, Baldwin built three unique coal-fired steam turbine-electric locomotives, designed for passenger service on the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O). The 6,000 horsepower units which were equipped with Westinghouse electrical systems were 106 feet long, making them the longest locomotives ever built for passenger service. The cab was mounted in the center, with a coal bunker ahead of it and a backwards mounted boiler behind it.

These locomotives were intended for a route from Washington, D.C. to Cincinnati, Ohio but could never travel the whole route without some sort of failure. Coal dust and water frequently got into the traction motors. While these problems could have been fixed given enough time, it was obvious that these locomotives would always be to expensive to maintain and were complete failures. All three were scrapped in 1950.

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New York Central Observation Car at Rensselaer, New York, September 17, 2003. Observation car “Hickory Creek” formerly served on the 20th Century Limited.

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The Milwaukee Road has long been noted for its awesome scenery; particularly on the Pacific Extension, which traverses several mountain ranges. When the road’s premiere western train, the “Olympian” was re-equipped and renamed the Olympian Hiawatha, they naturally wanted a distinctive observation car for scenic viewing.

The Pullman Company, with noted Industrial Designer Brooks Stevens, came up with a stunning variation of their standard boat tail observation car. The lower part of the rear end, up to just below the window line, is standard in all respects. Above that, an open framework wraps around to create a bubble. The areas between the frame members are fitted with glass, resulting in a lounge that is nearly 90% transparent. There were six identical cars ordered in 1946 and delivered in late 1948 and early 1949 for the Olympian Hiawatha Route between Chicago and Tacoma, Washington.

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About Michael L. Grace

MICHAEL L. GRACE is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. SNOOPY continues to be one of the most produced shows (amateur & stock) in America/Worldwide and has had long running productions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in London's West End. There are over 100 individual productions every year. He has written movies for TV, including the award-winning thriller LADY KILLER, various pilots and developed screenplays for Kevin Costner and John Travolta. Besides co-writing and co-producing SNOOPY, he wrote and produced the one-man play KENNEDY. He produced P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD by pulitzer prize winning author James Kirkwood. He wrote the stage thriller FINAL CUT which had productions in the UK, South Africa and Australia. His one-man play, KENNEDY - THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH, was developed for HBO and has starred Andrew Stevens, Gregory Harrison and Joseph Bottoms. He has recently been involved in European productions with CLT-UFA, Europe's leading commercial television and radio broadcaster. He wrote MOWs THE DOLL COLLECTION, THE BOTTOM LINE and LAST WITNESS for German television. While in college and graduate school he worked as a foreign correspondent for COMBAT, the famous leftwing Paris daily, and as a travel writer. He visited more than 50 countries. He struggled as an actor, then joined the enemy and entered the training program at William Morris. He became a publicist and worked for Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, at Paramount and MGM. He followed with a brief stint as a story executive, working in the frantic horror genre period of the early 80s and wrote THE UNSEEN. He went onto write for episodic television and develop series pilots. He was a continuing writer on such series such as LOVE BOAT, PAPER DOLLS, and KNOTS LANDING. He developed screenplays for such major award winning directors as Nicolas Meyers, Tony Richardson and J. Lee Thompson. He has written for all the major networks and studios. He has been hired numerous times as a script doctor, doing many uncredited rewrites on TV movies and features. He is currently writing A PERSON OF INTEREST, a thriller novel, and, IT'S THE LOVE BOAT... AND HOW IT CHANGED CRUISING BY SHIP a non-fiction book dealing with how the hit TV series as a major cultural phenomenon and altered the style of cruising by ship. He was raised in Los Angeles. He attended St. Paul's, USC and the Pasadena Playhouse. He received a B.A from San Francisco State University where he majored in theatre arts and minored in creative writing. He is listed as a SFSU leading alumni. He also apprenticed at ACT - The American Conservatory Theatre. For a brief period he had intentions of becoming an Episcopal(Anglican) priest and attended seminary at Kelham Theological College in the UK. When "the calling" wasn't there, he left seminary and did graduate work at the American University of Beirut. He has guest lectured at USC, UC San Diego, McGill, Univ. of London and the Univ. of Texas on the business aspects of making a living and surviving as a writer, focusing on development hell, in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Grace is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatist Guild and former regional chairman of the Steamship Historical Society of America. He resides in Palm Springs.

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