When World War II came to an end in 1945, America was on the verge of an unprecedented economic boom that carried over to its vast rail transportation system. Soon after hostilities subsided, railroads placed orders for new streamlined passenger trains from builders such as American Car & Foundry, Budd and Pullman-Standard. Heavyweight passenger cars which had served well throughout the war, were coming to the end of their useful lives, and were clearly outdated, as well. Passengers wanted new, fashionable trains with streamlined, sleek cars and locomotives.
In addition, steam was out, diesels were in, and Electro-Motive of La Grange, Illinois continued development of the popular E series locomotives that matched the new streamlined cars. These powerful engines, self-contained in their own steel shells, were easier to maintain than steam locomotives, and they also acted as colorful rolling billboards for the now fashion-conscious rail lines that crisscrossed the country.
Railroads saw good times coming, and they prepared well for them. Regional railroads such as the small Chicago & Eastern Illinois began daily Whippoorwill passenger service in 1946 with newly-purchased lightweight equipment between Chicago and Evansville. In 1947, to the delight of customers, the 13,000-mile Santa Fe re-equipped and placed in daily service their highly fashionable stainless steel Super Chief. And the Pennsylvania Railroad, which stretched from New York to Chicago, completely re-equipped a number of their trains such as the lavish Broadway Limited and the popular Liberty Limited between 1948 and 1949. The interiors and exteriors of American passenger trains were changing rapidly, and competition between railroads for the traveling public's loyalty was keen.
Passenger trains of all names—West Coast Champion, Texas Special, Golden State, New England States and Gulf Coast Rebel—and trains destined for all major cities such as the Chicago Mercury, City of Memphis and the Bostonian, plied the rails in an age that was soon over. By 1971, Amtrak had taken over America's passenger service, and left behind the colorful cars, the exquisite service and the fun of train travel. Hardcover, 10 x 10", 200 pages, full-color photos. $46.95
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