(Mostly before Amtrak)
The links below lead to various passenger timetables from the years just prior to Amtrak's first operations in 1971. Some railroads still had extensive brochures, and a large number of routes with passenger service. Others had rather plain little postcard size schedules to provide very minimal information. The CEI's "Chicago to Danville Flyer" may be the champion in the minimalist category, printed on one side of a 3 by 5 postcard. The GMO is close behind for its three trains between Chicago and St. Louis. I hope these documents bring back some memories for some of you and partially illustrate the end of the private railroad passenger era for all. In the middle of the entries is one from 1873 for the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway (part of the NYC System later) - a reprint from a bygone era. The final entry is an early Amtrak National Timetable from the summer of 1971. This early document from Amtrak's first year illustrates the significant reduction in frequencies that occurred nation wide at Amtrak's inception. August 2019 addition: two Amtrak National Timetables (1973 and 1990) that surfaced in some files.
The several files from post World War Two passenger train promotions by the Milwaukee Road are courtesy of Pat Heinan, retired DRGW and Amtrak engineer (added July 2019).
For passenger schedules for the B&O and the DRGW, see the pages for those railroads.
An additional note on passenger schedules and information available from old Official Guide monthly documents: I have various copies of the Official Guide to Railways (and later Airlines) available from the years 1851 through 1969 (16 various monthly editions scattered over those years). If there is a particular railroad or short line that you would like to research for a project or general interest, contact me at the email address on the home page.
March 2019 addition: linked below is the Official Guide from October 1947 which I obtained from an abandoned B & O station in the seventies - 1500 pages where countless hours can be wasted checking out how things were in the old days.....
October 1947 Official Guide to Railways
At some date in the 1970s, I borrowed this Guide from the desk drawer of an abandoned railroad agent’s office, I believe somewhere along the Baltimore & Ohio lines. Why a book of this vintage had been kept on hand is lost to history, but I was happy to obtain the resource at the time. The circulation directions for the book on the cover indicate that it was first placed on the passenger train “Shenandoan Limited” and then passed to various B & O stations as new guides were issued. I stored the book in a protective box and have referred to it numerous times over the years. Now over seventy years old, the book’s pages are quite frail. As I have consulted it recently, and pages have torn and split, I realized I would soon have a pile of brown paper “saw dust” instead of a book. From this conclusion was born the project to scan the Guide and post it on the website. After some consideration, it seemed most appropriate to place these links in the general passenger section of the site, since the primary focus of this guide was to assist passenger ticket offices across the nation.
The October 1947 Guide was over 1500 pages, and it included entries for air lines and steamship companies. Several of the air lines still exist today under the same corporate names, although they surely are very different companies from those of 1947. Similarly, only a handful of the railroad companies in 1947 have the same name today. If there is a “fallen flag” from that era that interests any viewer, it can be found in this guide. While this particular year probably does not represent the largest number of passenger schedules and other information from the railroad companies, it is representative of the post World War Two era before the railroad companies started to abandon the passenger service market. Should anyone desire to print copies of pages for a research report or similar project from these links, contact me at the email address on the home page.
To keep the file sizes reasonable, there are around 100 pages in each of the fifteen files. The General Index is found in the first section. The indexes of points served (by water, rail, and air lines) are found in the final sections starting on page 1253 and continuing to the end of the volume. Pages 905 and 906 from the 1947 guide are missing, perhaps damaged at some point and thrown away. Page 905 dealt with the Pullman Company, and page 906 was the map for the important Southern Pacific subsidiary, the St. Louis Southwestern (SSW or Cotton Belt). I found the appropriate pages from the March 1945 guide and slipped them in for the missing pages.