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Baltimore and Ohio "Capitol Limited", Washington, DC, to Chicago, Illinois, overnight train, stopping in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, April, 1966. | by Ivan S. Abrams
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Baltimore and Ohio "Capitol Limited", Washington, DC, to Chicago, Illinois, overnight train, stopping in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, April, 1966.

Photograph (C) copyright 2009 by Ivan Safyan Abrams. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited.

 

For decades, the Baltimore and Ohio used the tracks of the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad, a subsidiary of the New York Central, as its preferred route for through trains in Western Pennsylvania. The route, from McKeesport, Pennsylvania, to Pittsburgh Junction, just a bit southeast of Youngstown, Ohio, was direct and low-grade, in contrast to the winding and hilly Pittsburgh and Western line through and under the city.

 

Here, at P&LE's magnificent station on the southside of PIttsburgh, the Capitol Limited with its observation-lounge-sleeper and a lit drumhead on the rear of the train, stops in what I recall to be April, 1966. The train then featured 2 dome cars (a sleeper and a coach), sleepers and a slumbercoach, a twin-unit diner, this special car, and for a time, movies in the dining car. The meals and service were excellent, and as a result of B&O-C&O making one last attempt to salvage private operation of passenger trains under the creative direction of Paul Reistrup, the price of a ticket was affordable. I know--as a university student I was able to ride this train a number of times.

 

The station is now a shopping mall and restaurant; the P&LE is gone but the track is a part of CSX; the B&O is itself fully integrated into CSX; Paul Reistrup is a consultant to the railway industry after a distinguished career as a rail executive; the train itself is gone, mostly, but the name lives on as an Amtrak Washington-Chicago train that operates in part on former B&O lines (but stops in Pittsburgh at the former Pennsylvania Railroad station across downtown); the observation car (one of the 4 like this --"Dana", "Metcalfe", "Wawasee" and "Napanee")--may still exist though I'm not certain; and I'm in, of all places, Kosovo. Where has the time gone?

 

Taken with a Nikkorex F and a Nikkor-H 50mm f/2 lens, probably on Ektachrome, scanned with a Nikon scanner. My companion when I took this photo was Alden Forbes, whom I last saw in Toronto many years ago. I wonder where he is now...

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Taken on July 8, 2007