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50 years ago in railroad history: March 1959

By | March 3, 2009

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50 years ago in railroad history … A supplement to the Classic Trains Online Look Back e-mail newsletter

The U.S. Supreme Court on March 2 upholds a lower court’s ruling not to interfere in the discontinuance of New York Central’s Weehawken-Cortland Street Hudson River ferries, paving the way for their last runs on March 24; with only a roundabout bus connection to Manhattan, traffic on NYC’s West Shore commuter trains drops 85 percent . . .

Kansas City Southern orders 10 70-foot baggage cars from Pullman-Standard . . .

Minneapolis & St. Louis launches expedited freight trains between Minneapolis and Peoria; officially designated Nos. 1 and 2, the service is nicknamed “Acey-Deucey” . . .

Canadian Pacific completes purchase of four 10-roomette/5-double-bedroom sleepers and four sleeper/lounge/observation cars from New York Central . . .

The Strasburg Rail Road, a moribund Pennsylvania short line purchased the previous year by a group of railfans, places a “want ad” in the March 23 issue of Railway Age magazine seeking a steam locomotive (just over a year later, Canadian National 0-6-0 7312 arrives to begin a 50-year-and-counting career on the tourist pike) . . .

Burlington Route marks the 75th anniversary of the March 11, 1884, first run of its Chicago-Omaha Fast Mail; publicity efforts include publication of a 38-page book on the train . . .

Chicago Tunnel Company, the freight railway that once operated more than 50 miles of electrified, two-foot-gauge track beneath the streets of downtown Chicago, runs its last trains on March 9 . . .

The Chicago-Oakland California Zephyr is 10 years old; during the decade the joint Western Pacific-Rio Grande-Burlington domeliner has carried more than 1.5 million passengers, averaging 89.4 percent of its capacity year-round . . .

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