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A look back in time: January 1959

By | January 5, 2009

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

Pullman car Ferdinand Magellan, modified to haul the President of the United States in 1942 and in POTUS ever since, is donated to the Florida Development Commission for display at the University of Miami; it later moved to the Gold Coast Railroad Museum, where it’s on exhibit today. . . .

Wabash opens 16-track freighthouse at 47th Street on the South Side of Chicago. . . .

L&N opens Boyles Yard, a “push-button” automatic retarder yard, near Birmingham, Ala. . . .

On two separate days, Burlington is forced to evacuate commuter trains mid-run because of bomb threats, which turn out to be hoaxes. . . .

Merger talks are under way that would consolidate N&W with Virginian and Soo Line/Wisconsin Central with Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic. . . .

NYC President Al Perlman, having put the brakes on merger talks with PRR begun in late 1957, suggests his road has not abandoned the marriage idea, but is simply studying what other options might be available, such as merging all Eastern roads into three or four systems. . . .

The St. Louis-Texas Texas Special, a joint Frisco-Katy operation, ends January 4 when Frisco discontinues its leg, St. Louis-Vinita, Okla.; Katy retains the name, however, for a Kansas City-Dallas-San Antonio service. . . .

Erie in Erie: Erie Railroad trains detour over PRR and NYC through Erie, Pa., during January 23-25 because of flooding around Meadville, Pa. . . .

Floodwaters also claim C&O’s double-track bridge over Big Walnut Creek near Reese, Ohio; as trains detour over N&W, workers reopen one track in eight days. . . .

On January 20, Seaboard opens a new passenger terminal (with air conditioning!) in St. Petersburg, Fla., as part of a relocation that removes trains from downtown streets.

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