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   Author  Topic: History Question  (Read 382 times)
smmcroberts
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History Question
 
« on: May 12th, 2015, 9:04am »
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Hello rail enthusiasts!
 
I'm writing a story that takes place in the year 1916. A character is dropped off just west of Amarillo, Texas and needs to get to Albuquerque, New Mexico ASAP. Does it make sense for him to travel from Vega, TX to Adrian TX and then to Tucumcari, NM (all by horse / stagecoach) before hooking up with a train in Tucumcari to take him the rest of the way to Albuquerque? Or was there a way to hook up with a passenger line (or even hop a freight train) sooner without having to travel all the way to Tucumcari first?
 
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 
Thanks,
--Steve


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Norm_Anderson
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Re: History Question
 
« Reply #1 on: May 15th, 2015, 2:39am »
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Hi, Steve,
 
I wish you well in your endeavor!
 
If your story is set in 1916, I don't think your protagonist would need to resort to horses or stagecoaches at all.  The "Old West" of diamond-stacked, wood-burning locomotives hauling open-platform cars painted bright yellow was now only a fading memory, a story one heard from one's grandparents.  The Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific had completed its line from Memphis to Tucumcari by 1910, and Vega (as a County Seat) would certainly have rated its own depot.  Perhaps Adrian was at least a "flag stop" for secondary trains, as well.  Your character would be able to board the train right in Vega (or perhaps even Adrian) and ride at least as far as Tucumcari before changing trains.  Beyond Tucumcari, at Vaughn, connections would be made to the Santa Fe Railway for Clovis and Belen, and then another change of trains at Belen for the short ride north to Albuquerque.
 
Another possibility would be to ride the thirty-some miles east from Vega to Amarillo, and transfer to the Santa Fe there, instead of at Vaughn.  Santa Fe had inaugurated a new Chicago-Los Angeles train called the Scout in January 1916, and this train could have carried your protagonist from Amarillo to Belen without change of cars, and in Pullman comfort too, if he could afford the fare.  It is also possible that at least one Santa Fe secondary train may have run direct from, say, Kansas City to Albuquerque via Amarillo, without a change of cars in Belen.  For your character, this ride to Belen would likely have been some 12 to 15 hours, and probably overnight.  This is speculation, but it seems reasonable to me.
 
It is also quite possible that in 1916 the highway through Vega (though probably not yet paved, and certainly not yet Route 66!) would have been in good enough shape, and used frequently enough, to afford a quick "flivver" ride into Amarillo from a friend or even a sympathetic stranger.
 
As I said, this is all speculative, and you'll want to do further research before cementing any of this into your story, but I'm sure that with a bit of Internet searching you could track down some actual railroad timetables from 1916, to discover even such things as time of day, types of equipment and accommodations offered, and other helpful tidbits.
 
 
Regards,
 
Norm


« Last Edit: May 15th, 2015, 2:54am by Norm_Anderson » Logged
smmcroberts
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Re: History Question
 
« Reply #2 on: May 15th, 2015, 8:30am »
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Thanks so much, Norm! This is invaluable information to me! Thanks for taking the time to give such a thorough answer. You are one in a million!
 
--Steve


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HwyHaulier
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Re: History Question
 
« Reply #3 on: May 15th, 2015, 9:14am »
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Steve - Norm - Lodge Members -
 
All the best with your project. Noted and concur with observations here by Norm...
 
In the Santa Fe (ATSF) history, have much belief that, yes, there would have been regular timetable schedules  
Kansas City - Amarillo - Albuquerque. Also, good to recall the services on Rock Island (CRI&P)...
 
Timetable references of the period are still around and in print. Might take some digging, but it is there...
 
........................Vern.......................


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George_Harris
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Re: History Question
 
« Reply #4 on: May 15th, 2015, 7:16pm »
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A reprint of one of the 1916 or 1917 Official Guides was put out sometime in the early 1980's.  You might be able to find one on ebay.  The time was picked because it was the absolute high water mark for number of passenger trains operated in the US.  
 
After that the rise of automobiles and buses began to cut into the short distance , and particularly branch line short distance passenger demand and trains began to come off.  Some railroads also began to operate buses alongside some of these branch lines.  Even a gravel road that permitted around 30 mph at most could still match or beat travel time if the parallel railroad only allowed 25 mph.  Plus the bus was a lot cheaper to operate as it only required one man versus a 5 man crew.  Not to mention steam engines were not cheap to maintain.


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ehbowen
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Re: History Question
 
« Reply #5 on: Jun 24th, 2015, 11:57pm »
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Your traveler could have left from Vega aboard Rock Island (technically, the Chicago, Rock Island & Gulf operating subsidiary...to comply with a now-obsolete provision in the Texas constitution that any railroad operating in Texas had to have its headquarters in Texas) train No. 43 at 2:57 p.m. and traveled the 79 miles to Tucumcari, making stops in Ontario, Adrian, Glenrio, and Endee, arriving in Tucumcari at 6:30 p.m. From Tucumcari he would have transferred to Rock Island (C. R. I. & P.) train No. 1 departing at 8:10 p.m and traveling 59.1 miles to Santa Rosa where the train was turned over to the El Paso & Southwestern (part of the Southern Pacific empire). From there it was another 42.1 miles to Vaughn, N.M., arriving there at 11:28 p.m. He would have spent the night in Vaughn (I have no idea if there were any hotels or boarding houses) and then made his own way the 2-1/2 miles between the Rock Island depot and the Santa Fe depot. Santa Fe train No. 21 departed Vaughn at 12:55 p.m. and made 15 stops in 109 miles before arriving Belen at 5:05 p.m. From Belen northbound train No. 816 from El Paso departed at 5:32 p.m., made 3 stops, and arrived Albuquerque at 6:30 p.m (30 miles).
 
Alternately, your traveler could have caught the EASTBOUND train at Vega departing at 7:17 a.m. and making 3 stops in 34 miles to Amarillo, arriving there at 8:45 a.m. He would have to stay overnight there up to the wee hours (or, hitch a ride) for the only westbound through passenger train (on the Santa Fe) departed at 5:15 a.m. This was train No. 21, the same as referenced above. It was 234 miles from Amarillo to Vaughn, arriving at 12:30 p.m. (and making a meal stop...probably a Harvey House) before continuing on the same itinerary as above.
 
These times and routings are exact as of June 1916. I don't have fare information, but I believe that during this time period Texas imposed a cap of two cents a mile on fares by legislative fiat and that outside of Texas the average fare was 2.75 to 3 cents a mile. Of course, there's always author's license....
 
Edit To Add: I missed the bit about getting to Albuquerque As Soon As Possible. If that were the case, the thing to do would be to hitch a ride or borrow a horse and head due south 30 miles to Hereford, Texas. From there he could have caught westbound Santa Fe train No. 21 at 6:40 a.m. On the train, it would be 188 miles from Hereford to Vaughn.


« Last Edit: Jun 25th, 2015, 12:05am by ehbowen » Logged

--------Eric H. Bowen

Now 200 classic timetables online, transcribed into machine-readable and searchable format:

Check it out here: Streamliner Schedules!

Historic timetables of the great trains of the past!
ehbowen
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Re: History Question
 
« Reply #6 on: Jun 25th, 2015, 12:13am »
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A bit more information: Santa Fe trains 21 and 22 were called, "The Missionary". They split from the Scout at Kansas City; in this time period the Scout took the Santa Fe's northern route via Dodge City and Raton.
 
ETA: The Missionary carried sleepers, including a through Pullman sleeper between Roswell and Albuquerque which joined the train at Clovis and was transferred to train No. 816 in Belen, as well as tourist sleepers and chair cars. However, there was no dining car west of Kansas City...meal stops were made at the ubiquitous Harvey Houses.


« Last Edit: Jun 25th, 2015, 12:19am by ehbowen » Logged

--------Eric H. Bowen

Now 200 classic timetables online, transcribed into machine-readable and searchable format:

Check it out here: Streamliner Schedules!

Historic timetables of the great trains of the past!
smmcroberts
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Re: History Question
 
« Reply #7 on: Jun 25th, 2015, 9:34am »
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Thanks so much Norm, Vern, George, and Eric! I now have everything I need to make my story accurate. You guys are awesome!  


« Last Edit: Jun 25th, 2015, 9:35am by smmcroberts » Logged
ehbowen
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Re: History Question
 
« Reply #8 on: Jul 8th, 2015, 12:47am »
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For your edification and amusement: A complete timetable for the Santa Fe Scout and Missionary from June 1916 is now available for viewing on Streamliner Schedules.
 
Here's the direct link: http://www.streamlinersched...track8/scout191606.html


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Now 200 classic timetables online, transcribed into machine-readable and searchable format:

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Historic timetables of the great trains of the past!
ClydeDET
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Re: History Question
 
« Reply #9 on: Jul 8th, 2015, 3:00pm »
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on Jul 8th, 2015, 12:47am, ehbowen wrote:       (Click here for original message)
For your edification and amusement: A complete timetable for the Santa Fe Scout and Missionary from June 1916 is now available for viewing on Streamliner Schedules.
 
Here's the direct link: http://www.streamlinersched...track8/scout191606.html

 
Get a headache sorting through that and trying to keep everything straight, wouldn't you? Could suck to be a ticket clerk in the "old days". Or a dispatcher....


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HwyHaulier
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Re: History Question
 
« Reply #10 on: Jul 8th, 2015, 3:35pm »
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Clyde - Lodge Members -  
 
True! Which why, after much reading of ATSF over the years, leaves one breathless when considering how complex  
the schedules for its entire System. They did all of it absent modern age confusers (the latter crash, anyway)...
 
...............................Vern......................


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ehbowen
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Re: History Question
 
« Reply #11 on: Jul 8th, 2015, 8:35pm »
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on Jul 8th, 2015, 3:00pm, ClydeDET wrote:       (Click here for original message)

 
Get a headache sorting through that and trying to keep everything straight, wouldn't you? Could suck to be a ticket clerk in the "old days". Or a dispatcher....

 
The one which has really been kicking my...fundament...has been the June 1947 Sunshine Special. Through service New York-St. Louis-San Antonio-Mexico City with connecting service and/or through cars basically everywhere on the Missouri Pacific system. That's the train which, almost singlehandedly, is responsible for my two-year sabbatical. It's still sitting in my file folder, mocking me....


« Last Edit: Jul 8th, 2015, 8:36pm by ehbowen » Logged

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Now 200 classic timetables online, transcribed into machine-readable and searchable format:

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Historic timetables of the great trains of the past!
HwyHaulier
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Re: History Question
 
« Reply #12 on: Jul 9th, 2015, 6:58am »
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Eric - Lodge Members -
 
Sunshine Special? To add to the laughs, not to forget that through Pullman Cars handled between New York - St. Louis  
via PRR and B&O (latter actually served Jersey City, B&O connecting bus into Manhattan and Brooklyn). Your writer  
clearly recalls Cars marked up and running as MOPAC. Long ago, another Planet?
 
Maybe better you ought to drink green tea, meditate, think of happy bunnies and puppies? Get a rest?
 
.............................Vern...........................


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George_Harris
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Re: History Question
 
« Reply #13 on: Jul 9th, 2015, 4:53pm »
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on Jul 8th, 2015, 8:35pm, ehbowen wrote:       (Click here for original message)

The one which has really been kicking my...fundament...has been the June 1947 Sunshine Special. Through service New York-St. Louis-San Antonio-Mexico City with connecting service and/or through cars basically everywhere on the Missouri Pacific system. That's the train which, almost singlehandedly, is responsible for my two-year sabbatical. It's still sitting in my file folder, mocking me....

Sometime in the 1960 to 1962 time frame Trains Magazine did a graphical representation of the Texas Eagle and the Humming Bird / Georgian.  These were still both pretty well trains to everywhere on their respective systems.  Being a Pullman passenger would not be so bad because you would have an assigned space, that is, so long as you read the car number right, but being a coach passenger?  Better be careful which car you were in, and don't move to a different car from the one the conductor put you in just because it had more space, better seat, heat or AC worked better, or any other reason, because if you did, you could recline and go to sleep and wake up going to someplace other than your intended target.  Yes, I know that was not too likely because the system of seat checks would probably catch it, but if it got missed, watch out.  You might find yourself waking up aiming for Houston instead of Dallas or San Antonio.  
 
For quite a few years the Texas Eagle left St. Louis in two sections per schedule, one to Dallas / Ft. Worth and points west and the other to Houston, San Antonio, etc.  For a while the combined train was leaving, and this was true in the Trains example, with Pullmans to at least 4 different destinations, Ft. Worth, and there may have been one to points west as well, San Antonio and the Mexico City car, Houston, and Lake Charles LA.  Wait a minute, I got 6 destinations right there.  I don't think there was a St. Louis to Lake Charles through coach nor to Mexico City, but there were through coaches out of St. Louis to all the other points.
 
For many years the Humming Bird and the Georgian left Chicago within a few minutes of each other but not quite as close as the South Texas and West Texas sections of the Texas Eagle.  In the Trains article it talked of the combined train as leaving Chicago with as many as 20 cars behind four E-units.  I remember that number because my home city big train, the City of New Orleans could leave Memphis northbound with as much as 20 cars.  Also, in my first couple years of college, at Univ of Tenn Martin Branch, the City of Miami would come through with about 20 cars during the winter season.  If I did not see it, I could count it by hearing the wheels go across the L&N (former NC&St.L) Union City Branch diamond.  The speed limit across the diamond was supposed to be 30 mph, but if the train was running late, the bangs across the diamond said the train was going faster than that, maybe quite a bit faster.  Those were the days when the speed limits in the rule book were suggestions when the train was late.  Curve speeds, not so much, they tended to be respected, but on the straight, let her fly.


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HwyHaulier
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Re: History Question
 
« Reply #14 on: Jul 10th, 2015, 8:28am »
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George - Eric - Lodge Members -
 
In the era, yes, your writer does recall MOPAC Cars handled on B&O, on its Jersey City - St. Louis line. Seem to recall the  
moves as part of MOPAC EAGLE schedules...
 
Another period, remarkable spotting? One could see NdeM Cars here Stateside. Any of these likely ran on PRR, New York -  
St. Louis. So long ago, few clear memories about all of it...
 
.........................Vern........................


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ClydeDET
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Re: History Question
 
« Reply #15 on: Jul 10th, 2015, 2:38pm »
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on Jul 10th, 2015, 8:28am, HwyHaulier wrote:       (Click here for original message)
George - Eric - Lodge Members -
 
In the era, yes, your writer does recall MOPAC Cars handled on B&O, on its Jersey City - St. Louis line. Seem to recall the  
moves as part of MOPAC EAGLE schedules...
 
Another period, remarkable spotting? One could see NdeM Cars here Stateside. Any of these likely ran on PRR, New York -  
St. Louis. So long ago, few clear memories about all of it...
 
.........................Vern........................

 
So long ago indeed. Wish we had camera memories that we could down-load, sometimes.
 
Thinking of somewhat complex shuffling, David Barrow at one time had his Cat Mountain & Sana Fe layout specializing  in passenger operations (late steam-early diesel period) with a center-piece of the operation at Brownwood, where stuff from several sources came together to be broken down recombined, shuffled, etc.. Model Railroader did an article on it one time, with lots of pictures. David did some fine modeling, then and more recently. i was sorry when he essentially dumped all the passenger for modern freight (lots of long blocks of covered hoppers, pigs and containers and no people except the head-end crews - no cabeese, either). Ah well, his road, all 24x36 feet of it and he can do what he will. But I'd prefer to see big steam and Pullman green heavyweights....  
 
I understand an operating session on the passenger-heavy iteration was pretty hard on a new guy to the crew.
 
 


« Last Edit: Jul 22nd, 2015, 6:29pm by ClydeDET » Logged
ehbowen
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Re: History Question
 
« Reply #16 on: Jul 15th, 2015, 9:22pm »
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on Jun 24th, 2015, 11:57pm, ehbowen wrote:       (Click here for original message)
...From Tucumcari he would have transferred to Rock Island (C. R. I. & P.) train No. 1 departing at 8:10 p.m and traveling 59.1 miles to Santa Rosa where the train was turned over to the El Paso & Southwestern (part of the Southern Pacific empire)....

 
I see that I spoke prematurely; upon doing some more research I find that the El Paso & Southwestern in this time period was NOT part of the SP empire but was still an independent Class 1 road operating a respectable amount of main line track between Santa Rosa, El Paso and Tucson with branches into Mexico. It had been established and nurtured by the Phelps Dodge copper interests in the desert southwest territory, and would be up until the price of copper cratered after WWI. Eventually, of course, the line would be sold off and merged in to the Southern Pacific system [in 1924].


« Last Edit: Jul 15th, 2015, 9:23pm by ehbowen » Logged

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Now 200 classic timetables online, transcribed into machine-readable and searchable format:

Check it out here: Streamliner Schedules!

Historic timetables of the great trains of the past!
ehbowen
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Re: History Question
 
« Reply #17 on: Jul 19th, 2015, 8:53pm »
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Just added a June 1916 schedule for the Golden State Limited and the Californian.

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--------Eric H. Bowen

Now 200 classic timetables online, transcribed into machine-readable and searchable format:

Check it out here: Streamliner Schedules!

Historic timetables of the great trains of the past!
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