Post-war Railroads

Postwar Streamliners

Sailing along with the "Great Steel Fleet" were the colorful new streamliners of other railroads. Competitor Pennsylvania Railroad upgraded its "Fleet of Modernism," including its illustrious Broadway Limited. Delaware, Lackawanna & Western launched a New York City-Buffalo train with an old name: Phoebe Snow, the "maid all in white" who had touted the virtues of the line's clean-burning locomotives, fired with Pennsylvania anthracite coal.

Meanwhile, Atlantic Coast Line and Seaboard Air Line buffed up their New York City-to-Florida trains, ACL's Champions and SAL's Silver Meteor and all-new Silver Star. Illinois Central inaugurated the City of New Orleans (which decades later would be made famous in song) from Chicago and updated its all-Pullman Panama Limited on the same route. Southern Railway and partners fielded a new Crescent between New York and New Orleans and the Royal Palm between the Midwest and Florida. Norfolk & Western introduced a pair of Cincinnati-Norfolk streamliners, the daylight Powhatan Arrow and overnight Pocahontas.

The Louisville & Nashville line was off the blocks quickly, in late 1946, with its Cincinnati-New Orleans Humming Bird and St. Louis-Atlanta Georgian with partner Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis. (In 1950, Wabash would enter the bird sweepstakes with its Blue Bird.)

Monon's postwar streamliners were unique. While other railroads turned to the major builders, this modest Midwestern carrier made a deal with the U.S. Army to buy a bunch of almost new hospital cars made surplus by peace and-with the help of industrial designer Raymond Loewy-turned them into handsome red-and-gray streamliners, complete with baggage-mail cars, coaches, dining-tavern cars, and flat-end parlor-observation cars. Thus equipped, the Hoosier and Tippecanoe streamliners entered service between Chicago and Indianapolis, while the Thoroughbred ran between Chicago and Louisville.