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October 1997 - Page 12


S P E C I A L R E P O RT

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s e m b l a n c e of s t a n d a r d i za t i o n from i t s anything and everything c o l l e c t i on of h a n d - m e - down r o l l ing stock, A m t ra k replaced most of them with Armour yellow Union Pacific sleepers. C h a n g e b e c a m e t he t r a i n 's only c onstant. rt seemed that each new timetable brought with it a new routing between Chicago and Cincinnati. In 1 974, the George Washington n ame was dropped in favor of f ames Whitcomb Riley. There was even open speculation that Amtrak wou l d seek to end the Tid ewater Virginia service. Those who championed Railpax legislation in Congress, faced with massive train-off petitions follow ing the removal of most U . S . mail f r o m t h e n a t i o n 's p a s s en g e r trains, spoke of saving a n d pre s e r v i n g e x i s t i ng s e r v i c e a n d routes. Amtrak was obligated to comply with the fin a l i zed route system and end point city pairs i d e n t i fi e d by t h e S ec re t a r y of Transportation on May 1 , 1 9 7 1 . S i n c e t h e C & O r o u t e was not generating satisfactory ridership, in 1 97 5 Amtrak decided to cross the James River and test the wa ters of the Hampton Roads travel market by reviving through ser vice to Chicago over Norfo l k & Wes t e rn 's para l l e l P oca h o n t as r oute from Norfolk to Cincinnati. The short-lived M ountaineer, was combined with the R iley at Rus sel l , Kentucky through 1 97 7 . The results were still unimpressive. A p p a re n t l y f o r g o t t e n w a s & W and Atlantic Coast Line's pooled service between Norfolk and the Northeast Corridor via a connect ion at Peters b u rg , Vir ginia. One can only guess what might have been had the M oun t a ineer h eaded north to Wash ington, instead of west to Chica go. [ s ubmitted a proposal to di vert the Newport News section of the fames Whitcomb Riley to the Northeast via the Richmond , Fredericksburg & Potomac Rail road at R i c h m o n d t o A m t ra k management in 1 97 2 , but since the carrier was struggling simply to survive, expansion was hardly an option. just as times seemed bleakest, Amtrak announced that it would indeed connect jamestown and Ply mouth Rock with a new daylight train called the C olonial j ust in time for the nation's bicentennial

Wiley M. Bryan, Doug Riddell collection

CAHer Novemberhi1971, slslepers vanished 'rom the routetrailsl the recenttoinWil iamsburg,heVirginia, in April 1970. hesapeake O o 1016 e eeper unti in augural t
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White Sulphul' Spl'ings

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Twilight Shol'elinel'.

The First Run of Amtrak's

Twilight Shol'elinel'

Prior to the july I I , 1 997, inaugu ration of Amtrak's daily NorthEast Direct 7i. vilight Shoreliner, t he last time anyone boarded a sleeper at the quaint brick Georgian passen ger station in the restored colonial capital of Williamsburg, Virginia, was November 1 3 , 1 97 1 . Though operated by Amtrak, the 1 0/6 still bore the fami l i a r Chesapeake & Ohio "for progress" logo, retained its gleaming fluted flanks, and was resplendent in the road's classic en chantment blue livery with yellow letterboard s . Trai ling a matching Chessie E8, that last sleeping car was very likely the storage battery power e d , s t e a m h e a t - e q u i p p e d City of Ashland, N o. 2 624, from the mammoth post \VWI l order placed by very optimistic passenger train proponent and Chesapeake & Ohio CEO, Robert R. Young. Where once the FFV a nd the Sportsman j oined it in burnishing the rai l s to the port of Hampton Roads, by the time Railpax legisla tion was signed into law in 1 970,

o nly the George Washington s ur vived to carry on the proud tradi tion of C&O passenger service. In the first six months of Amtrak's tenure, very few changes had been made to the train other than substi t u t i o n of a norma l l y a s signed , l ightweight, green Penn Central baggage car. (Amtra k passed on C & O 's assortment of head-end equipment which was almost ex clusively heavyweight). Even after being combined with Penn Cen t ra l 's f ames Whitcomb Riley a t Cincinnati for through service to Chicago on july 1 2 that first yeal; Nos. 50/5 1 still remained a C&O t ra i n-the ghost of the G eorge Washington, for a l l practical in tents and purposes-al though it was only known eastbound by that name-westbound it was the Ri ley. Even so, the sleeper, diner, a coach, and the baggage car contin ued to Newport ews, while an en gine and one or two coaches were forwarded to Washington, D.C. , af ter the split at Charlottesville, per formed in the shadow of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. On November 1 4, 1 97 1 , how evel; Nos. 50/5 1 became a through

Boston-Chicago train (for a yeal; at any rate ) , and the Tidewater Vir ginia service was reduced to a fee ble, one- or two-car accommoda tion, jokingly said to resemble Pet ticoat function 's H ooterville-Pixley Cannonball. To the contrary, with a Great forthern; orthern Pacific; Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; or Burlington Northern dome coupled to baggage/dorm/lounge No. 1 35 1 from B&O's Columbian, t he Tide water section ( Nos. 98/99, later 45 1 14 5 2 ) more readily possessed a l l of the q u a l i t i es of a pocket sh'eamlinel; except a sleeper.
S a crilege ! Th e roa d t h a t made famous the slogan "Sleep like a killen " operating a train wi th no sleeping car?

N ot only did the C&O 1 0/6s immediately disappear from Char lottesvi l le-Newport News main line service, but the through sec tion as wel l . Because their non standard floor plan flew in the face of convention (their six bed rooms were located m i d-car, af fording tony patrons a smoother, q u i e t e r r i d e ) , t h e y were w i t h drawn from service, a n d hasti ly sold or scrapped. Seeking some

1 2-0ctober 1997

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