See trains from the 1940s, when passengers could ride the railroad in comfort & class

Vintage railroad passenger trains from the 1940s

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During World War II, the railroad companies had to devote their resources to the war effort by transporting troops around the country.

After the war ended and the soldiers made it home, the trains came back into play for businessmen, vacationers, families and anyone else who wanted to travel.

Here’s a look back at some of what the railroads were offering both to people in the military, and, post-war, to passengers back in the late 1940s.

Railroading is people - Nov 19, 1945 Train WWII

Pennsylvania Railroad’s great East-West Fleet (1941)

Spring weather can be mighty uncertain. But there’s nothing uncertain about Pennsylvania Railroad’s great East-West Fleet!

These fine modern trains always go … always get you there-365 days a year. And in what elegance and comfort you ride! In Pullman Lounges richly endowed with the smartest appointments — soft divans, murals, mirrors, radio, beverage bars.

Even the Diners are like gay cafes! And you retire to real beds in the privacy of Roomettes, Duplex Rooms, Bedrooms, Compartments, Drawing Rooms, Master Rooms — or to modern Section Sleepers. If you go “Coach”, enjoy restful reclining seats.

The cost? Pullman or Coach, very little, because FARES ARE LOW. So why chance the whim of weather…when this great East-West Fleet is better for you… all ways… all the time!

17 TRAINS DAILY between New York, Philadelphia and Chicago 7 TRAINS DAILY… between New York, Philadelphia and St. Louis Washington, Baltimore and St. Louis 10 TRAINS DAILY .. . between Washington, Baltimore and Chicago 40 TRAINS DAILY… between New York and Washington… Plus a fleet daily serving Pittsburgh, Columbus, Cincinnati, Akron, Cleveland, Detroit, Dayton, Louisville

Deluxe all-coach train NEW YORK-CHICAGO… 17 hours — Observation Car… Radio… Club Lounge… low-priced meals. Reserved individual reclining seat at no extra cost… attendants — all at low fares! Reclining-seat coaches on The Trail Blazer between Washington and Chicago, too; and on other trains to many cities.

Pennsylvania Railroad's great East-West Fleet (1941)

Stay home – travel later (January 1945)

Last year thousands of winter-vacationists had to wait weeks for reservations home. 

Many stayed up all night at railroad ticket offices in order to be the first in line next morning.

The travel situation will be just as bad this year — maybe worse — for military needs are even heavier. And the Office of Defense Transportation has already announced that there will be no extra train service for those who may be stranded.

So pleasure travel — much as we regret to say so — is still something to look forward to rather than enjoy right now.

Trains for WWII soldiers - January 1945

Pullman-Standard Great Northern Empire Builders – Diner (1946)

Now building by Pullman-Standard. For faster, finer service to the Pacific Northwest, Great Northern’s new Empire Builders.

Railroad - 1946 Pullman-Standard Great Northern Empire Builders - Diner

New York Central trains (1946)

The Magic Carpet rolls out again. It’s century time!

Railroad of 1946 - New York Central trains

Sleeper cars on Pullman railroads (1946)

Sleeping car restrictions removed! Now you can sleep goign anywhere you go by train. Sleeping car service on runs of 450 miles or less — banned since last July — has been restored. No need now to waste valuable daytime hours traveling.

Trains of 1946 - Sleeper cars on Pullman railroads

Pullman-Standard builds 2 new Chicago Streamliners (1946)

For deluxe, fast service between Chicago and its Illinois and Indiana terminals, the C & E I will introduce its Chicago-Liners — two of the latest type Pullman-Standard-built streamliners.

They will augment the present daily service, with faster schedules and the last word in pleasant accommodations for daytime travel. Both trains will feature up-to-the-minute Pullman-Standard innovations… the new diner, with diagonal seating… a hospitable grill room… coaches with reclining chairs… and the luxurious observation-lounge.

Among experienced travelers, C & E I service from Chicago to Florida — via The Dixie Route — is popular and widely-known.

C & E I chose Pullman-Standard to design and build the Chicago-Liners, because they wanted passengers to have the safest and finest equipment available.

Pullman-Standard engineers, designers and craftsmen know, from generations of experience, the factors which make for structural soundness, smooth riding and all-around performance… the types of equipment Passengers prefer… how to make the best use of materials, space and dimensions… where to use stainless steel, and where other metals do the job better. These qualities are identified by the Pullman-Standard name plate on each car.

There is no substitute for experience.

THE CHICAGO-LINERS: Chicago-Marion and Southern Illinois — Chicago-Danville-Terre Haute-Evansville

Observation-Lounge Car for one of the fast Chicago-Liners now being built for the Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad

PULLMAN-STANDARD CAR MANUFACTURING COMPANY Chicago – Illinois Offices in seven cities… Manufacturing plants in six cities

Pullman-Standard builds 2 new Chicago Streamliners 1946

Train of tomorrow, on the raild today: Pullman Standard Train (1947)

Railroad - 1947 Pullman Standard Train

Trains of 1947 – Investigated by Sherlock Holmes

Trains of 1947 - Investigated by Sherlock Holmes

Dining cars on GM locomotives (1948)

The Fiesta, a luxurious diner-lounge on the new GOLDEN STATE, is one of the most picturesque passenger cars ever built.

Its canopied ceiling, tiled floor, adobe bar and hand-carved furnishings are appropriately in the Mexican-Southwestern motif, for this streamlined train runs between Chicago and Los Angeles, and is jointly operated by the Rock Island and the Southern Pacific.

WHEN a train powered by a General Motors Diesel locomotive glides into — or out of — a station, there’s not even a ripple in the glass of water at your elbow.

You travel with a new smoothness — and a new speed, too. Often, on the straightaways, your train may make 100 miles an hour.

General Motors locomotives have also brought a new cleanliness to travel — no soot and cinders to mar your appearance; no clouds of smoke and steam to mar your view. They have held, for several years, the records for on-time arrivals.

Trains of 1948 - Dining cars on GM locomotives

All-new, all-coach streamliners (1949)

The Trail Blazer (New York-Chicago) & The Jeffersonian (New York-Washington-St Louis)

Completely new in everything but the name.

No finer trains on the rails today… anywhere… than these completely new Pennsylvania Railroad all-coach streamliners!

From the smooth power of the great diesel-electric locomotives to trim new interior appointments and service refinements, they are the latest in travel luxury.

Railroads of 1949 - New all-coach streamliner trains

Pennsylvania Railroad vacation (1949)

All aboard! For a happy vacation, go by train!

CHOOSE your own vacationland, but for extra pleasure … go by train! It’s much more enjoyable. And the train is or comfortable, convenient and dependable. There’s room to roam, room to relax… whether you go coach or Pullman.

Your care-free vacation starts the moment you step aboard any one of the 1100 daily trains that make up Pennsylvania Railroad’s great passenger fleets. No matter where you’re bound, there’s a train ready to take you on the day you plan to go.

Courteous Pennsylvania Railroad employees are on hand to serve you when you make the initial arrangements of your travel details, when you are boarding the train and en route.

This year — for the vacation of your dreams — take a happy, carefree trip… Take the Pennsylvania.

Trains of 1949 - Pennsylvania Railroad vacation

AND NOW THIS: See the luxurious old Deluxe Overland Limited trains, and what they looked like inside

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