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Nostalgia & History > Timetable Thursday: Penn Central 'Ghost Trains'


Date: 04/08/21 04:50
Timetable Thursday: Penn Central 'Ghost Trains'
Author: ghCBNS

Right up until Amtrak Day 50 years ago Penn Central was running Chicago-Detroit-Buffalo-New York trains across Southern Ontario between Windsor and Fort Erie on 250 miles of the former Michigan Central/New York Central Railroad.








Date: 04/08/21 04:51
Re: Timetable Thursday: Penn Central 'Ghost Trains'
Author: ghCBNS

In 1970 Penn Central applied to the ICC and CTC (Canadian Transport Commission) to discontinue the trains. The CTC ruled they could be. The ICC ruled only the day train could be discontinued but the overnight train must continue. The ruling was appealed and continued to play out until both the day and the overnight trains ended with Amtrak.

As the ICC order required the trains to run between Detroit and Buffalo and the CTC ruling did not..... the trains no longer stopped at Canadian stations and only halted at Windsor and Fort Erie ON for Customs and at St. Thomas for a crew change.

In the book 'New York Central's Canadian Streamliners'....the author calls them the 'Ghost Trains across Ontario' The March 3, 1971 timetable below (the last one before Amtrak) no longer shows the Detroit-Buffalo route on the map but looking inside at the schedule the trains continued to run. The stops across Ontario no longer appeared......just the departure and arrival times at Detroit and Buffalo.








Date: 04/08/21 04:52
Re: Timetable Thursday: Penn Central 'Ghost Trains'
Author: ghCBNS

In 1974...Amtrak extended the 'Empire State Express' from Buffalo to Detroit across Southern Ontario on Penn Central. It was renamed the 'Niagara Rainbow' and ran until 1979. Now most of the old Penn Central...later ConRail track is gone. Below is the Niagara Rainbow at St. Thomas, Ontario in 1977......and that once fast track across Ontario now abandoned.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/08/21 05:02 by ghCBNS.








Date: 04/08/21 05:43
Re: Timetable Thursday: Penn Central 'Ghost Trains'
Author: Gateway97

I'm from the Columbus Ohio area. Seeing this map (and any map from the era) makes me shake my head as we have no rail passenger service through Columbus at the present (and haven't for decades). A metro area of over 1 million people! Possibly the largest metro area in the world not served by rail on the passenger side of things. Although the new proposals of route expansion by Amtrak do include Columbus. Time will tell. 



Date: 04/08/21 06:27
Re: Timetable Thursday: Penn Central 'Ghost Trains'
Author: IC1038west

Passenger service 6 directions out of Indianapolis by one carrier. Those were the days, my friend (part of a song, of course). Great to see the Chicago east (Cinn-Indy) and the Chicago west (Indy-Chgo via IC at Kankakee) segments complete and intact on the maps. Thank you for the look back.



Date: 04/08/21 06:30
Re: Timetable Thursday: Penn Central 'Ghost Trains'
Author: newtonville150

Gateway97 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'm from the Columbus Ohio area. Seeing this map
> (and any map from the era) makes me shake my head
> as we have no rail passenger service through
> Columbus at the present (and haven't for decades).
> A metro area of over 1 million people! Possibly
> the largest metro area in the world not served by
> rail on the passenger side of things.

Calgary, Alberta would be another contender for that ignominous prize. Although Columbus metro area is actually just over 2 million, Calgary is about 1.5 million according to Wikipedia.



Date: 04/08/21 08:52
Re: Timetable Thursday: Penn Central 'Ghost Trains'
Author: GettingShort

newtonville150 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Gateway97 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I'm from the Columbus Ohio area. Seeing this
> map
> > (and any map from the era) makes me shake my
> head
> > as we have no rail passenger service through
> > Columbus at the present (and haven't for
> decades).
> > A metro area of over 1 million people! Possibly
> > the largest metro area in the world not served
> by
> > rail on the passenger side of things.
>
> Calgary, Alberta would be another contender for
> that ignominous prize. Although Columbus metro
> area is actually just over 2 million, Calgary is
> about 1.5 million according to Wikipedia.

Phoenix Arizona has that beat with going on 4M people and no passenger rail service. The powers that be on both sides of the political spectrum seem to be rather proud of it as well.



Date: 04/08/21 09:49
Re: Timetable Thursday: Penn Central 'Ghost Trains'
Author: jgilmore

Great series, thanks for sharing. I rode the Niagara Rainbow as a kid in the 70s when we traveled from Detroit to Buffalo. Musta been a light load as the conductor took me to the baggage car and let me look into the mysterious open back door of the E-unit that was pulling the train, don't ask me how but that's about all I remember...

JG



Date: 04/08/21 11:58
Re: Timetable Thursday: Penn Central 'Ghost Trains'
Author: RodneyZona

Old Penn Central RR St. Thomas, ON, Canada based passenger train crews worked St. Thomas-Buffalo-Detroit-St. Thomas.. St. Thomas, ON based engine crews worked to and from Detroit and worked east to and from Buffalo, NY,



Date: 04/08/21 15:53
Re: Timetable Thursday: Penn Central 'Ghost Trains'
Author: OregonHoosier

I had noticed that the last PC east-west timetable omitted the Canadian stops and never knew the reason why. Thanks for sharing!



Date: 04/08/21 16:24
Re: Timetable Thursday: Penn Central 'Ghost Trains'
Author: cabsignaldrop

Thanks so much for posting, and for everyone sharing their memories. I hope we have many more Timetable Thursdays!

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