Tuesday, January 8, 2013

All Aboard the B&O Railroad’s Washingtonian

The Washingtonian was one of two daily American named passenger trains operated by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) during the 1940s–1950s between Baltimore, Maryland and Cleveland, Ohio, via Washington, D. C. and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Inaugurated on April 27, 1941, the Washingtonian was primarily a daytime train with a morning departure, in contrast to B&O's other train on the route, the Cleveland Night Express.  Between Pittsburgh and Cleveland, the Washingtonian's cars left B&O rails and were coupled to the Steel King train of the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad (P&LE) to Youngstown, Ohio, where the Erie Railroad handled the train to Cleveland.

The Washingtonian was the B&O's last passenger train to be powered by steam locomotives on its Washington, D. C. – Cumberland, Maryland mainline, not incorporating diesel locomotives until April, 1954. Two years later, those diesel locomotives were replaced on October 27, 1956 by the faster and more economical Budd Rail Diesel Car (RDC)-equipped Daylight Speedliner between Baltimore and Pittsburgh, reducing operating expenses by nearly half. The streamlined Daylight Speedliner's seven-hour schedule on B&O's 333-mile Baltimore–Pittsburgh route also trimmed almost two hours travel time compared to the Washingtonian but most certainly far less elegant.

The westbound Washingtonian, operating as Train # 21, left Baltimore’s Mt. Royal Station at 9:00 a.m., arriving in Cleveland twelve hours later at 9:00 p.m. Eastbound, the Washingtonian was designated Train # 22. The train's consist was typically a pair of baggage/express cars, a Railway Post Office car, three air conditioned coaches, and a combination parlor-diner-lounge car.  In the late 1940s, as many as six additional coaches were added on weekends to accommodate the throngs of East Coast-bound passengers boarding the train at the numerous Appalachian Mountain communities along the B&O's right-of-way.

On the B&O System Map below the Washingtonian’s route is designated in red and yellow, the yellow section being handled as a part of the P&LE’s Steel King train.

The westbound schedule for February 1956 was as follows:

Baltimore, Maryland Mt. Royal Station
9:00 AM
Washington D.C., Union Station
10:05 AM
Martinsburg, West Virginia
11:36 AM
Cumberland, Maryland
1:15 PM
Connellsville, Pennsylvania
4:11 PM
McKeesport, Pennsylvania
5:12 PM
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania PL&E Station
6:05 PM
Youngstown, Ohio
7:35 PM
Cleveland, Ohio Union Terminal
9:00 PM

Today Amtrak runs its Washington, D.C. to Chicago run named after the B&O’s Capitol Limited and covers the territory Baltimore to Cleveland formerly covered by the Washingtonian.

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