Talk:20th Century Limited

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Aiga railtransportation 25.svg To-do list for 20th Century Limited: edit·history·watch·refresh· Updated 2006-10-18

  • Add a list of stations served
  • Add a photo or two of the train in action
  • Discuss the train's name in further detail and how it conveyed a sense of majesty as the world entered the new century
  • Add a timeline of significant events for the train
  • Discuss the train's industrial design elements
  • Further elaborate on the competition between this train and the Broadway Limited
  • Add details on the train's typical consists through its 65-year history
  • Add photos of the first Henry Dreyfuss design of 1938 (we have a loco pic, how about one of the passenger cars?); and, again, the second streamlined set of 1949, the latter of which features the famous observation cars with their high-windows.

Englewood Station[edit]

Started doing the research for the Englewood station article. It served trains from the NYC, PRR as well as the Rock. What should I change the link to? Englewood, Chicago (station)? Englewood (NYC station) doesn't seem to be appropriate here. Gws57 15:47, August 18, 2005 (UTC)

Looking at the format of links in {{Chicago terminals}}, I'd suggest Englewood Station (Chicago). There probably was a station in Englewood, Colorado (don't have my references handy right now), and this fits in with other Chicago station article names. slambo 17:45, August 18, 2005 (UTC)
Looks good - I've made a few redirects. --SPUI (talk) 00:11, 19 August 2005 (UTC)[]

General References[edit]

I have citations for several articles about the 20th Century Limited written by noted railroad historian and enthusiast Lucius Beebe. I would normally add them to the "References" section, but someone is using that for footnotes. Any suggestions? These articles are directly on point and provide great detail about the train, the passengers, and especially the food and drink offered onboard.VirginiaProp (talk21:02, 18 July 2007 (UTC)[]

Doing references in footnote style like this has become the preferred format for articles going through the GA and FA processes. However, there is no restriction that an article must have only footnotes. See California Southern Railroad, for example; that article lists both general references and specific footnote citations. Slambo (Speak) 10:48, 19 July 2007 (UTC)[]

Cannon Ball Baker races the train[edit]

The article currently says "in 1928, Erwin "Cannon Ball" Baker, who eventually became the first commissioner of NASCAR, raced the 20th Century Limited from New York to Chicago in an automobile, beating the train." This is unsourced, and I can't confirm it from any other googleable source. I imagine that if this really happened (I'm skeptical since 1928 newspapers were not known to provide the truth and only the truth), Mr. Baker used a route considerably shorter than the train's 960.7 miles. It would be interesting to know how much shorter--not to mention how reliable all this information is.C. Cerf (talk) 02:35, 22 May 2009 (UTC)[]

Twentieth or 20th?[edit]

69.115.42.244 (talk · contribs) has just been changing uses here and at Commons from Twentieth to 20th. This is probably correct, but is it cited anywhere? Was it even that cut and dried, or were both used? Did it change over time? I'm in the UK, so don't have much access to sourcing on this. However the two refs I do have, from UK books I've scanned for Commons published twenty years apart, both used Twentieth.

Andy Dingley (talk) 12:55, 5 December 2011 (UTC)[]

"20TH Century Limited" is correct. See, for example, here, here, here, here, and here. Centpacrr (talk) 13:20, 5 December 2011 (UTC)[]
The envelope stamp is pretty convincing.
Any thoughts on why the earlier UK sources used Twentieth? Is this just an British English language issue? Andy Dingley (talk) 13:56, 5 December 2011 (UTC)[]
I suppose that it's possible this is a UK usage. It is clear, however, that "20th" is the correct form of the name in this case. Centpacrr (talk) 16:03, 5 December 2011 (UTC)[]
The name is the Twentieth Century Limited. The name is how the company, the New York Central Railroad, not how UK English language or Flickr posters determine the name to be. See this 1938 timetable, [1]. See, more recently, this 1964 company timetable, [2].Dogru144 (talk) 23:57, 9 February 2021 (UTC)[]
It looks like both examples you provided use both forms. It looks like "20th Century Limited" was consistently used in 'advertising' and on their 'red carpet'. If the official name used by the railroad was "Twentieth Century Limited" you would see that more consistently used, particularly in advertising and on the red carpet leading to the train by that name. I don't think just because "Twentieth Century Limited" is used in a limited way justifies that being the name of the train. Dbroer (talk) 15:31, 10 February 2021 (UTC)[]

"The most famous train in the world"?[edit]

That title must surely go to the Orient Express and not the 20th Century Limited. Thomas.W (talk) 14:04, 8 September 2012 (UTC)[]

Or the Flying Scotsman perhaps..? I think we're going to need some evidence for this claim.Flanker235 (talk) 04:15, 1 June 2013 (UTC)[]
The article states that the 20th Century Limited "would become known as" the "Most Famous Train in the World" for which I have found a reference which I have both added as a citation and also added to the text that the train was "advertised as" being the "most famous" in the world. The reference is to a 1912 magazine article by A. Rowden King (1883-1968) entitled "Making A Train World Famous: How the 20th Century Limited has Become a Business Necessity and its Name an English Idiom by Advertising" which appeared on pages 12-16 in the magazine "Advertising & Selling" in its September, 1912 issue (Vol. 22, No. 4). The train is also so dubbed in an 18 minute 1935 New York Central promotional film entitled "FLIGHT OF THE CENTURY The Most Famous Train in the World". This ought to resolve this issue. Centpacrr (talk) 13:33, 1 June 2013 (UTC)[]
Okay, seems to be a contextual issue. I was taking you literally. Flanker235 (talk) 08:55, 13 July 2013 (UTC)[]

Power for engines approaching Grand Central Terminal[edit]

Given that the route to the NY terminal was underground for 50 blocks, how did steam and then diesel locomotives travel through the tunnels? The regional commuter trains were powered by electricity. Dogru144 (talk) 19:00, 22 July 2016 (UTC)[]

  • Electric locomotives handled it between Grand Central and Croton–Harmon. Mackensen (talk) 19:12, 22 July 2016 (UTC)[]

Muddled identification of former lead photo (relabeled to "Early 1900s version..." from "Pre-1920s version...")[edit]

The photo which I moved out of the lead to the Early History section seems to have muddled identification.

I moved it because it is clearly an early photo and certainly doesn't represent the classic image of the 20th Century Limited, that of the 1930s streamliners. The photo was originally dated as "pre-1920", but that's too conservative an estimate, based only on the copyright info at the Library of Congress. The locomotive used turns out to be a 4-6-0 Ten Wheeler built in the late 1890s. Locomotive power was growing rapidly in this period, and the New York Central would not have kept this one on its crack passenger train for well over a decade.

Things get more muddled when you look at the photo's description. For some reason, the original uploader identified the train as belonging to the Boston and Albany. This was a New York Central subsidiary which did run a section of the 20th Century Limited, linking from Albany on the main route to Boston. But that section didn't start until 1909, and for other reasons I think this identification is incorrect.

The photo looks extremely similar to another photo on Commons, File:20th Century Limited 604.jpg. I've found versions of that second photo on Getty Images and as this image in this gallery from the website of Classic Trains magazine. Both of these pages date this photo to the Twentieth Century Limited's inauguration in 1902.

What's interesting is that although the two photos differ in their surrounding scenery and in the labeling on the locomotive and train, all other visual details of the locomotive and train are identical, including the perspective, the position of the locomotive's driving rods and bell, and the clothing and posture of the engineer. The photo dated to 1902 shows the train as belonging to the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway (LS&MS), which at that time operated the western half of the Twentieth Century Limited's route, and the locomotive is labeled as road number 604. Looking up that road number for the LS&MS shows that it did indeed belong to a 4-6-0 which appears to be the same model of locomotive: Class I/F-51 of the LS&MS, road numbers 600-610. (This class is shown and described in an 1899 catalog of the builder, the Brooks Locomotive Works, and a brass HO-scale model of the class is shown in these photos. It looks identical to the locomotive in our photos.)

Either the Library of Congress photo or the photo dated to 1902 must have been retouched to change details. However, the Library of Congress photo is listed as being from a glass negative, and looking at the image there shows damage consistent with such a negative, so it would seem to come from the original. Unfortunately, the available scan is very fuzzy and low in resolution, so I can't see any fine details. That would mean that the photo dated to 1902, with the train clearly marked as belonging to the LS&MS, was a version retouched to more clearly identify the railroad and locomotive, as well as to add other visual details, such as more interesting trackside scenery and a wisp of steam from the pistons.

I wanted to bring this to people's attention so that other editors could decide what to do with these photos.

--Colin Douglas Howell (talk) 04:49, 15 April 2019 (UTC)[]