Wabash Railroad Travel Literature Collection

Biographical / Historical Note

The basic template for the Wabash Railroad system was laid out in the 19th century, with a continual series of mergers, reorganizations, and changed names (typical of the growth of railroad systems). Highlights include:

-1838: The nucleus of...

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The basic template for the Wabash Railroad system was laid out in the 19th century, with a continual series of mergers, reorganizations, and changed names (typical of the growth of railroad systems). Highlights include:

-1838: The nucleus of what became the Wabash system started as the Northern Cross Railway (the first railroad in Illinois), a 12-mile line running from Jacksonville to Meredosia in west central Illinois.
-1856: Renamed the Toledo, Wabash and Western Railway Company, the system now covered a 520-mile stretch from Toledo, Ohio, through Indiana to the western border of Illinois (Quincy) and northwest to Keokuk, Iowa. The Wabash line was named for the Wabash River, a 475-mile river running through northwest Ohio, northern Indiana, and Illinois.
-1881: Through the vision of railroad baron Jay Gould, this system, now called the Wabash Railway Company, reached Detroit and Chicago and extended into Missouri via St. Louis. But it never developed into the complete "shore-to-shore" system that Gould had envisioned. Instead, it became the principle artery tapping the great "Heart of America."
-By 1900: The Wabash system extended as far as Kansas City, Missouri; Des Moines, Iowa; Omaha, Nebraska; and Buffalo, New York. Connections could be made from various hubs to the east and west coast via other lines.

The Wabash Railroad was a strong Midwestern carrier. Even during downturns of the 20th century, when many similar sized railroads went bankrupt or were folded into larger systems, the Wabash remained a strong and popular passenger line until Amtrak took over the national railroad system in 1971. It continued its name as a freight carrier until 1991 when it was folded into the Norfolk Southern system.

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Scope and Content Note

The collection is comprised of brochures, tickets, destination flyers, route maps, timetables, advertisements, ticket prices, station locations, special event destinations, railroad station signage, executive biographies, railroad lithographs, and other...

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The collection is comprised of brochures, tickets, destination flyers, route maps, timetables, advertisements, ticket prices, station locations, special event destinations, railroad station signage, executive biographies, railroad lithographs, and other pieces of railroad related material. The acquisition was acquired in a scrapbook form. It was saved from a dumpster by a vice president of the Railroad. Because the scrapbook was in poor condition, the contents were removed and individual files created following the original organization.

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Collection Details

Object ID: 2012.67.0
Creator: Unknown 
Inclusive Dates: 1906-1959
Size: 0.9 cubic ft. and 1 oversize box
Language: English

Collection Access & Use

Item Location: Not Currently On Exhibit

Access Restrictions: The collection is open for research.

Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford. In Memory of John A. Barrett.

Digitized Artifacts From This Collection

In many cases, not all artifacts have been digitized.
Contact us for more information about this collection.

Brochure and Timetable for Wabash Railroad's Blue Bird Streamliner, "The Most Modern Train in America," 1950

  Details

Brochure and Timetable for Wabash Railroad's Blue Bird Streamliner, "The Most Modern Train in America," 1950

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Brochure

Date Made

1950

Summary

The Wabash Railway, dating back to 1838, was a strong Midwestern carrier until Amtrak took over the national passenger railroad system in 1971. In 1950, the Wabash Railway introduced a completely new, diesel-powered, domed streamliner, the "Blue Bird." The ultimate in luxury but at no extra fare to passengers, the "Blue Bird" ran the fiercely competitive 286-mile St. Louis-to-Chicago route.

Object ID

2012.67.10

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. In Memory of John A. Barrett.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Brochure and Timetable for Wabash Railroad's Blue Bird Streamliner, "The Most Modern Train in America," 1950

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

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Brochure and Timetable for Wabash Railroad's Blue Bird or Cannon Ball Streamliner, "Modern Service in the Heart of America," 1953

  Details

Brochure and Timetable for Wabash Railroad's Blue Bird or Cannon Ball Streamliner, "Modern Service in the Heart of America," 1953

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Brochure

Date Made

1953

Summary

The Wabash Railway, with origins dating back to 1838, was a strong Midwestern carrier until Amtrak took over the national passenger railroad system in 1971. The legendary song "The Wabash Cannon Ball" told of a mythical "death coach" for hobos. The song became so popular that, in 1950, the Wabash Railway gave that name to its Detroit-to-St. Louis day train.

Object ID

2012.67.12

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. In Memory of John A. Barrett.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Brochure and Timetable for Wabash Railroad's Blue Bird or Cannon Ball Streamliner, "Modern Service in the Heart of America," 1953

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Brochure and Timetable for Wabash Railroad's Streamliner, "City of Kansas City," 1950

  Details

Brochure and Timetable for Wabash Railroad's Streamliner, "City of Kansas City," 1950

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Brochure

Date Made

1950

Summary

The Wabash Railway, with origins dating back to 1838, was a strong Midwestern carrier until Amtrak took over the national passenger railroad system in 1971. With a revival of profits during World War II, optimistic Wabash managers took the plunge and invested in new lightweight, diesel-powered streamliners. First of these was the "City of Kansas City," introduced in 1947.

Object ID

2012.67.11

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. In Memory of John A. Barrett.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Brochure and Timetable for Wabash Railroad's Streamliner, "City of Kansas City," 1950

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Brochure and Timetable for Wabash Railway Company, "Going Away?," 1924

  Details

Brochure and Timetable for Wabash Railway Company, "Going Away?," 1924

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Brochure

Date Made

1924

Summary

The Wabash Railway, with origins dating back to 1838, was a strong Midwestern carrier until Amtrak took over the national passenger railroad system in 1971. This brochure promised that the company's new all-steel cars were safer than the hazardous old wooden railroad cars. Furthermore, unlike automobile travel, railroad passengers were completely taken care of here by conductors, porters, and waiters.

Object ID

2012.67.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. In Memory of John A. Barrett.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Brochure and Timetable for Wabash Railway Company, "Going Away?," 1924

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Brochure and Timetable for Wabash Railway's "North Star Limited," St. Louis, Missouri to Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, 1929

  Details

Brochure and Timetable for Wabash Railway's "North Star Limited," St. Louis, Missouri to Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, 1929

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Brochure

Date Made

1929

Summary

The Wabash Railway, with origins dating back to 1838, was a strong Midwestern carrier until Amtrak took over the national passenger railroad system in 1971. This flyer describes the dining service of the North Star Limited--a speedy line between St. Louis and Minneapolis/St. Paul that was operated jointly by the Wabash Railway and the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway.

Object ID

2012.67.4

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. In Memory of John A. Barrett.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Brochure and Timetable for Wabash Railway's "North Star Limited," St. Louis, Missouri to Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, 1929

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Brochure for Wabash Railway Company Delmar Station, "The Best Beginning for Every Winter Journey," St. Louis, Missouri, 1930

  Details

Brochure for Wabash Railway Company Delmar Station, "The Best Beginning for Every Winter Journey," St. Louis, Missouri, 1930

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Brochure

Date Made

1930

Summary

The Wabash Railway, with origins dating back to 1838, was a strong Midwestern carrier until Amtrak took over the national passenger railroad system in 1971. In 1928, the Wabash Railway erected the Delmar Avenue Station, providing west-end and suburban St. Louis residents--particularly businessmen--convenient access to their railroad system without having to go all the way downtown.

Object ID

2012.67.16

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. In Memory of John A. Barrett.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Brochure for Wabash Railway Company Delmar Station, "The Best Beginning for Every Winter Journey," St. Louis, Missouri, 1930

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Brochure for Wabash Railway Company, "Excelsior Springs, the Mecca of Golfers," Excelsior Springs Junction, Missouri, 1931

  Details

Brochure for Wabash Railway Company, "Excelsior Springs, the Mecca of Golfers," Excelsior Springs Junction, Missouri, 1931

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Brochure

Date Made

1931

Summary

The Wabash Railway, with origins dating back to 1838, was a strong Midwestern carrier until Amtrak took over the national passenger railroad system in 1971. Excelsior Springs, Missouri, became a popular resort town after the late-19th-century discovery of mineral springs there. This 1931 brochure advertises two alternate routes to Excelsior Springs from St. Louis, each taking about seven hours.

Object ID

2012.67.7

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. In Memory of John A. Barrett.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Brochure for Wabash Railway Company, "Excelsior Springs, the Mecca of Golfers," Excelsior Springs Junction, Missouri, 1931

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Brochure for Wabash Railway's Excursions, "See Niagara Falls, America's Greatest Wonder," 1929

  Details

Brochure for Wabash Railway's Excursions, "See Niagara Falls, America's Greatest Wonder," 1929

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Brochure

Date Made

1929

Summary

The Wabash Railway, with origins dating back to 1838, was a strong Midwestern carrier until Amtrak took over the national passenger railroad system in 1971. Niagara Falls was one of America's earliest and most popular tourist attractions. To compete with automobiles, the Wabash Railway offered in this 1929 brochure convenient excursion trips with economical fares to this popular attraction.

Object ID

2012.67.5

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. In Memory of John A. Barrett.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Brochure for Wabash Railway's Excursions, "See Niagara Falls, America's Greatest Wonder," 1929

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Handbill and Schedule for Wabash Railroad Company, "Cinerama Excursion to St. Louis Via Wabash," Missouri, 1955

  Details

Handbill and Schedule for Wabash Railroad Company, "Cinerama Excursion to St. Louis Via Wabash," Missouri, 1955

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Handbill

Date Made

1955

Summary

The Wabash Railway, with origins dating back to 1838, was a strong Midwestern carrier until Amtrak took over the national passenger railroad system in 1971. While railroads were trying to stay afloat with competition from automobiles, movies were facing stiff competition from television. This 1955 flyer advertises a railway excursion to St. Louis to view a new-fangled, widescreen Cinerama film.

Object ID

2012.67.13

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. In Memory of John A. Barrett.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Handbill and Schedule for Wabash Railroad Company, "Cinerama Excursion to St. Louis Via Wabash," Missouri, 1955

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details