Handbill and Timetable for Wabash Railway Company, "A Mile a Minute between Chicago and St. Louis 'Banner Blue Limited,'" 1935

Summary

The Wabash Railway, dating back to 1838, was a strong Midwestern carrier until Amtrak took over the national passenger railroad system in 1971. The "Banner Blue Limited" was the Wabash Railway's answer to competition from both automobiles and to other railroad lines traveling over similar routes. It was still powered by steam--not the newer diesel--but it was speedy.

The Wabash Railway, dating back to 1838, was a strong Midwestern carrier until Amtrak took over the national passenger railroad system in 1971. The "Banner Blue Limited" was the Wabash Railway's answer to competition from both automobiles and to other railroad lines traveling over similar routes. It was still powered by steam--not the newer diesel--but it was speedy.

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.

Many railroad systems in the 1930s did not have the wherewithal to upgrade to efficient diesel locomotives or fancy streamliners. The best they could do was offer faster times with faster--but still steam-powered--locomotives running over better track. The "Banner Blue Limited" became the Wabash Railway's answer to increasing competition from both automobiles and to other railroad lines traveling over similar routes. Introduced in 1925, the Banner Blue Limited was hailed by Wabash management as the "Train of Trains." It was painted a "deep Banner blue" and striped and lettered in gold. Beginning in 1930, it also stopped at the recently opened Delmar Station, saving many passengers a trip to and from downtown.

At first, the Banner Blue Limited sped between St. Louis and Chicago in 6 1/2 hours, but by June 1935, Wabash management announced that the time for its daylight train was reduced an hour to an unprecedented 5 1/2 hours. This brochure claimed that this was the fastest ever train operating between the two cities on a regular schedule. The reduction of one hour, it claimed, was in response to the desire of Wabash patrons for a quicker daylight trip, meeting "the modern trends toward faster travel by train." The Banner Blue's inaugural run was met with great fanfare, as a "circus-day crowd" came out to witness this new "blue streak."

According to the 1935 brochure, the Banner Blue Limited also provided the "standard of travel comforts"--air-conditioned cars (a standard on most name trains by this time), observation-drawing room parlor cars, cars with reclining chairs, "splendid meals, smooth and easy riding, and the greatest degree of comfort, rest, and convenience."

Detailed Description
Artifact

Handbill

Date Made

1935

Subject Date

1935

 On Exhibit

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Object ID

2012.67.8

Credit

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

Material

Paper (Fiber product)

Color

Black-and-white (Colors)
Blue

Dimensions

Height: 11 in

Width: 8.5 in

Inscriptions

Text from top reads in part: Announcing / A-mile-a-minute / Effective June 2, 1935- Between CHICAGO AND ST. LOUIS / "Banner Blue Limited" ... WABASH RAILWAY

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