Train of Tomorrow visits the Monon
At the conclusion of World War II, the lightweight streamlined passenger trains were in their glory. Before the war, in the years 1934 through 1941, the diesel streamliner had evolved from fixed consist lightweights the likes of the Burlington's original Pioneer Zephyr to flagships like the Santa Fe's 1937 lightweight Super Chief and the Illinois Central's 1942 Panama Limited. In 1945, Burlington built the first dome car, adding more enthusiasm to the railroads' request to reequip their postwar passenger trains.
(Left) Train of Tomorrow at Lafayette. (Right) Train Of Tomorrow leaving Crawfordsville
In 1945, General Motors along with Pullman Standard, developed plans to construct the ultimate train for the postwar era: The Train Of Tomorrow. It was the embodiment of the latest passenger train designs and the train would tour the railroads of America. The hope was that the train would generate interest in passenger train travel and, of course, generate orders for General Motors and Pullman Standard. The Train of Tomorrow was completed in the spring of 1947 and was drawn by two 2,000-hp Electro-Motive E-7As. The consist included four cars: a chair car, diner, sleeper and lounge observation, all with domes (Astro Domes in GM's terminology.). The Monon Railroad became a most unliely host of the Train Of Tomorrow's first run.
Train Of Tomorrow arrives in French Lick, circa 1947.
After a break in test runs, including one between Chicago and Wallace Junction, the Train of Tomorrow made it official debut on May 26, 1947. With the press, company officials and invited guests on board, the Train of Tomorrow departed Chicago's Dearborn Station and reeled off 278 miles on the Monon mainline and French Lick Branch to pull up before the French Lick Springs Hotel. The passengers were guests at the Springs for the night. The next day the train returned over the Monon to Chicago. On May 28, 1947 the Train of Tomorrow was christened at a dedication ceremony near Chicago's Soldier Field.
June 2, 1947, after its display in Chicago, the Train of Tomorrow began its exhibition tour that would take it through the eastern United States and bring a million viewers to trackside. The following year, the Train of Tomorrow was sold to the Union Pacific for Portland to Seattle service. The train would never return to the Monon, but the eventsof May 26-27, 1947 will forever link the Monon and the Train of Tomorrow.
(Pictures Left and Right) Train of Tommorow on display at the Indiana State Fairgrounds -Peter Holmgren Photographs-
(Left) Picture of Americana. The Train of Tomorrow somewhere in America. (Right) Inside one of the passenger cars.
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