Fallen Flags (Part 1)
by Jim Herron
All photos are copyright by George Elwood
At the end of the World War II there were about 125 American railroads that were Class I carriers. These railroads had a wonderful array of insignias and logos, including diamonds, flags, circles, rectangles, ovals, cats and keystones. These standards were draped across tenders, diesels and engines as durable corporate indentifiers, readily identified by most people.
My first association with railroad emblems were metal ones enclosed in specially marked boxes of Wheaties, “the Breakfast of Champions.” Seeing them evoked thoughts of the locomotives and routes of the 20th Century Limited, Broadway Limited and the Wabash Cannonball. Then, all too quickly, the flags fell. I thought it would be interesting to remember these “fallen flags” and remember when.
• The flag on the Wabash, a 2,400 mile road, fell in October, 1964.
• The Minneapolis & St. Louis, a 1400 mile road went the way of the fallen flag with a C & NW acquisition in November, 1960.
• Central of Georgia with 1800 miles of track was acquired by Southern Railway in the 1960’s.
• Virginian Railway, a small coal hauling line, was acquired by N. & W.RR in December, 1959.
• Pennsylvania Railroad, the standard railroad of the world, sought refuge in a merger with the rival New York Central in February of 1968. Hence, the Penn-Central. The merger didn’t work and was later broken up into Conrail for freight and Amtrak for passenger service, along with six other railroads in the northeast.
• Burlington Route – Chicago Burlington & Quincy, a 1,000 mile structure made famous by the Zephyr, was acquired by Burlington Northern in March, 1970.
• Great Northern merged with N. P. And Burlington to form B. N.
• Northern Pacific was acquired by G.N. in the 1960’s.
• C & O, “the Cat,” a 5,000 mile survivor, took control of the B & O in 1963.
• B & O with 5500 miles of track was absorbed by the C & O in 1963. Gone are the purple diesels and coaches.
• Atlantic Coast Line merged with the Seaboard in 1967.
• Lackawanna RR merged with the Erie RR in October, 1960. The fortunes of the Phoebe Snow became the Erie Lackawanna.
• Nickel Plate Road with 2100 miles of track merged into the N & W in October of 1964.
• Monon Route (Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville) merged with the Louisville & Nashville in July of 1971.
• Lehigh & New England, with 178 miles of track, bridged with N. H. RR and ceased operations in October, 1961.
• Moffat Tunnel Route – Denver and Salt Lake – was absorbed by the Denver & Rio Grande in 1947.
• N. C. & St. L (Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis – the Dixie Route) was taken over by L. & N. In August, 1957.
• The South Shore – Duluth, Sand Shore & Atlantic, a 550 miles route, became the Soo Line in January of 1961, through a merger with the Soo (Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie), Wisconsin Central and DSS&A.
• The Alton RR Co. Was absorbed by the Gulf Mobile & Ohio in May of 1947.
Part II next month.