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Hello all, I’m trying to work out an operating session with a friend and we’d like to add a passenger train component.

I’ve traveled on Amtrak (Lake Shore Limited) in a sleeper and when the Boston and NYC trains merge at Albany they just append the cars of one train to the rear of the other. And if you’re sleeping, you don’t notice it so I get how it works today since we don’t have special cars (e.g. observation cars) anymore.

My question is about how it used to be in the 40’s/50’s. Specifically when the Lackawanna terminated in Buffalo and their passengers continued on to Chicago on the Nickel Plate, what was the process for making up the train?

Did they move the observation car and add the cars in between? What cars continued on - just sleepers or did coaches/diners/baggage cars swap too? Or did they not swap cars at all and passengers needed to physically switch trains? Also, how did the engine swap work, did the mainline engines do the car switching or would a switcher loco be used?

I know it’s a pretty basic kind of question, but just trying to learn how this was operationally achieved. Thanks for helping a newbie learn and figure this out!

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In 1960, I took the DL&W (I will NEVER acknowledge the EL, as the DL&W was our 'home road') from Summit, NJ in a roomette (1st class sleeper), but not on the Phoebe Snow. Upon arrival at Buffalo, my sleeping car was switched onto the NKP passenger connection from Buffalo to Chicago, and must admit that I never felt a thing. Since I was enroute to college (Oklahoma State), I had to change stations/trains in Chicago, for the Santa Fe Texas Chief for my station stop in Ponca City, OK. The NKP passenger train did have a nice dinning car, but I don't recall any other DL&W equipment in the NKP consist, only my sleeping car.

Thanks for sharing your first hand experience @Hot Water. Did the train at that point have an observation car?

No. Only the Phoebe Snow had an observation car. No other trains on the DL&W had observation cars, and the NKP train I was on also did not have an observation car.

If so, was it still in the back or cut in the middle?

Neither, besides it would be hard to have an observation car "cut in the middle".

My paternal grandparents lived in Scranton, so the Lackawanna was a big deal for them, but they aren’t around anymore to ask about what it was like riding. Thanks again for the details.

From personal experiences, since the DL&W was our home town railroad from 1955 through 1962 at Chatham, NJ, I can tell you the road bed was VERY smooth and well maintained. I was able to befriend many Engineers, and got many cab rides in the MU electrified territory (Dover to Hoboken) as well as main line diesel powered passenger trains to Scranton and back.

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