Welcome to Vintage Railroad Postcards!

Thank you for stopping by! This is the blog for the Russell P. Panecki Collection of vintage railroad-related postcards. The entire collection consists of nearly one thousand so far with images dating from circa 1904 to the 1950s. To leave a comment, ask a question, to contribute or correct historical information, a comment box is located to the left for your convenience.

Each page, including this homepage, has an index located in the lower portion of the page. In addition to the index, posts were updated with historical information, new postcards added from storage files, while some posts were completely rewritten or edited for corrections. Three articles have been added and are worth reading. They include how vintage postcards were made, the history of Pennsylvania Station, and the history of Grand Central Terminal.

My apologies, but the postcards in my collection and on this blog are not available for sale, copying, or for contribution to projects. Please keep in mind that I reserve all rights to the images and content of this blog.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Olympian

"The Olympian" was an all-steel, heavyweight car, first-class luxury passenger train on The Milwaukee Road (Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway) that began service in in 1911 and ended in 1947. Replaced by the steamlined "Olympic Hiawatha", the first "Olympian" and its partner train, "The Columbian", travelled between Chicago, St. Paul, Minnesota,  Seattle, and Tacoma, Washington with a running time of 70 hours. The route was electric-powered between Harlowton, Montana, and Avery, Idaho beginning in 1914 because of the sub-zero winter temperatures and rugged mountain passes that made it very difficult for operation of steam locomotives. The route from Harlowton to Avery, 440 miles long, was considered to be the longest electrified rail line in the world at the time. Power was supplied by hydro-electric stations along the line providing 3000 volts DC through generators. Two separate electric lines were built in 1917 between Othello and Tacoma, Washington and between Deer Lodge and Three Forks, Montana, with an extension to Seattle constructed in 1927. New passenger cars, ordered from Pullman-Standard in 1926, came equipped with more efficient roller bearing wheels and were put into service in 1927. The up-dated "Olympian" also boasted of having the first radios for the passenger's entertainment. In the period cards below, we view this famous train as it sails through the mountains of America's West.

The General Electric Company built five gearless, bipolar-motor EP-2 class electric locomotives for The Milwaukee Road in 1919. These powerful, almost silent-operating locomotives proved to be more efficient than the earlier GE and Westinghouse electric boxcab locomotives used at the time. In this circa 1920s vard we see "The Olympian" passing through the Cascade Mountains. For more information on this revolutionary piece of motive power, click Here.

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