Royal Blue Line: The Classic B&O Train Between Washington and New York
Although it was America's first public railroad, chartered in 1827, the Baltimore & Ohio did not enter the lucrative Philadelphia and New York City markets until the 1880s, long after its rivals, notably the Pennsylvania Railroad, had established themselves in the Northeast corridor. In order to compete, B & O executives realized they would need to create a railroad like no other, and in 1890 they launched the Royal Blue Line, offering premier passenger service between Washington, D.C., and New York City. Boasting the company's fastest locomotives (designed specifically for the line and featuring the country's first mainline passenger diesel engine), its most luxurious passenger cars (the first in the nation to be air-conditioned), and dining cars that served exquisite regional cuisine—as well as a motor coach service that took passengers from the line's New Jersey terminus into Manhattan, still fondly remembered by many as the most civilized way to enter the city—the Royal Blue Line was, as advertised, the "Finest Daylight Train Service in the World."
In Royal Blue Line, Herbert H. Harwood, Jr., recounts the 70-year history of the B & O's showcase service, detailing the creation of the "Royal Blue" image, the design of equipment and services appropriate to this image, the B & O's distinctive marketing campaigns, and its stubborn corporate pride in the line, which led to questionable business decisions and, ultimately, financial collapse. Generously illustrated with over 250 evocative photographs, advertisements, menus, timetables, and maps, Royal Blue Line vividly recalls America's most regal railway journey.
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