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Travel the Past: PRR’s Pittsburgher overnight All Pullman Streamliner between New York and Pittsburg

Travel the Past: PRR’s Pittsburgher overnight All Pullman Streamliner between New York and Pittsburg

The Pittsburgher was a premiere passenger train operated between New York City and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania over the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Main Line.

  • The PPR’s overnight all Pullman service-connected the Steel City with New York via the railroad’s mainline.

The Pittsburgher provided All-Pullman sleeping car service between Pittsburgh and New York.

  • It was initially launched during the mid-1920s, for many years the train pampered an elite clientele of people in business and executives.
  • Despite its regional status the crème de la crème, “All Pullman” Pittsburgher was one of the first PRR trains to receive streamlining during the late 1930s after complaints from U.S. Steel executives.

All room Pullman sleeping car accommodations on The Streamlined Pittsburgher.

Unlike many other Pennsy trains, patronage remained strong through the declining postwar years.

  • Unfortunately, the interstate and airlines eventually caught up with the Pittsburgher and ridership sank precipitously by the early 1960s prompting the PRR to cancel it a few years later.

Pullman Lounge Car Menus; Steward welcoming passengers to the Dining Car; Chefs, and Cooks in the Kitchen; Dining Car Kitchen.

  • It was the first New York – Pittsburgh train to receive such cars while other notables on the route included the Duquesne, Iron City Express, Juniata, New Yorker, and Pittsburgh Night Express.

The Pittsburgher in New York and Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgher, for apparent reasons, ran a breakneck schedule as business travelers expected to arrive in their respective city by breakfast the following day for morning meetings.

  • Two nights aboard the Pittsburgher saved hotel expenses and gave business passengers a full day in New York. Such companies as Alcoa, Heinz, U.S. Steel, and Kaufmann’s Department stories, blocked out sections of the train five nights a week.

In both directions the Pittsburgher departed late at night between 11 PM and Midnight, offering limited stops along the way and reaching its destination in about nine hours on the 440-mile corridor.

  • Passengers could board after 9 PM, with all Pullman accommodations available along with a Pullman Club Lounges that served light meals and cocktails.
  • Breakfast was served in the train’s dining car with light evening meals and beverages offered before departure.

Pullman Lounge Car Menu; Pullman Lounge Car.

Into the 1950s, the Pittsburger continued to sell out regularly, averaging nearly 150 first-class Pullman passengers every trip.

  • The Pittsburger’s consist included a Class PB-70 combine, three 21-roomette sleepers, a 4-compartment/4-double bedroom/2-drawing room sleeper, sleeper-lounge (6-double bedroom/lounge), dining car, a pair of 12-duplex stateroom/4-double bedroom sleepers, and 10-roomette/6-double bedroom sleepers.

Passengers in private compartments and Businessman looking at the menu.

Throughout the years the Pittsburgher never lost its elite, “All Pullman” status even as patronage began to fall away in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Dining Car Menu 1963; Passengers being served by a waiter in the Dining Car during the 1920s.

During this time the train still maintained a strong following, but also it started feeling the effects by the 1960s. The PRR looked for ways to reduce the train’s losses, including outright cancellation. By then, it had less than half the ridership from just a decade earlier.

The Pittsburgher in the late 1930s with mail plane; Penn Station New York; Pullman Cars in the early 1930s.

The once-proud Pittsburgher made its final run on September 13, 1964, at which time it handled no more than a baggage car, three sleepers, and a diner.