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old-timer @ 13:12 Theatre Car

Posted by Maya @ 20:27 on August 4, 2014  

The “Fox River” theatre car was named for the Fox River valley in Wisconsin, where the C&NW line went up the east side of the state. This is the car that ‘sold’ a railroad… literally!

The Chicago & NorthWestern ran streamliner passenger service between Chicago and Minneapolis, in competition with the Milwaukee Road “Hiawatha” passenger service along a different route. The two roads agreed not to compete on time schedules, and the timetable schedules of both railroads were fixed at 400 minutes, end-to-end. So the C&NW named their premier streamliner “The 400”. (Later they began calling all their other branch passenger trains by the “400” moniker also.) Well, the “400” passenger service on the C&NW died sometime in the 1960s.

Forward to the mid-1980s and the C&NW could read the writing on the wall of rail mergers and reduced profitability. They decided to put together a fancy “business train” to market the railroad, and painted it up like the old 400 streamliners. The locomotives were numbered 400 and up, and all the passenger cars carried 400-series numbers.


The “Fox River” theatre car was specially built for this business train to market the railroad to other railroad executives… most notably to the Union Pacific railroad. The C&NW spent the next few years wooing the UP for a buyout, and carting their corporate people all over the C&NW rails and coverage areas to market the railroad for a buyout/merger.


Finally, in April, 1995, about a year after the above image, the C&NW was bought out and completely absorbed into the Union Pacific railroad. Apparently the UP liked the ‘Fox Valley’ theatre car so much that they kept it for their own business & inspection fleet, and today it wears UP colors.

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Post by the Golden Rule. Oasis not responsible for content/accuracy of posts. DYODD.