The 1960s
1Final regular U.S. steam passenger train, GTW 21/56, ran in two sections to Durand, Mich. John S. Ingles
2 Longest motor-car, GM&O's Bloomington-Kansas City train, paused in Delavan, Ill. Paul Stringham, J. David Ingles collection
3Wabash tried GE's pioneering U25B in 1961, later bought 15. R.R. Wallin; J. David Ingles collection
4Electro-Motive introduced stylish GP30 at GM automotive center in suburban Detroit. John S. Ingles
5Last U.S. steam 1962. John S. Ingles; J. David Ingles collection
6Mix of colors on N&W diesels leaving Detroit shows major players in NKP-Wabash merger. H.G. Goerke; J. David Ingles collection
7Reading T-1 4-8-4s enjoyed five-year fling with reborn Iron Hourse Rambles excursions. J.E. Bradley
8With Wingate Brook bringing up the markers, last 20th Century Limited pauses in Buffalo. Edward J. Joscelyn
9Landmark merger was destined to fail. Jay Williams
10ALCO’s last: T6s to a Cleveland steel road. J. David Ingles collection


March 27

1 Grand Trunk Western operates last official regular steam-powered passenger trains in U.S., as crowds dictate two sections of Detroit-Durand locals 21/56 behind 4-8-4s 6319 and 6322.

April 14

2 Final runs of longest motor-car run in U.S., 362-mile GM&O trains 9-10 between Bloomington, Ill., and Kansas City.

April 25

Last regular steam-powered revenue-service train on CN, No. 76 from The Pas to Winnipeg, Manitoba, behind 4-8-2 6043.

April 26

3 General Electric enters domestic diesel market with launch of U25B demonstrators.

April 29

Last run of SP narrow-gauge.

May 6

Last day for N&W steam, Y6b 2190 and 0-8-0 291 (ex-215) at Williamson, W.Va.


Minneapolis & St. Louis gets permission to discontinue last passenger service, Minneapolis-Watertown (S. Dak.) motor trains 13-14.


Harbinger of the “FRED” — Pennsylvania Railroad develops transistorized electric red lamp that flashes constantly every second, plans to use it to displace twin marker lamps on cabooses.

August 13

East Broad Top returns to life as tourist road under owner and savior Nick Kovalchick, as 2-8-2 12 does the honors.

September 6

Maine Central goes freight-only.

October 2

Final IC steam run occurs, a fan trip with 4-8-2 2613, seven months after last regular-service steam at Paducah and Princeton, Ky.

October 17

Delaware, Lackawanna & Western and Erie merge to form Erie Lackawanna.

October 21

Burlington opens new 2,500-foot-long Mississippi River bridge at Quincy, Ill.

October 31

N&W buys Atlantic & Danville, renames it Norfolk, Franklin & Danville.

November 1

Chicago & North Western acquires rail properties of Minneapolis & St. Louis.


EMD delivers last F unit, NH FL9 2059.


First modern run-through set up as CB&Q and UP pool GP9s, then GP20s, on Chicago-Green River, Wyo., “GI” trains.



CN introduces “noodle” image.

January 1

Soo Line Railroad formed by merger of Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic; Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie; and Wisconsin Central.

February 4

Lehigh Valley goes freight-only with last run of Buffalo-Newark Maple Leaf.

April 8

Pacific Electric ends passenger service.

May 17

Last regular steam engine in passenger-terminal switching service, Dallas Union Terminal 0-6-0 7, replaced by diesel.

May 24

Last run of Milwaukee Olympian Hiawatha.

June 6

L&N removes 4-4-0 General from Chattanooga Union Station display for tour, which would cover 14,000 miles, 12 states until December 1962.

July 3

First of six 4,000 hp Krauss-Maffei diesel-hydraulic units for U.S. roads (D&RGW and SP) tests at Semmering, Austria.

July 7

New Haven files bankruptcy.

September 5

Bangor & Aroostook goes freight-only on rails, keeps highway bus service.

September 25

Rutland struck, leading to eventual abandonment.

October 18

4 EMD introduces GP30 at automotive GM Tech Center in Detroit.

October 31

Rio Grande’s three Krauss-Maffei diesel-hydraulics arrive at Houston, Tex.

October 31

Lehigh & New England ceases operation; portions acquired by Central of New Jersey.

November 2

Milwaukee Road abandons Mississippi River pontoon bridge at Prairie du Chien, Wis., which had been one of four on system.

November 2

SP Krauss-Maffei diesel-hydraulics enter service at Houston, Tex.

November 20

UP 4-8-4 844 makes first post-regular-steam excursion, Cheyenne-Rawlins.

December 15

MoPac discontinues St. Louis-Pacific (Mo.) “Kirkwood Eagle,” reputed as only commuter train in between Chicago and San Francisco.



Southern Ps-4 1401 placed in Smithsonian Institution in Washington.


First TRAINS all-diesel issue.

June 29

Last run of Louisiana Eastern, steam-powered gravel-pit line of the late Paulsen Spence.

July 1

N&W discontinues Virginian electrification.

July 28

Baseball special on Pennsylvania derails at Steelton, Pa., killing 19 and injuring 116.


Last use of steam by Lake Superior & Ishpeming.

September 28

Strike of C&NW by Order of Railroad Telegraphers ends after 30 days.

September 29

Last steam run on Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range, excursion with 2-10-2 514.

October 4

EMD delivers 25,000th diesel, L&N GP30 1014.

October 11

5 C&S 2-8-0 641, on Leadville-Climax (Colo.) branch, makes last run of regular daily service standard-gauge steam in U.S.

October 17

First road test for UP coal-burning gas-turbine-electric No. 80.

December 21

Reading RDC1 9152 delivered, last of 398 RDCs built by Budd.

December 31

Detroit, Toledo & Ironton assumes control of Ann Arbor from Wabash.


January 21

Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee ceases operation.

January 23

Florida East Coast struck by 11 non-operating unions after railroad would not grant national level wage increase.

February 4

Chesapeake & Ohio acquires control of Baltimore & Ohio.


Last Fairbanks-Morse diesel, Chihuahua Pacific H16-44 604, outshopped.


Alco introduces Century series diesels.

May 8

Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers marks centennial.

May 14

B&O closes 80-mile Parkersburg-Clarksburg (W.Va.) main line for renovation of 18 tunnels, completed in 5 months.


Southern acquires Georgia & Florida.

June 15

First run on Cass Scenic, West Virginia's tourist road on former Mower Lumber property.

June 17

Southern acquires Central of Georgia.

July 10

Southern completes 2-year, $32 million reconstruction project on Rathole Division.

July 23

Last run of C&NW Chicago-Minneapolis Twin Cities 400.


Rutland abandoned; portions acquired by State of Vermont.


GE U25C's delivered to Oro Dam Constructors for 3½-year, 12-mile California railroad.


Ex-Virginian EF-4 electrics enter service on New Haven.

November 16

Last run of mixed train on N&W Abingdon branch in North Carolina.


EMD delivers last E unit, Seaboard Air Line E9 3060.


May 6

Last run of L&N commuter train between New Orleans and Pass Christian, Miss.

May 7

Railroads begin eliminating fireman from locomotives.

May 20

Burlington celebrates 100 years of Chicago-Aurora service by hauling 3,304 passengers in bilevel train behind gold-painted 4-8-4 5632.

June 6

Paul Merriman’s Southern 2-8-2 4501 steams from Stearns, Ky., to Chattanooga.


Alco diesel-hydraulic units debut.

August 31

Duluth & Northeastern dieselizes.


Texas & Pacific acquires control of Kansas, Oklahoma & Gulf and Midland Valley; Oklahoma City-Ada-Atoka sold to Santa Fe.

September 27

CB&Q’s combined Ak-Sar-Ben/Kansas City Zephyr hits Rock Island’s combined Golden State/Corn Belt Rocket, on detour and standing at signal, head-on at Montgomery, Ill., killing 4 and injuring 43.

September 30

CB&Q accepts GE U25B 100, breaking all-EMD status.

October 16

6N&W merges Nickel Plate Road, leases Pittsburgh & West Virginia and Wabash, acquires control of Akron, Canton & Youngstown.

October 17

7Reading runs last steam Ramble.

October 27

B&O shifts Detroit trains from Michigan Central Station back to Fort Street (keeps weekly RDC in MC for three years to fulfill contract).

November 27

Pennsylvania quits Pittsburgh commuter service.


January 3

Maine severed from U.S. passenger network as B&M drops Boston-Portland trains.

February 27

All-steam Buffalo Creek & Gauley quits.


John W. Barriger III named president of Missouri-Kansas-Texas.

June 3

EMD introduces 645 model engine.

June 30

MKT goes freight-only.

August 2

FEC resumes state-ordered passenger service.

August 4

Milwaukee Road opens new depot in Milwaukee.


Hurricane Betsy takes out 33 miles of L&N New Orleans main; service restored in 21 days.

October 22

Great Northern Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis, damaged in Mississippi River flood, returns to service after 6 months, 4 days.

October 31

CN introduces Montreal-Toronto Rapidos.


New York Penn Station destruction nearly complete.

December 22

Long Island Rail Road sold by Pennsylvania to state of New York.



TRAINS begins John G. Kneiling’s “Professional Iconoclast” column.

February 4

Lucius Beebe dies.

April 4

Reader Railroad dedicates 2-8-0 1702.


Nickel Plate Road Historical & Technical Society, first of such genre, formed.


EMD produces last 567-engine unit, Houston Belt & Terminal SW1200 33, and delivers first SD45, Great Northern 400 “Hustle Muscle."

July 17

Last Burlington steam excursion, Chicago-Denrock, Ill., with 2-8-2 4960.

July 24

New York Central concludes two days of test running jet-powered RDC in Ohio.

September 3

Last runs of Montreal-New York Montrealer over CN, Central Vermont, New Haven.

September 23

NYC breaks ground on Alfred E. Perlman Yard, Selkirk, N.Y., fifth and last in 12-year program, after Frontier, Robert R. Young, Gateway, and Big Four.


Illinois Central orders six GE U30B's, first new non-EMDs in over 25 years.

October 23

CN switches to 24-hour clock.

November 13

60th anniversary of New York Central's New York electrification.


January 3

Chicago South Shore & South Bend control acquired by Chesapeake & Ohio.


IC replaces diamond with split-rail logo.

March 22

Jersey Central files for bankruptcy.

March 24

Last run of last “true” Soo Line passenger train, the Winnipeger to St Paul.


Great Northern introduces Big Sky Blue livery.

April 30

“Aldene Plan” puts Jersey Central passenger trains into Newark’s Penn Station.

May 23

GO Transit starts Toronto commuter trains.


Mississippian dieselizes.

June 12

First Illinois Central Paducah-rebuilt Geep, GP10 8109, outshopped.

July 1

Atlantic Coast Line and Seaboard Air Line merge to form Seaboard Coast Line.

July 11

SP opens 78-mile Palmdale Cutoff.

July 11

Canadian Pacific operates first unit train in Canada, carrying sulphuric acid.

September 1

Steamtown founder F. Nelson Blount dies in plane crash.

September 29

Monon goes freight-only.

October 1

W. Graham Claytor Jr. replaces D.W. Brosnan as president of Southern.

November 22

Erie Lackawanna Elmira, last U.S. commuter ferry, quits in New York.

November 23

Iowa Terminal traction shops in Emery, Ia., burn.


Santa Fe FP45s delivered by EMD.

December 3

8Last run of 20th Century Limited.

December 16

Delaware & Hudson buys four Santa Fe Alco PAs.



John G. Kneiling, in “True Train” treatise in TRAINS, prophesizes U.S. network of only 50,000 route-miles.

January 17

Santa Fe introduces Super C, a premium Chicago-Los Angeles intermodal train.

February 1

9New York Central and Pennsylvania merge to form Penn Central.

February 21

Last run of SP-RI Golden State.

March 3

Santa Fe marks last use of Alco PAs.

March 8

Last run of Milwaukee’s Copper Country Limited also makes Soo Line freight-only.

April 1

Erie Lackawanna joins N&W’s Dereco.

April 8

Last run of SP Lark.

June 8

PC runs Robert F. Kennedy funeral train, New York-Washington.


Canadian Pacific introduces “CP Rail” image.

July 1

Chicago Great Western merged into C&NW.

July 1

D&H joins N&W’s Dereco.

August 31

Tennessee Central ceases operation, portions acquired by IC, L&N, and Southern.

September 1

Magma Arizona dieselizes.


Missabe Road introduces new arrowhead emblem.

October 26

Penn Central vacates La Salle Street Station, Chicago, in favor of Union Station.

October 30

First Illinois Central Rent-a-Train.

November 6

Belt Railway of Chicago strike by Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen ends after 101 days.

November 30

Clinchfield 4-4-0 No. 1 restored to service.

December 6

Last steam revenue runs, excluding Silverton branch, operate on D&RGW narrow-gauge, with 2-8-2s 481-473 to Durango, 483 to Alamosa.

December 12

CN begins twice daily Montreal-Toronto TurboTrain service with United Aircraft trainsets.

December 31

Penn Central acquires railroad assets of New Haven.


January 1

Pullman Company ends staffing of sleeping cars.


10Last all-new Alco diesel built, Newburgh & South Shore T6 switcher.

January 16

Penn Central begins Metroliner service on (newly named) Northeast Corridor.

March 31

Dwight D. Eisenhower funeral train begins three-day Washington-Abilene (Kans.) journey via C&O-B&O-N&W-UP.

May 10

Promontory centennial celebrated with ex-Virginia & Truckee 4-4-0s.

May 22

Muskingum Electric dedicated in Ohio.

May 31

Last run of T&P Texas Eagle leaves Dallas the largest city without passenger service.

June 6

Chicago & Eastern Illinois control by Missouri Pacific culminated by sale of Evansville line to Louisville & Nashville.

July 1

Piedmont & Northern merged into SCL.

October 8

London & North Eastern 4472 Flying Scotsman begins month-long Boston-Houston tour.

October 20

Alco exits locomotive-building.

November 2

Last run of Southern Belle makes Kansas City Southern freight-only.

Go to the 1970s »

Visit our website for more 75th Anniversary information, events, and activities.
Go now »