January 19, 1947
The Cincinnatian, a luxury passenger train operated by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O), made its official debut with regular runs between Baltimore and Cincinnati. The Cincinnatian was the first luxury train introduced during the post-World War II years by the nation’s oldest railroad chartered specifically for public use. The train was also the first new one of its kind to go into service anywhere within the Eastern Seaboard during that post-war era.
The Cincinnatian’s key features included an eye-catching blue-and-gray livery scheme created by renowned industrial designer Otto Kuhler. The train was further distinguished by then-innovative equipment and amenities that had been developed by pioneering civil engineer Olive Dennis at the B&O Mount Clare shops.
“Three cars are coaches with non-fogging wide windows, reclining chairs, Venetian blinds, fluorescent lighting, and special heating and air-conditioning features,” reported the Baltimore Sun. “The fourth car is a combination baggage-buffet-lounge and the fifth, a combination diner and observation lounge.”
B&O made the extra effort to promote the Cincinnatian. “B&O does it again! – a dazzling, de luxe new train,” stated an advertisement in the Maryland-based Star-Democrat newspaper on the day of the Cincinnatian’s first regular runs. “Sparkling in blue and gray and silver, it’s as streamlined as an arrow from front to rear, and as colorful inside as a Hollywood salon.” The advertisement also proclaimed, “Remember, it’s THE FASTEST train between Baltimore, Washington and Cincinnati!”
Despite this strong marketing campaign and the Cincinnatian’s state-of-the-art conveniences, B&O was not able to attract a sufficient level of ridership for the train between Baltimore and Cincinnati. Consequently, the Cincinnatian was reassigned to a route between Cincinnati and Detroit in 1950. This route proved to be more profitable for B&O; a major reason for this success involved the large number of mail cars used by the train during those runs. The Cincinnatian continued to operate between Cincinnati and Detroit until 1971, when the newly formed Amtrak assumed control of the route.
Image Credit: Public Domain
For more information on the Cincinnatian, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cincinnatian