Friday, February 6, 2015

"New" Rails and Sails: City of Miami

As I mentioned in my blog back on Jan. 29, recently my custom card creating has been concentrated on making train cards in the 1955 Topps Rails and Sails format.

This pair of "City of Miami" cards will likely be my last train cards for a while. As much as I enjoy researching the trains of the streamliner era of the 1940s-1960s, there are some other things I want to move on to. 

The back of my card #207 gives a pretty good capsule history of the early days of the Illinois Central Railroad's City of Miami.

The luxury streamliner originally ran from Chicago to Miami every third day into 1957, then every other day until service was discontinued in 1971.

It started out with a seven-car consist (that's a railroad term I learned in my research), the GM diesel pulling the cars that had been designed and built by Pullman-Standard.

There were four named coaches -- the Poinsettia, Hibiscus, Japonica and Camellia -- each seating 60 passengers, except the Camellia, which was a women-and-children-only coach and featured an on-board nurse-stewardess. The Bougainvillea was a combination baggage and dormitory car, with berths for 12 crewmen. That coach, until 1958, also contained the train's "Jim Crow" seating, 22 seats for black passengers.

The 48-seat dining car was named Palm Garden and there was a tavern-lounge-observation car called the Bamboo Grove, with 32 seats in the bar area and 22 in the observation area. Both were initially unavailable for use by blacks.

My card shows the original paint scheme of the City of Miami, in tropical orange and green, with scarlet trim. All of the cars' interiors were decorated in a tropical theme. After World War II, the train was repainted to conform to the IC's chocolate brown and orange decor.

In 1949 sleeping coaches were added to the City of Miami.

Collectors of 1955 Topps Rails and Sails cards will notice that my "Bamboo Grove Car" card is a departure from the original set, which featured only exterior views of the trains and ships.

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