Thursday, August 24, 2023


"The Alphabet Route was an agreement between a group of railroads that formed a route to link the Midwest (Chicago, St. Louis, great lake ports) and the Northeast (Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Boston). It was formed on February 11, 1931, to compete with the larger railroads that had a direct route from the Midwest to the Northeast (Erie Railroad, Pennsylvania Railroad and New York Central Railroad). It was named the Alphabet Route because the majority of its members went by their initials, which caused an alphabet soup of routing names." [AlphabetRoute]

I use the label "rrAlphaWest" to denote:
The Nickel Plate (New York, Chicago & St. Louis) was also part of the Alphabet Route, but it has its own label: "rrNKP" and notes.

I use the label "rrAlphaEast" to denote:
  • Reading Company (RDG) (map via rdg)
  • Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ) (map via cnj)
  • Lehigh & Hudson River Railway (L&HR) (map via lhr)
  • New York, New Haven & Hartford (NH) (map via nynhh)
This is how a first learned about the Alphabet Route. Don Lee: The Connellsville Extension of the PWV was one of the newest rail lines in the eastern US. Since by the 1930s all of the river grades east from Pittsburgh were already occupied by other railroads, the PWV had no choice but to tunnel, fill or bridge the higher ground to reach the Western Maryland Railroad at Connellsville, PA. For many years this was part of the famous Alphabet Route from Chicago to New York: NKP-WLE-PWV-WM-RDG-CNJ. (post via blog)

RailfanGuides via SystemMaps

Map, Left Part

Map, Right Part

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