This is one of the most famous express passenger trains that ran in the United States. In its various stages, it was pulled by many of the most famous steam locomotives such as the Hudson, the Niagara, and the streamlined Hudsons.
Here are vintage clips, where you can see these locomotives hauling at full speeds of between 80 to 100 miles per hour, unlike these days, where insurance and track mechanics, as well as wanting photographers to get good photos, have kept speeds of excursion steam between 20 and 70 miles per hour at best. The best and strongest steam were most often running between 60 to over 100 miles per hour (160.93 km/h).
Below are PoathTV’s commentary (from YouTube) on the 20th Century Limited:
The 20th Century Limited was an express passenger train operated by the New York Central Railroad from 1902 to 1967. The train travelled between Grand Central Terminal in New York City and LaSalle Street Station in Chicago, Illinois along the railroad’s famed “Water Level Route”. The NYC inaugurated this train as direct competition to the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Broadway Limited, both lines intended for upper class as well as business travellers between the two cities. Making few station stops along the way and utilizing track pans along the route to take water at speed, the train completed the 960.7 miles (1,546 km) journey in 16 hours, departing New York City westbound at 6:00 P.M. Eastern Time and arriving at Chicago’s LaSalle St. Station the following morning at 9:00 A.M. Central Time., averaging 60 miles per hour (97 km/h).
This collection of clips shows The 20th Century Limited in it’s heyday being hauled by classic NYC streamlined steam locomotives including the famous Hudsons.
The clip below is from the Great Vintage Video company: HERRON Rail, from their video entitled: Trains at Speed.