Thursday, November 10, 2016

The 1948-49 Chicago Railroad Fair.

The Chicago Railroad Fair was an event organized to celebrate and commemorate 100 years of railroad history west of Chicago, Illinois. It was held in Chicago in 1948 and 1949 along the shore of Lake Michigan and is often referred to as "the last great railroad fair" with 39 railroad companies participating.

The fair was rapidly planned during the winter and spring of 1948, and originally scheduled to run between July and August of that summer. Erected on 50 acres of Burnham Park in Chicago between 21st and 31st Streets the fair opened after only six months of planning. 

A grand opening for the fair commenced on July 20 with a parade that featured such spectacles as a military marching band and a replica of a troop train, a contingent of cowboys and Native Americans, a replica of the Tom Thumb, the first American locomotive, and the spry, octogenarian widow of Casey Jones, who served as honorary Grand Master of the parade. 


One dollar was the price of admission, and, except food, all the attractions, displays, exhibits and shows were free. Besides the thirty-nine railroads who participated in the fair, there were more than twenty equipment manufacturers, including General Motors.


A highlight of the fair was the presence of the Freedom Train. The Freedom Train travelled the country from September 17, 1947, through Jan 22, 1949, and was at the Railroad Fair from July 5 – 9. It held many documents and artifacts from the National Archives. Available for public viewing were the original United States Constitution, Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Security of the documents was the responsibility of the Marine Corps.

PARTICIPATING RAILROADS:
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
Boston and Maine Railroad
Burlington Lines
Chesapeake and Ohio Railway
Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad
Chicago Great Western Railway
Chicago and Illinois Midland Railway
Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville Railway (Monon Railroad)
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (Milwaukee Road)
Chicago and North Western Railway
Colorado and Wyoming Railway
Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad
Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway
Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway
Erie Railroad
Grand Trunk Railway
Great Northern Railway
Green Bay and Western Railroad
Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad (The Alton Route)
Illinois Central Railroad
Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad
Maine Central Railroad
Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway
Monongahela Railway
New York Central Railroad
Nickel Plate Road
Norfolk Southern Railway
Northern Pacific Railway
Pennsylvania Railroad
Pittsburgh and West Virginia Railway
Pullman Company
Rock Island Lines
Soo Line Railroad
Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway
Texas Mexican Railway
Union Pacific Railroad
Wabash Railroad
Western Pacific Railroad

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