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(WB) I'm going to talk about a train that exemplifies the rise and fall of passenger trains in the United States: the Twentieth Century Limited. Let me go back just a bit. In 1893, a special train was established to take people from New York to an exposition in Chicago. It was so successful that regular service was then set up between these cities.

The inaugural trip of the Twentieth Century Limited was made in 1902. The train was different from what anyone had ever seen before. It was pulled by a steam engine and had five cars: two sleepers, a dining car, an observation car, and a baggage car, which --- believe it or not --- contained a library. The 42 passengers the train could carry were waited on by a large staff. There were even secretaries and a barber on board.

It wasn't long before people had to wait two years to get a reservation. As time passed, technical improvements shortened the trip by a few hours. Perhaps the biggest technological change occurred in 1945 --- the switch from steam to diesel engines.

By the 1960's, people were traveling by car and airplane. Unfortunately, the great old train didn't survive until the end of the century it was named for.

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