NKP Alco RS-36 No. 875 at Englewood Union Station, Chicago, IL Train 5, (formerly the Nickel Plate Limited) now known as The City of Chicago, on April 21, 1965.

Click to enlarge.

(Photo by Roger Puta, railfan 44, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


Nickel Plate Road herald.


The Nickel Plate Limited, later known as the City of Cleveland and City of Chicago, was a passenger night train operated by the New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad (Nickel Plate) between Chicago and Buffalo, New York via Cleveland, Ohio, with through service to Hoboken, New Jersey (for New York City) via Binghamton and Scranton and the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad for the Buffalo-Hoboken segment.

The Nickel Plate bestowed the name Nickel Plate Limited on an existing (unnamed) Chicago-New York service in April 1929. It was the first named Nickel Plate train since 1906. The Nickel Plate also added Pullman club cars and sleepers to compete with New York Central Railroad service (such as the Forest City) over the same route.  The DL&W's New York Mail handled eastbound through cars between Buffalo and New York while the Phoebe Snow (before 1949, the Lackawanna Limited) handled cars westbound. Into the train's later years, it would offer the range of sleeper accommodations, from the open sections to the modern roomettes to a drawing room. The Nickel Plate trains would link with the DLW trains at Lackawanna Station in Buffalo.


Nickel Plate Road (NKP) Alco RS-36 875 and baggage car at Englewood Union Station, Chicago, IL. Train 5, The City of Chicago, on April 21, 1965. Click to enlarge.

(A Roger Puta Photograph, via Mart Bernard, Public domain, https://www.flickr.com/photos/129679309@N05/24511362510/in/photostream/)


City of Chicago and City of Cleveland

In 1954 the Nickel Plate renamed the train: the westbound train became the City of Chicago while the eastbound train became the City of Cleveland. Through service to Hoboken ended in 1959. Both trains survived the Nickel Plate itself: service ended on September 10, 1965, a year after the Nickel Plate's 1964 merger with the Norfolk and Western Railway. They were the final remnants of the Nickel Plate's passenger service.


Nickel Plate Road (NKP) Alco RS-36 No. 875 at Englewood Union Station, Chicago, IL. Train 5, The City of Chicago, on April 21, 1965. Click to enlarge.

(A Roger Puta Photograph, via Mart Bernard, Public domain, https://www.flickr.com/photos/129679309@N05/24511362320/in/photostream/)


Major stops

The following are major station stops en route:

Chicago (La Salle Street)
Fort Wayne
Cleveland (Union Terminal)
Buffalo (Lackawanna Terminal)


Route Map of the Nickel Plate Limited. Click to enlarge.

(Nickel Plate Limited Route, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0; via Wikimedia Commons)



Service type: Inter-city rail
Status: Discontinued
Locale: Northeastern United States; Midwestern United States
First service: 1929
Last service: 1954
Successor: City of Chicago (westbound) / City of Cleveland (eastbound)
Former operators: Nickel Plate Road; Norfolk & Western, 1964-1965
Route Termini: Chicago, Illinois / Hoboken, New Jersey; for Buffalo-Hoboken segment: via Delaware, Lackawanna & Western trains
Distance traveled: 523.8 miles (843.0 km) Chicago-Buffalo; 919.0 miles (1,479.0 km) Chicago-Hoboken
Service frequency: Daily
Train numbers: 5 westbound, 6 eastbound
On-board services
Seating arrangements: Coaches
Sleeping arrangements: Sections, Roomettes, Double Bedrooms, Single Bedrooms, Drawing Room (1950)
Catering facilities: Diner lounge
Track gauge 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)


Timetable - April 30, 1950.

The Nickel Plate Limited
6 - Train Number - 5
Daily - Miles - Services - Daily
10 45P Dp 0.0 Chicago, IL (La Salle St. Sta.) (CT) C R Ar 6 40A
10 58P 6.7 Englewood, IL C 6 25A
11 23P 19.9 Hammond, IN C 5 27A
F 30.6 South Gary, IN C F 5 05A
46.5 Valparaiso, IN C F 4 43A
12 23A 72.0 Knox, IN C 4 12A
F12 37A 84.8 Hibbard, IN C F 3 52A
126.5 South Whitley, IN C 3 04A
1 53A Ar 152.2 Fort Wayne, IN (CT) C R Dp 2 35A
2 03A Dp Ar 2 20A
F 3 51A 198.0 Continental, OH (ET) (See Note) C F 2 21A
F 4 09A 213.0 Leipsic Junction, OH C F 2 01A
F 4 28A 230.5 North Findlay, OH (Mortimer) C F 1 37A
4 49A 243.1 Fostoria, OH C 1 18A
5 30A 275.6 Bellevue, OH C 12 37A
6 17A 313.0 Lorain, OH C 11 45P
6 38A 331.0 Rocky River, OH C 11 15P
7 00A Ar 339.7 Cleveland, OH C R Dp 10 55P
7 20A Dp Ar 10 30P
7 35A 346.7 East Cleveland, OH (Superior Ave.) C 10 10P
8 14A 369.9 Painesville, OH C 9 43P
8 50A 395.6 Ashtabula, OH C 9 15P
9 15A 408.7 Conneaut, OH C 8 56P
9 53A 436.8 Erie, PA C R 8 13P
10 10A 450.5 North East, PA C
10 45A 482.7 Dunkirk, NY C F 7 20P
11 40A Ar 523.8 Buffalo, NY (Lackawanna Tml.) (ET) C R Dp 6 30P
Through Cars Chicago-New York
10 Connecting Train Number (Lackawanna) 3
4 45P Dp 0.0 Buffalo, NY (Lackawanna Tml.) (ET) Ar 5 45P
4 55A Ar 396.2 New York, NY (Barclay St.) (ET) Dp 9 00A

NOTE for No. 6 at Continental: "Stops on signal Sunday only to take pay passengers for Cleveland and east.

NOTE for No. 6: "Train No. 6 will stop at any station east of Cleveland to let off or pick up passengers." 

(National Railway Publication Company, Public domain)




(Via Nickel Plate-Lackawanna.)

Sleeping Cars...Chicago to Cleveland—Double Bedrooms (Car 63).—10 Roomette, 6 Double Bedrooms (Cars 61-62-64). (Open 9:00 p.m.)

Chicago to New York—10 Roomettes, 6 Double Bedrooms. (Car C-60). (Open 9:00 p.m. Occupancy at Hoboken until 7:00 a.m.)

Fort Wayne to Cleveland—10 Roomettes, 6 Double Bedrooms (Car 601). (Except Saturday night) (open 9:00 p.m.).

Coaches...Chicago to Buffalo (Open 9:30 P.m.) and Buffalo to New York—Individual Reclining Seats.

Club Diner Lounge...Chicago to Buffalo. (Radio.) (Open 9:00 p.m.)

Buffet Lounge...Buffalo to Binghamton.


(Via Lackawanna-Nickel Plate.)

Sleeping Cars...Cleveland to Chicago—Double Bedrooms. (Car 53)—10 Roomettes, 6 Double Bedrooms (Car 51-52-54) (open 9:00 p.m.).

Cleveland to Fort Wayne—10 Roomettes, 6 Double Bedrooms (Car 501). (Except Saturday night) (open 9:00 p.m., occupancy at Fort Wayne until 8:00 a.m.).

New York to Chicago—10 Roomettes, 6 Double Bedrooms. (Car L-30.)

Coaches...New York to Chicago.

Buffalo to Chicago—Individual Reclining Seats.

Diner...New York to Buffalo. Diner Lounge...Buffalo to Cleveland.

Club Diner Lounge...Cleveland to Chicago. (Radio.) (Open 9:00 p.m.)


No extra fare on any train.

Regularly assigned Equipment (Pullmans, Dining Cars and Coaches) in Through Trains Completely Air-Conditioned.

(National Railway Publication Company, Public domain)