Serving Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Charlottesville, Washington, D.C. or Newport News and intermediate points
Amtrak train number: 50
Predecessor railroad train numbers: Chesapeake and Ohio 1-21-41 and 2-22-42
The Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad traced its history to the founding of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company in 1785 by George Washington. To honor its founder, the railroad's flagship train between the East and Midwest was named for him. The C&O's George Washington ran in several sections, originating in both Washington, D.C., and Newport News in the east and running to Louisville, or Cincinnati, where through cars went via New York Central trains to St. Louis as well as Chicago via Indianapolis. (The Chesapeake and Ohio had a route between Cincinnati and Hammond, Indiana via Muncie that was a freight-only line.)
By the time Amtrak's takeover of passenger train service on May 1, 1971, the through cars were gone, as was the section that ran to Louisville. Passengers for Chicago had to connect in Cincinnati to the James Whitcomb Riley through Indianapolis.
On July 12, 1971, the George Washington and the James Whitcomb Riley were combined into one train, with through cars available for service from Boston, carrying the George Washington name eastbound only. Within a couple of years, the George Washington name was dropped.
Condensed historical timetables:
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(1956) (1972) (1972) (1956)
3:15P ----- Dp Newport News Ar 2:25P 10:10A
6:01P ----- Washington 1:20P 8:10A
8:30P ----- Charlottesville 10:25A 5:40A
9:25A ----- Cincinnati 11:25P 5:45P
10:45A ----- Indianapolis 8:45P 2:05P
2:50P ----- Ar Chicago Dp 3:40P 9:50A
The Amtrak Train Names Project