Serving New York and Philadelphia or Washington, D.C., Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Ohio, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City and intermediate points
Amtrak train numbers: 15-31-549 and 16-4-548
Predecessor railroad train numbers:Pennsylvania Railroad 30 and 31
The Spirit of St. Louis was the Pennsylvania Railroad's flagship train over their Panhandle Route to St. Louis, so named because it went through the panhandle of West Virginia. Its competitor was the Baltimore and Ohio's National Limited, which ran between New York and St. Louis on a more southerly line that ran through Cincinnati, but no other major cities.
When Amtrak took over in 1971, it chose the Spirit of St. Louis as its New York/Washington-St. Louis train because it passed through more major population centers (and Cincinnati was being served by the George Washington and the James Whitcomb Riley already). Amtrak also extended the train to Kansas City.
Since the Spirit of St. Louis name didn't really make sense given the extension to Kansas City, effective with the November 14, 1971, timetable, the train's name was changed to National Limited even though it wasn't on the former National Limited route.
Condensed historical timetables:
READ DOWN READ UP
5:45P Dp New York Ar 9:40A
7:14P Philadelphia 7:43A
5:10P Washington 9:30A
9:19P Harrisburg 6:29A
2:08A Pittsburgh 1:17A
6:15A Columbus 9:17P
8:50A Indianapolis 4:40P
1:10P St. Louis 12:40P
----- Ar Kansas City Dp -----
The Amtrak Train Names Project