33¢ 20th Century Limited
Issue Date: August 26, 1999
City: Cleveland, OH and Union, IL
Quantity: 6,000,000 panes of 20
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
The New York Central (NYC) was one of the most powerful railroad companies in America during the 20th century. Rail baron Cornelius Vanderbilt took control of the NYC during the mid-1800s, and built and acquired rail lines across the country. The railroad company became known for its reliable, quality service, and the 20th Century Limited was its flagship train.
The 20th Century Limited was considered the ultimate passenger train of its time. Starting in 1902, it sped travelers the 961 miles between New York City and Chicago in just 15 1/2 hours. Americans remarked that a stay in the United States wasn’t complete until the tourist had the opportunity of “riding the Century.” The art deco styling of the 20th Century Limited changed the way trains were designed for years to come.
There was a time when only famous people could reserve seats on the 20th Century Limited. Service on board the train catered to high society. Each day, a red carpet was rolled out along the platform to greet new passengers. The train followed the “water level route” along the Hudson River, so passengers traveling at 100 miles and hour could sip their drinks in comfort. A secretary made theater reservations for those on board. The NYC discontinued the Century in 1967.