A lot of us will be passing through the trainshed this week. It’s Springtime in Paris. Even if Philly ain’t Paris; it’s fun to dream. This week looks relievingly mild and even sunny compared to my more memorable flower show weeks, so often cold and snowy.
There’s something about a cold, snowy night that prompts thoughts of boarding a Pullman sleeping car, slipping under the covers, and lifting the window shade to watch the world drift past as one is slowly carried away into the “arms of Morpheus.” While the P&R and the terminal shed were more about regional commutation, it’s fun to dream about the romance of long distance travel the place did occasion. The Reading provided sleeping car service over its line to Williamsport and until the 1920′s to Sonestown for the connecting narrow gauge railroad to Eagles Mere. Up the North Penn Branch to Bethlehem, the Reading handed over sleepers to the Central Railroad of New Jersey for Scranton, which were then conveyed to the Delaware Lackawanna and Western to Bingamham & Syracuse. Also at Bethlehem the Reading conveyed cars to the Lehigh Valley Railroad to Wilkes Barre, Auburn, Rochester, Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Pullmans from Reading Terminal also rode over the Erie RR. to Buffalo, and cars were picked up in Elmira by the New York Central for Detroit and Chicago, and over the Canadian National to Toronto. Not so shabby, and food for thought when the busses of blue hairs descend upon the Terminal this week.
I remember my mother, Carolyn Welsh, and my Aunt Rita talking about Pullmans in the shed. They often worked late into the night (and I hope played) in the city, doing and making at the landmark PSFS. Styln’ ladies in a styln’ place. When it got late, they hopped Train 301. The Interstate Express for Binghampton. L.11:45. There was no scheduled stop til Lansdale, but if you were a styln’ lady, they’d make a stop in Glenside.