The Cleveland Limited

When I traveled back and forth from Cleveland to Dartmouth College (in Hanover, NH) from 1962 to 1966, I had to take an involved route that involved one train and two different bus companies:

  • The New York Central Cleveland Limited, Train #58, connected Cleveland to New York City by way of Albany. Westbound, it was Train #57.
  • The Vermont Transit bus picked me up in front of Albany’s Union Station and dropped me off it Rutland, VT.
  • A White River Coach Company bus picked me up in Rutland and drove me to White River Junction, VT, where I transferred to another White River bus to Hanover.

In September, the family made a vacation of driving the 609 miles (977 km) to Hanover and staying at the Chieftain Motel for a few days while they enjoyed the New England countryside. Also, when I graduated, the family drove me and my gear home. All other times, I had to take the train and buses.

A year or two after I graduated, the New York Central, as such, was no more; and the Albany train station, which I described in a pretentious poem I wrote as a student as “oldgold in decrepitude,” was turned into an office building; and the trains stopped across the river at a new Albany-Rensselaer Station.

Typically, I was the only Dartmouth student to take the Cleveland Limited. Most of the others were bound for Chicago and points west and took the New York Central Wolverine, which bypassed Cleveland by going through Canada between Buffalo and Detroit.

The train was grotesquely uncomfortable. The cars were either too hot or too cold, sometimes both on the same trip. Once I made the mistake by buying over-the-counter sleeping pills (I think it was Sominex), which kept my eyes propped open all night. Only once did I get a sleeping compartment: It was too expensive, but it was rather nice.

Once, I transferred to another train in Albany and got off at Springfield, MA. There I waited for several hours for a Boston & Maine passenger train to White River Junction.