Part of this could be attributed to a successful marketing campaign that saw the train touring its new route thus allowing the public to explore the equipment, including the locomotives, a week before its inauguration. The Pere Marquette featured a unique, attractive livery featuring Maize (light yellow), deep blue, and stainless steel with pinstriping running along the bottom half of the cars and locomotive. A "Pere Marquette" herald adorned the nose of the E7A's. It was a very complex paint scheme and not surprisingly lasted only a few years. However, a few variants were applied (such as "C&O" placed on E7's nose with "Chesapeake and Ohio" along the lower carbody with "Pere Marquette" above) before being replaced. In this case it was equally attractive but somewhat simpler design featuring "Federal Yellow" and "Enchantment Blue" with the now-classic "For Progress" logo.
The success of the Pere Marquette gave Young the freedom to continue his pursuits for improved passenger service. In 1946 an order of 46 new cars was placed with the Budd Company to introduce the all-new Chessie (Washington - Cincinnati) followed up by a 287-car order from Pullman to reequip the entirety of the railroad's aging fleet. As it turns out the success of the Pere Marquette was partially due to its regional nature where fast service over a short corridor was then still the best option for travelers. However, long-distance trians continued to witness sagging ridership following the war, leading to the cancellation of the Chessie before it was ever launched.
When its equipment arrived in 1948 some of the cars were transferred to various trains while others were sent to the Pere Marquette that October providing the train with a new marketing ploy; dome service. In conjunction with this move service was launched from Grand Rapids to Chicago and also proved very popular with riders. Alas, domes ran on the Marquettes for only a few years; thanks to their relatively new stature and value the cars were sold in 1951. While Young carried a number of innovative and contemporary ideas for passenger service (such as female "Hostesses," an early credit card system, passenger representatives on every train, pay-on-train ticketing, and no-tipping waiters and porters) his biggest success in this arena was ultimately the Pere Marquettes.
Following the Chessie's cancellation the C&O attempted to shed much of its 287-car Pullman order; 140 were picked up by other railroads before delivery while 33 others delivered were quickly sold. This left the railroad with only 114 cars, which it used to replace aging heavyweight coaches and sleepers. The Pere Marquette remained on the C&O timetable through the end, making its last run prior to Amtrak on April 30, 1971. After more than a decade Amtrak revived the name in 1984 between Chicago and Grand Rapids, which remains in service today.
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Chesapeake & Ohio