Most Glamorous Board In The Railway World (Lancaster and Chester Railroad)
Published 1 March 1949
Definitely the railway that has the most glamorous set of directors of any in the world is the Lancaster and Chester Railway Company. The L and C is a 29 mile road in South Carolina. If that were all there was to it, you'd never hear about it. But President Elliot Springs is a man with a sense of humor, and his board of directors is something to see. The fact that two Canadians are on it is why I have introduced the Lancaster and Chester here. Air Marshal Billy Bishop, VC. is listed as a Vice-President. E. Stuart Merrett, Canadian representative, of Montreal, on whom more laier, is the other Canadian.
Known as The Springmaid Line, there is a play on words, since Springs makes textiles. The railway takes one whole page in the Railway Guide, no doubt at some cost.
It has a lady for vice president, Mary Williamson. Why. I don't know. Big shot tycoons like Mr. Stanley of International Nickel is a vice president, and there are 32 vice presidents. That's right, I said 32. Among them are Ham Fisher, who draws Joe Palcola; James Montgomery Flagg, the great artist; Charles MacArthur, best known as playwright, also husband of Helen Hayes; Samuel H. Adams, the playwright, and F. P. Gooderich, the tire man, and others of that ilk.
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"Bull" Halsey is called "Vice President in Charge of White Horse Supply." It will be recalled that Admiral W. P. Halsey said something about riding up to the Japanese Emperor's palace on a white horse at the end of the war.
Bobby Jones, the famous golfer, is an attorney; Lowell Thomas is advertising agent; Clair Maxwell of New York is "news butcher" and this cockeyed railway has a "marine superintendent" in R. J. Reynolds, who I think is the Camel cigaret man.
I was prompted to write to Mr. Merrett in Montreal, to ask what he did for the good old Lancaster and Chester. Mr Merrett, it turns out. earns an honest living with McDougal and Cowans.
Then he adds, rather forlornly, at the end of his friendly letter: "All appointments to the Lancaster snd Chester are, I assure you, devoid of responsibility, and alas, of remuneration."
Their time table is a scream, and lists such crack trains as "The Black Label." "The Purple Cow" and "The Blue Blazes." Others include The Red Rose, Shrinking Violet and White Horse.
Their footnotes are a burlesque, for instance (b) run only by a vice president; or (j) not the slightest connection; again (n) stop during quail season only. At Grace, 5.4 miles away from Lancaster, is the symbol (o) which says: "Apply brakes here for stop at Lancaster."
In the equipment is listed "air conditioned coal cars," "combination caboose-lounge-observation cars".
For some reason or other, the day trains take one hour and a half to go 28.9 miles from Lancaster to Chester. But the night trains, namely the Black Label and The White Horse, do the same distance in 30 minutes, or just about 60 MPH. In fact, I have a strong suspicion that neither the Black Label nor the White Horse run at all, except in the mind of the president.
I have always kicked myself that when I was in Chester, South Carolina, that I did not ride this incredible railway.