The Pennsylvania was proud of its in-house design capabilities. Over the years they had produced a notable string of triumphs, including the redoubtable K-4 and GG-1 locomotives. (The congenitally flawed T-1 duplex is best swept under the rug here.) So when in the mid-1950s they turned their attention to winning passengers back from the airlines and highways they had every expectation of yet another success. The P. R.R. designed, Budd-built "Tubular Train" featured a split-level design with passengers descending steps from the car ends to the seating area in the middle of the coach—which had been lowered nearly two feet to bring the passengers closer to the rails in hopes of a better ride.

View the advertisement for the new Keystones (PDF, 599K)

From the pages of the Official Guide, July 1956

Pennsylvania RR Keystone herald

The Keystones

Pennsylvania Railroad
June 24, 1956

125 103 Train Number 124 158
Daily Daily Miles Services Daily Daily
11 30A 11 10P Dp 0.0 New York, NY (Penn Sta.) (ET) C R Ar 10 55A 10 15P
11 45A 11 25P 10.0 Newark, NJ C R 10 40A 9 59P
15.5 Elizabeth, NJ C R 9 50P
32.7 New Brunswick, NJ C 9 32P
48.4 Princeton Jct., NJ (See Note) C 9 16P
12 30P 12 10A 58.1 Trenton, NJ C R 9 55A 9 06P
67.8 Bristol, PA C 8 56P
1 00P 12 40A 85.9 North Philadelphia, PA C R 9 27A 8 37P
1 10P 12 50A 91.4 Philadelphia, PA (30th St. Sta.) C R 9 17A 8 27P
104.8 Chester, PA C R 8 10P
1 39P 1 20A 118.1 Wilmington, DE C R 8 48A 7 55P
136.0 Elkton, MD C 7 34P
150.3 Perryville, MD C 8 16A 7 18P
151.5 Havre-de-Grace, MD C 7 14P
2 14P 156.3 Aberdeen, MD C
2 45P 2 21A Ar 186.5 Baltimore, MD C R 7 41A 6 41P
2 45P 2 35A Dp
3 25P 3 15A Ar 226.6 Washington, DC (ET) C R Dp 7 00A 6 00P

Train 125: 7 stops, 3:55, 57.9 MPHTrain 103: 6 stops, 4:05, 55.5 MPH

Train 124: 7 stops, 3:55, 57.9 MPHTrain 158: 14 stops, 4:15, 53.3 MPH

NOTE: No checked baggage is handled on these trains.

NOTE for No. 158 at Princeton Junction: "Stops, except Saturdays, Sundays, and July 4 and September 3 [1956]."

Train 125: The Midday Keystone.
Parlor and Dining Cars. Tubular Designed Coaches. Special coach lunch service at seats.

Train 103: The Midnight Keystone.

Sleeping Cars—New York to Washington—Double Bedrooms and Roomettes—Daily.

Drawing-room, Compartments and Sections—Except Saturdays and July 3 and September 2.

Single Bedrooms—Except Fridays, Saturdays and July 3 and September 2.

New York to Baltimore—Double Bedrooms and Sections—Except Saturdays and July 3 and September 2.

Tubular Designed Coaches.

(Sleeping Cars open New York at 9:30 p.m., except Sundays and holidays; 10:00 p.m. Sundays and Holidays. May be occupied in Baltimore and Washington until 7:00 a.m.).

Train 124: The Morning Keystone.
Parlor and Dining Cars. Tubular Designed Coaches. Special Coach Lunch Service at Seats.

Train 158: The Evening Keystone.
Parlor Car. Tubular Designed Coaches. Special Coach Lunch Service at Seats. No Dining Car.

Unfortunately for the Pennsy, the "Tubular Train" would prove to have more T-1 in its genes than K-4. The better ride which had been hoped for never materialized to any noticeable extent, while the split-level design (which forced passengers to negotiate steps twice in every car while moving back and forth in the train) proved to be a massive bottleneck and headache. The trains proved unpopular with passengers and probably drove more away from the rails than they ever won. The Keystones would be the last purely P. R.R.-designed rolling stock to enter service; the Metroliners of the 1960s would be a collaborative effort sponsored by the Department of Transportation.