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All Aboard!

All Aboard!: 20th Century American Trains

Art Deco-style passenger trains of the 1930s and 1940s began traveling across the country today, but this time on new commemorative postage stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service.

Five ALL ABOARD! stamps were officially dedicated at STAMPSHOW 99 in Cleveland, Ohio. The stamps are available today at post offices nationwide.

"With the issuance of these beautiful stamps we pay tribute to American industry and design, and we recognize the continued partnership between the Postal Service and the railroad industry in binding the nation together through quality communications and transportation," said Norman E. Lorentz, Postal Service Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, who dedicated the stamps.

Joining Lorentz at the STAMPSHOW 99 event were Ray Bottles, the last known brakeman for the "20th Century Limited"; John Hotchner, President, American Philatelic Society, and a member of the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee; Jackson Taylor, President, American Stamp Dealers Association; and Alexander Lazaroff, Postal Service District Manager, Cleveland District.

The ALL ABOARD! stamps were also celebrated at a first day of sale ceremony at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Ill. For the first time at a U.S. stamp event, two working, full-size locomotives opened festivities with a live railroad demonstration.

Founded in 1953 in North Chicago, the Illinois Railway Museum - also known as the "Museum in Motion" - is a volunteer, nonprofit organization. The museum was moved to Union in 1964 and opened for public operation two years later.

The museum features a collection of more than 350 pieces of preserved and restored railroad equipment, including steam, diesel and electric trains, housed on 152 acres. It was named "Illinois Large Museum of the Year" in 1997.

Designed by Howard Paine of Delaplane, Va., and illustrated by Ted Rose of Santa Fe, N.M., the 33-cent stamps feature original watercolor illustrations of five Art Deco-style passenger trains: the "Daylight," the "Congressional," the "20th Century Limited," the "Hiawatha" and the "Super Chief."

The following descriptive text is included on the gummed side of each stamp:

All Aboard!

Issued August 26, 1999,
Cleveland, OH 44101

The Daylight-Called the "Most Beautiful Train in the World," the Daylight connected Los Angeles and San Francisco. In 1941, new GS-4 steam locomotives pulled the red-and-orange train along Pacific Ocean beaches and up El Camino Realthe Kings Highway.

The Congressional -The slogan for the Congressionals route between New York and Washington was "Every Mile Electrified!" In 1935, designer Raymond Loewy improved the looks of its GG-1 locomotives and restyled its cars interiors. The Public Works Administration assisted the routes conversion to electricity.

The 20th Century Limited -The 20th Century Limited was called a "National Institution" and the "Most Famous Train in the World." With its superfast 16-hour schedule between Chicago and New York, it catered to business travelers. In 1938, designer Henry Dreyfuss redesigned its J-3a steam locomotives and Pullman cars.

The Hiawatha -Traveling over 100 miles per hour on its twice-daily run connecting Chicago, Milwaukee, and the Twin Cities, the Hiawatha was known as the "Fastest Train in America." In 1938, designer Otto Kuhler streamlined its F-7 steam locomotives in multiple colors.

The Super Chief -Preferred train of Hollywoods elite traveling between Chicago and Los Angeles via Albuquerque, the Super Chief was known as the "Train of the Stars." Starting in 1937 with the E-1 type, diesel locomotives with a distinctive red-and-silver warbonnet design pulled luxurious stainless steel cars.

Trains and U.S. stamps have also joined together to celebrate American history and education. The Postal Services Celebrate The Century Express train is scheduled to stop in many U.S. cities during its nationwide tour. To date, nearly 100,000 people have visited the train. Admission is free.

The CTC Express is a specially outfitted train that features an Amtrak diesel locomotive; a restored vintage Railway Post Office car; stamp exhibit car with multimedia, educational displays; classic business car; and baggage car. For dates and locations, check the CTC Website at www.usps.com/ctc.