For Florida-bound Chicagoans in the winter of 1940, the City of Miami was the first taste of the tropical vacation that lay ahead. On the cold and grey station platform, the City shone like a bird of paradise. The palm green bow wave on its single, new E6 diesel was followed by seven yellow-orange, green, and scarlet passenger cars, each named for a tropical plant: Bougainvillea, Camellia, Japonica, and more, ending with Tavern-Lounge-Observation Bamboo Grove, whose bar sported a natural bamboo canopy. The Illinois Central's brochure proclaimed its Luxury Coach Diesel Streamliner to be "Superb in Beauty. Supreme in Comfort." Aboard were a stewardess and a registered nurse, as well as a "special coach reserved for the exclusive use of women and children." Dinner in the diner Palm Garden cost 60¢. At night the coaches featured "dimmed lights, no noise" so one could sleep in the "deep, soft reclining seats adjustable to your individual needs." The City left Chicago at 9:40AM, stopped in Jacksonville exactly 24 hours later, and arrived in Miami by late afternoon.
The City was actually part of a cooperative effort by nine railroads against a common enemy: the automobile. The Pennsy's South Wind and the Florida East Coast's Dixie Flagler - both steam-powered - and the Illinois Central's City of Miami each departed every third day on the 29½-hour Chicago-Miami route. Although the City's tropical paint scheme would only last until just after World War II, the train would remain on the timetable until the birth of Amtrak in 1971.
Add a splash of Florida sunshine to your layout with this new, authentic model of one of the earliest diesel streamliners. With the two-car add-on set, you can recreate the City's complete seven-car consist. For 2007 we also offer the E6 in three additional Premier A-B-A sets. Information on the prototype E6 and features of each 2007 model can be found by searching on the item number on www.mthtrains.com.