From this month in history...

posted by James Lilly   [ updated ]

75 Years ago in April 1942 the Doolittle Raiders made their famous raid on Tokyo.  On the U.S. Homefront on April 11 the War Production Board issued new rules that locomotive production schedules be approved by the WPB, due to other wartime production taking place at the same plants. No “passenger-only” locomotives will be built during the war, steam or diesel, and ALCo and Baldwin diesel production is limited to switchers. Only GM-EMD is allowed to build diesel road locomotives*.

Here in Washington, D.C. Union Station has become a bustling place.  During the height of World War II Union Station would see 100,000 or more passengers on some days.

The photo though not necessarily from April 1942, was taken by the War Information Office, and shows a sailor kissing his girl at Union Station. Washington, D.C. thus has its own version of the famous Sailor Kissing Girl photo at Time Square in New York on V-J Day, August 15, 1945.

Photo from the the Library of Congress. 

Partnership with Davis & Elkins Going Strong

posted Mar 28, 2017, 3:50 PM by James Lilly   [ updated Mar 28, 2017, 7:32 PM ]

April 1st will mark the beginning of the third year of our partnership with Davis and Elkins College. DCNRHS sponsors an internship which gives an Accounting student the opportunity to experience and learn skills in not-for-profit accounting.  in turn Davis & Elkins, under the leadership of Assistant Professor of Accounting & Business Lisa Daniels-Smith, provides advice and technical support to both her students and our organization.  DCNRHS Treasurer Jim Lilly said recently of the partnership "It has become a critical component in our ability to continue to deliver high-quality programs while maintaining compliance with accounting standards and IRS regulations.  I am very grateful for the partnership with D&E."

To learn more about Davis & Elkins College visit

We've Moved

posted Mar 18, 2017, 12:05 PM by James Lilly

DCNRHS has a new business address and phone number as of 1 March 2017.

1001 G Street, NW
Suite 800W
Washington, D.C. 20001

phone: 202-627-6978

We do not have regularly staffed office hours, so if you are looking to meet with a member of our organization, we suggest you contact them in advance to make arrangements.

Welcome Kids of All Ages

posted Feb 12, 2017, 4:18 PM by James Lilly

Would a childhood be a childhood without a ride on a train?  Whether you are young, young at heart, or anywhere in between, we welcome you to join our organization, volunteer, and/or ride a trip.  Yes, we know kids these days often have music in their ears or electronics to play with on their phone, but still nothing beats a good old fashioned train ride like the young man (and a member) at the left who is seen enjoying time aboard Dover Harbor last year.  On one of our journeys, eventually even the electronically dependent will give up the internet or music, enjoy the experience, and talk about the journey long after the trip is over. Bring one of your kids, grandkids, and of course yourself, especially if you are still a kid at heart! Adventures and memories departing soon! All aboard!

PS - Camera phones encouraged!

Photo by J. Lilly

Did You Know?

posted Feb 3, 2017, 11:51 AM by James Lilly

Inside Washington Union Station is a statue of A. Philip Randolph (1889 – 1979). Mr. Randolph organized the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in 1925 and was a prominent figure in the labor and civil rights movements. The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters was the first African American U.S. Labor Union.

Shade of the Orange Blossom Special

posted Jan 8, 2017, 12:14 PM by James Lilly   [ updated Jan 8, 2017, 12:14 PM ]

Evoking memories of the classic east coast first-class heavy weight passenger train the Orange Blossom Special, which carried snowbirds to Florida from the  Northeast during railroading's golden years,  The Washington, D.C. Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society (DCNRHS) is offering a trip to the sunshine state aboard classic Heavyweight Pullman Dover Harbor to help you escape the winter blues! The Florida Special departs Friday evening, March 17th from Washington, D.C. In the best traditions of the legendary Pullman Company, meals, cocktails, and beverages will be served by a white-jacketed porter who will attend to passengers needs, help with luggage and even shine dress shoes. Passengers will each have a comfy Pullman berth, access to a shower, and full use of the spacious lounge for relaxation, conversation, pictures, cards, or the pleasures  of a good book. Dover Harbor will arrive in Florida on the 18th. Passengers will have several days to enjoy sandy beaches, warm waters, and attractions of America's winter getaway state at a destination of their choice!  The return adventure begins March 22nd as Dover Harbor departs Miami in late morning arriving back in Washington, D.C. mid-afternoon on 23 March.  
DCNRHS has a limited number of slots available for sale to the public. 

Visit for more complete details and to reserve your space on this event today. All proceeds from the trip benefit the programs of DCNRHS, a not-for-profit founded in 1944.

William Phillips, III

posted Jan 7, 2017, 9:29 AM by James Lilly

William (Bill) H. Phillips, III
1944 – 2016

It is with great sadness that we report the death of member William (Bill) Phillips. Bill passed away on December 31 at age 72 after a short illness. Bill was an investment consultant, a church leader, and a neighborhood activist. He also had considerable experience in politics as a Capitol Hill staffer, a fundraiser, and campaign manager. An avid rail buff, Bill was a  familiar face as a steward on the Dover Harbor and regularly volunteered as a server for the yearly Chef’s Table event. Recently, he had been acting as a neighborhood liaison with CSX during the construction of the  Virginia Avenue Tunnel  replacement, which is adjacent to the Garfield Park neighborhood where he lived. Bill and his wife, Monica, enjoyed a cross  country rail trip just this past October that included dinner on board  the Coast Starlight as the sun set over the Pacific. Bill was skilled in woodworking and kept Dover Harbor’s wood trim expertly polished. He is  survived by his wife, Monica Sullivan, two children, several  grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, and a sister. His complete obituary appeared in the Washington Post on Wednesday, January 4.

Bill will be greatly missed.  He was a consummate Porter.  Always there when a passenger needed something with a big smile, and attentive, but quiet and not obtrusive. He is one of the few people in DCNRHS who could run the entire lounge of the Dover Harbor (24 passengers) by himself.  As Chapter member and fellow crew member Jim Lilly put it "He was a model member, a model porter, an all around gentleman, and just a joy to work with. I am crushed at his loss." That would seem to sum it up nicely.

Bill was buried on January 6, in Beltsville, MD, with a heavyweight Pullman pin in his label. The picture shows Bill working in the lounge of Dover Harbor on July 4, 2015. Photo by J. Lilly

An Organization in Motion...

posted Jan 6, 2017, 11:38 AM by James Lilly   [ updated Feb 12, 2017, 3:53 PM ]

DCNRHS is an organization is motion, as this picture, taken from the rear of our restored passenger car Franklin Inn  as he rockets up Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, shows.  As 2017 dawns, join us or renew your membership. We already have great plans for 2017.  Our Banquet has been announced as well as the first of our trips, the Florida Special. We are also offering our RailCamp Scholarship so if you know of a worthy applicant, share the information with him or her.

Get on-board with the activities and adventures of DCNRHS... We are in motion...

Our Programs Make a Difference!

posted Dec 28, 2016, 2:35 AM by James Lilly   [ updated Dec 29, 2016, 7:53 PM ]

Read this article by Chapter member and 2016 Railcamp Scholarship winner Bill Didden.  He calls his Railcamp experience "amazing."  Bill was one of two senior high students DCNRHS awarded scholarships to in 2016 to attend RailCamp.   Beyond our RailCamp efforts, DCNRHS provides a monthly educational program, offers historic tours and events, restores and operates vintage railroad equipment that enables thousands of people to ride aboard our cars each year on the rails of North America, gets involved in public projects through Section 106 initiatives, and provides historical information for a variety of venues, including this web site. Your support of DCNRHS through donations and patronage helps to make programs like this possible.  

2017 Calendar Available for Free Download

posted Dec 28, 2016, 2:18 AM by James Lilly

Our 2017 Color Dover Harbor Calendar is now available for download here.  In what has become a tradition in the railfan community, our one-page calendar is a handy annual reference for the entire year with federal holidays highlighted.  The feature photo this year shows Dover Harbor on the Potomac Eagle Railway on September 4, 2016.

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