The Black Diamond had been the Lehigh Valley's flagship train since 1896 on the through route between New York City and Buffalo. Alone among the "small fry", it possessed an entry to Pennsylvania Station and Manhattan proper, a relic of USRA control during World War I. Desperate to establish a streamliner brand to compete against the big boys, the L. V. hired industrial designer Otto Kuhler of B. & O. and G. M. & N. Rebel fame. With no budget to speak of his first effort was modest; a skirted and painted steam locomotive hauling a heavyweight Asa Packer. However, the public reception was so positive that Lehigh Valley was motivated to open its coffers wide enough to turn out two new streamliners (albeit largely of heavyweight equipment rebuilt in the railroad's own Sayre shops), the John Wilkes of June 1939 and the streamlined Black Diamond of April 1940.

Read more about the Black Diamond at American Rails and at Scotty's Black Diamond Express page.

From the pages of the Official Guide, December 1940

Lehigh Valley RR heraldReading Railway herald

The Black Diamond

Lehigh Valley Railroad
Reading Railway System
October, 1940

9 Train Number 10
Daily Miles (Lehigh Valley) Services Daily
11 05A Dp 0.0 New York, NY (Penna. Sta.) (ET) C R Ar 8 20P
R11 21A Newark, NJ (Penna. Sta.) C R D 8 04P
RF11 50A 26.5 South Plainfield, NJ T C 7 34P
51.0 Flemington Jct., NJ (Sundays/Holidays Only) T 7 06P
12 49P 77.0 Easton, PA T C 6 33P
1 05P Ar 88.6 Bethlehem, PA T C Dp 6 13P
Through Cars to/from Philadelphia
317 Train Number (Reading Railway) 328
11 20A Dp 0.0 Philadelphia, PA (Reading Tml.) (ET) C R Ar 8 10P
11 26A 2.9 Philadelphia, PA (North Broad St.) C 8 02P
11 31A 5.1 Wayne Junction, PA T C 7 58P
11 40A 10.8 Jenkintown, PA (Wyncote) T C 7 49P
11 59A 24.4 Lansdale, PA T C 7 30P
12 03P 27.1 Hatfield, PA C 7 24P
12 07P 29.6 Souderton, PA T C 7 19P
12 10P 30.9 Telford, PA C 7 15P
12 15P 33.6 Sellersville, PA C 7 10P
12 19P 35.0 Perkasie, PA T C 7 07P
12 29P 40.2 Quakertown, PA T C 6 57P
12 55P Ar 56.6 Bethlehem, PA T C Dp 6 30P
9 Continuing Train Number (Lehigh Valley) 10
1 14P Dp 88.6 Bethlehem, PA T C Ar 6 04P
1 26P 93.3 Allentown, PA C R 5 56P
2 09P 122.7 Mauch Chunk, PA T C 5 13P
145.7 White Haven, PA T C 4 28P
3 40P 176.0 Wilkes-Barre, PA T C 3 32P
3 56P 184.0 Pittston, PA T C 3 09P
4 28P 207.0 Tunkhannock, PA T C 2 40P
5 18P 254.8 Towanda, PA T C 1 48P
5 47P Ar 271.0 Sayre, PA T C Dp 1 20P
5 52P Dp Ar 1 15P
6 49P 307.1 Ithaca, NY T C 12 25P
7 45P 344.5 Geneva, NY T C R 11 31A
7 59P 354.4 Clifton Springs, NY T C 11 16A
8 33P 379.5 Rochester Junction, NY
(Connecting service to/from Rochester)
T C 10 46A
392.9 Caledonia, NY T C RF10 30A
DF 9 08P 410.5 Batavia, NY T C F10 11A
9 50P Ar 447.6 Buffalo, NY (Lehigh Valley Tml.) (ET) C R Dp 9 30A

Train 9 (New York-Buffalo): 16 stops, 10:45, 41.6 MPHTrain 317-9 (Philadelphia-Buffalo): 23 stops, 10:30, 39.6 MPH

Train 10 (Buffalo-New York): 18 stops, 10:50, 41.3 MPHTrain 10-328 (Buffalo-Philadelphia): 25 stops, 10:40, 39.0 MPH

(Lehigh Valley Notes)

Lehigh Valley Railroad


WESTWARD. Coaches on All Trains.


Observation Parlor-Lounge Car...New York to Buffalo—24-Seat. AIR-CONDITIONED.

Parlor Car...Philadelphia to Mauch Chunk—28-Seat, Drawing-room. AIR-CONDITIONED. (Passengers in this car for points west of Mauch Chunk including Buffalo, will be provided with simiilar accommodations beyond Mauch Chunk.)

Dining Car...New York to Buffalo. AIR-CONDITIONED.

EASTWARD. Coaches on All Trains.


Observation Parlor Lounge Car...Buffalo to New York—24 Seat. AIR-CONDITIONED. (Passengers in this car to Reading points, including Philadelphia, will be provided with similar accommodations en route, in Mauch Chunk-Philadelphia Parlor Car.)

Parlor Car...Mauch Chunk to Philadelphia—28-Seat, Drawing-room. AIR-CONDITIONED.

Dining Car...Serving all meals. AIR-CONDITIONED.

(Reading Railway Notes)



Coaches on all trains

Air-Conditioned Equipment is Available on Trains as indicated below


No. 317—Daily.

Parlor Car...Philadelphia to Mauch Chunk. (Parlor car passengers may transfer to Buffalo car at Mauch Chunk.)

Observation Parlor-Lounge Car...Bethlehem to Buffalo.

Dining Car...Bethlehem to Buffalo.

Thru Coach...Philadelphia to Buffalo.


No. 328—Daily.

Parlor Car...Mauch Chunk to Philadelphia.
Observation Parlor-Lounge Car...Buffalo to Bethlehem.
Dining Car...Buffalo to Bethlehem.
Thru Coach...Buffalo to Philadelphia.

Regularly assigned cars are Air-Conditioned.

The Lehigh Valley was not well positioned to compete against the larger and stronger roads such as Erie, the Lackawanna, and the New York Central. By 1961 all Lehigh Valley through passenger services would fade into oblivion, including the Black Diamond.