When the Lackawanna completed its line from Binghamton to Buffalo in 1882, it suddenly found itself in possession of the shortest route from the New York metropolitan area [Hoboken, NJ] to Buffalo—and in direct competition with the mighty New York Central and, to a lesser extent, the Erie.

But in addition to its direct route, the Lackawanna had another competitive edge up its sleeve: Its steam locomotives were fueled by expensive but clean-burning anthracite as opposed to the cheaper but sooty bituminous coal universally used elsewhere. To tout this advantage, the Lackawanna's advertising department created the fictional character of "Phoebe Snow", who regularly traveled back and forth from New York to Buffalo in a white dress—which stayed white, "From morn till night, upon the Road of Anthracite."

Wartime restrictions in the First World War curbed the use of anthracite and ended Phoebe's career. But the character was not forgotten. As the Lackawanna was planning its premier streamliner on the New York - Buffalo route after World War II, it drew upon the name and image of its earlier icon to christen the new crack train. The Phoebe Snow of 1949 was the result.

From the pages of the Official Guide, July 1954

Lackawanna RR herald

The Phoebe Snow

Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad
April 25, 1954

New York - Hoboken via Hudson Tubes
9 10A Dp 33rd St & 6th Ave Ar 5 51P
9 13A Dp Cortlandt St. Ar 5 50P
New York - Hoboken via DL&W Ferries
9 15A Dp 0.0 Barclay St Ar 5 55P
9 12A Dp Christopher St (Mo-Fr Only) Ar
3 Train Number 6
Daily Miles Services Daily
9 35A Dp 1.0 Hoboken, NJ (ET) C R Ar 5 30P
R 9 48A 8.8 Newark, NJ C R D 5 16P
R 9 55A 11.6 Brick Church, NJ C D 5 07P
R10 08A 21.1 Summit, NJ C R D 4 54P
R10 33A 39.1 Dover, NJ C D 4 27P
11 02A 65.8 Blairstown, NJ C 3 57P
11 26A 82.6 Stroudsburg/E. Stroudsburg, PA C 3 35P
11 48A 95.6 Cresco, PA C 3 12P
F12 06P 103.6 Pocono Summit, PA C F 2 58P
12 50P 134.1 Scranton, PA C R 2 15P
2 02P Ar 192.7 Binghamton, NY C R Dp 1 08P
1903 Connecting Train Number 1906
2 05P Dp 192.7 Binghamton, NY Ar 12 35P
3 14P 235.7 Cortland, NY 11 33A
4 08P Ar 272.1 Syracuse, NY Dp 10 30A
2 02P Dp 192.7 Binghamton, NY C R Ar 1 08P
2 13P 200.7 Vestal, NY (Endicott) C 12 48P
2 30P 213.4 Owego, NY C 12 32P
2 51P 232.0 Waverly, PA C 12 09P
3 14P 249.7 Elmira, NY C R 11 49A
3 35P 267.7 Corning, NY C 11 25A
3 56P 286.6 Bath, NY C 11 05A
4 29P 319.5 Dansville, NY C 10 33A
4 46P 333.7 Mount Morris, NY C 10 16A
5 50P Ar 396.2 Buffalo, NY (ET) C R Dp 9 15A

Train 3 (Hoboken-Buffalo): 18 stops, 8:15, 47.9 MPHTrain 6 (Buffalo-Hoboken): 18 stops, 8:15, 47.9 mph

No. 3—The Phoebe Snow

De Luxe Streamliner—Daily

Sleeping Car—New York to Chicago (via Nickel Plate No. 5)—10 Roomettes, 6 Double BR

Observation Lounge Car (DL&W)—New York to Buffalo (Open to all passengers)

Dining Car—New York to Buffalo

Club-Diner-Lounge Car—Buffalo to Chicago

Reclining Seat Coaches—New York to Chicago, New York to Buffalo, Binghamton to Syracuse

No. 6—The Phoebe Snow
De Luxe Streamliner—Daily

Observation Lounge Car (DL&W)—Buffalo to New York (Open to all passengers)

Parlor Car (DL&W)—Buffalo to New York (Drawing Room) (Daily, except Saturday)

Dining Car—Buffalo to New York

Buffet Lounge Car—Syracuse to Binghamton

Reclining Seat Coaches—Buffalo to New York, Syracuse to Binghamton

The Lackawanna promoted itself as a New York railroad - but, as in the case of every other railroad save the twin juggernauts Pennsylvania and New York Central, it lacked the wherewithal for a direct entrance to Manhattan. Instead, it erected its Hoboken Terminal on the shores of the Hudson River and relied on ferryboats and subway lines to transfer its passengers back and forth to New York City proper. Note that the mileage given at Hoboken is "1.0", not the customary zero—in keeping with its desired identity as a legitimate New York line, the Lackawanna computed its mileage from its Barclay Street ferry terminal in Manhattan.

In addition to the daytime coach service Phoebe offered between New York and Buffalo, westbound it carried a through sleeper and coach to Chicago which was routed via the Nickel Plate's train number 5, arriving Chicago at 6:30 the next morning. The corresponding return cars left Chicago at 9:20 a.m. on Nickel Plate No. 8, arriving Buffalo at 9:35 p.m. and Hoboken at 6:55 a.m. the next day on the Lackawanna's train number 8, the New Yorker.