St. Louis, Missouri: Chicago & St. Louis Railroad Company, 1892. Envelope or Cover. This illustrated advertising cover is franked with a carmine 2-cent Washington stamp (Scott #220) canceled by a duplex St. Louis, Missouri postmark dated December 20, 1892. The decorative corner card reads, “Chicago & St. Louis Electric Railroad Company / Bank of Commerce Bldg. St. Louis / ‘The Temple’ Chicago. / Heineke-Fliegel Litho. Co. St. Louis.” The cover features an illustration of a futuristic “High Speed Electric Car.” In nice shape with a little bit of edge wear.
This project, which never came to fruition, received quite a bit of attention between in railway and electricity journals and newspapers published in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Conceived in 1891, by 1892 it had attracted investments of $10 million. The company survived the panic of 1893 and by 1894, 24 miles of roadway near Edinburg, Illinois, had been prepared. With co-headquarters in St. Louis and Chicago, its president was Professor F. E. Nipher of Washington University’s department of electrical engineering.
The route was planned to minimize grades, and there were to be no grade crossings. Instead, its tracks were to be elevated to cross above roads and other railway tracks. Its futuristic High Speed Electric Cars, which were expected to be able to travel at speeds of 100 miles per hour, looked like something out of a Frank Reade science fiction dime novel.
It is unclear when or why the original company folded, however the project was revived around 1910 with “plans perfected for the Chicago-St. Louis service” by a newly organized firm, the Chicago, Joliet & St. Louis Electric Railway Company, which intended to build tracks of its own that to link those of existing railroads like Chicago’s Metropolitan Elevated, the Joliet Electric Railway, and the Joliet, Plainfield & Aurora Railroad. However, this railway also to failed to materialize.
Passenger service between Chicago and St. Louis didn’t reach speeds of 100 miles per hour until August of 2013 when Amtrack Lincoln Service trains regularly ran 110 miles per hour over a 15-mile stretch between Dwight and Pontiac, Illinois.. Very good. Item #009844
(For more information, see “Long Distance Electric Railway” in Street Railway Review Jan 1893, “Chicago and St. Louis Electric Railway Project” in Western Electrician 12 May 1894, and “Plans Perfected for Chicago-St. Louis Service” in Electric Traction Weekly 1 Jan 1910.)
A very scarce advertising cover promoting high-speed rail services well ahead of their time.