“Mr. Daniels Tells How the Woman
Can See the ‘Rainbow City.’”
Article from "Leslie's Weekly" August 24, 1901
LESLIE'S WEEKLY receives every day letters from all parts of the world asking about the cost of seeing the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo. Never in the history of the country were so many people able to take trips as this year, and thousands who have not traveled extensively are naturally anxious to get as much for their money as possible. The best time for seeing the exposition still remains, and in order that the inquiries might be answered by the most competent authority, a request was sent to Mr. George H. Daniels, the general passenger agent of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, that he tell the readers of LESLIE'S WEEKLY what has been and is being done for the accommodation of the visitors, and to add something about the latest evolution in the comforts and conveniences of travel. Mr. Daniels is at the head of the passenger department of the road that is carrying about sixty per cent of the exposition travel from in and about New York; he has his agents and representatives practically everywhere, and in addition to all that, he is himself the originator of some of the new ideas recently inaugurated, one of them being the "Empire kitchens," to which he refers in his article, which follows:
There has never been an exposition for which the arrangements for handling the passenger traffic were so thoroughly made as those planned for the visitors to the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo. *In order to appreciate what has been done we must understand the very great advances that have been made in the passenger work of the modern railroad. The time when hundreds of people were packed on trains, hurried through, and then unloaded at the destination point and left to shift for themselves passed many years ago. Now the traveler is the guest of the railroad. Of course be pays for the service, but in no other place or business does he receive so much return in so many ways for his money. The traveler himself has grown beyond the old way of doing things and is willing to pay for comforts. It has been better for the railroads, because they are able to give satisfaction. In many of the former fairs and large meetings in the United States there was cut-rate competition, which crowded many of the trains, with the result that everybody was unhappy, the excursionists saved no money, and the railroads made none. In the rates for the Buffalo exposition the lines are giving high-grade service at a small profit to themselves, and the traveler can buy his ticket with the knowledge that he is going to be well treated and that he will return home with a deep sense of gratification and without any serious deficit in his finances.
Do not gather from this that the rates on any of the roads are high. They are all even lower than the usual summer average, while the returns in the way of speed, cars, and general service are far above the ordinary, and are the best that can be found in any part of the world, and far better than were ever known in any previous exposition. So that when the editor asked me if a trip can be made to Buffalo and return, including the costs of food and shelter and seeing the exposition, for a reasonable sum, I have no difficulty in replying very positively in the affirmative. I go further and say that never has a traveler been able to get more for his investment than he can in the trip to Buffalo.So much for the cost. Now for the comforts and conveniences. The editor proposes a lady and two children as a test case to illustrate what is being done every day. For the sake of the lady I hope the children are not too young, but it really makes no difference to us if they are twins. I hope, too, that she has not too many satchels and bundles, but again those details are not so very important. She has not traveled much; her funds are limited, and she is probably afraid of getting lost. This is the way we treat her case. She applies at one of our bureaus of information in New York City. She finds a lady in waiting, and she states just what she wants. If she has a day or even a few hours before the train starts for Buffalo the lady attendant will arrange for her tickets and engage her accommodations in Buffalo. Just here let me say that any railroad company with Buffalo connections will supply on application a list of lodging and boarding places. The Pan-American official bureau of information has published a list of houses in which the charge is from fifty cents for lodging and upward. We will be glad to send our own list to any one who asks for it. The prices are printed and the houses have been properly investigated, so that there may be no doubt about their respectability and good character.
But to return to the lady passenger and her two hopefuls. After they get their tickets they will take a streetcar or an elevated train for the Grand Central Station. As she alights she sees a uniformed attendant who will help her with the satchels and bundles, and even with the twins - that is, of course, if they are twins - and will conduct her to the train, find a seat for her, and make her as comfortable as if she were in her own home. I will take it for granted that she is on the special train which we have established for the exposition travel, leaving few York at 9:20 in the morning and giving the daylight ride to Buffalo. On this train the tickets at nine dollars for the round trip are available.
The food question, which is important, especially for the twins -that is, of course, if they are twins- need cause her no uneasiness. Two hours after the train leaves New York there is a stop of ten minutes at Poughkeepsie, where an excellent restaurant has everything that even twins could desire. Two hours after that, at Albany there is another restaurant, and if the lady does not wish to leave the train she can purchase of the boy who comes through the car a combination lunch neatly put up in a box, for twenty-five cents. Two hours after that, if the fine air of New York travel puts another edge on the appetite, as it usually does - especially with twins - more food can be purchased at Utica, and less than two hours after that the restaurant at Syracuse will be ready to remove any lingering dangers of starvation, and if dessert or anything else is required later, Rochester will supply it. When the travelers arrive in Buffalo there will be attendants to help them with their baggage, to direct them to their boarding-places, and to give them advice as to the best ways of reaching the exposition grounds. At any time during their stay they are welcome to the practical services in the way of direction and information which are always available at railroad offices and bureaus of information.
The travelers who pay higher rates of course get more in return. There is a round-trip rate from New York at $14.75 which is good for fifteen days and is honored on all trains except two. The highest rate is seventeen dollars, which is good until November 30th and is honored on all the trains. Of course, in both of these higher rates the Pullman charges are extra. I mention New York rates, but the facts apply to practically all points and all the lines.
We always cite the Empire State Express as the finest achievement in railroad travel, and the United States government has complimented it by using it as the illustration on the exposition stamp. In order to make its wonderful schedule this train has to maintain an average of fifty-three and one-third miles per hour. To attach a dining-car to it would be to handicap it, and for this reason we have introduced what we call the "Empire kitchen " in one end of the coach, and instead of feeding passengers with the canned things so familiar to those who have to depend upon the usual buffets, we can give them steaks, chops, broilers, and other substantial things, as fine and as hot as in any hotel in the world. We are extending these kitchens to other trains, and are gradually bringing within the reach of the passenger the variety of the best of markets, with all its freshness. Other railroads are increasing constantly the attractions of their trains, and nowadays a man goes forth to travel with as much certainty of getting what he wants in the way of creature comforts as if he were taking a ride up Broadway.
I would especially call attention of all exposition visitors to the excellent equipment of transit facilities. Many read about the Buffalo Belt Line without understanding what it is. It is a double-track railroad belonging to the New York Central encircling the city, that with its many trains takes the passengers to or from the exposition in from ten to twenty minutes. In addition to that are the numerous trolley-lines. The fares are low, the speed is good, and practically everybody is able to get a seat.
Permit me to say as strongly as I can a good word for Buffalo. I have had some experience in the way of crowds and large gatherings of people, but never have I known any population to treat visitors more fairly or more courteously than the people of Buffalo. One can get lodging and board for almost any price up to the rates of the finest hotels. For the visitor who wishes to be well cared for and at the same time to spend as little money as possible, private homes will give supper, lodging, and breakfast for $1.50 a day. The admission to the exposition grounds is fifty cents and the charges for seeing the Midway attractions range from five cents up. It is easy, therefore, to go to Buffalo, to see the great fair, to visit Niagara Falls, and to return home feeling that the money has been well spent and with a lot of recollections that will last through the years and make life better worth living.
I have read many of the things written about the exposition, but I do not think that any of them has done full justice either to its remarkable interest or to the unapproachable manner in which it is planned. In all the records of expositions there have never been such achievements in the groupings of the buildings and in the accessibility of everything to everybody. You don't have to walk over a whole county to see the sights. Your legs don't give out before your eyes. This means much for the visitor, for it not only saves him weariness of the flesh but a considerable sum in cash. There is, of course, more than the average man can possibly take in on an ordinary visit, but the average person will have the consolation of knowing that he has seen more and in better comfort and at less expense than he could have found in any other show the world has ever known.
The electrical exhibit is the finest ever seen, and the illumination of the grounds and buildings at night surpasses anything of this character that has ever been attempted. Two hundred and twenty-five thousand separate electric lamps are used, and for the 170 nights that the exposition will be open this illumination would have cost any other city in the world twenty million dollars. Paris did not spend a quarter of this amount for their illuminations. But Buffalo has the benefit of the electricity generated at the great power-plant at Niagara Falls, which is in itself one of the most wonderful achievements of the nineteenth century.
If you will stand anywhere in the Grand Court at the exposition and see the lights turned on once you will want to witness it every night. The turning on of the electricity is the most artistic performance of this kind ever seen. The lights do not go on at once; there is at first a slight rosy glow, which becomes brighter and brighter until the whole place is ablaze, and when the lights are turned off at eleven o'clock they do not go out suddenly, but fade gradually like a dream. It is a most marvelous sight, and, seeing it once, the visitor wants to stay in Buffalo and go to the exposition every night.
By all means go to the Pan-American Exposition. If you don't
you will miss one of the greatest opportunities of your life, and you will never
be able to take a trip that will yield more in pleasure and profit for the same
amount you expend.