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The New Haven Railroad Rail Charge Card

August 1st, 2000

The New Haven Railroad administered its own credit card system starting in the mid-1950s. The "New Haven Railroad Rail Charge Card" was honored by the New Haven from mid-1954 up until the end of the railroad's corporate existance effective January 1st, 1969. In fact, there is some evidence that the New Haven's charge cards continued to be honored for a short time by the Penn Central Transportation Company. All materials from the collection of Marc Frattasio.

April 1955 AdvertisementThe New Haven Railroad Rail Charge Cards were a passenger service innovation of the McGinnis administration. The charge cards could be used to pay for New Haven and Pullman tickets, on-board refreshments, and car rentals. Card holders were also allowed to cash personal checks at ticket offices. The brochure at left was printed during April 1955 to inform ticket agents of some minor changes to the card's appearance and processing procedures.

This folder from late 1955 contains instructions and an application form for obtaining a New Haven Railroad Rail Charge Card.1955 Application Form Folder

Late 1960s folderThis credit card application form was used throughout the late 1960s. Other railroads used credit cards issued by an organization called the Rail Travel Credit Bureau but the New Haven continued to use its own credit cards to the very end.

The New Haven heavily promoted its credit cards in timetables and other print advertising. This small flyer dates from 1962.Small Flyer

Plastic Charge CardThe original New Haven Railroad Rail Charge Cards were made of cardstock. During the late 1950s the New Haven switched from cardstock to plastic. This is an actual credit card issued during the early 1960s.


July 2000: Beverage Service!

June 2000: The Boat Race Trains

May 2000: Timetable Change Posters

April 2000: New Haven Railroad Station Signs

March 2000: The Key to New England

February 2000: Route 128 Station

January 2000: New Haven Railroad Cigarette Lighters

December 1999: The Dan'l Webster

November 1999: Postwar Travel Posters

October 1999: Modern Dining Car China

September 1999: New Haven Railroad Dining Car Service Pins

August 1999: New Haven Railroad Lapel Pins

July 1999: The 1939 New York World's Fair -- 60th Anniversary

June 1999: On-Train Ashtrays

April 1999: Matchbooks

March 1999: Pilgrim Tours

February 1999: Special Trains of the 1950s and 1960s

January 1999: Ticket Envelopes

December 1998: Holiday Advertising Material

November 1998: New York City Travel Advertising Material

October 1998: Boston Travel Advertising Material

September 1998: The Hurricane of 1938 -- 60th Anniversary

July 1998: The New Haven Goes Back to Cape Cod

June 1998: The 1964/1965 New York World's Fair

May 1998: Official Gifts of the McGinnis Era

April 1998: System Timetables

March 1998: Pre-War Advertising Brochures

February 1998: New Haven Railroad Freight Service Advertising from the 1950s and 1960s

January 1998: The Snow Trains

December 1997: Hotel Montclair Advertisement ca. 1939

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