The Pennsylvania Railroad, never one to do things in a small way, built or bought over 1500 Americans between 1849 and 1910. For five decades, engines of this wheel arrangement were the road's principal passenger power. It was only natural, then, that a 4-4-0 would head the Pennsylvania Limited, the Pennsy's premier Chicago-New York service, on its inaugural run on June 15, 1887.
In its editorial that day, the Chicago Times called the new train "the latest triumph in catering to the traveling public" and contended that "the invention of printing and the creation of the railway are the two leading events in the history of man; and the railway as an agent of civilization is not inferior to the art of printing." The Pennsy's brochure, on the other hand, was less concerned about the Limited's place in history and more about justifying the ticket price: "You pay for exclusive privileges and get them. You pay for strictly first-class accommodations and get them. You pay for first-class meals and get them. You pay for and receive the best service the Pullman Company and the Pennsylvania Lines can give."
In the next decade, the New York-Chicago run became the scene of fierce competition between the Pennsy and its chief rival, the New York Central. To bring New Yorkers to the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition - where the Central's 112 mph 999 was the toast of the fair - the Central fielded the Exposition Flyer on a speedy 20-hour schedule. In June 1902, almost exactly 15 years from the launch of the Pennsylvania Limited, the Central threw down the gauntlet with the inauguration of the 20th Century Limited. A decade later, the Pennsylvania Limited and its sister, the Pennsylvania Special, were renamed the Broadway Limited to better compete with the Century - a competition between two of America's finest trains that would continue for another half-century.