The Alton Limited (later known as simply the Limited) was the Chicago & Alton Railway's (C&A) flagship service between Chicago, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri. It was introduced in 1899, and reequipped in 1905, and in 1924. The name and service was ultimately discontinued in late 1971.
Starting in 1903, its motive power was a series of 4-6-2 (Pacific) steam locomotives.
By 1905, it provided regular, daily service with six new cars strikingly decorated in three shades of maroon, with gold stenciling, which led to the nickname, "The Red Train." The six-car consist included a RPO car, a combine car, a coach, a diner, and two Pullman parlor cars, one of which was the observation car. The cars were richly appointed, and the Alton Limited was advertised as "The Only Way" and as "The Most Beautiful Train In America!"
The last ten Brooks/ALCO class P-5 Pacific engines were delivered to the C&A in 1913. Two six-car train sets were re-equipped in 1924 at a cost of a million dollars. The "Chicago" observation parlor car included a Japanese tea room and a library, and was 90' long. With its blended red color scheme, it was then billed, "The Handsomest Train In The World."