Vista Domes to California or Colorado

This brochure was apparently aimed at Minnesotans and Wisconsinites, as it included schedules and fares for taking one of the Twin Cities Zephyrs from the Twin Cities to Chicago, and then the Denver Zephyr to Colorado or California Zephyr to San Francisco and Los Angeles. Since the Morning Zephyr from the Twin Cities arrived in Chicago at 2:50 pm and the California Zephyr left at 3:10 pm, the brochure subtly encourages people to change trains at Aurora, Illinois, instead, allowing an hour and 40 minutes to transfer people and luggage rather than just 20 minutes.


Click image to download a 1.4-MB PDF of this brochure.

There’s no date on this brochure, but it is presumably from around 1966, as when folded it has the same dimensions as yesterday’s Colorado brochure. If so, then the quoted fare from the Twin Cities to Denver of $61.30 translates to about $340 today. Fares to San Francisco were about double that.

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Colorful Colorado 1966

This brochure describes an 8-day (really, 7-day) tour from Chicago to Colorado. Two nights are spent aboard the Denver Zephyr, two nights in Rocky Mountain National Park, and three nights in Colorado Springs. This was an “independent tour” rather than an escorted tour, but the price included all transportation, accommodations, meals, and entry fees into the various parks and museums.


Click image to download a 3.0-MB PDF of this brochure.

The “standard fare” for this tour is $178.58 (nearly $1,000 today), while the “de luxe tour” is $251.85 (close to $1,400 today). The standard tour presumably went coach, while people paying the de luxe rate got a roomette. Hotel accommodations were probably similar; standard probably shared a bath while de luxe got a private bath. These prices were for single occupancy; two people sharing a room could each save about $15 on the standard tour and $25 on the de luxe.

Fall Foliage Tours to Colorado

I call this a brochure, but it is probably really intended for use as a poster. It folds into eight panels like many brochures, but it is printed only on one side, like a poster.


Click image to download a 2.3-MB PDF of this brochure.

The poster advertised two 1965 tours to Colorado. One left Chicago on Friday, September 17, arriving Denver the next morning on the Denver Zephyr. From there the tour took a bus to Aspen, where they spent two nights, returning to Denver Monday and Chicago Tuesday morning. The second tour started Friday, October 1, and followed a similar itinerary except spending two nights in Colorado Springs rather than Aspen. For $70 (about $400 today), the tours included coach and bus fares, hotels, and most meals (but apparently not Friday dinner on the train, Sunday lunch, or Tuesday breakfast on the train).

Mississippi Valley Tours

Burlington offered Chicago residents three one- and two-day tours every weekend during the summer of 1964. One tour went 239 miles up the Mississippi River on the Twin Zephyrs to Prairie du Chien, where passengers had about 6-1/2 hours to enjoy various parks and museums highlighted by a boat tour through Spook Cave, the “longest subterranean water tour in America.” This cost $16.35 (nearly $100 today), including transportation, lunch, dinner, and various park entry fees.


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A second one-day tour went just 184 miles to East Dubuque, allowing passengers more than eight hours to enjoy a paddle-wheel cruise and various parks and historic sites. This tour cost just $12.90 (about $75 today), including transportation, a bus tour, the boat cruise, lunch, and dinner.

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Burlington 1962 Colorado Booklet

Published fourteen years after yesterday’s booklet, this one has a bright new cover. But inside, so little has changed that I almost didn’t bother to scan it. The first 40 pages have text that is nearly identical to the 1948 edition, and only a few black-and-white photos have been updated to account for auto and hairstyles that had already looked dated in 1948.


Click image to download a 31.9-MB PDF of this 60-page booklet.

Ten pages of the 1948 booklet of Colorado hotels, resorts, and dude ranches, and three pages described Burlington trains, specifically the Denver Zephyr and Exposition Flyer. The 1962 edition has one more page of each, resulting in two fewer pages of photos that, frankly, were not really missed. Instead of the California Zephyr (which replaced the Exposition Flyer), this 1962 booklet features the Texas Zephyr; strangely, the CZ isn’t even mentioned even though there is enough white space on the train pages for a whole paragraph on one of the most popular trains of the era.

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Burlington 1948 Colorado Booklet

Here’s Burlington’s answer to Union Pacific’s color-photo Colorado booklet. The Burlington booklet has a brilliant color cover whose location I don’t recognize. But in contrast to the numerous color photos in the UP booklet, the Burlington version has just black-and-white inside.


Click image to download a 29.7-MB PDF of this 60-page booklet.

While the UP booklet has just 36 pages and focuses on Rocky Mountain Park and the Denver area, the Burlington booklet has a full 60 pages covering these areas as well as Colorado Springs, Pueblo, the Royal Gorge, and western Colorado including Mesa Verde, many of which were accessed by Burlington’s partner (and Union Pacific’s competitor), the Rio Grande Railroad.

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Burlington Escorted Tours 1938

By 1938, the Burlington Escorted Tours booklet had grown to 72 pages, plus the covers. I count 25 regular tours (including four Alaska tours that are now weekly through much of the summer), plus eight “bargain tours” (which provide tourist sleeper accommodations instead of full Pullmans), plus eight more “combination tours” that add a destination and a couple of days on one of the full tours. The means there are a grand total of 41 tours, more than four times as many as were in the 1927 booklet.


Click image to download a 37.6-MB PDF of this booklet.

By 1938, Burlington had introduced the Denver Zephyr and other streamlined trains. But all of the tours continued to rely on heavyweight trains. Tours routed between Chicago and Denver, for example, would go on the Aristocrat. This is partly because demand for the Zephyrs was so high that the Burlington didn’t want to fill up seats with people holding discounted tickets, but in the case of some tours, the railroads also put the tour guide and everyone on the tours into one or two cars that were added to the consists of regular trains. Since the articulated Zephyrs couldn’t easily add cars, they weren’t used for tours.

Burlington Escorted Tours 1932

This is an example of the fully illustrated booklets that were mentioned in the introductions to the 1927 and 1928 “outline sketch” versions. The 1927 edition said that the fully illustrated version was 48 pages; the 1928 edition said 56 pages. This one is 64 numbered pages plus the covers. (My page counts include covers so I consider this to be 68 pages.)


Click image to download a 42.3-MB PDF of this 68-page booklet

The extra length is needed to describe the increased number of tours. The 1927 booklet had six weekly tours plus four over the summer to Alaska, and 1928 had ten weekly plus four to Alaska. By 1932, the number had increased to 16 weekly tours in the states plus four over the summer to Seward and six to Skagway. Some of the Seward tours and all of the Skagway tours offered the option of returning via the Canadian Rockies, with overnight stays at both Lake Louise and Banff.

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Burlington Escorted Tours 1928

The cover of the 1928 booklet has the same image and typography as the 1927 edition, but the addition of two colors, orange and blue, make for a more attractive cover as well as testify to the success of the program.


Click image to download a 7.5-MB PDF of this 20-page booklet; click here for a non-OCR version.

The railroads added several new tours in 1928, including Black Hills-Yellowstone and Black Hills-Yellowstone-Rocky Mountain and some minor variations of the 1927 tours. Most important is a 20-day tour to California via the Royal Gorge (with a stop at Colorado Springs and the Garden of the Gods), including visits to Yosemite, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego and return via the Grand Canyon. The only part of this tour going over the Burlington partner rail lines is the first day or so to Denver; after that, the trip is over the Rio Grande, Western Pacific, and Santa Fe railroads. While this could not have been very profitable for the partner railroads, they must have felt compelled to add it to compete with the Union Pacific tours.

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Burlington Escorted Tours 1927

If you had picked up a Northern Pacific Yellowstone National Park booklet in 1926 or 1927 and asked for more information about Burlington Escorted Tours, they might have given you this 16-page booklet. According to the introduction, an even longer, more-detailed booklet was available, but this one contains “outline sketches” of the escorted tours.


Click image to download a 6.1-MB PDF of this booklet.

Ten tours were offered: A. Glacer-Yellowstone ($230); B. Rocky Mountain-Yellowstone ($221); C. Yellowstone-Glacier (which seems to be A in reverse) $230); D. B in reverse ($221); S-1 & S-3. Seward, Alaska, with stops at Mt. Rainier and the Columbia River Highway ($395); S-2 and S-4. Skagway, Alaska, with stops at Mt. Rainier and the Columbia River Highway ($345); E. Black Hills-Glacier ($228); F. Rocky Mountain-Yellowstone-Glacier ($287); G. Glacier ($164); and H. Yellowstone ($164). Prices shown are from Chicago with a lower berth; multiply by 11 to convert to today’s dollars. Except for the Alaska tours, which each went only twice a summer (thus the S-1 and S-3 etc.), the tours all left Chicago or St. Louis once a week over most of the summer.

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