NP West: Scenic Route Across America

This 24-page brochure has no date, but it mentions the new “Red Lodge Gateway” (meaning the Beartooth Highway) to Yellowstone, which opened in 1936. It also shows Bonneville Dam under construction; since the dam was completed in 1937, this brochure dates to 1936 or early 1937.


Click image to download an 18.5-MB PDF of this 28-page brochure. Click here to download an non-OCRed version.

The brochure has a tear-out card stapled in that people could use to request more information. To show the card without removing it, I’ve scanned parts of some pages twice.

NP Alaska 1938

This 32-page brochure includes 23 pages of photos with a full-page map and about eight pages of text. In 1938, most travel in Alaska was by boat or train, so the brochure features several photos of the Alaska Railroad. Curiously, there are no photos of the White Pass & Yukon Route, though there is one small photo of Martin Itjen‘s Skagway Streetcars (the modern incarnation of which are run by Steve Hites).


Click image to download a 29.5-MB PDF of this brochure.

The text in the back of the booklet briefly describes six different package tours. Starting from Chicago or the Twin Cities, the tours range from eight to twenty days (extendable up to 35 days) and cost between $200 and $550 (around $2,600 to $6,500 in today’s dollars), depending on length of tour and accommodations. The cheapest tour is simply a train to Seattle and a steamship cruise from Seattle to Southeast Alaska, while the most expensive “Yukon River Circle Tour” includes a steamship to Skagway, train and steamboat to Fairbanks, a train to Seward, and steamship back to Seattle, with stops at McKinley National Park, Anchorage, and many other locations along the way.

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NP 1926 Timetable

This 88-year-old timetable reveals that the Northern Pacific had quite a range of trains in the Golden Age of rail travel. Trains 1 and 2 were the Chicago-Seattle North Coast Limited, which left its respective endpoints each morning and arrived at the opposite end slightly less than 72 hours later. Trains 3 and 4 were at that time called the Pacific Express and Atlantic Express, and they left their endpoints in the evenings and arrived at the opposite ends slightly more than 72 hours later.


Click image to download a 26.6-MB PDF of this timetable. Click here to download an OCRed version.

This is a summer timetable, and in the summers the all-Pullman Yellowstone Comet. Strangely, it wasn’t identified in the timetables by number, but it might have been 5 and 6 considering no other trains in the timetable have those numbers. The Comet trailed about five minutes behind the North Coast Limited from Chicago to Livingston, arriving there at 3 am. In order to give passengers a chance to see the scenery from the open-side observation cars, the train then sat in Livingston until 9 am, when it headed for Gardiner and the north entrance to Yellowstone Park, arriving at 11:15 am.

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Kansas City Chief Luggage Sticker

Santa Fe inaugurated the streamlined Kansas City Chief on April 2, 1950. The overnight version of the Chicagoan/Kansas Cityan, the Kansas City Chief left Kansas City at 10 pm and arrived in Chicago at 7:30 am; the return schedule was nearly the same but took 15 minutes longer.


Click image to download a 0.2-MB PDF of this luggage sticker.

Since the train ran mainly in the dark, there are few if any photos of it on the Internet. Initially, the train’s consist included two coaches, four sleepers, and a heavyweight diner-lounge car that had been painted to look like a streamlined car. By the mid-1950s, the train was popular enough that Santa Fe added a coach, a sleeper, and a full diner in addition to a lounge car. The train also typically carried eight baggage/express cars for U.S. mail.

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Super Chief Luggage Sticker

I’ve posted a few images of luggage stickers that I’ve found on the web, but this sticker is from my actual collection. Such stickers have been reproduced as tin signs, on t-shirts and hats, and in other ways. However, I feel pretty certain that this is a genuine Santa Fe article and not a reproduction.


Click image to download a 0.2-MB PDF of this luggage sticker.

Santa Fe Passenger Trains

Someone worked hard to compile this list of more than 150 named Santa Fe passenger trains, the numbers they used, the years they operated, and their terminal cities. The brief intro says it is based on timetables from 1876, 1886 though 1890, 1893, 1894, and 1902 through 1971.


Click image to download a 2.5-MB PDF of this 2-page brochure.

The brochure doesn’t actually say that it was published by the Santa Fe Railway, but the odd paper size–9 inches by 24 inches–and blue printing makes me think that it was. Railfan groups would normally use 8-1/2×11 paper. In any case, it is a useful reference.

7-Day Tour of Southern California

For a mere $200 (nearly $1,400 in today’s money), a Chicago traveler could take a trip on the El Capitan and spend four days, three nights, in the Los Angeles area, including visits to Hollywood, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Disneyland. The price included transportation, entrance fees, hotels, and meals en route but not while in California.


Click image to download a 1.8-MB PDF of this three-panel, OCRed brochure. Click here to download a non-OCR version.

Personally, I would be disappointed in a tour that allowed me only 5-1/2 hours in Disneyland and 2-1/2 hours in Knott’s Berry Farm. But at least the tourists got to see the Chemosphere House, the “space-age home of the future” (not!).

Tulsan and Oil Flyer Timetable

On December 9, 1939, Santa Fe inaugurated the streamlined Tulsan between Tulsa and Kansas City, where it met the Chicagoan/Kansas Cityan. The all-coach day train made the 256-mile trip in five hours for an average speed of 51 mph.


Click image to download a 0.7-MB PDF of this OCRed timetable. Click here to download a non-OCR version.

The Tulsan was complemented by the Oil Flyer, which went overnight southbound at a more leisurely pace allowing passengers up to seven hours of sleep. Northbound, the train took less than six hours, leaving at 4:10 pm and arriving in Kansas City at 10:00 pm. The Oil Flyer actually entered service in 1925, and remained a heavyweight train until well after the war.

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