Along the Union Pacific Railroad: 1950

Eighteen momentous years had passed since Union Pacific’s 1932 along-the-way booklet that was presented here a few days ago, but you wouldn’t hardly know it from reading the 1950 edition. The newer edition is four pages longer, and most of the photos are different from the ones in the 1932 version. (Both booklets have page numbers, but there are two numbers to each page; thus, the inside front cover is numbered 1 and 2, so the 1932 booklet has 86 page numbers and the 1950 has 94.)


Click image to download a 40.2-MB PDF of this 44-page booklet.

While the photos are different, they aren’t necessarily up to date. Panels 13-14 of the 1932 booklet show what appears to be an early 1920s car in Rocky Mountain National Park; panels 21-22 have “updated” this to show an early 1930s car in the park. Cars shown on pages 13-14 appear to be from the late 1930s.

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1949 Dinner Menu

This menu cover is one of at least two Union Pacific menus that featured the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City. This particular menu was used on a tour of the National Automobile Dealers Association on January 22, 1949.


Click image to download a 1.3-MB PDF of this menu.

Unlike many tours, in which the meals were included in the price of the tour and so prices were not noted on the menus, this menu has prices for four table d’hôte meals. For $2.50 (about $20 today), auto dealers could order Columbia River salmon, lamb chops, or stuff capon; for $3.75 (about $30 today) they could have a charcoal broiled sirloin steak. All of these came with juice, fruit, or soup; whipped potatoes; asparagus Hollandaise; blueberry muffins; head lettuce with Thousand Island dressing; and a choice of desserts and beverages.

Overland Limited 1949 Lunch Menu

We’ve seen this cover before on a 1954 lunch menu. The two menus have many similarities, but also some significant differences.


Click image to download a PDF of this menu.

Although some prices went up slightly between 1949 and 1954, most of the a la carte sides of the two menus are identical. However, the older menu has four premium entrées not found on the newer one: sirloin steak, lamb chops, corned beef hash, and veal cutlets.

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Overland Limited 1949 Breakfast Menu

We’ve already seen this cover on a 1947 lunch menu. The lunch menu was fairly ordinary, with four table d’hôte meals and a few salads, sandwiches, and other a la carte items. This breakfast menu offers more choices, with seven table d’hôte meals that include a choice of juice, fruit, or one of eleven hot or dry cereals, bread and beverage; as well as three smaller meals of fruit, cereal, and griddle cakes or French toast plus a beverage.


Click image to download a 1.3-MB PDF of this menu.

The menu also includes a wide range of a la carte items: lamb chops, fish, three omelets, cereals, various combinations of meat and eggs, and of course griddle cakes and French toast. This raises a question I’ve wondered about before: were menus produced by the Southern Pacific commissary different from ones by the Union Pacific commissary? If so, perhaps this more-extensive menu is from the SP while the slightly less-extensive ones are UP.

Overland Limited Library

This postcard shows the Overland Limited “observation parlor with library writing desk and stenographic service.” The “library” apparently consisted of the books in the elegant, glass-fronted cabinet and the magazines on top. The “stenographic service” was the typewriter and an on-board secretary able to take dictation.


Click image to download a PDF of this postcard.

The white border around the postcard dates this card to 1915 or later. Most cards before 1915 were printed in Germany, but the war led American printers to learn the lithographic processes that the Germans excelled in. To save money on ink, the Americans left a white border around their cards.

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Big Boy Postcard

Union Pacific Big Boy locomotives rarely, if ever, pulled passenger trains (according to one source they sometimes pulled troop trains), but as one of the largest steam locomotives ever built they proved fascinating to many passengers. Many large steam locomotives, such as the Great Northern 2-8-8-2s (which were rated as more powerful, as measured by tractive effort, than Big Boys), were designed to haul heavy freights at slow speeds of around 20 mph. But the Big Boys were built to go as fast as 80 mph and ordinarily ran at around 40 to 45 mph.


Click image to download a PDF of this postcard.

Aware of the public’s interest in the Big Boys, Union Pacific put one on display at the 1949 Chicago Rail Fair. This postcard’s claim that one Big Boy did the work of two other locomotives is true if the other two are 4-8-4 Northerns, as the Big Boy’s 135,000 pounds of tractive effort is more than twice the 63,000 pounds of tractive effort of UP’s Northerns. However, the Big Boy was only about 40 percent more powerful than a Union Pacific 4-6-6-4 Challenger.

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UP 1947 Timetable

Union Pacific sent this time table, along with a map and a brochure about Hoover Dam, to George Trowbridge of Battle Creek, Michigan in September, 1947. Page 1 of the timetable notes that the streamliners City of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Denver, and St. Louis are, starting in 1947, all daily trains.


Click image to download a 20.6-MB PDF of this timetable.

Curiously, page 3 has a six-month calendar with the heading, “Consult this calendar in connection with Union Pacific Streamliner sailing dates.” Since the sailings were now daily, this was superfluous.

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UP 1947 Hoover Dam Brochure

At first glance, this looks like one of the color photo escorted tour booklets that UP published after the war. But it’s a brochure (meaning it’s a single piece of paper that unfolds into a large sheet), not a booklet (several sheets stapled together), and it doesn’t advertise escorted tours.


Click image to download an 11.0-MB PDF of this brochure.

One side of the brochure has six color and six black-and-white photos accompanied by a detailed written description of the dam and the area around it. The other side is a large (18″x31″) color, oblique relief map of the area.

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UP 1947 Map of the U.S.

One side of this 18″x32″ map has nearly two dozen photos of Union Pacific passenger trains and places they go. The other side has a map of the United States (the southern tips of Texas and Florida are left off) with UP rail lines in bright red, partner roads (C&NW, SP) in red-and-black, and other railroads in black.


Click image to download an 11.7-MB PDF of this map.

In the immediate post-war period, railroads were still showing off their mighty steam locomotives. This brochure is no exception, with photos of the Big Boy and an 800-series Northern. There’s also a photo of a pair of General Motors E-6 locomotives that appear to be numbered 7M-1 and 7M-2. UP had exclusive ownership (as opposed to co-ownership with C&NW/SP) of three pairs of these locomotives, numbers 7M-1 & -2, 8M-1 & -2, and 9M-1 & -2.

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UP 1945 Rocky Mountain Park Menu

The war was still raging when this menu was used on February 20, 1945. The menu helpfully tells us that it was used on dining car 3690, which (according to Utah Rails was a heavyweight diner built by Pullman in 1923. Since we know menus for the Los Angeles Limited and other UP premier trains identified the name of the trains, this menu must have been used on a lesser train such as the Pacific Limited or Pony Express.


Click image to download a 2.5-MB PDF of this menu. Click here to download the same menu with an ad for a “Chef’s Special Salad Bowl” paper clipped in.

The front of the menu features Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, but the menu says nothing else about this lake. The back has a photo and 200-word description of Sun Valley, Union Pacific’s Idaho ski resort.

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