Interesting Highlights

This one-page brochure provides very brief town-by-town descriptions of the route of the vista-dome North Coast Limited. A couple of years later, NP would publish a much-more beautiful full-color booklet of Scenic Highlights, but that too just contained brief descriptions of the towns, while the rest was really advertising.

Click image to download a 1.9-MB PDF of this brochure.

This is a far cry from 2000 Miles of Scenic Beauty, the along-the-way booklet published by the NP in the 1920s. Perhaps the railway thought it was just as well for the scenery speak for itself.

1958 NP History Booklet

This history booklet isn’t dated, but the last referenced date is to “early in 1958,” when the railway finished Dieselizing. So I suspect it was published in 1958 or possibly 1959.

Click image to download a 5.7-MB PDF of this 20-page booklet.

Typically for railroad autobiographies, most of the booklet–13 pages–focuses on the construction of the original railroad from Minnesota to the Puget Sound. Only 3-1/2 pages deal with the history after the Last Spike.

NP October 1957 Timetable

While the Great Northern often put out three timetables a year in the 1950s and 1960s, the Northern Pacific seemed to update theirs just twice a year in May and October. Here is the October update to yesterday’s May 1957 timetable.

Click image to download a 27.9-MB PDF of this 36-page timetable.

I didn’t compare every timetable on every page, but the only major differences I could find were that the westbound North Coast Limited was scheduled to leave Chicago five minutes earlier and the westbound Mainstreeter ten minutes earlier than in the May timetable. The rest of the schedules for those trains were about the same, so something caused the Burlington to change departure times by a few minutes without affecting schedules west of St. Paul.

NP May 1957 Timetable

The vista-dome North Coast Limited was at the height of its glory in 1957, with four domes, the Traveller’s Rest car, and a parabola-tailed observation car as illustrated on the cover of this timetable. We’ve already seen this cover on a 1960 timetable.

Click image to download a 27.5-MB PDF of this 36-page timetable.

This timetable is four pages longer than the 1960 edition. This probably reflects the discontinuance of local trains in Minnesota and North Dakota. I also notice that NP had an overnight train as well as a day train between Portland and Seattle in 1957, but the overnighter had been discontinued by 1960.

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NP Menu with Leslie Ragan Painting

This beautiful menu is very large–11.7″x14″ when folded–and features a painting of the four-domed North Coast Limited commissioned by the Budd Company when it built the domes for the NP. Although it doesn’t look exactly the same as the Gustav Krollman painting (and neither painting looks a lot like the real thing), the location is probably supposed to be near Bozeman Pass between Bozeman and Livingston, Montana.


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

Unfortunately, this particular menu wasn’t used aboard the train. Instead, the menu covers were “furnished by the Northern Pacific” for the 1956 annual banquet of the Northwest Federation of Stamp Clubs, which was held in Yakima, Washington. I’m sure it was good advertising for the railway, but it would be interesting to see how its commissary used all of that space to present meals to the traveling public.

Northern Pacific Map of the United States

Most railroad maps like this have the map on one side and advertising on the other. NP instead printed an 8″x9″ cover and a 17″x31″ map that is folded and glued to the inside of the cover. Since the backs of the map and cover are both blank, they aren’t included in the PDF.

Click image to download a 5.7-MB PDF of this map.

The map, of course, highlights the Northern Pacific route in thick red lines and most other railroads in thin black lines. Curiously, the Spokane, Portland & Seattle is shown in red lines just like the NP routes. However, the Burlington Route is shown in brown lines that aren’t quite as thick as the NP red lines. NP owned 50 percent of the SP&S and 48.6 percent of the CB&Q (with GN owning equal amounts of both), so it is puzzling why the two were treated differently on this map.

Guide to Points of Interest on the Scenic Route

This is the 1956 version of yesterday’s 1952 along-the-way booklet. Some of the photos were updated, partly to show of the North Coast Limited‘s new color scheme, but most of the text is the same.

Click image to download a 16.0-MB PDF of this 24-page booklet.

The number of pages were reduced by 4. To compensate the booklet lost the centerfold map, space for the passenger itinerary, sidebars about Indians, NP locomotives, and Rainier National Park, and an ad from the Association of American Railroads.

Scenic Route Across America

This 1952 booklet is from the collection of Gerald McGinley, who generously scanned it for us. Starting in St. Paul, it describes cities and other major sites on the way to Seattle and Portland, along with the line to Duluth.

Click image to download a 34.1-MB PDF of this 28-page booklet.

Although I call this a 28-page booklet, it numbers each panel with two panels per page so there are 54 numbered panels. This is also one of those booklets that puts the display cover on the back; the front “cover” provides room to list a passenger’s itinerary and tells “how to use this book.”

Timberline Lodge Menu

The front cover of this menu features a photo of Mt. Hood taken from the plaza of Timberline Lodge. It’s a little odd that they didn’t include the impressive-looking lodge itself in the photo, but it is possible that they figured people knew it as a ski lodge but they wanted to advertise it as a summer resort as well.

Click image to download a 1.7-MB PDF of this menu.

Like the Guardians of the Flock menu, this one’s back cover focuses on a different subject than the front cover, in this case, Alaska. This elegant series of menus uses thick, textured paper and the front cover photos are printed separately and glued on. We know this one is from 1942 because someone wrote on the cover that they used it on a trip from Carrington, ND, to Seattle on July 24, 1942.

NP 1941 Yellowstone Park Booklet

Although this pre-war booklet has a nice four-color photo on the cover, all of the interior photos are black-and-white. Despite the lack of color inside (other than some yellow trim), the booklet is a good balance between showing the sights of Yellowstone and conveying an impression of the transportation and lodging facilities people will enjoy during their visits.

Click image to download a 32.0-MB PDF of this 36-page booklet.

One surprise to me is a photo of the Geyser Water Swimming Pool, a natatorium that once stood near Old Faithful but was torn down in 1951. The booklet also pictures sunbathers, apparently near the pool, looking completely unconcerned that Old Faithful is going off in the background with almost no one watching. Of course, today the crowds on warm summer days are overwhelming.

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