SP 1947 System Timetable

This 56-page timetable should be a complete record of Southern Pacific passenger trains in 1947. Fourteen pages cover the Sunset/Golden State routes; the Overland Route requires just five pages; seven pages for the Shasta Route; twelve pages for California routes (including Northwestern Pacific); and one for the West Coast of Mexico. A page for Pacific Electric lines, which SP would own for a few more years, lists the departure times from end terminals on each route.

Click image to download a 46.2-MB PDF of this timetable.

Like so many timetables, the cover shown above is the back cover. The front cover is an ad for a “unique new Pullman service” in which Pullman car passengers connecting in New Orleans between the Piedmont Limited and Sunset Limited westbound and Sunset Limited and Crescent Limited eastbound could leave their beds in their sleeping cars while taking a few hours to explore New Orleans. The westbound trains had just a four-hour layover in the morning, but the eastbound trains allowed passengers to spend nearly seven hours in the evening, giving time to explore the French Quarter and have dinner.

In 1947, Southern and Southern Pacific operated out of different train stations–New Orleans Union Terminal didn’t open until 1954–and didn’t have a through car. Instead, passengers got off one train, trusting the railroads to transfer their bags for them to the other train but into a “a spic and span car, of the same type and with the same number as the one they arrived on.”

The Sunset Limited had an on-again, off-again through car to Washington on what was known as the “Washington-Sunset Route.” According to the Southern Pacific Historical & Technical Society’s out-of-print book, Sunset Limited, such a through car was first offered in 1913, may have disappeared by 1924, was restored in 1946, disappeared in 1949, restored again in 1954, and discontinued again in 1956. This conflicts with what this timetable says, but maybe this transfer service is what counted as a through car in the late 1940s.

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