Burlington Northern April, 1970 Timetable

The merger of the Great Northern, Northern Pacific, and their subsidiaries led to this combined timetable that filled 28 pages. The BN operated 13 named trains five unnamed trains, and an RDC. The Denver Zephyr, Empire Builder, North Coast Limited, Western Star, and Mainstreeter were as elegant as they had been in the 1960s (which, in the Mainstreeter‘s case, wasn’t very elegant). The eastbound Morning Zephyr and westbound Afternoon Zephyr were combined with the Empire Builder and North Coast Limited to create perhaps the most dome-laden trains in history.

Click image to download a 17.3-MB PDF of this timetable.

The California Zephyr was in transition with an across-the-platform transfer to a Southern Pacific train at Ogden. The Kansas City Zephyr was no longer on the timetable, while the Ak-Sar-Ben and American Royal remained but were no longer distinguished by the “zephyr” suffix. BN trains to Kansas City no longer even went to the city’s magnificent Union Station, instead terminating at Burlington yards in North Kansas City.

The ex-GN Gopher and Badger continued to serve the St. Paul-Superior corridor (with a bus between Superior and Duluth) after Soo Line and former NP trains dropped out. The Seattle-Vancouver International service was down to one train a day from the original three.

Seattle-Portland still had three trains a day, one of which was operated by Union Pacific in pool service with BN’s two. Two other unnamed trains were coach-only shadows of a former zephyr or limited train. A train to Winnipeg that connected with the Western Star at Grand Forks was all that was left of the Winnipeg Limited. A Chicago-Quincy train was all that was left of the Kansas City Zephyr. Great Falls, once the grand terminus of the Great Northern Railway before it finished its line to Seattle, was served by an RDC from Havre.

Congress wouldn’t pass Railpax legislation until six months after this timetable was published. But I get the feeling that BN officials were simply biding their time until the federal government would either take over the trains or allow them to discontinue them. If the latter had happened, the Denver Zephyr and/or California Zephyr, Empire Builder, and North Coast Limited might have survived for a little while, but that’s about it. As it was, Amtrak discontinued almost everything else–including the North Coast Limited–anyway.

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