For most of its life, the City of Los Angeles included both coaches and sleeping cars. For a brief time in the mid-1950s, however, the Union Pacific tried to compete with the Super Chief by making the COLA an all-Pullman train, while the streamlined Challenger provided the coach service. In 1956, however, the railroad merged the two trains during the winter season (as Santa Fe would do with the Super Chief and El Capitan in 1958), and in 1958 the two were merged year round.
Click to download a 2.0-MB PDF of this menu.
This 1959 lunch menu was used in the coffee shop car of the merged trains–a car that would have been on the Challenger but not the City of Los Angeles before the two were merged. The menu includes three table d’hôte selections: fried shrimp; veal cutlet; and chicken a la king, for $1.60 each (around $14 in today’s money). Also on the menu are nine sandwiches, four salads, ice cream sundaes, milk shakes, a variety of alcoholic beverages, and numerous other items, which is pretty amazing considering the tiny kitchens in these coffee shop cars.