Grand Canyon Limited Menu

Santa Fe inaugurated the Grand Canyon Limited in 1929. Though the train received some streamlined cars in 1947, it continued to operate with a mixture of streamlined and heavyweight cars through most of its life. As of 1950, when this menu was used, it was the lowest-ranking of five Chicago-Los Angeles trains, the others being the Super Chief, El Capitan, Chief, and California Limited. Yet, unlike the last two trains, it continued to operate until Amtrak, though it lost its formal name in 1968.

Click image to download a 1.3-MB PDF of this 1950 dinner menu.

The Santa Fe was the only railroad to actually have its rail lines go into a national park, terminating at the railway’s famous El Tovar Hotel, on the rim of the Grand Canyon. But despite the name, the Grand Canyon Limited didn’t go to the Grand Canyon. Instead, along with Santa Fe’s other trains except the Super Chief, it stopped at Williams, Arizona, where passengers could catch a connecting train or motor coach to El Tovar. The connection wasn’t very convenient: in 1950, when this menu was used, the westbound Grand Canyon Limited arrived at Williams at 10:40 pm and the Santa Fe train to the park left at 4:15 am.

The painting on this menu is the same as was on a 1964 menu previously shown here. The Fred Harvey service was probably good, but diners had a choice of just five entrées, all but one of which appear on both the table d’hôte and a la carte menus. A grilled salmon steak was $1.30 a la carte or $2.00 table d’hôte (about $13 to $20 today). A charcoal broiled sirloin steak was $3.00 a la carte or $3.75 d’hôte (about $30 to $36 today).

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