Exposition Flyer Menu

After the Panoramic and the Scenic Limited but before the California Zephyr was the Exposition Flyer, the first through train allowing coach as well as sleeping car passengers to go from the Midwest to California over the Rio Grande route. Like the Scenic Limited, the Exposition Flyer used the Western Pacific from Salt Lake City to Oakland, but unlike the Scenic Limited, which went over the Missouri Pacific to St. Louis, the Exposition Flyer used the Burlington to Chicago.


Click image to download a 348-KB PDF of this menu, which is from the California Zephyr Virtual Museum.

As the name suggests, the Exposition Flyer began operating in 1939 to take passengers to the Golden Gate International Exposition, which took place on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. However, the train was so successful that the three railroads continued operating it until 1949, when they replaced it with the even more successful California Zephyr.


The Exposition Flyer on Western Pacific’s Keddie Wye. While a couple of cars appear to be streamlined, they are in fact rebuilt heavyweights. Click image for a larger view.

Initially, the train was entirely heavyweight and pulled by steam locomotives. But after the war, Diesels replaced steam, and as the railroads took delivery of California Zephyr streamlined cars, they substituted them for worn-out heavyweight cars. The Exposition Flyer was timed to see the scenery through the Rocky Mountains, but only westbound trains went through the Feather River Canyon in daylight. The CZ was nine hours faster and so could be scheduled to see the sights in both directions.


The cars are still heavyweights, but Rio Grande has replaced steam with Diesels in this post-war photo.

The above menu is undated, but is almost certainly from after the war as it would not otherwise urge people to “see some, if not all, of the Old West.” It still retains a notice that the prices comply with Office of Price Administration controls, which ended in early 1947, so the menu is probably from 1946 or 1947.


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