Mt. Rainier Lunch Menu and Curious NP Ads

This North Coast Limited menu doesn’t have a date, but it urges people to “apply now for training as a U.S. Army Aviation Cadet.” This places it before 1947, when the Army Air Corps became the Air Force. Since the menu doesn’t say that it complies with the rules of the Office of Price Administration (which was created in late 1941 and abolished in 1947), the menu must date from before the war. My guess is 1939 or 1940.


Click image to download a 1.2-MB PDF of this menu from the New York Public Library.

Although this menu is not from my collection, the fact that it is from the North Coast Limited allows me to bring up the following curious advertisement for Baldwin locomotives. “Modern Baldwin 4-8-4 type locomotives haul the famous North Coast Limited in high-speed, transcontinental service.” Illustrating the ad is a photograph of the train going over Bozeman Pass in the Montana Rockies.


Click image for a larger view.

The problem with the ad, which appeared in the March 7, 1942 Railway Age, is that the locomotive is not a 4-8-4. It isn’t even a Baldwin locomotive. The number above the headlight plainly says “2233,” and the 4-8-4s were numbered in the 2600s, while the 2233 was a 4-6-2 Pacific and was manufactured by the American Locomotive Company in 1920.


Photo taken by Frank Thompson and used courtesy of Stephen Thompson.

Above is a photo of the Northern Pacific’s first 4-8-4 locomotive (and therefore the first 4-8-4 ever), while below is a photo of a Northern Pacific 4-6-2 (a slightly more advanced model than the one in the Baldwin ad). Both built by Alco, the two locomotives bear a strong family resemblance, with nearly identical pilots, headlamps, number boards, smoke stacks and steam domes.


This photo is also from Stephen Thompson’s collection.

The locomotive in the Baldwin ad shows three drivers instead of four. Moreover, the top of the tender is well below the top of the locomotive cab, while in the 4-8-4s the tender is as tall as the top of the cab. Baldwin didn’t start making 4-8-4s for the NP until 1934, and, as shown below, they were quite different from the one in the ad.


With a larger diameter boiler, white tires, the bell mounted above the headlamp, and a single-level walkway, this 1934 Baldwin-built NP 4-8-4 looks very different from the Alco shown in Baldwin’s ad. Click image for a larger view.

The photograph in the Baldwin ad was clearly used as a model for Gustav Krollmann’s painting of the North Coast Limited climbing Bozeman Pass, which the NP used in a poster as well as in the 1930 ad below. Somebody was smart enough to tell Krollmann to number the locomotive 2604, and there appears to be four drivers underneath the boiler. But the tender is still too short for a Northern Pacific Northern.


Click image for a larger view.

The original photo must have been taken in the early 1920s, as the 2233 was built in 1920, and 4-8-4s began replacing Pacifics in hauling the North Coast Limited in 1926. So who gave a nearly two-decade old photo of an Alco to Baldwin to use in its 1942 advertisement? I suspect the answer to that question is lost to history.


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