The End of the Silver Age

Union Pacific handed out this eight-page “souvenir album” to passengers on the last runs of its daily trains before Amtrak took over, April 30, 1971. A letter from UP CEO J.C. Kenefick offers a “reluctant goodbye to that small but loyal group of passengers whose support we have enjoyed.” Inside are 36 photos of trains and the celebrities who rode them, ranging from “Der Bingle” (Bing Crosby) to “Mr. President” (Herbert Hoover).

Click image to download a 6.6-MB PDF of this souvenir album.

Page 7 lists the ten Union Pacific daily trains that survived to Amtrak: City of Los Angeles/Challenger, City of San Francisco, City of Kansas City, City of Portland, City of Denver, Portland Rose, Butte Special, and trains 457-458 (Portland-Seattle), 117-118 (Denver-Kansas City connection to Portland Rose), and 19-20 (Hinkle-Spokane). Amtrak elected to discontinue all of these trains except the Portland-Seattle train, which operated on Burlington Northern tracks, thus relieving UP of the burden of Amtrak trains for several years.

For travelers in a few part of the United States, the Silver Age of passenger trains continued for a few more years. Six railroads, including the Rio Grande, Rock Island, and Southern, elected not to join Amtrak and continued operating passenger trains for up to a dozen more years. I’ll post some memorabilia from a few of these trains soon.

The “City of Everywhere” leaves Chicago on its last run on April 30, 1971. Click image for a slightly larger view.

Although this booklet is 8-1/2″x11″, only the back cover is actually that size. The other pages are 7-1/2″x11″, and the pages are folded so that the bottom inch of page 7–the part that says “Last Train” and lists the above ten trains–is visible no matter what pages are opened.

I thought about using this as the last post on this blog, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to predict when I’ll make that last post as I keep finding new things in my collection as well as adding to it. So instead I’ll post it now as an eventual lead-in to other late-Silver Age memorabilia.

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