Northern Pacific Ticket Envelope

A printer’s mark dates this envelope to November, 1961. Inside reveals that a Mrs. A. W. Baker is leaving Portland on Tuesday, June 15, to go to Helena. The only year between 1961 and 1970 in which June 15 fell on a Tuesday was 1965, so that’s when the envelope was used.

Click image to download a PDF of this postcard. Click here for an OCR version.

Curiously, the passenger is routed from Portland to Helena via Seattle. That seems strange since the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway had excellent connections with the North Coast Limited in Pasco, Washington. The answer comes from a little stamp by the ticket price: Mrs. Baker is getting the employee rate, but employees couldn’t use that rate on the North Coast Limited. Instead, she is taking the Mainstreeter, NP’s secondary transcontinental, which did accept the employee rate. Passengers could take an SP&S train to meet the Mainstreeter in Pasco if they were willing to sit in the station between trains from 2 am to 4:35 am; to Mrs. Baker, at least, making the trip via Seattle must have seemed a lot more attractive.

Nixon’s caption for this photo is “NP Train No. 25 with Vista Domes and coach passing under signal bridge at DeSmet, MT.” De Smet was a siding just west of Missoula. This digital photo must be cropped as the image on the ticket envelope covers a slightly larger area, yet they are undoubtedly from the same negative.

The photo of the North Coast Limited on the cover of this envelope was taken by >a href=””>Ron Nixon, a Northern Pacific dispatcher who took thousands of photographs of trains in the Northwest between 1916 and 1989. This particular photo was apparently taken on May 26, 1956 outside of Missoula.

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