In 1983, Amtrak President Graham Claytor called the president of the Rio Grande and offered to take over passenger service, replacing the tri-weekly Rio Grande Zephyr with Amtrak’s daily Chicago-Oakland San Francisco Zephyr (which Amtrak renamed the California Zephyr once it was rerouted onto Rio Grande’s tracks). The last run of the Rio Grande Zephyr took place on April 24, 1983.
Tickets on the last run of the train sold out quickly, but I managed to secure tickets on the second-to-last run. While on board, I asked as many crew members as I could find to autograph the menu.
As it turned out, I was able to ride the last run of the train anyway. The local chapter of the National Railway Historical Society distributed this souvenir program. I started collecting rail memorabilia to document the Silver Age after this trip.
The Rio Grande Zephyr in Glenwood Canyon a few days before the last run in 1983. A close look reveals all six Rio Grande dome cars are in use, and the coach behind the baggage-combine is Silver Aspen. Click image for a larger view.