Aboard the Golden State

The logo for the Golden State was a cluster of oranges, and the SP-RI used this on the drumhead on the back of the train, stationery, menus, and other items. It looks very nice on the on-board stationery, which is creamy white.

Click the image to download a PDF of Golden State stationery. Click here to download an image of a Golden State envelope.

The logo is less distinguished on the menus, where the oranges are just orange blobs with no sense of being spherical. As a whole, this menu from 1955 is far inferior to the Union Pacific or Santa Fe menus, which both featured a variety of pictures on the covers and intimation of sumptuous meals inside. By contrast, the Golden State menu seems perfunctory, like something you might find at a greasy spoon but with a very limited selection.

Click image to download a 1.1-MB PDF of this 1955 dinner menu.

The table d’hote menu had four entrees: poached fillets of pike; a half a fried chicken; roast ribs of beef; and broiled sirloin steak. The a la carte menu included six entrees: sardines; cheese or chicken liver omelette; chicken salad sandwich; eggs & ham; baked beans; and corned beef hash. This seems more like a menu for a coffee shop car than the fine diner.

By contrast, the City of Los Angeles dinner menu for the same time period (which I’ll post soon) offered a table d’hote selection of sirloin steak, tenderloin steak, lamb chops, halibut, or ham. The a la carte side had club steak, ham, ham & eggs, three omelettes, and at least six different sandwiches. The Golden State menu pales by comparison to even the Union Pacific’s cafe car, which offered a New York steak, broiled salmon, chicken a la king, roast beef, and eight different sandwiches including a hamburger.

Click image to download a PDF of this Curt Teich postcard.

This Curt Teich postcard is not railroad issued and thus probably was not given to passengers on board the train. Instead, they could no doubt buy them in various stations along the way. The train on the postcard is plain stainless steel with black roofs and has no baggage car; the windows on all the cars make them appear to be short-distance coaches with two rows of seats per window. Since this is unlikely, and there is no other photographic evidence of the Golden State having black roofs, I would guess that the photo has been heavily altered from a black-and-white original by a graphics artist.


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