Shasta Daylight

On July 10, 1949, the Southern Pacific inaugurated the Shasta Daylight, which covered the 714 miles between Portland and Oakland in 15-1/2 mostly daylight hours. The train featured extra-large “skyview” windows to allow passengers to get better looks at the awesome mountain scenery, which was mostly between Eugene, Oregon and Redding, California.

This photo shows the extra-large windows–taller than on any other Silver-Age train–on the Shasta Daylight as it passes its namesake mountain. Click image for a larger view; click here to download a PDF of the front and back of this postcard.

The early advertising for the train pictured 2,000-HP Alco PA locomotives, which was the American Locomotive Company’s answer to the General Motors E series. Like the Es, the PAs had six-wheel trucks, only four of which were powered. Unlike the Es, which were powered by two V-12 Diesels, the PAs had only one V-16 Diesel. In this respect, the PA was similar to the Fairbanks-Morse Erie-built locomotives.

Click image to download an 8.6-MB PDF of this 20-page brochure.

Although the Southern Pacific bought more PAs than any other railroads, most actual photographs of the Shasta Daylight show it being pulled by E7s or other General Motors E units. In the photo below, the train is passing Odell Lake in the Oregon Cascade Mountains, which is no doubt the inspiration for the lake in the painting on the cover of the Shasta Daylight brochure.


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