Dale Hastin of Denver, Colorado collects rail memorabilia and especially blotters. She offered to let me post items from her collection of blotters, so during a recent visit to Colorado I scanned many of the blotters that related to passenger service or were particularly colorful–around 325 in all.
Here, from her collection, are three psychedelically colored blotters issued by the Rio Grande Railroad in the mid-1930s. The first blotter mentions air conditioning, which means they are later than 1931, and the Scenic Limited and Panoramic, which means they are from before 1939 when the Exposition Flyer replaced the Panoramic. Although the Panoramic operated before 1931, it didn’t run from late 1931 through 1934, so the blotter must be from 1934 through 1938.
The second blotter offers fewer clues about its age other than the fact that it is the same colors as the first. I’m pretty sure the slogan “Through the Rockies, Not Around Them” dates from the 1934 opening of the Dotsero cutoff, which allowed the Rio Grande to go through the Moffat Tunnel.
The Rock Island Railroad was known for its Rocket streamliners, but this blotter advertises the Rio Grande’s Rocket freight train. This was supposed to be a “Colorado merchants overnight freight,” but the blotter gives no clue about what cities the train connected.