Like many railroad maps, the map is on one side while the other side advertises the railroad’s trains. This 1938 map advertises the railroad’s Four Great Routes, but also maps and pictures steamships from New Orleans to New York as well as between Houston and Baltimore, New York, and Boston.
Another photograph shows a train on a high bridge on the West Coast of Mexico route, also known as the Sud Pacifico de Mexico. The text mentions “Southern Pacific’s new resort, Hotel Playa de Cortes, at Guaymas.” Built by SP the year before this map came out (and pictured on this menu cover), the hotel, which still exists today, was designed by Edith Douglas, who just happened to be married to then-SP President Walter Douglas.
The brochure also brags about SP’s recent capital purchases, including 28 cab-forward locomotives, 89-miles worth of freight cars purchased in one year, and new passenger trains including the Daylight, Sunbeam, City of San Francisco, San Francisco Challenger, and Californian. The last train was a Challenger-type economy train that ran on the Golden State Route.