Notwithstanding an Interruption in Service

Most of this brochure is dedicated to describing the “radiant beauty” of California, but it opens with a pseudo-telegram promising that “our famous fleet of trains is operating as usual” despite an interruption in service. The yellow color of this brochure is meant to imitate the color of Western Union telegrams, not the deeper yellow of Union Pacific streamliners.

Click image to download a 2.6-MB PDF of this brochure.

The famous fleet of trains described in the brochure includes the Forty Niner, which only operated in 1939 and 1940. Given those dates, the “interruption in service” would have to be the tragic crash of the City of San Francisco that killed 24 people on August 12, 1939 (see video below). While Southern Pacific blamed the crash on sabotage, some believed the real cause was speeding, as the train was late and the engineer had promised to make up time.


Notwithstanding an Interruption in Service — 1 Comment

  1. Very strange brochure. I think you’re right about why it was put out. The SP was closed for five days for cleanup and investigation. During that time, the “City of San Francisco” and the “San Francisco Overland Limited” were both rerouted at Ogden to the UP main line through southern Nevada and on to Los Angeles. SP then picked up the train and got it to San Francisco. You’ll notice there’s never a mention of those two trains in the pseudo-telegram. Seems like a sly way to get agents to reroute customers to UP trains and away from the combined “City” trains

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