40 Ways to California and the North Coast

This 1937 booklet at first looks like a summary of the Summer Tours booklet for that year (which I’ll be posting in a couple of months). But this booklet doesn’t cover escorted tours; it merely shows alternative routings between Chicago and the West Coast. All of the alternatives, of course, use the C&NW between Chicago and either Omaha or the Twin Cities in one if not both directions.

Click image to download a 15.7-MB PDF of this 52-page booklet.

Also unlike the Summer Tours booklets, this one isn’t accompanied by beautiful color photos of national parks and other scenery. Instead, the only graphics are crude maps showing the alternative routings. Some of the alternatives have their own alternatives, which can get pretty complicated as in the example below.

The most useful part of the book is the list of fares and sleeping car rates for the various tours. Whether the destination was Los Angeles, Portland, or San Francisco, and no matter what the route, the round-trip coach fare was often $57.35 (about $1,000 today) while first-class fare was $86 (about $1,500 today) plus the Pullman charge, which was around $31.50 (more than $500 today) round-trip for a lower berth. While those costs are high, the flexibility is pretty amazing and also hints at collusion in the pricing of passenger fares since the same fares applied no matter what railroad was used.


40 Ways to California and the North Coast — 3 Comments

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