Western Pacific 1929 Timetable

In 1929, Western Pacific–which was built by Jay Gould’s son, George Gould, as the western link in his Missouri Pacific-Rio Grande-Western Pacific transcontinental route–was no longer financially connected with the Rio Grande or Missouri Pacific, but it was still dependent upon them for much of its business. This timetable shows that WP operated two trains a day between the San Francisco Bay Area and Salt Lake City, the Scenic Limited and Pacific Express. Both continued to St. Louis on the Rio Grande and MP, while some cars from the Scenic Limited went to Chicago on the Burlington Route.

Click image to download a 13.8-MB PDF of this 20-page timetable.

Western Pacific heavily advertised its scenic route through the Feather River Canyon. But unlike the later California Zephyr, WP’s 1929 trains were not timed to see all of the canyon. The trip through the canyon on the eastbound Scenic Limited would be entirely in daylight only near the summer solstice, while the westbound train went through the canyon entirely in darkness. Early risers on the eastbound Pacific Express would see only part of the canyon in daylight, while westbound passengers would see less than half even at the summer solstice and almost none in winter.

This timetable is filled out with schedules for WP’s subsidiary, the Sacramento Northern, which took a different route from Oakland to Sacramento than the WP itself. This electrified railroad operated about a dozen trains a day on a route similar to the current BART line between Oakland and Pittsburg; seven trains a day between Oakland and Sacramento; and more trains on branch lines to Chico, Woodland, and other towns surrounding Sacramento. The timetable also shows five trains a day between Stockton and Modesto on another electrified WP subsidiary, the Tidewater Southern.

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