NP Seattle World’s Fair Menu

The Seattle World’s Fair greatly boosted the passenger traffic on Northwest railroads, and Northern Pacific celebrated with this colorful menu. Although this particular menu is dated July, 1962, the cover image was an artist’s impression made before the fair began.


Click image to download a 1.8-MB PDF of this menu.

The menu itself has four table d’hôte meals (unspecified fish, turkey, ham, 16-ounce sirloin steak), a plate dinner fish or meat loaf), and a Century 21 Black Bing Cherry Salad. The extensive a la carte side include fresh fish, oyster stew, lamb chops, sirloin steak, and many other entrées. At $5.50, the steak dinner is the most expensive thing on the menu; multiplying prices by 8 to get today’s dollars makes the steak $44. I hope it was good.

NP 1961 Ticket Envelope

This ticket envelope was printed in November, 1961. It was used by a Portlander named Paul Munsell who took the North Coast Limited to Chicago, then an Illinois Central train to Rantoul, Illinois. For some reason, on the return trip, he took the North Coast Limited to East Auburn, Washington, and then a Seattle-Portland train to Portland.

Click image to download a 877-KB PDF of this ticket envelope.

An itinerary on the inside of the envelope lists the month and day of the trip but not the year. The itinerary has the North Coast Limited departing Portland at 3 pm, which is the time in all of my post-1961 timetables, and arriving in Chicago at 2:55 pm, which is the time in none of my post-1961 timetables, all of which have the train arriving no later than 2 pm. So this may have been from later than 1966 (my most recent timetable), or it could have been an error by the ticket agent.

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NP October 1960 Timetable

Northern Pacific’s May, 1960 timetable had the same cover, featuring the North Coast Limited‘s observation car, that had been used on NP timetable covers since at least May, 1957. But the October timetable shown here features instead the dome car in an image that simultaneously shows what its like to be inside the dome and a wide view of the scenery outside.

Click image to download a 22.9-MB PDF of this timetable.

This image of the dome car was also used on NP’s Your Northwest Adventure booklet, though there it was in four colors while the timetable uses only three, giving it a washed-out look. Although the North Coast Limited retained its observation cars for several more years, the focus on the dome in this cover image shows that the domes have become the preferred location for most passengers.

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Interesting Highlights

This one-page brochure provides very brief town-by-town descriptions of the route of the vista-dome North Coast Limited. A couple of years later, NP would publish a much-more beautiful full-color booklet of Scenic Highlights, but that too just contained brief descriptions of the towns, while the rest was really advertising.

Click image to download a 1.9-MB PDF of this brochure.

This is a far cry from 2000 Miles of Scenic Beauty, the along-the-way booklet published by the NP in the 1920s. Perhaps the railway thought it was just as well for the scenery speak for itself.

1958 NP History Booklet

This history booklet isn’t dated, but the last referenced date is to “early in 1958,” when the railway finished Dieselizing. So I suspect it was published in 1958 or possibly 1959.

Click image to download a 5.7-MB PDF of this 20-page booklet.

Typically for railroad autobiographies, most of the booklet–13 pages–focuses on the construction of the original railroad from Minnesota to the Puget Sound. Only 3-1/2 pages deal with the history after the Last Spike.

NP October 1957 Timetable

While the Great Northern often put out three timetables a year in the 1950s and 1960s, the Northern Pacific seemed to update theirs just twice a year in May and October. Here is the October update to yesterday’s May 1957 timetable.

Click image to download a 27.9-MB PDF of this 36-page timetable.

I didn’t compare every timetable on every page, but the only major differences I could find were that the westbound North Coast Limited was scheduled to leave Chicago five minutes earlier and the westbound Mainstreeter ten minutes earlier than in the May timetable. The rest of the schedules for those trains were about the same, so something caused the Burlington to change departure times by a few minutes without affecting schedules west of St. Paul.

NP May 1957 Timetable

The vista-dome North Coast Limited was at the height of its glory in 1957, with four domes, the Traveller’s Rest car, and a parabola-tailed observation car as illustrated on the cover of this timetable. We’ve already seen this cover on a 1960 timetable.

Click image to download a 27.5-MB PDF of this 36-page timetable.

This timetable is four pages longer than the 1960 edition. This probably reflects the discontinuance of local trains in Minnesota and North Dakota. I also notice that NP had an overnight train as well as a day train between Portland and Seattle in 1957, but the overnighter had been discontinued by 1960.

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NP Menu with Leslie Ragan Painting

This beautiful menu is very large–11.7″x14″ when folded–and features a painting of the four-domed North Coast Limited commissioned by the Budd Company when it built the domes for the NP. Although it doesn’t look exactly the same as the Gustav Krollman painting (and neither painting looks a lot like the real thing), the location is probably supposed to be near Bozeman Pass between Bozeman and Livingston, Montana.


Click image to download a 1.4-MB PDF of this menu.

Unfortunately, this particular menu wasn’t used aboard the train. Instead, the menu covers were “furnished by the Northern Pacific” for the 1956 annual banquet of the Northwest Federation of Stamp Clubs, which was held in Yakima, Washington. I’m sure it was good advertising for the railway, but it would be interesting to see how its commissary used all of that space to present meals to the traveling public.

Northern Pacific Map of the United States

Most railroad maps like this have the map on one side and advertising on the other. NP instead printed an 8″x9″ cover and a 17″x31″ map that is folded and glued to the inside of the cover. Since the backs of the map and cover are both blank, they aren’t included in the PDF.

Click image to download a 5.7-MB PDF of this map.

The map, of course, highlights the Northern Pacific route in thick red lines and most other railroads in thin black lines. Curiously, the Spokane, Portland & Seattle is shown in red lines just like the NP routes. However, the Burlington Route is shown in brown lines that aren’t quite as thick as the NP red lines. NP owned 50 percent of the SP&S and 48.6 percent of the CB&Q (with GN owning equal amounts of both), so it is puzzling why the two were treated differently on this map.

Guide to Points of Interest on the Scenic Route

This is the 1956 version of yesterday’s 1952 along-the-way booklet. Some of the photos were updated, partly to show of the North Coast Limited‘s new color scheme, but most of the text is the same.

Click image to download a 16.0-MB PDF of this 24-page booklet.

The number of pages were reduced by 4. To compensate the booklet lost the centerfold map, space for the passenger itinerary, sidebars about Indians, NP locomotives, and Rainier National Park, and an ad from the Association of American Railroads.