Merry Christmas from the Railroads

Only a few railroads took the opportunity to advertise around Christmas. Given limited advertising budgets, most aimed for the summer tourist season instead. But the New York Central, Pennsylvania, Pullman, and Union Pacific all did some creative Christmas-themed ads, and a few other roads ran an ad or two with Christmas or at least winter in mind. Click any image for a larger view.

This 1898 ad from the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern–a part of the New York Central empire–is the oldest Christmas ad I can find by a railroad. Compared to later ads it offers a nice soft sell.

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Canada by Canadian Pacific

Canada is a big country, and over the years the Canadian Pacific issued many brochures making the case that the best way to see the country was from a Canadian Pacific train. This one dates from 1959 and features a cover illustration of a family enjoying the view from a dome car.

Click image to download a 7.8-MB PDF of this 16-page brochure.

The last three pages of the brochure reprint Hedley Rainnee’s illustration’s of Canadian interiors, but the cover illustration appears to be by a different artist. The cover isn’t signed, but the centerfold has a nice illustration of the Canadian that is signed by Stan Galli.

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Writing from the Canadian

As seen on the Canadian‘s menu and other materials, the Canadian Pacific originally tried to associate an Old English font with the Canadian. This font was used, among other places, on the train’s on-board stationery. However, it wasn’t really appropriate with the streamlined train.

Click image to download a PDF of an envelope using this font.

In 1963, the railway introduced a new script font, which it painted on its locomotives and used on its on-board stationery. While more streamlined, the uniform thickness of the strokes is a bit boring. Also note that the on-board stationery is now generic, saying “Canadian Pacific” instead of just “The Canadian,” so it could be used on the Dominion or any other CP passenger train.

Click image to download a PDF of a letterhead using this font. Click here to download a PDF of a matching envelope.

The Canadian Brochure

This brochure isn’t dated, but it is more recent than the previous one, which was issued before the train was inaugurated. The Nicholas Morant photo of the train on Stoney Creek Bridge dates this one from after the inauguration. Probably not long after, however, as the brochure contains no other photos, just the same Hedley Rainnie illustrations as in the previous one (less the picture of the train with two Skyline domes).

Click image to download a 3.3-MB PDF of this brochure.

Most of the Rainnie illustrations are about 4.75″x3.5″ in the previous brochure and 3.5″x2.125″ in this smaller version. A sale of some of Rainnie’s original illustrations, shown below, indicates that they were done on 25″x19.75″ boards.

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Dining Aboard the Canadian

Pre-Canadian Canadian Pacific menus tended to have pictures of mounties, mountains, or Canadian Pacific hotels. But for the Canadian, the railroad used this grand painting of the train on Morant’s curve. The painting was done by Chesley Bonestell, who–shades of George Kauffman–was most famous for his outer space art. Canadian Pacific used Bonestell’s illustration in many other places, including magazine ads and on the covers of steamship and hotel menus.

Click image to download a 3.2-MB PDF of this menu.

The 1958 menu itself has an a la carte and a table d’hôte side. A la carte entrées include curried chicken, roast beef, roast lamb, broiled sirloin steak, and calf’s liver. The table d’hôte side includes all of these entrées plus “fresh fish.” The table d’hôte items cost $1.50 more than the a la carte entrées (about $12 in today’s money), for which you get an appetizer, soup, salad, vegetable, bread, beverage, and dessert.

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Postcards from the Canadian

The sight of a stainless steel train enhanced the already incredible scenery of the Canadian Rockies. These postcards were not issued by the Canadian Pacific, but many passengers no doubt purchased them in stations and nearby souvenir shops. (Click any image to download a PDF of the postcard.)

Here is the Dominion shortly before introduction of the stainless steel equipment. The photo shows Diesels leading streamlined coaches and heavyweight sleepers along the Bow River.

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CPR Posters: Heavyweight to Domeliner

The Canadian Pacific liked to bill itself as the world’s greatest travel system as it had, besides the railroads, hotels, steamships, and, for a few years, an airline. It advertised all of these with numerous travel posters. Click any image for a larger view.

The Trans-Canada Limited was an all-Pullman train, summer-only train that operated between 1919 and 1931. Some of its elegant cars have been fully restored and are displayed at the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel in Cranbrook, BC. This 1924 poster is by George Y. Kauffman (1868-1940), an American artist who also did magazine covers and even speculative science illustrations.

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The Canadian Introduces Domes to Canada

Canada was late to the streamliner revolution. Canadian National was still using steam locomotives to pull its premiere heavyweight trains as late as 1954. Canadian Pacific had at least Dieselized its trains, but continued to use a mix of heavyweight and streamlined cars in Tuscan red paint for its premiere train, the Dominion.

Click to download a 6.8-MB PDF of this brochure introducing the Canadian.

That changed on April 24, 1955, when Canadian Pacific introduced the Canadian, a (mostly) Budd-built stainless steel train with two dome cars. The new train traveled from Montreal and Toronto to Vancouver about 16 hours faster than the Dominion, which CPR kept on its old schedule to serve small towns where the Canadian would not stop. Even on the faster timetable, the Canadian averaged only about 40 mph.

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Postcards from a Domeliner

Since Union Pacific domeliners only had two or three domes per train, most of the passengers would be elsewhere. Here are some postcards the UP used to advertise the coaches and sleeping cars on its domeliners. Click any image to download a PDF of the front and back of the postcard.

This little girl is intently reading a booklet about the Union Pacific while her mother gazes out the window at another Union Pacific train.

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City of Los Angeles Dinner Menu

This 1955 dinner menu features Olvera Street, a Mexican-style marketplace that still operates today in Los Angeles, on the front cover. Like a previous lunch menu, the inside of this menu appears to have been edited in preparation for another printing, although the edits are fairly minor.

Click image to download a 2.0-MB PDF of this dinner menu.

Unlike the City of Portland dinner menus, this one includes both an a la carte and a table d’hôte section. The City of Portland had a cafe car with “moderately priced meals for coach passengers,” while the all-Pullman City of Los Angeles did not, at least not until the Union Pacific combined it with the Challenger train in the late 1950s.