A date on a map is not always a reliable indicator of when a brochure was issued, but since we have another one with a map dated 1916, this one could not have been issued after 1915. The lithographs in the two brochures are identical (with some color variation) and the text is nearly identical. The only differences I can find, other than the date, are that Western Pacific’s San Francisco passenger agent has changed and the map’s addition of the 16.7-mile branch to La Madera, New Mexico.
This postcard folder was issued before the Denver & Rio Grande became the Denver & Rio Grande Western, which means before 1920. It is probably from before 1909, when the Western Pacific (which was financed by the Rio Grande) was completed, as the two railroads did joint advertising after that.
The folder contains 22 color lithographs that actually reproduce the colors of Colorado gorges and mountains pretty successfully. As usual with postcard folders, I present it in three pages as the front unfolds in such a way that either the cover or one of the postcards is obscured.
This booklet is missing its cover and I usually don’t post items that are less than complete. But the Colorado Midland is a special railroad that deserves a little attention. While the Denver and Rio Grande headed across the Rock Mountains out of Pueblo, Colorado, and the Denver & Salt Lake went west out of Denver, the Colorado Midland went from Colorado City, now known as Colorado Springs. As the highest-elevation standard gauge railroad in the world, it was highly scenic, but faced huge operational problems that put it out of business before 1920.
The Colorado Midland completed construction all the way to Grand Junction, where it met the Rio Grande Western line to Salt Lake. Though the latter railroad was allied with the Denver & Rio Grande, they didn’t always operate in concert, so the the RGW was happy to accept westbound traffic from and share some of its eastbound traffic with the Colorado Midland. Continue reading
By 1968, the railroads operating the California Zephyr had changed the Vista-Dome Views booklet into a brochure. This might have made it less expensive to print, but it probably made it harder to use as it unfolded to an unwieldy 16″x18″.
The text hasn’t changed much. The photography guide in the 1955 booklet, however, was replaced by a timetable, which is handy in a way and probably should have been included in earlier editions to save the cost of printing separate timetables. Printing brown ink on lighter-brown paper, however, is always a bad idea.
Here’s the 1965 edition of yesterday’s timetable. Except for the cover date, six of the eight pages in the two timetables are identical in almost every respect. The page listing Western Pacific agents is different as some of the agent names and addresses have changed.
The biggest change, however, is the full-page ad for WP freight services on page 6. Neither ad is very effective. The 1964 ad tries to say that, because WP is smaller than it’s competitors, it tries harder to save customers’ money–but the headline phrase, “distribution savings,” doesn’t say it very well. The 1965 ad says that Western Pacific was “first among railroads to adopt a Marketing concept” without ever saying what that concept was. Whatever it was, no one likes to think they are being manipulated by a marketing concept.
Of the three railroads that shared the California Zephyr, Western Pacific was the only one that, after 1960, published a timetable exclusively for that train. This was for the very good reason that, while both Burlington and Rio Grande operated many other passenger trains, the CZ was WP’s only passenger train after the Zephyrette was cancelled in October, 1960Since this timetable is from after 1960, the Zephyrette doesn’t appear.
Although the timetable itself comfortably fits on one page, Western Pacific managed to fill eight pages, the same as the 1959 timetable that included the Zephyrette. A large map covers one-and-a-half pages, and ads for WP freight trains occupy a similar area. Two full pages of color photos of the “most talked about train in America” are spread across the front and back covers. One more page is “general information” and finally there is a page listing Western Pacific agents across the country–again, mainly for freight.
Western Pacific didn’t have a lot of branch lines, and didn’t run passenger trains on any of them after World War II. So it’s main train before 1949 was the Exposition Flyer and after 1949 the California Zephyr. But it also purchased a couple of Budd RDCs that it ran three days a week on the route of the California Zephyr, mainly for the benefit of employees.
The Zephyrette, as the RDCs were called, ran for about ten years from September 15, 1950 to October 2, 1960. This timetable devotes a whole page to the Chicago-San Francisco schedule of the California Zephyr, but also has a half-page timetable showing the CZ and Zephyrette between Oakland and Salt Lake City. In addition to having many more flagstops, the Zephyrette was timed to serve many communities in daylight that the CZ reached only at night.
We’ve previously seen a 1949 edition of the California Zephyr‘s along-the-way booklet. The basic site-by-site text is the same with the addition of scheduled times, both eastbound and westbound, at each of the cities or sites.
The 1955 booklet manages to fit the same guide in about two-thirds of the space (16 half pages instead of 12 full pages), mainly by using fewer and smaller graphics. The 1955 booklet also manages to squeeze in a guide to taking photos from the dome cars, including a recommendation that those shooting color photos use a CC30-R filter plus a no. 85 daylight filter for those shooting Kodachrome. Such filters are still available today, but the same results can be obtained using Photoshop.
While most name-train booklets are aimed at attracting passengers, this one is aimed at selling passenger cars. The booklet provides details about the fine points of such things as Budd’s disc brakes, which weighed 1,000 pounds less per car than regular clasp brakes and could stop a 160-ton car going 100 miles per hour in 2,500 feet.
Having won the case against the Pullman monopoly, Budd could now compete in the market for sleeping cars and this booklet makes much of the fact that each California Zephyr train set had five sleepers in three different configurations. Three of the cars were 10-and-6s, meaning ten roomettes and six double bedrooms, a configuration made popular by Budd.
In 1949, Budd once again proved itself the most innovating passenger railcar manufacturer with the introduction of the Rail Diesel Car. RDCs were updated versions of the motorcars made early in the century, but after World War II, no other manufacturers were offering such vehicles.
Aside from stainless steel, the RDC had numerous technological advances over the early motorcars. These included Diesel power, a torque converter transmission, disc brakes, and anti-wheel slip protection. Continue reading