Voyages et Plein air
Great Trains West

Great Trains West

Great Trains West

Explore the most popular passenger trains of railroading’s iconic region: the West. This special collectors edition brings you these colorful trains that roamed the land west of Chicago, St. Louis, and New Orleans during railroading’s classic era. Features stories and photos that haven't been published in 50 years about: • Santa Fe's Super Chief. • Southern Pacific's Daylight. • San Francisco California Zephyr. • And much more!

United States
Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines
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1 min.
routes of the great trains

This map shows the routes of the 18 passenger trains covered in the 12 feature articles in this publication. Most are “transcontinental” trains between Chicago (or, in one case, New Orleans) and the West Coast. Two are Chicago–Colorado trains. Five are regional trains in California, Oregon, and Washington. Trains that share a route for most or all of their runs are shown in the same color. Not shown for reasons of clarity are the routes covered in the two-page “Great Trains in Photos” series distributed throughout the issue.…

1 min.
go west!

Ours is an east-to-west continent. Ever since European settlers began landing along the Atlantic Seaboard, we in North America have looked westward for opportunity and adventure. As settlement progressed, the definition of “The West” changed, encompassing in turn the Appalachian mountain chain, the Ohio and Mississippi valleys, the Great Plains, and the spectacular lands beyond. Still, the majority of the population remained in the East, and for those millions the West was exotic, romantic, alluring. The railroads played a major role in redefining the West as their tracks pushed across the continent. Well before 1900, several main lines had been completed to the Pacific Ocean, and lines connecting the coastal cities had been established. Over these lines ran a breathtaking variety of fine passenger trains, carrying people to and through a…

13 min.
yellow trains to colorado and the coast

Union Pacific, with its endless miles of opencountry running, was a logical birthplace for the streamliner. On May 23, 1933, W. Averell Harriman, chairman of the UP board, said, “The executive officers of the Union Pacific several months ago reached the conclusion that to save and restore passenger business to the rails would necessitate the development of a radically different type of passenger equipment.” It seems strange today, when railroads are carrying their largest passenger business ever, that less than 10 years ago a carrier would commit to “save and restore passenger business to the rails.” The train rider of wartime 1942 has all but forgotten the slow, non-air-conditioned, and relatively uncomfortable trains of the early ’30s, so great has been progress over the past decade. Looking back, however, we find…

18 min.
to los angeles on the sunset

“The Southern Pacific ruined a time-honored joke when it speeded up the Sunset Limited,” a rancher in San Antonio said to me. “How come?” I asked. “For many years that train took its own good time ambling along from San Antonio to El Paso,” was the reply. “Naturally, some folks used to complain. When they did, someone would always ask, ‘Why don’t you walk?’ The standard reply was ‘I would, but the folks at El Paso don’t expect me until train time.’” Southern Pacific has by now definitely killed that alleged joke, and folks along the Sunset’s route certainly have no cause for complaint. The new Sunset Limited covers the 2,004 miles between New Orleans and Los Angeles in just 5 minutes less than 48 hours, at an average speed of 41.8 mph.…

21 min.
train of two countries

Today we’re going on a 2,200-mile trip to see the Canadian Rockies and our neighbors to the north. We’ll take that popular international train the Mountaineer, running from Vancouver to Chicago. On this train we’ll observe the most spectacular mountains in North America and meet some of the nicest people — democratic folk without pretense or show, yet friendly and talkative. And the Mountaineer itself? It’s a train primarily for vacationers, for passengers who want to enjoy the scenery, to relax and chat. So much for the introduction; now let’s get down to business, down to track 2 in Canadian Pacific’s spacious Vancouver station, where train No. 14, the Mountaineer, is ready to leave. It so happens the date is July 2, which directly follows Canada’s Dominion Day and precedes our Independence…

1 min.
mainstreeter and western star

N. MacDonald; left, A. Johnston…