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Santa Fe’s Streamliner SAN FRANCISCO CHIEF

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The Santa Fe felt it needed its own streamliner serving the Bay Area and launched the San Francisco Chief in June 1954. The new express train joined Santa Fe’s other legacy trains: the Chief, Super Chief, and El Capitan. The San Franciso Chief offered First Class Pullman Sleeping Car and Chair Car accommodations. San Joaquin Valley cities such as Stockton, ... Read More »

PRIVATE TRAIN CARS: A look inside!

President Donald Trump’s “Mar-a-Lago” may be the closest proximity you might have to the illustrious society history of Post Cereals Heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post unless you charter her former private railway car. Originally christened Hussar, the car was built in 1922 for Post and her husband E.F. Hutton. The car was used for company business and personal travel. The famous ... Read More »

Glory Days of Pullman Passenger Trains in Mexico

This is the first in a series of blogs on the Mexican railway service. These are scenes of Buena Vista Terminal in Mexico City and school children visiting on a morning sometime in the early 1970s. Buena Vista was built in 1961, replacing the older terminal. It was vast and modern. When I could, in the early 1970s, I traveled ... Read More »

California’s famous all-Pullman SP streamliner LARK served San Francisco and Los Angeles

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Southern Pacific’s deluxe streamliner Lark was the premiere overnight passenger between San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland and Los Angeles. A favorite of businessmen and movie stars. The Lark rivaled such famed overnight all-Pullman trains as the 20th Century Limited, Broadway Limited, Capital Limited and Panama Limited. Premiering on March 2, 1941, the Lark was a streamlined train with cars in ... Read More »

Remembering the Pullman Porters

Benjamin Gaines, 93, worked as a Pullman porter from 1945 to 1954. “The porters, believe it or not, we had a celebrity status,” he said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. (Cover Photo: CW: Janet Leigh, star of Hitchcock’s PSYCHO boarding the Super Chief in fashion layout; Porter during the 1960s looking out at the Kansas prairie: Pullman Porter’s ... Read More »

In the 1950s SUDDEN FEAR film star Joan Crawford heads to San Francisco on the famed California Zephyr.

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The streamliner California Zephyr was featured in Columbia Pictures 1952 thriller SUDDEN FEAR starring Joan Crawford and Jack Palance. Included were exterior and interior scenes aboard the train. Grand Central Station and the Oakland Mole were highlighted where Crawford respectively boards and disembarks to head across the bay to San Francisco by ferry boat. After playwright and wealthy heiress, Myra ... Read More »

Chicago’s streamlines ELECTROLINER – 90 MPH north to Milwaukee

The North Shore Line’s Electroliners streamline interurban trains operated from the 1940s into the early 1960s. For most street railway and interurban lines the coming of the automobile put an end to an industry that was just a few decades old.  The 1920s and the Great Depression later that decade bankrupted and shutdown many intermediate lines while the strongest companies ... Read More »

RED CARPET treatment started with the 20TH CENTURY LIMITED

20th Century Limited, New York Central, Red Carpet, Marshall Field, Bing Crosby,  Robert R. McCormick, Bob Hope, Bette Davis,  Doris Day, Wrigleys, Henry Dreyfuss Art Deco, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Beatrice Lilly, Carole Lombard,  John Barrymore, Alfred Hitchcock, North by Northwest,  all-Pullman, streamliner, MICHAEL L GRACE, CRUISING THE PAST

Have you wondered where the much-overused phrase “the red carpet treatment” originated? It all started with the 20th Century Limited. The train of tycoons and movie stars. The “Century” was an express all-Pullman passenger train operated by the New York Central nightly from New York to Chicago. From 1938 until the last run in 1968, passengers walked down a crimson carpet ... Read More »

The Panama Limited – All-Pullman Chicago and New Orleans

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The Panama Limited was a first class passenger train operated by the Illinois Central Railroad between Chicago, Illinois and New Orleans, Louisiana. It operated from 1911 to 1971. Offering the best in American railway deluxe services. The Panama Limited took its name from the Panama Canal, then under construction and three years from completion. For most of its career the ... Read More »

FRANK SINATRA starring in PAL JOEY heads to San Francisco on a Southern Pacific train and ferry boat…

In the 1957 musical film Pal Joey, Frank Sinatra gets off a Southern Pacific train and then heads across the bay to San Francisco aboard one of the SP Ferry Boats. Oakland Long Wharf was the western terminus of the Southern Pacific Railroad. From there, ferries carried both commuters and long-distance passengers between the Long Wharf and San Francisco. FRANK ... Read More »

Trains in the movies: MGM’s Oscar winning Bad Day at Black Rock features the Southern Pacific’s Daylight

John Sturges, Spencer Tracy,Robert Ryan, Anne Francis, Dean Jagger, Walter Brennan, Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine. Southern Pacific, Bad Day At Black Rock, Daylight train, Streamliner, Michael Grace, Cruising the Past.

Oscar-winning Bad Day at Black Rock was the first MGM film to be shot in Cinemascope. An American thriller film, directed by John Sturges and starring Spencer Tracy and Robert Ryan, that combines elements of the western genre with that of film noir. The supporting cast includes Anne Francis, Dean Jagger, Walter Brennan, Lee Marvin, and Ernest Borgnine. Released in 1955, the movie was filmed in California. A town was built on location at Lone ... Read More »

Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason and Kim Novack onboard the 20th Century Limited

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The 20th Century Limited was an express passenger train operated by the New York Central Railroad (NYC) from 1902 to 1967, during which time it would become known as a “National Institution” and advertised as “The Most Famous Train in the World.” Movie stars were regular passengers on the 20th Century. Kim Novak drew enormous attention from rows of businessmen ... Read More »

The fabulous OLYMPIAN HIAWATHA Streamliner

Pullman, Milwaukee Road, Olympian, Hiawatha

In the late 1940s, the Milwaukee Road introduced the Olympian Hiawatha, the transcontinental version of the railroad’s very modern fleet of Hiawatha passenger trains. The original version of the train was the Twin Cities Hiawatha, which began operating between Chicago and the Twin Cities on May 29, 1935, one of the first streamlined trains ever to be introduced in the ... Read More »