Home > ALL POSTS > Then and Now: Comparing SP’s Shasta Daylight, and Cascade to Amtrak’s Coast Starlight!
Then and Now: Comparing SP’s Shasta Daylight, and Cascade to Amtrak’s Coast Starlight!

Then and Now: Comparing SP’s Shasta Daylight, and Cascade to Amtrak’s Coast Starlight!

Southern Pacific’s premier trains the Shasta Daylight, and the Cascade served the northwest from San Francisco to Portland and Seattle from the 1950s into the 1960s.

  • They served dozens of California, Oregon and Washington cities.
  • The Shasta was popular with tourists and the Cascade, a favorite with business people.


CW: Parlor/Business Car Class; Shasta Ad; Shasta Daylight Oregon Mountains; Parlor Car passenger.

  • Today, much of the original Shasta Daylight and Cascade routes are operated by Amtrak’s Coast Starlight.

CW: Bar Lounge Car; Lunch Menu; Dining Car; Trip Folder.

The streamlined Shasta Daylight was the long-distance daylight train between San Francisco/Oakland and Portland.

CW: Ad for Dome Car; Shasta Dome Car; Lounge area of Dome Car; Shasta Daylight; Center – Shasta Daylight Departing from Oakland Mole.

  • Until the late 1950s, SP Ferry Service would take passengers from the San Francisco Ferry Building to the Oakland Mole and the awaiting SP and Western Pacific trains.  When the ferry service was terminated passengers were transported by bus.

The deluxe train offered chair car, parlor car accommodations with dining and lounge car services. The Shasta was one of the most modern-day trains in America. 

Depart Oakland – 7:45 AM, Arrive Portland – 11:15 PM

Depart Portland – 7:45 AM, Arrive Portland – 11:15 PM


CW: Dining Car; Pullman Compartment; Cascade promotion folder.

The streamlined Cascade was SP’s overnight train between San Francisco/Oakland and Portland with sleeping cars to and from Seattle.  

Depart Oakland – 4:35 PM, Arrive Portland – 8:15 AM

Depart Portland – 4:45 PM, Arrive Oakland – 8:20 AM

CW: Pullman Bedroom; Double Bedroom; Compartment; Roomette; Drawing Room; Compartment.

The Southern Pacific streamlined Cascade offered sleeping car, chair car, lounge, and dining car service between Oakland and Portland. The through sleepers to Seattle numbered four and traveled north from Portland by the Union Pacific Railroad northbound and the Northern Pacific Railway southbound.


Business Class – San Francisco to Seattle

CW: Coast Starlight Lounge Car; Coast Starlight; Mike.

  • One of my favorite travel bloggers, Downielive – Mike,  recently took the Amtrak Coast Starlight from San Francisco to Seattle business class.
  • He’s taken a number of train trips in the USA, Canada, and Europe. On the newer trains whose predecessors varied in service and comfort.
  • He’s not alone and there are other bloggers I follow who take trains, planes, and cruise ships, along with visiting hotels, etc.

  • Mike’s Review: I spent 24 hours in Amtrak Business Class, riding the train from San Francisco to Seattle.

CW: Coast Starlight Dining Car; Business Class Car; Mike. (This is the business car image on Amtrak web page but sometimes they use a regular coach or chair car.

  • Honestly, the Business Class Section wasn’t much different from the regular coach class on the Amtrak Coastal Starlight. Would I recommend the train? Yes. But for a trip that long, I’d recommend a sleeper car, maybe.


We will be covering bloggers, like Mike at Downielive, where they are covering a form of travel, that has a strong past history like the Starlight’s predecessor trains.  Mike has traveled on Amtrak name trains they have predecessors like the Coast Starlight such as the Sunset Limited and Empire Builder along with trains in the United Kingdom with strong elements from the past. 


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