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July 30, 2021

Remember When Traveling by Train Was Wonderful in the 1950s

Before the start of Amtrak in 1971, the Sunset Limited was operated by the Southern Pacific Railroad. The Sunset Limited is the oldest named train in the United States, operating since November 1894 along the Sunset Route (though originally named the Sunset Express). The Sunset Route (originating in New Orleans) is the southernmost of the three gateways to the West Coast envisioned through the Pacific Railroad Acts. The other two embarked from Chicago and St. Louis.

In addition, opened 20 years before the Panama Canal, the Sunset Route vastly shortened the time to reach the West Coast from the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, as New Orleans was already an established seaport for Atlantic shipping lines’ passengers, seeking to reach the US interior. The Sunset Limited allowed passengers to reach the West Coast in a few days, not weeks.

These amazing photos from SMU Libraries Digital Collections were taken by American photographer Robert Yarnall Richie that show the luxury of the Southern Pacific Railroad, Sunset Limited in 1950.

Southern Pacific Sunset Limited Diner, Budd Company, June 1950

Southern Pacific Sunset Limited Lounge Car, Budd Company, June 1950

Southern Pacific Sunset Limited Diner and Lounge, Budd Company, June 1950

Southern Pacific Sunset Limited Diner, Budd Company, June 1950

Southern Pacific Sunset Limited Lounge, Long View, Budd Company, June 1950

Southern Pacific Sunset Limited Diner Car, Budd Company, June 1950

Southern Pacific Sunset Limited Diner, Budd Company, June 1950

Southern Pacific Sunset Limited Diner, Long View, Budd Company, June 1950

Southern Pacific Sunset Limited Lounge and Bar, Budd Company, June 1950

Southern Pacific Sunset Limited Lounge Car, Budd Company, June 1950

Southern Pacific Sunset Limited Lounge Car, Budd Company, June 1950

Southern Pacific Sunset Limited Lounge Car, Long View, Budd Company, June 1950

Southern Pacific Sunset Limited Lounge, Budd Company, June 1950

Southern Pacific Sunset Limited Lounge, Budd Company, June 1960

Southern Pacific Sunset Limited Lounge, Budd Company, June 1960

Southern Pacific Sunset Limited Lounge, Budd Company, June 1960

Southern Pacific Sunset Limited Lounge, Budd Company, June 1960

Southern Pacific Sunset Limited Lounge, Budd Company, June 1960

Southern Pacific Sunset Limited Lounge, Budd Company, June 1960




4 comments:

  1. Those are not train travel pics. Those are promo photos and aren't even in a real train. They were taken in a corporate photo studio on mocked up set pieces! How dense can you be?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Regardless of the reality of the photos, the implication is that traveling by train during this era had a more relaxed, almost luxurious feel to it, as opposed to the "cattle car" commuter cars of the modern era.

      Delete
    2. Less dense than you, it would seem. While those are obviously posed photos using paid models, they are in the actual train cars. Several of the Sunset Limited train cars are preserved in various museums, if you cared you could go look at them.

      Delete
  2. this guy falls for these every time. you think there's a reason the blinds are closed in every single photo ?

    ReplyDelete



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