The Burlington Route, Rio Grande, and Western Pacific Railroads produced this tourism promotional film in the 1950's to highlight the California Zephyr luxury train, running between Chicago and San Francisco. The California Zephyr (the CZ, or "Silver Lady") was a passenger train operated by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (CB&Q), Denver & Rio Grande Western (D&RGW) and Western Pacific railroads, all which dubbed it "the most talked about train in America" on March 19, 1949, with the first departure the following day. It was scheduled to pass through the most spectacular scenery on its route in the daylight. The original train ceased operation in 1970, though the D&RGW continued to operate its own passenger service, the Rio Grande Zephyr, between Salt Lake City and Denver using the original equipment until 1983. Since 1983 the California Zephyr name has been applied to the Amtrak service, which operates daily and is a hybrid of the route of the original Zephyr and its former rival, the City of San Francisco. The original California Zephyr operated over the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad from Chicago to Denver, Colorado, the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad between Denver and Salt Lake City, Utah, and the Western Pacific Railroad from Salt Lake City to Oakland, California. Cars owned by different railroads ran together; cars cycled in and out for service, repairs, and varying passenger loads with the seasons. The first train was named in San Francisco by Eleanor Parker while California Lieutenant Governor Goodwin Knight, mayor of San Francisco Elmer Robinson, and WP President Harry A. Mitchell looked on. For the inaugural run in 1949, every female on the train was given "silver" and orange orchids flown from Hilo, Hawaii. The car hostesses were known as "Zephyrettes.":68 In summer 1954 the schedule for 2,532 miles Chicago to San Francisco was 50hr 50min. An eastbound California Zephyr through Ruby Canyon saw the train's first birth on March 1, 1955, when Reed Zars was born. The Zephyr was not immune to falling passenger travel in the 1960s. The Western Pacific applied to discontinue its portion in 1966 but the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) refused after public outcry. The D&RGW made the same request in 1969 and in 1970 the ICC permitted Western Pacific to end its portion, provided the D&RGW and Burlington provide "some semblance of [service]" between Chicago and Ogden, Utah. The last westbound California Zephyr to the west coast left Chicago on March 22, 1970 and arrived in Oakland two days later. The California Zephyr had operated for 21 years and 2 days. East of Salt Lake City the train was reduced to a tri-weekly schedule, operating as California Service on the Burlington and as the Rio Grande Zephyr on the Rio Grande. The Rio Grande portion of the train was extended beyond Salt Lake to Ogden, Utah, allowing Nevada and California passengers to connect to the Southern Pacific Railroad's City of San Francisco. This continued until the creation of Amtrak on May 1, 1971. The brainchild of Velma McPeek, the Burlington's Supervisor of Passenger Train Services, the Zephyettes were train hostesses who performed a wide variety of roles, from tour guide to first aid responder to babysitter. After debuting on the Denver Zephyr in 1936, they served on the California Zephyr from 1949 until it was discontinued in 1970. Described by former Zephyrette Julie Ann Lyman as "the railroad's answer to the air line stewardess", the various duties of the position included welcoming passengers, making announcements, sending telegrams, making dinner reservations, and generally serving as a liaison between the train's passengers and its crew. At any one time, there were 10 or 11 Zephyrettes who were actively employed. When Amtrak revived the California Zephyr in 1983 it invited a former Zephyrette, Beulah Bauman, to christen the train. A pair of the Western Pacific's Budd Rail Diesel Cars (RDCs), replacements for the Royal Gorge (trains No. 1 and 2), also picked up the name Zephyrette. From September 15, 1950 to October 2, 1960, they were in service between Oakland, California, and Salt Lake City, a distance of 924 miles (1,487 km), which made the route the longest RDC service in the United States This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com
August 21, 2015 Subject:
You can still take this ride!
It maybe AMTRAKS best trip. The last leg is different, it crosses the Sierra Nevada Range
via RENO and Donner Pass. people no longer
dress their best to travel of course, as they did
60 years ago. A beautiful train from a much different