Santa Fe: Along the Route

SFEalongtheroute1 SFEalongtheroute2I have multiple copies of Santa Fe’s booklet, “Along the Way.” The most recent, published in 1960, managed to look older because only the first few pages were updated. Above are the front and back covers.

Only small black-and-white photos appear in the booklet, at the top of its pages. I reproduce, below, those train-related: LA Union Station, the Chief in the mountains of New Mexico, Kansas City Union Station, Santa Fe’s bridge over the Mississippi River, the portal of Raton Tunnel, and a San Diegan along the ocean.

During the streamliner era, Santa Fe produced only two color brochures that I know of: one about the Hi-level El Capitan and the other about Santa Fe passenger trains in general. For each of their Chiefs and El Capitan, they produced a “welcome aboard” brochure that provided details of a train’s features and its schedule.

Union Pacific was much more lavish in its advertising. Yet I believe most people would say that Santa Fe provided the best service of the three railroads mainly responsible for LA-Chicago trains. Santa Fe certainly carried the most passengers, easily twice as many as Union Pacific. The difference was in the details. For instance, Santa Fe carpeted all of its long-distance coaches, whereas Union Pacific carpeted only its handful of dome coaches. Carpeting made a coach feel more luxurious. Also, Santa Fe provided a better ratio of dining seats per passenger. I once traveled on Union Pacific’s Challenger with 16 coaches and only two 32-seat coffee shop-lounge cars for food service. Meals on the Challenger were not by reservation. You took a number and stood in the small lounge section of the car or in the next coach and waited for your number to be called. I loved it all, of course.

SFEalongtherouteLAUSTS SFEalongthewayCHIEF SFEkansascitystation SFEmissriverbridge SFEratontunnel SFEsandiegan




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