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Union Pacific Passenger Trains

Index For This Page

This page was last updated on June 9, 2016.

(Return to UP Passenger Index Page)

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On this page you will find information about many of Union Pacific's named but non-Streamliner passenger trains.

The Butte Special

Salt Lake City, Utah to Butte, Montana -- Trains 29 and 30 in 1950; changed to Trains 35 and 36 after May 1957.

Union Pacific applied to the ICC for permission to discontinue on January 22, 1968, the of Trains 35 and 36, The Butte Special. Union Pacific also asked permission to discontinue, on January 7, 1968, Trains 5 and 6, the passenger-mail train between Los Angeles and Omaha. Protested by Utah Public Service Commission. (Ogden Standard Examiner, December 20, 1967)

The petition for the discontinuance of Trains 35 and 36 was decided in ICC Finance Docket 24879, reported in 333 ICC 182, decided May 16, 1968; decision was that the train was the last passenger train between Salt Lake City and Butte, and its operation should be continued for the public good.

Posted to Trainorders.com on December 14, 2014:

Along with the New Orleans-Jacksonville Gulf Wind, the Butte Special was the last train in the U.S. to have open sections (until Amtrak Day 5/1/1971 when it finished its last run).

One of the 6 open sections was converted to a dining table and the one across from it to a small kitchen where the sleeping car porter could prepare a light dinner. By the time I rode it in 1970 they were no longer using the stove and were only serving cold sandwiches, etc. But they still sold brandy and cigars

The Challenger

1935 to 1947; 1954 to 1971

"The Challenger passenger trains, known as "Everybody's Limited," were introduced in the middle of the Depression in an attempt to draw ridership back to the rails. The equipment was spartan and the meal service was advertised as "three meals for under a dollar a day." There was good food and plenty of it, but it wasn't the first-class fare of the streamliners, where one meal might cost $1.25. The introduction of the Challenger also marked the advent of registered-nurse-stewardess service in August 1935. These single women were charged with first-aid service for the entire train, but their main function was to assist women with small children and children traveling alone. They were paid $125 per month plus expenses. The track also featured exclusive coaches for women and children at the head of the train, thus eliminating the need for men to even walk through the cars." (Union Pacific Railroad, description for Heritage Fleet Dome Car "Challenger")

"The Challenger began service on August 21, 1935 as an all-heavyweight train between Chicago and Los Angeles. Between July and November 1937 Pullman-Standard delivered a group of lightweight Chair cars and twin-unit dining cars for this train; some of these units were built for Southern Pacific ownership in-as-much as a San Francisco Challenger had been inaugurated on September 15th of that year. Each twin-unit diner, consisting of a dormitory-kitchen unit articulated to a 68-seat dining room car, was identified by a single number which embraced both units." (Wayner, Car Names Numbers and Consists, 1972, page 148)

"The five twin-unit dormitory-kitchen-dining cars (5100-5104) were withdrawn from CHALLENGER service. Four were assigned to CITY OF LOS ANGELES consists (replacing dining and cafe-lounge cars which had gone to the CITY OF PORTLAND) and the fifth, plus the pair of single-unit diners built in 1937 for the DAYLIGHT, furnished the food service for the two new CITY OF SAN FRANCISCO trains created for the inception of daily operation in September 1947." (Wayner, Car Names Numbers and Consists, 1972, page 160)

David Seidel wrote the following about UP's Challenger trains on October 15, 2008:

On the UP, as a rule, the Pullman (sleeper) section operated first and on the timetable schedule; with the coach section following some 10-30 minutes behind. The UP mainly ran two sections of the COLA in the early 1960s over summer and holidays travel times.

It should be noted that the UP had a streamlined coach Chicago-LA train, the "Challenger" trains 107 & 108. After 1956 the "Challenger" was combined with the COLA which was mainly a Pullman train but did carry a coach or two.   During the summer and holiday travel times of the late 1950s the railroad would just run the "Challenger" as a separate train: technically a different train (as it carried train 107 & 108), but in practice a 2nd "coach" section of the COLA. In the early 1960s the railroad began showing them as 1st and 2nd 103 & 104 trains.

The following comes from Dick Harley, in an email dated February 5, 2009:

Both the LA and SF Challengers had 6 day turn-around schedules. Both trains often ran in two or more sections - splitting the chair cars and the tourist Pullmans. All sections had diners. Obviously, after 1937 they were a mix of lightweight and heavyweight equipment.

The five UP articulated Dorm-Kitchen-Diners were assigned only to the LA Challenger. Normally, diners did not continue through to foreign roads, so they had faster turn-around. I can't put my hand on my 1930s UP make-up lists right now, so I can't tell you how long the UP dining car runs were.

More info on these cars and The Challenger trains can be found in:

  • "The Official Pullman Library - Vol.14" by Randall & Anderson
  • "Union Pacific's Challenger" by Dorin
  • The UPHS magazine "The Streamliner" articles by John Carroll in Vol. 9, No. 4 and Vol. 10, No. 1

Dick Harley wrote the following, in an email dated February 8, 2009:

Lightweight equipment built for "The Challenger" trains in the 1930s and 1940s includes:

  • UP 5100-5104 Articulated Dormitory-Kitchen-Diner
  • UP 5200-5211 Women's Chair Car
  • UP 5300-5327 Chair Car
  • UP 5351-5365 Chair Car
  • C&NW 6132-6147 Chair Car
  • C&NW 6160-6166 Women's Chair Car
  • SP 2414/15, 2416/17 Articulated Chair Car
  • SP 2424-2429 Chair Car
  • SP 2489-2491 Chair Car

Timeline

July 11, 1935
Second section to Los Angeles Limited, Trains 7 and 8

August 21, 1935
Challenger name adopted; still as a second section to Los Angeles Limited

May 12, 1936
Assigned separate train numbers, No. 717 and 818

September 15, 1937
San Francisco Challenger established, Trains 87 and 88; Trains 717 and 818 became Los Angeles Challenger

January 25, 1942
Los Angeles Challenger changed to Trains 7 and 8; Los Angeles Limited became Trains 37 and 38

April 8, 1944
SP diners on both sections of trains 87-88 (The Challenger) changed to operate to Ogden only instead of to Green River

On May 11, 1946, the following cars were to be used as regularly assigned, or as helper cars in Challenger service, and were to be marked as such:

June 2, 1946
San Francisco Challenger changed to Trains 23 and 24

May 14, 1947
Los Angeles Challenger withdrawn

October 1, 1947
San Francisco Challenger withdrawn; Trains 23 and 24 changed to Gold Coast

"During the War and until November 1, and May 14, 1947 respectively, the San Francisco and Los Angeles Challengers had operated with a mixture of light and heavyweight equipment and steam power. On January 10, 1954 the Los Angeles Challenger was re-established between Chicago and Los Angeles with streamlined equipment and diesel power. Its schedule was also 20-1/2 hrs. to a respectable 39 hrs. 45 min. It replaced the Los Angeles Limited which had operated since December 17, 1905 between Los Angeles and Chicago." (Ranks and Kratville, Union Pacific Streamliners, page 327)

"The five Union Pacific-owned twin-unit dining cars built in 1937 for CHALLENGER service (each with one number for both dormitory-kitchen and dining room units) were assigned to the CHALLENGER STREAMLINER in 1954 with dining room capacity reduced to 52 seats." (Wayner, Car Names Numbers and Consists, 1972, page 164)

January 10, 1954
The Challenger Streamliner service established; Chicago to Los Angeles; Chicago to San Francisco; Trains 107 and 108

December 1954
Changed to The Challenger Domeliner; included addition of 7000-series Dome Chair cars

When they were delivered in December 1954, Dome chair cars 7000-7004 were assigned to CHALLENGER STREAMLINER service, and 7005-7009 were assigned to CITY OF PORTLAND service. (Wayner, Car Names Numbers and Consists, 1972, page 164)

April 29, 1956
The Challenger Domeliner combined with City of Los Angeles as all-coach second section during summer

"In June 1956 it was announced that the Los Angeles Challenger would henceforth operate as an all-coach train during the summer months and that the COLA would be an all-Pullman train during the same period. The balance of the year, the two trains would be combined as No. 103-104, the COLA." (Ranks and Kratville, Union Pacific Streamliners, 1974, page 328)

September 10, 1960
The Challenger Domeliner permanently combined with City of Los Angeles; still designated Trains 107 and 108

April 30, 1971
The Challenger Domeliner service canceled; not included in Amtrak schedules

The Challenger trains continued to operate until the start of Amtrak on May 1, 1971.

The Columbine

(incomplete; research continues)

May 22, 1930
Service started

(View a list of Pullman cars assigned to The Columbine during the 1930s)

The Forty-Niner

July 1937 to July 1941

In conjunction with the World's Fair in San Francisco, the "Overland Route" railroads (C&NW, UP, SP) began what was to be the last regular transcontinental all Pullman service with the "Forty Niner". The train was made up of all Pullman owned equipment -- streamlined heavyweights and a lightweight two car articulated lightweight Sleeper set. The C&NW and the Union Pacific provided streamlined steam locomotives to power the train. Service began out of Chicago on July 8, 1937 and remained in service until July 26, 1941. (David Seidel)

(Read more about The Forty-Niner train)

Gold Coast

Trains 23 and 24, Chicago to Oakland. Changed from San Francisco Challenger sometime between 1946 and 1949. Discontinued by January 1955.

The following comes from an email from Doug Dirks, dated March 7, 2013:

The Gold Coast was a train on the Overland Route with a slow schedule. It was not a glamorous train, and was in the shadow of it's superior trains, the yellow and gray streamliner City of San Francisco and mostly two-tone gray (at least in 1946-50) San Francisco Overland. Also, it traveled over Donner Pass during the night when it was not so easy for railfan photographers to take photographs.

No new diesel locomotives were specifically purchased by SP, UP and the C&NW for the Gold Coast. So, it was regularly assigned the finest steam power of all three railroads. No new passenger cars were specifically purchased for the Gold Coast, so its consists included a most interesting group of rebuilt heavyweight passenger cars and pre-war lightweight hand-me-downs, but the Gold Coast was predominantly heavyweight throughout its rather short existence. The schedule was slow, which allowed switching of head-end and passenger cars with other trains as the Gold Coast made its way across the country. Unlike the COSF and SFO, the Gold Coast did not carry a dormitory car for the crews. Instead SP, UP and C&NW diners and their crews were switched in and out of the consists at various stations along its route.

Although the primary and secondary Overland passenger trains certainly varied in their consists from train to train, from day to day, and from year to year, from its conception the Gold Coast also varied from hour to hour along its route. Although both the COSF and SFO carried fancy paint schemes just after WW II, the Gold Coast was left with the Dark Olive and Pullman Green of the Challenger and Pacific Limited. However, similar to the SFO, it became a "rainbow train" during the years of transition after WW II. But, instead of evolving from two-tone gray into multi-colors, the Gold Coast evolved from green into multi-colors, especially when the UP decided to standardize on its streamliner colors in 1952.

The Idahoan

(incomplete; research continues)

In a discussion about a photo of Train No. 11, The Idahoan, at The Dalles, John Bromley added the following information about other Union Pacific passenger trains:

Los Angeles Limited

(View a list of Pullman cars assigned to the Los Angeles Limited during the 1930s)

Mail & Express, Trains 5 and 6

Omaha to Los Angeles

The following two comments were posted to Trainorders.com on June 26 and 27, 2011, concerning the operation of Trains 5 and 6 in 1963:

"UP 6 was the LA to Ogden mail train. It left LA about midnight and arrived in Ogden the next evening, say 7pm. About the same time, SP mail train 22 from Oakland would arrive, and the two trains would be consolidated into one huge, (say 18 to 22 car) mail and express train for Omaha and Chicago, with a rider coach or two on the tail. At the same time in Ogden, Westbound train 101, The City of San Francisco would arrive, and it would split into the Los Angeles section and the Oakland (San Francisco) section. And in the middle of all this switching, the Butte Special, from Salt Lake to Butte, would wander in and receive a few cars from train 6 for Pocatello and or Butte. In the morning, the opposite trains would perform the same scenario. In short, an evening in 1963 in Ogden Union Depot was well spent." (Trainorders.com, June 26, 2011)

"Train 5&6 carried a LA to Vegas, Cheyenne to Omaha, 6-6-4 Pullman at this time, later changed to LA to Omaha until its removal in 1966. In addition, it carried a Vegas to Ogden, Cheyenne to Omaha cafe-lounge, until their removal in 1967. Thereafter, 5&6 carried only chair cars." (Trainorders.com, June 27, 2011)

Following the cancellation of the Postal Service contract in October 1967, the train's consist was one locomotive, two coaches and one baggage car. Prior to October 1967, the train was the principle transcontinental mail and express train, and its consist generally included 30 to 40 mail and express cars and additional motive power as required. (333 ICC 414)

ICC Finance Docket 24935, reported in 333 ICC 413; decided on June 20, 1968; decision was that the train's operation should be continued for the public good.

June 30, 1969
Trains 5 and 6, the Mail and Express, was discontinued. (Jeff Asay, Union Pacific in the Los Angeles Basin, page 404)

Trains 5 and 6 are shown in the UP Public Timetable dated September 7, 1969, but is not in the timetable dated October 30, 1969. (Research by Dick Harley)

October 29, 1969
Trains 5 and 6 were discontinued. (Jeff Asay, email dated August 24, 2012)

David Seidel reported that the ICC ordered UP to continue operating Trains 5 and 6 until October 30, 1969.

Mail & Express, Trains 11 and 12

Trains 11 and 12 were shown in the June 2, 1946 public timetable as "The Portland Rose."

Trains 11 and 12 were shown in the June 11, 1949, January 10, 1954, and June 20, 1954 public timetables as "The Idahoan."

Trains 11 and 12 were shown in the January 9, 1955, June 20, 1955, October 30, 1955, February 1, 1956, and January 16, 1957 public timetables as "Mail & Express" Portland to Green River.

Trains 11 and 12 were shown in the January 11, 1959 public timetable as "Mail & Express" Portland to Pocatello.

According to the July 1960 Official Guide, "Mail and Express No. 12", was scheduled to leave Portland at 7:10 am. According to a note in the Guide, "Nos. 11 and 12 run between Pocatello and Portland. They carry a through coach between Salt Lake City and Portland and a sleeper between Salt Lake City and Nampa, but no dining car. These cars are handled on Trains 35 and 36 between Slat Lake City and Pocatello. At Ogden Trains 35 and 36 connect with Nos. 27 and 28 from and to Omaha."

Trains 35 and 36 were the "Butte Special" between Salt Lake City and Butte, Montana, so Trains 11 and 12 was combined with Trains 35 and 36 between Pocatello and Salt Lake.

Overland Limited

(Read more about UP's early passenger trains)

November 13, 1887
Union Pacific inaugurated service of its Overland Flyer, between Omaha and Ogden, Utah, where passengers and through cars were transferred to the Central Pacific/Southern Pacific.

November 17, 1895
UP changed the name from the Overland Flyer to the Overland Limited. SP met UP's Overland trains at Ogden with its connecting westbound trains operating as the Pacific Express and eastbound trains as the Atlantic Express.

1899
SP adopted the name the Overland Limited for its portion of the Trains 1 and 2, which UP had called its portion of the two trains beginning in November 1895..

1906
By 1906 the electric lighted all-Pullman Overland Limited covered the 1,911 miles along its route in 56 hours.

August 24, 1927
The August 14, 1927 timetable shows that the San Francisco Limited began service as trains 27 and 28.

May 28, 1928
Other sources show the San Francisco Overland Limited, the Gold Coast Limited, and the Los Angeles Limited all starting on the same day, May 28, 1928

June 1, 1930
The schedule of the Overland Limited was reduced from 58 hours to 56 hours, making the fastest train between Chicago and San Francisco even faster. (Some Classic Trains, page 179)

July 20, 1931
In the July 20, 1931 timetable the Overland Limited and San Francisco Limited were combined as the San Francisco Overland Limited, trains 27 and 28. This was due to the Depression-era changes in service, and to set aside train numbers 1 and 2 for the City of Portland Streamliner M-10001. (Other sources show the date as May 31, 1931.)

Public timetables for June 1946 through June 1955 show the San Francisco Overland, Trains 27 and 28, as being a Chicago to Oakland train.

The public timetables for October 1955 and November 1955 show the San Francisco Overland as trains 27 and 28, but operating only between Omaha and Oakland.

The public timetables for January 1957 and January 1959 both show trains 27 and 28, Omaha to Oakland, but the name has been dropped.

A photo taken on December 26, 1965 show a train leaving Cheyenne westbound, with SDP35s 1407 and 1400 as motive power. The caption reads as follows: "A grand old name in Union Pacific passenger lore, the Overland, westbound Train 27, passes under the C&S overpass at the west end of Cheyenne on December 26, 1965. Led by SDP35s 1407 and 1400, both steam-generator equipped freight units, the train traces its heritage back to 1887 and the Omaha-San Francisco Overland Flyer and later to the luxurious extra-fare Overland Limited. Eventually downgraded and relegated to summer-only service, by 1965 number 27 survives as an express and mail train with a rider coach occupied only by the occasional railfan or railroader on a pass." (View the photo at RailPictures.net)

Pacific Limited

(View a list of Pullman cars assigned to the Pacific Limited during the 1930s)

Pony Express

(View a list of Pullman cars assigned to the Pony Express during the 1930s)

Portland Rose

(incomplete; research continues)

Kansas City to Portland, Oregon.

September 7, 1930 -- Portland Rose service started.

(View a list of Pullman cars assigned to the Portland Rose during the 1930s)

The majority of the photos of the Portland Rose show the back end of the car as an enclosed solarium. However, Dubin's Pullman Paint and Color guide in the UP section shows a photo of the Portland Club car lettered for C&NW that clearly shows a more heavyweight classic open air platform and railing. The narrative beneath generically talks about UP club cars. Was this a different "Portland Club" or the C&NW donated car that was refurbished with an enclosed platform, and relettered to UP? Did the "Portland Club" ever run on the Portland Rose with C&NW lettering? (Phillip Head, email dated May 10, 2016)

C&NW 7275 & 7276 were owned by C&NW and both were named Portland Club. The platform you see was fake and not meant to be used by passengers. The UP cars, 1524 and 1526 thru 1531 had fully enclosed observation rooms and were also named Portland Club. As per Dubin, these names were removed around 1941. (Jeff Cauthen, email dated May 10, 2016)

(Read more about UP 1524-1531)

The Streamliner magazine, published by the Union Pacific Historical Society, had an article about the Portland Rose. It was Volume 15, Number 3, Summer 2001. There are not many photos of the cars themselves, especially the seven unique Club Lounge cars, but it gives a good history of the train, from its start in 1930, through to its last run on April 30, 1971, the day before Amtrak started. The seven Club Lounge cars were replaced by new streamlined lightweight cars in 1942, and four of the seven Club Lounge cars were sold to the U. S. government in 1943. The other three were modified in 1954 as "streamlined" Club Dormitory cars. As with anything on the subject of Union Pacific, including passenger trains and passenger cars, there is always more research to do. (Don Strack, email dated May 10, 2016)

Union Pacific petitioned the ICC on January 15, 1968 to discontinue the operation of Trains 17 and 18, The Portland Rose, with an effective date of February 19, 1968. ICC Finance Docket 24917, reported in 333 ICC 348; decided on June 13, 1968; decision was that the train's operation should be continued for the public good.

By April 1971, just before Amtrak started, the Portland Rose consisted of a single locomotive and three cars between Portland and Pocatello, and a single locomotive and two cars between Pocatello and Denver. (Rob Leachman, Trainorders.com, June 2, 2016)

San Francisco Overland

Trains 27 and 28, Chicago to Oakland

(View a list of Pullman cars assigned to the San Francisco Overland Limited during the 1930s)

February 26, 1933
San Francisco Overland consolidated with train SP Train No. 9 between Ogden and Sparks.

April 1, 1935
Eastward San Francisco Overland divided into two sections, the Advance section carrying coaches, tourist cars and standard cars being train no. 30. No. 28 carried standard cars only.

February 14, 1936
San Francisco Overland began through dining car service between Chicago and Oakland.

June 1, 1937
The Pullman-owned 3-2 lounge-observation was removed from San Francisco Overland service, and replaced by railroad owned full lounge car.

September 15, 1937
The Challenger began service with coaches and tourist sleepers, replacing the Advance section of San Francisco Overland. The San Francisco Overland reverted to being an all-Pullman train.

February 6, 1938
SP Train no. 10 was consolidated with train no. 28 between Sparks and Ogden; SP Train no. 9 was consolidated with no. 27 between Ogden and Sparks.

Union Pacific's June 1938, December 1940 and September 1949 public timetables showed Trains 27 and 28 as "The San Francisco Overland Limited."

March 31, 1946
Through car service to New York and Washington D.C. was established. One car to Washington, and two cars to New York

Starting in September 1947 the Pennsylvania had a New York-Oakland sleeper (10 section, 1 drawing room, 2 compartment) daily on the San Francisco Overland Limited. The New York Central's sleeper on the same service was a heavyweight 8 section, 1 drawing room, 2 compartment car. (Union Pacific Streamliners, page 505)

October 22, 1949
Through New York sleeper replaced by lightweight 10-5 sleeper via New York Central

November 8, 9, 10, 1949
New lightweight SP diners replace standard heavyweight cars on San Francisco Overland

December 15, 18, 31, 1949
New SP lightweight lounges replace standard heavyweight cars on San Francisco Overland

January 23, 1950
San Francisco Overland received a lightweight coffee-shop lounge

March 8, 1950
San Francisco Overland Oakland to New York standard heavyweight sleepers changed to lightweight new 10-6 sleepers

May 29, 1950
SP diners, lounges, coffee-shop, and baggage-dormitory cars on no. 27-28 run only Oakland to Ogden

April 29, 1951
One of two lines of San Francisco to New York sleepers on San Francisco Overland discontinued, remaining line alternates between NYC and PRR

Also, through operation of diners, lounges and baggage-dormitory cars resumed between Oakland and Chicago.

January 9, 1955
San Francisco Overland changed to operate Oakland to St. Louis; all Oakland to New York sleepers were transferred to City of San Francisco

May 4, 1955
Dome-lounge added to San Francisco Overland; operated Oakland to Ogden only

October 30, 1955
With the change from C&NW to Milwaukee for Omaha-Chicago connections on October 30, 1955, trains 27 and 28 operated between Omaha and Green River.

The San Francisco Overland became an Omaha-Oakland train, with no Chicago connection, and after summer 1956 it was coach-only east of Ogden and Green River -- no sleepers, no diner, and no name.

September 25, 1960
The September 25, 1960 timetable shows trains 27 and 28 operating between Omaha and Laramie.

July 16, 1962
The Interstate Commerce Commission approved termination of the San Francisco Overland service. The train continued to run until Labor Day 1962 (with some additional holiday runs from Christmas to the New Year)

January 2, 1963
The San Francisco Overland ceased being a separate train in the timetables, being combined with other trains.

September 24, 1967
The September 24, 1967 timetable is the first without the San Francisco Overland service.

(Portions taken from "Union Pacific Mainline Passenger Services, 1921-1971" by David Seidel, The Streamliner, Volume 22, Number 3, pages 20-21; center spread)

(Portions taken from Jeff Cauthen, via email dated March 17, 2007)

Treasure Island Special

May 1939 to September 1940

With the opening of the "Golden State International Exposition" in 1939, more service was needed with a seasonal summer all Pullman the "Treasure Island Special". The service began out of Chicago on May 22, 1939, with the consist of the seasonal winter service of the "Orange Blossom Special" until September 25th. On June 22, 1940 the service returned with a mainly lightweight consist which ran until September 16th. (David Seidel)

Treasure Island Special was a completely different train than the 49er, although they ran on the same schedules on alternating days. They ran concurrently for two years. After the Treasure Island Special service ended in 1940, the train's sleepers became the Arizona Limited. California Republic and Bear Flag from the Forty-Niner ran on that train in standard two-tone gray.

Items 3, 4, and 5 were Pullman demo cars and were painted in the demo paint. The 3 railroads liked the colors on the Advance and Progress and adopted them for the 49er, which was always a Pullman owned train.

1939 "Treasure Island Special":

Car Name Type Year
Built
Configuration Notes
Long Island HW 1927 Baggage-Dormitory  
Glen Farm HW 1929 6 Compartment 3 double Bedroom  
Glen Arden HW 1929 6 Compartment 3 double Bedroom  
Popular Castle HW 1938 6 Section 6 double Bedroom  
C&NW 6934 HW 1927 Diner  
Popular City HW 1938 6 Section 6 double Bedroom  
Popular Creek HW 1938 6 Section 6 double Bedroom  
Milano HW 1917 10 Section 1 Drawing Room 2 Compartment Milano was replaced by Popular Brook (6 section, 6 double bedroom) on June 22, 1939.
Popular Brook HW 1938 6 Section 6 double Bedroom (replaced "Milano")
George M Pullman LW 1933 3 Bedroom 1 Compartment 1 Drawing Room Lounge observation  

1940 "Treasure Island Special"

Car Name Type Year
Built
Configuration Notes
C&NW 9301 HW ? Baggage-Dormitory  
C&NW 6933 HW 1927 Diner  
Imperial Banner LW 1940 4 Compartment 4 double Bedroom 2 Bedroom  
Imperial Clipper LW 1940 4 Compartment 4 double Bedroom 2 Bedroom  
Cascade Banks LW 1940 10 Roomette 5 double Bedroom  
Cascade Basin LW 1940 10 Roomette 5 Bedroom Removed from consist in August
Cascade Bluff LW 1940 10 Roomette 5 Bedroom  
Cascade Boulders LW 1940 10 Roomette 5 Bedroom  
George M Pullman LW 1933 3 Bedroom 1 Compartment 1 Drawing Room Lounge observation  

The following comes from "Union Pacific Streamliners" by Ranks and Kratville, pages 275, 278, 279, 280, 285:

On Monday, May 22, 1939 a new fast seasonal train, the Treasure Island Special, went into service. It operated via the C&NW, Union Pacific and Southern Pacific between Chicago and San Francisco and was an extra fare ( $10.00), all-Pullman train for the benefit of summer visitors to the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island, close to the "city by the bay." Like the City of San Francisco (SF 1-2-3) and the Forty-Niner, it provided deluxe service, five round trips a month. The Overland Limited, the Pacific Limited and the San Francisco Challenger were not displaced and continued to operate on a 60 hr. schedule at regular fares.

However this was the heavyweight Pullman-owned equipment that actually began operations on May 22, 1939 (from Chicago) and from San Francisco on May 25, 1939.

The car Geo. M. Pullman (built in 1933) was exhibited in 1933 Chicago's Century of Progress before assignment to the Special.

All eight cars of the original consist (except the Geo. M. Pullman) had been used on the Orange Blossom Special in the 1938-39 winter season runs between New York and Florida. All of them were heavyweights (except the all-aluminum Geo. M. Pullman). The six sleepers had been built in the period 1917-1929 and retained their friction bearings in their new assignment. The three 6 section, 6 double bedroom cars (Popular series) had been rebuilt in 1938 from 12 section, 1 drawing room, 1 compartment cars. They were air conditioned with Pullman mechanical systems and painted two-tone gray with white letters and striping. The 10 section, 1 drawing room, 2 compartment car and the two 6 compartment, 3 drawing room cars had been refurbished, air conditioned and repainted but not remodeled in 1938. The Long Island was originally a lounge-buffet-baggage car, rebuilt into a dormitory-club car and repainted in 1938. The 36 seat diner which made the first round trip on the Special was owned by the Pullman Co. and had been leased to the Seaboard Airline for the winter season New York-Florida runs. Because of a shortage of diners suitable for transcontinental service, this diner operated on the Special until June 4, 1939 when the C&NW diner 6934 emerged from the shops and replaced it. It was the only car in the train without tight-lock couplers.

The all-aluminum Geo. M. Pullman was one of the pioneer lightweight Pullman-built cars. The interior of this 3 bedroom, 1 drawing room observation car was smartly decorated in the latest mode. The exterior was smoothly contoured with curving skirts, rounded rear end, full width diaphragm and a low angled roof with streamlined vents. Originally the car was painted gray (with white lettering) and had a black roof and truck.

The Special discontinued its first season's service with the last trip from Chicago on Friday, September 22, 1939 and the last trip from San Francisco Monday, September 25, 1939.

The initial trip for the Special in the 1940 summer season left Chicago June 19 with a completely different set of equipment than had been used during the 1939 runs. The cars were lightweights and Pullman-owned except for the C&NW cars which were heavyweights and owned by that road.

The Geo. M. Pullman was to have been replaced by the car American Milemaster (2 double bedroom, 1 comp-1 drawing room) as soon as it returned from the New York World's Fair but no record could be found that it ran on the Special. On August 1, 1940 the Cascade Basin was removed from the consist account of light business. This change was instituted by the C&NW.

The Treasure Island Special stopped operating on September 18, 1940 and did not resume operations the following year because the Exposition had ended and there was not enough traffic to justify it.

Most of its Pullmans began operation on the RI-SoP Arizona Limited. The American Milemaster also ran on the Arizona Limited before going to the SoP Lark. It was rebuilt in 1958 by the SoP for mid-train service on the Lark and was sold to EMD in 1965 where it became test car ET 800. The George M. Pullman after running on several other limited trains was sold to the Chicago Great Western in 1952 and was scrapped in 1964.

More Information

"The Forty-Niner" by David Seidel, The Streamliner, Volume 18, Number 4, Fall 2004, pages 7-20.

"The Forty-Niner", Union Pacific Streamliners, by Harold E. Ranks and William W. Kratville (Kratville Publications, Omaha, 1974), pages 243-274.

"The Treasure Island Special", Union Pacific Streamliners, by Harold E. Ranks and William W. Kratville (Kratville Publications, Omaha, 1974), pages 275-286.

The Challenger on Wikipedia

Union Pacific's Challenger, An Unusual Passenger Train - 1935-1971, by Patrick C. Dorin, TLC Publishing, 2001

"The Challenger, Part 1: The Train" by John Carroll, The Streamliner, Volume 9, Number 4, Fall 1994, Union Pacific Historical Society

"Everybody's Limited" by Charles F. A. Mann, Colliers, Volume 98, Number 5, August 1, 1936 (online edition)

The Overland Limited on Wikipedia

UP Passenger Trains, 1946-1959 -- An incomplete list of Union Pacific passenger trains in the post-war period, taken from a very small sampling of public timetables.

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