Union Pacific Portland Rose Passenger Train

Index For This Page

This page was last updated on January 14, 2024.

(Return to UP Passenger Index Page)

(Return to Union Pacific Index Page)


Portland to Omaha (1930 to 1954)

Portland to Kansas City (1954 to 1971)

The Portland Rose train replaced the Portland Limited in September 1930. There were service, schedule and equipment changes throughout the 1930s, including consolidation of train numbers as Union Pacific attempted to deal with the changes in passenger business. By 1942-1943 the increase in business saw the Portland Rose running in multiple sections, with cars being removed and added at Cheyenne and Green River to accomodate the varying levels of business between individual destination cities.

There were a total of 10 Club Lounge "Solarium" cars: UP 1524-1531 and C&NW 7275 and 7276. UP 1524, 1526-1531 (seven cars) were remodeled to Club Lounge in 1936 for "Portland Rose" service, named "Portland Club" UP 1525 was remodeled to Club Lounge in 1936 for "Columbine" service.

"During the summer of 1930 the Chicago & North Western and Union Pacific refurbished the "Portland Limited," and inspired by the success of the Chicago-Denver "Columbine," renamed the train the "Portland Rose," using a rose as a decorative motif throughout the train. C&NW furnished two lounge cars, 7275 and 7276, completely rebuilt from 1911-vintage steel sleeping cars by Pullman and leased to the North Western. After the "City of Portland" and the "City of Denver" were inaugurated [in 1935 and 1936], cars 7275 and 7276 were reassigned to the combined "Los Angeles Limited" and "Portland Rose." (Arthur Dubin, Pullman Paint and Lettering Guide Notebook, page 130)

C&NW 7275 and 7276 were owned by C&NW and both were named Portland Club. Later, C&NW 7275 was assigned to Los Angeles service and renamed as "Los Angeles Club." To allow further assignment to other trains as needed, the "Los Angeles Club" lettering was removed and replaced by the car number.

The platform at the rear of each car 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)

Following the war in the early 1940s, there were regular changes to service, schedule and equipment. In 1942 the train received its share of new lightweight sleeper cars in the "American" series.

The seven UP 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.

Effective with the public timetable dated January 25, 1942, train #17 was cut back to Cheyenne-Portland with through cars handled on train #27, the "San Francisco Overland", between Chicago and Cheyenne.

Throughout the 1940s and the early 1950s the Portland Rose ended its run from Portland at either Green River or at Cheyenne. In different periods, at each of these terminals, the train's cars were added or removed to continue their trips to other destinations as part of other UP trains. On January 10, 1954, the Portland Rose again became its own train east of Cheyenne, traveling from Cheyenne to Denver, then east to Kansas City.

From 1954 and after, the train continued to run between Portland and Kansas City, by way of Denver, for the remainder of its service life.

The Portland Rose ran with two coaches west from Denver from November 25, 1969 up until the start of Amtrak. The buffet lounge operated between Portland and Pocatello, Idaho. The train east of Denver ran as a mixed train effective December 7, 1969. I often saw the Portland Rose in Greeley during these time periods, and it was not unusual to have a Milwaukee coach rather than a UP coach. (Trainorders.com, October 23, 2017; comments for a photo of a single UP E-unit locomotive, a GN lounge, and two Milwaukee coaches.)

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)


September 12, 1930
Union Pacific launched of their newest luxury train replacing the Portland Limited on the Chicago-Pacific Northwest run. Newly equipped throughout, the trains were to be re-christened "The Portland Rose" in honor of Portland's favorite flower.

June 2, 1946
The Portland Rose was changed from Train 17 and 18, to Trains 11 and 12, without changes in service or equiment. The change was only temporary, and in May 1947 the Portlnad Rose was again known as Train 17 and 18.

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

December 7, 1969
On December 7, 1969, UP changed the schedule of Trains 17 and 18, the Portland Rose, ending the run from Portland at Denver. The train became Trains 117 and 118 between Denver and Kansas City, and ran as a mixed train, though not identified that way in the public timetable.

July 1970
The terminal for Trains 117 and 118, the mixed train, was changed from the Kansas City, Missouri, Union Station, to a small new depot in Kansas City, Kansas. Passenger service ended with Amtrak but the freight train as Trains 117 and 118 continued running for a number of years.

More Information

The Portland Rose -- Larry Hochalter's article in The Streamliner, Volume 15, Number 3, Summer 2001, published by Union Pacific Historical Scoiety.