Union Pacific Portland Rose Passenger Train

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This page was last updated on October 15, 2020.

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Kansas City to Portland, Oregon.

September 7, 1930 -- Portland Rose service started.

An excellent article about the Portland Rose train was in The Streamliner magazine, published by the Union Pacific Historical Society, Volume 15, Number 3, Summer 2001. Lots of photos, plus 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.

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)

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.

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.

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)


December 7, 1969
"It was trains 117 and 118, between Kansas City and Denver. On Dec. 7, 1969, UP changed the schedule of Nos. 17 and 18, the Portland Rose, breaking the run at Denver. The KC-Denver portion became 117 and 118, and ran as a mixed train, though not identified that way in the public timetable. In July 1970 it was cut back from Kansas City, Mo., Union Station to a small new depot in Kansas City, Kan. Passenger service ended with Amtrak but the freight train continued running for a number of years." (Mike Bartels, Facebook Classic Union Pacific group, October 15, 2020)