Union Pacific's San Francisco Overland Passenger Train

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This page was last updated on November 29, 2023.

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San Francisco Overland

Trains 27 and 28, Chicago to Oakland


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

September 1947
"Starting in September 194 7 the Pennsy had a New York-Oakland sleeper ( 10 sect-1 drwng rm-2 comp) daily on the San Francisco Overland Limited (No. 27-28). The NYC sleeper on the same service was a heavyweight 8 sect-1 drwng rm-2 comp car. It, too, was daily on C&NW-UP-SoP No. 27-28." (Union Pacific Streamliners, page 505)

Or, in plain english, 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, train numbers 27 and 28. The New York Central's sleeper on the same service was a heavyweight 8 section, 1 drawing room, 2 compartment car.

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

July 1955
Southern Pacific began running its "home-built" dome cars with three-quarter length domes, on its Ogden to San Francisco portion of the San Francisco Overland train.

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)