Gold Coast Limited, questions.

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Gold Coast Limited, questions.
Posted by m610 on Sunday, December 13, 2020 7:10 PM

Hi, new guy here.

I found this forum while searching for more information about the Gold Coast Limited, a Union Pacific offering that began in the mid-1920's. (But you probably knew that.)

I'm writing a book about a friend's grandparents and in it I have a chapter about their family traveling from Chicago to Sacramento by train in 1927. The father had been blacklisted following the big steel strike in 1919 and things weren't working out for him in the midwest, so he accepted an offer to work for SoCal Edison on a project related to the Saint Francis Dam.

My questions are more about the passenger experience than the equipment, but to understand the former I need to understand the latter.

I found a 1926 document that lists the train schedules and Pullman rates for the Gold Coast Limited. It says the train is all-Pullman, and that accommodations for seat passenegers was restricted. It goes on to say that for the San Francisco trip the standard sleeping cars cosist of 10 sections, drawing rooms, and compartments. Am I correct in that this describes each Pullman car, that each contains 10 open-sections, a drawing room and one or more compartments?

I am also interested in knowing what the fare would have been. I see in the guide that I have that there were rates for a double lower standard berth ($19.13), a drawing room ($67.50), a compartment ($54.00), and a double lower tourist bearth ($10.13). In a separate note it says standard upper berths were 20% less than the lower berth, $2.40 minimum, and tourist upper berths cost 20% less than a lower berth, $1.00 minimum.

Am I to understand that passengers traveling in open sections bought tickets based on the berth and not the seat? Also, does this upper and lower berth business refer to the seats that convert into a bed (lower) and the upper berth is the overehead shelf that the porter lowers at night?

One more complication is children 12 years old and under travel at half fare. In my story three people under the ages of 12 are traveling with three over the age of 12.

My questions are:

1. What is the difference between standard and tourist berths?

2. Was the fare for each berth per person? I understand the lower berth can accommodate two people, and in theory the upper berth can, too, but is difficult to get in and out of with two people up there.

3. It seems to me that my traveling family can get by with three berths total, but would occupy seats in two sections.

4. I take it the Pullman fares were independent of the railroad's fare. Is that correct?

5. I've read elsewhere that the fare for passengers in sleepers included meals. Is that correct.

Basically what I am doing here is price comparison shopping so I can figure out what would have been the best deal for the family.

Thanks, Mike

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Posted by timz on Monday, December 14, 2020 10:52 AM

You're right, the Pullman charges you're quoting are just the Pullman charges. The one-way RR fare Chicago to SF was $79.84 for an adult in the 1920s; it decreased in the 1930s.

Lots of Pullmans had ten sections, two compartments and one drawing room. Tourist Pullmans were usually 16 sections, weren't they? Were the berths the same size as the standard Pullman? How long and how wide was a standard berth?

Pretty sure when you paid for a berth, you could put as many people in it as you wanted -- no extra added to the berth charge.

Meals included in the fare ... that certainly wasn't the usual. Dunno if some RR tried it at some point.

Don't see any Tourist Pullmans on the Gold Coast in the January 1927 timetable -- did they even exist then?

UP27-1TT.pdf (streamlinermemories.info)

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Posted by rcdrye on Monday, December 14, 2020 5:07 PM

The Gold Coast was a premium train, and even had some periods when it was extra fare.  Most passengers would travel on a mixed coach and Pullman train on a slower schedule.  The Pacific Limited was a good example but there were others.  Tickets would have been issued as follows for a Chicago-Sacramento trip:

Chicago - C&NW - Omaha

Omaha - Union Pacific - Ogden

Ogden - Southern Pacific - Sacramento

Those were the rail fare coupons, one per person per segment.  Those would have been issued at the First Class rate good in sleeping cars.  There would also be Pullman tickets for each accomodation.  Those were issued by "line", so if the car ran through, there was only a single Pullman ticket for the entire route.  Rail fare tickets would be "lifted" by the railroad Conductor, Pullman tickets by the Pullman Conductor, often at a check-in booth if at the originating station (in this case Chicago's C&NW Station, the then-new Chicago Passenger Terminal).  For a number of years the Pacific Limited operated between Chicago and Omaha over the Chicago Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific (still known as the "St. Paul" in the 1920s.) CMStP&P trains left the north side of Chicago's then new Union Station, three blocks down Canal Street from the CPT.  Even in years the Pacific Limited was mainly a St. Paul train, C&NW carried connecting cars on its own trains.

The Pacific Limited carried both Standard and Tourist sleepers.  Tourist sleepers had beds of the same size but were often run in pairs serviced by a single porter.  The beddig was usually of lesser quality.

Food was always pay as you go.  In some intermediate stations it was possible to get box lunches at station restaurants.  Depending on the schedule Omaha, Cheyenne, Green River WY and Ogden could have daytime service stops long enough to visit the station restaurant. At other stops vendors sold various items from carts or newsstands.

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Posted by timz on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 10:21 AM

Turns out the adult one-way fare Chicago to Sacramento was $78.56 in 1927. Don't know the Pullman charges to Sacramento, but to San Francisco was $23.63 for a lower berth, $66.75 for a compartment.

As you see in the timetable, no extra fare on the Gold Coast -- doubt it ever had one.

Guess the inside of a rail car was around 114 inches wide, so the berths probably weren't much more than 36 inches wide?

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Posted by m610 on Monday, December 28, 2020 12:16 PM

Thanks all for your replies, and my apologice for not getting back here sooner.

In my story the family is traveling west in late summer of 1927. I believe the Gold Coast had been running since earlier that year.

My understandidng was the Gold Coast was the more economical of the three trans-continental trains UP started offering as of Nov 24, 1926. Was it still considered a luxury ride? Was the alternative to taking on of these three trans-continentals booking a train from station to station?

I saw the UP27-1TT.pdf (streamlinermemories.info) document. Very help, and a bit confusing.

The RR fares, where did people find that info? Also, was there a different fare for children? In my story a mother is traveling with five children, three of them 12 and under.

I'll check my sources again on the food question. They may have been referring to later years or to passengers booking luxury accommodations.

I see from the schedule that Omaha and maybe Ogdin would be the only stops that allowed a person enough time to get off the train and purchase more food.

Other than the dining cars, would there be other ways to get meals on the train, something less formal? A snack/food/convenience store, for example?

I'm really trying to capture what it was like to travel by train during this era. All the train site and source I've consulted focus on the equipment and routes, but not the traveler's experience.

Thank you for your help, and I hope you all had a nice holiday.

Mike

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Posted by m610 on Monday, December 28, 2020 12:23 PM

Thanks. That helps a lot. If I am to use this method of travel I'll need to know the schedules and fares. Do you have a source for these?

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Posted by timz on Monday, December 28, 2020 11:53 PM

m610
My understanding was the Gold Coast was the more economical of the three trans-continental trains

The Overland was faster; probably that's why it charged extra. Aside from that, the Gold Coast wasn't any cheaper, far as we know. The only way to get a cheaper bed was to get a Tourist berth, which the Gold Coast didn't have.

We have no idea whether it was considered luxurious. If you look at the train's equipment, on page 23 of the timetable, you know as much as anyone. Barber? Maid? Valet? Bath? What's all that mean?

One big change in the passenger experience was air conditioning, which became common in the 1930s. Even the top 1927 trains didn't have it.

You may be right about 11-year-olds paying half fare -- I don't remember any mentions of that. Many/most 1920s timetables didn't show even the adult fares.

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Posted by rcdrye on Tuesday, December 29, 2020 10:21 AM

Railroad fares - you got them from the ticket agent.  The Pullman charges noted are only the price of accomodations.  Note that there are some rooms that require a minimum number of railroad fares.

Half fare for children under 12 was near universal until very recently.

Since the Gold Coast was all-Pullman folks would be expected to eat in the diner.

The Barber, Hairdresser, Maid, Valet and bath were all services provided in the Club-Observation car for a price.

The Pacific Limited (via the Chicago Milwaukee and St. Paul) also carried tourist sleepers and coaches.  Used Union Station in Chicago.

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Posted by m610 on Tuesday, December 29, 2020 3:53 PM

Thanks, all.

THe reason I am digging deeper into the details of this is I want to link this story to the history of the 1920-30s, and if train people read this chapter they wouldn't find any major faults.

For now I am going to stick with the idea that the family traveled on the Gold Coast. I have the rates and the schedule, so I can weave a story using that info.

Was it possible or even allowed for passengers to bring their own food or buy food at the longer stops? I'm trying to picture a mother of five feeding her kids on this 4-day trip, and I can't exactly see them eating in basically a resturant three times a day. Plus I'd expect mom to have brought food for snacks.

Mike

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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, January 1, 2021 6:13 AM

There was no restriction on passenbers bringing fod and drink onboard trains.  But no making a mess or cooking.  And no bringing one's own food into the dining car, with some railroads also resrtricting it into the lounge car.

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Posted by rcdrye on Friday, January 1, 2021 6:49 AM

Some railroads also provided limited food via "news butchers" who sold sandwiches in addition to newspapers.  These were more likely to be found in the east, with shorter distances between stations and more frequent schedules, allowing the new butchers to return home.

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Posted by m610 on Thursday, January 7, 2021 9:35 PM

Thanks all for the great feedback.

Last weekend new information came in on the family's move from Chicago to Bakersfield. I had them making the move in the summer of 1927, for reasons related to Walter's new job. At that time the Gold Coast Limited was running and in California the San Joachine Flyer, too, so I put the family on those trains. Turns out, they made the move sometime before June 1924, probably late summer 1923, to coincide with the start of school. I have newspaper clippings confirming June 1924. That's when the oldest daughter graduated from grammar school. I also have a phone book from that year stating their address.

The chapter will need reworking, and I have to find a train schedule, or schedules, to set the place and time. I could make that all up, but I loved being able to use the actual times when their train stopped or passed through various towns. I want this story to stick as close to documented history as possible.

Mike

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Posted by timz on Saturday, January 9, 2021 12:18 AM
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Posted by rcdrye on Saturday, January 9, 2021 12:58 PM

Chicag to Bakersfield could also have been done on AT&SF's California Limited, among other trains.  If the route via Sacramento was used, the train to used to Bakersfield would likely have been one of SP's trains.  There were three connecting trains out of Sacramento connecting to the San Joaquin Valley trains in either Stockton or Tracy.

Scan of a 1923 SP timetable - Valley trains in tables 11 and 12

https://wx4.org/to/foam/maps/1more7/1923-06-10SP_systemPTT.pdf from

https://wx4.org/to/foam/maps/and_timetables1.html

 

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Posted by ZephyrOverland on Saturday, January 9, 2021 2:38 PM

The new time period of travel for the story to summer 1923 changes things in terms of travel offerings, because at this time the Gold Coast Limited did not exist. Instead, a possible direct internary for a Chicago-Bakersfield trip via the Overland Route would be:

Chicago-Oakland train
Milwaukee Road #19 - Pacific Limited    Lv. Chicago 10:45 am (first day)
Southern Pacific #19 - Pacific Limited     Ar. Sacramento 4:50 am (third day)

Sacramento-Oakland train
Southern Pacific #31 - Lv. Sacrmamento 8:50 am
Southern Pacific #31 - Ar. Tracy 11:45 am

Oakland-Los Angeles train
Southern Pacific #8 - Los Angeles Passenger - Lv. Tracy 1:55 pm
Southern Pacific #8 - Los Angeles Passenger - Ar. Bakersfield 11:40 pm

This itenerary would be challenging for a mother and five children, involving changing trains twice. It also would have been possible, instead, to remain on the Pacific Limited to Oakland, arriving 7:51 am, and pick up the Los Angeles Passenger there instead, leaving Oakland at 11:14 am.

The suggestion made by rcdrye of using the Santa Fe would make more sense, since it was possible to travel directly to Bakersfield from Chicago on this railroad, utilizing through Chicago-Oakland Pullman or Tourist sleepers. Santa Fe's west coast service primarily operated to Los Angeles, but in several instances, Oakland bound cars would be switched off at Barstow, to be handled in Barstow-Oakland connecting trains, running through Bakersfield.

Using the Santa Fe, the best option would be using Train #21, The Missionary, leaving Chicago at 9:55 pm, arriving Bakersfield at 8:25 pm the third day, via #21, the Barstow-Oakland connection to The Missionary. This train had through Chicago-Oakland Pullmans and Tourist sleepers.

Another option via Santa Fe would be #9, The Navajo, leaving Chicago at 10:25 am, and arriving in Bakersfield 8:10 am third morning, via #9, the Barstow-Oakland connection to The Navajo. In this case, Kansas City-Oakland tourist sleepers were added to the train, requiring a change of cars in Kansas City, which would have not been a big deal.

The California Limited at this time was primarily a Los Angeles train, with no Oakland connection available westbound.

One other item to keep in mind that traveling to California in summer during the 1920's could be somewhat uncomfortable, since the cars had no air conditioning, but screened in car windows could be opened during the journey.

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Posted by m610 on Saturday, January 9, 2021 8:40 PM

Awesome, guys.

I'll download and dig in and will let you know what I end up using.

I hadn't thought about the summer travel thing. That will be a nice detail to add to the story.

Mike

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Posted by m610 on Sunday, January 10, 2021 12:13 AM

If I am reading /1923-06-10SP_systemPTT correctly, train 8 leaves San Francisco/Oakland a little before 11 AM and arrives in Bakersfield at 11 PM. Train 50 leaves at 4 PM and arrives in Bakersfield at 3 AM.

I'm not used to reading these.

Mid-summer, that is going to be a hot train! This Chicago family is in for a treat.

In the big guide I see the San Francisco Overland, Pacific Limited, Continental Limited, and the California Mail on page 768.

Mike

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Posted by m610 on Sunday, January 10, 2021 12:27 AM

I'm not a train guy so I didn't know what AT&SF meant, but Wikipedia sorted that out for me.

I found "The Scout" and "The Missionary" on pages 870 and 871 of the "Offical Guide". It looks like either of those will do.

 

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Posted by ZephyrOverland on Sunday, January 10, 2021 11:01 AM

m610

Mid-summer, that is going to be a hot train! This Chicago family is in for a treat.

Maybe....

Once you decided on a timeframe of travel for your story, you may want to look into newspaper archives of that time period and check out the weather forecasts that were published. Start with your local library and see if they have online access to the New York Times or Chicago Tribune. Another free resource would be www.chroniclingamerica.org, operated by the Library of Congress. They have millions of pages of newspapers from publications from around the country. Looking through these could also give you a sense of the time, what was newsworthy, what people were talking about, sports and entertainment listings, etc. 

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Posted by ZephyrOverland on Sunday, January 10, 2021 12:06 PM

m610

I'm not a train guy so I didn't know what AT&SF meant, but Wikipedia sorted that out for me.

I found "The Scout" and "The Missionary" on pages 870 and 871 of the "Offical Guide". It looks like either of those will do.

 

 

I don't think The Scout would suit your story needs, because at the time, this train did not carry any through sleepers to Oakland, and taking this train would involve a 2+ layover in the early morning hours in Barstow.

Concerning the Santa Fe: Of all the Chicago-California services that were offered, only Santa Fe operated its own line all the way from Chicago to California - it could be argued that it was the main player in Chicago-Southern California passenger traffic. The iconic Route 66 would loosely follow the Santa Fe line, except in the center third of the route. Going westbound, at Newton, Kansas, the main line would split: one line, called the Northern Division, would continue west, going through a corner of Colorado, via LaJunta, and then veer south to Albquerque, turning west. The other line, called the Southern Division (or Panhandle Divison), would veer southwest, eventually going through Armarillo, Texas and Clovis, New Mexico. Both lines would eventually merge around Belen, New Mexico, just west of Albquerque. The majority of Santa Fe's through passenger trains operated via the Northern Division. In fact, at this time The Missionary was the only through Santa Fe California train that operated via the Panhandle Division. Timings for both routes were about the same, so I have a suspicision that your story subjects would be steered by the Santa Fe ticket agent to take The Missionary, because it offered a "one-seat" service from Chicago to Bakersfield. The alternate option of #9, The Navajo, (shown on page 869 of the Official Guide you downloaded) operated via the Northern Division, and its schedule was 12 hours "off" from that of The Missionary, leaving Chicago in the morning, and arriving in Bakersfield the third morning. The Missionary left Chicago in the evening, and arrived in Bakersfield in the third evening.

Another issue concerns meals. At this time, only Santa Fe's best train, the California Limited, offered a dining car for all meals. All of the other trains offered dining car service only part of the way. For the balance of the trip passengers would eat at Fred Harvey restaurants in specific stations, being given about 30 minutes to purchase and consume their meal. The westbound Missionary only had a dining car between Marcelene, Mo and Kansas City, for breakfast. Beyond that, meal stops could probably be made at:

Kansas City
Emporia, Kansas
Newton, Kansas
Armarillo, Texas
Clovis, New Mexico
Vaughn, New Mexico
Belen, New Mexico
Kingman, Arizona
Barstow, California   

I believe that snacks could be purchased as well.

Hope this verbose description assists you in your story development, and provides a context to your story.

 

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Posted by rcdrye on Sunday, January 10, 2021 1:50 PM

Good point on food service.  The Fred Harvey system was one of the hallmarks of travel on the Santa Fe. The restaurants were very aware of trains arriving and departing, and the service was designed to work within tight windows.  The delay due to food service stops was not as much as you'd think, as most or all of them coincided with stops to service engines and change crews. 

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Posted by m610 on Monday, January 11, 2021 2:43 PM

Thanks, all. Great information. It's fantastic that this knowledge exists.

The Missionary does sound like the way to go, even if it does go out of the way a bit (Los Angeles). Traveling with five kids and having to change trains and get your baggage transfered would have been difficult.

I think you answered my questions about food. The Wikipedia entry on the Fred Harvey system sounded quite fond of it. I think I can find a way to have a Harvey Girl make an appearance. Helen, the eldest daughter, did end up working as a waitress in Bakersfield.

What was the Fred Harvey and the Harvey Girls status in the mid-20's? All I've read so far describes them in their early days. I expect the Harvey Girls' dress changed, but not by a lot. Then again, the roaring 20's were just beginning to roar and women had the vote, a very different situation thatn when Will Rogers said the Harvey Girls brought food and wives to the west. I guess I need to watch the movie.

What kind of engine pulled The Missionary? I assume it was a steam engine, but in a few years would probably be deisel-electric. And how fast did it travel? I have a book from the 1870's that recommended traveling west for your health, instead of to the spas in Europe. It described train travel in the east as being too hurried, running 45 mph, while out west it slowed to a more relaxing 25 mph, slow enough that one could take in the scenery and wildlife.

It was interesting reading the policies, such as fares for children, the handling of baggage, transportation of dog, pets, etc. Passanges were told to bring on board only what they needed for the trip, much like airlines do today for carry-on items. Anna, the mother, probably had to get creative to bring enough food on to keep five young stomachs quiet.

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Posted by m610 on Monday, January 11, 2021 2:47 PM

Forgot to mention, I have a subscription to Newspapers.com and I have checked the weather for specific dates in the story. I'll check it for route and Bakersfield weather. But, I live in the Sacramento Valley, which is immediately north of the San Joaquine Valley. Here it reached 117F at may place last summer. The valley to the south is even hotter and dryer, but we are talking 100 years ago.

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Posted by rcdrye on Monday, January 11, 2021 6:57 PM

Chicago to Bakersfield via the southwest is a shorter route than via Northern California.

Harvey Houses were still active in the 1920s, with most of the counter staff still women.

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Posted by timz on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 10:40 AM

m610
The Missionary does sound like the way to go, even if it does go out of the way a bit (Los Angeles).

If you're riding Chicago to Bakersfield, no need to go to LA. Might have to change trains in Barstow, but some sort of SFe train ran direct to Bakersfield from there.

The fastest schedules Chicago to LA in 1923 were about 68 hours for 2200+ miles.

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Posted by ZephyrOverland on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 4:28 PM

m610

Thanks, all. Great information. It's fantastic that this knowledge exists.

The Missionary does sound like the way to go, even if it does go out of the way a bit (Los Angeles). Traveling with five kids and having to change trains and get your baggage transfered would have been difficult.

I think you answered my questions about food. The Wikipedia entry on the Fred Harvey system sounded quite fond of it. I think I can find a way to have a Harvey Girl make an appearance. Helen, the eldest daughter, did end up working as a waitress in Bakersfield.

What was the Fred Harvey and the Harvey Girls status in the mid-20's? All I've read so far describes them in their early days. I expect the Harvey Girls' dress changed, but not by a lot. Then again, the roaring 20's were just beginning to roar and women had the vote, a very different situation thatn when Will Rogers said the Harvey Girls brought food and wives to the west. I guess I need to watch the movie.

What kind of engine pulled The Missionary? I assume it was a steam engine, but in a few years would probably be deisel-electric. And how fast did it travel? I have a book from the 1870's that recommended traveling west for your health, instead of to the spas in Europe. It described train travel in the east as being too hurried, running 45 mph, while out west it slowed to a more relaxing 25 mph, slow enough that one could take in the scenery and wildlife.

It was interesting reading the policies, such as fares for children, the handling of baggage, transportation of dog, pets, etc. Passanges were told to bring on board only what they needed for the trip, much like airlines do today for carry-on items. Anna, the mother, probably had to get creative to bring enough food on to keep five young stomachs quiet.

 

About your concern about The Missionary and Los Angeles. The train is traveling to Los Angeles but, the subjects of your work will be riding a Chicago-Oakland First Class Pullman or Tourist Sleeper on this train. At Barstow, their car would be switched out and put on another train that would be operating west and northbound, from Barstow to Oakland; they would be getting off of this car at Bakersfield. From Barstow, The Missionary would be traveling south towards Los Angeles. Hence, a "one-seat" Chicago-Bakersfield service.

Concerning Fred Harvey: At this time the Harvey brand was still strong. For years Santa Fe bragged "Meals by Fred Harvey" in their timetables, whether the meals were served in their dining cars or in station restaurants along its line. Note, that there were no Harvey Girls working in the dining cars, only in the station restaurants. They had a good number of restaurants in locations stretching from Chicago westward to California along the Santa Fe. They also had restaurants in some non-Santa Fe locations, such as Chicago Union Station (The Missionary and other Santa Fe trains left from Dearborn Station, about a mile away). Another railroad, the Frisco, was another line utilizing Fred Harvey service in their dining cars.

As for the Harvey Girls and the roaring 20s: keep in mind that during WW1 women were encouraged to work in the factories while the men were off to war. When the war ended and the US went through a depression in 1920-21, women were strongly encouraged to go back home to become homemakers again while the returning men got their old jobs back. Being a Harvey Girl was still a way for women to earn a living and see another part of the country, but I'm guessing the romanticised notions portrayed in the film The Harvey Girls was not as prevalent by the time the 20's came. In the 20s not all women were flappers or even emulated that lifestyle, especially in smaller towns.

If you look up Fred Harvey and the Harvey Girls in Google, you'll see a number of visual resources that provide additional references.

Steam was the motive power for The Missionary, and would be for years to come. Santa Fe was a pioneer in utilizing diesel-electric power for their trains. The Super Chief would be their first train utlizing diesels starting in 1935. As time went on, more trains would be hauled by diesels, but the big push would not occur until after WW2. Santa Fe was motivated to dieselize because they spent a lot of financial and physical resources to treat and ship water to their water facilities to replenish their steam engines all along their lines, including desert locations.     

Another tidbit about riding Pullmans and Tourist sleepers: individuals who purchased lower berths sat in the seat facing forward; those in the upper berths rode backwards, sitting in the other seat.

Also about bringing food aboard: Unlike flying today, where you are strictly limited to what you an bring onboard, the railroads then were more tolarant in passengers bringing food onbard. I'm sure a number of passengers would be bringing food stuffs for the journey ahead on The Missionary, especially in coach and Tourist. I wouldnt be surprised if your subject brings a picnic basket of foodstuffs to keep her kids quiet and content during the journey and maybe pick up some snacks in one of the station restaurants along the way.

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Posted by WILLIAM O CRAIG on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 11:10 PM

The "Harvey House" at the Frisco depot was one of the best places to eat in my home town of Springfield, Missouri, when I was a kid in the 1930's, although there were a lot of other restaurants in that town of 60,000.

Concerning bringing food on board, in recent years some of  the trains heading south from Washington, D.C., and I assume other points north, were known as "fried chicken specials" from  the meals families brought on board to eat on their way.

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Posted by m610 on Friday, January 15, 2021 11:17 AM

Again, thanks all for your help not only with the route but other details that will help me depict what it was like to travel by train back then. Reading the policies of the UP was also helpful, such as admonishments about keeping your arms in when the wondws were open, transportation of luggage, etc.

I road a small steam engine driven train as a kid visiting the mountains of NC. I remember the ride being a little rough and noisy. That train might have been an older style but I figure trains of the 20's were still no where as quiet and comforable as modern trains. I've taken Amtrack between Sacto and SF and travled by train a lot in Europe, and once they are away from the station and up to speed you can almost forget you were on a train, except for the French TGV, but at those speeds you can expect the ride to be a little bumpy.

I see there is a publication and possibly a video coming out soon that covers the Pullmans, but it seems to be focused on the high-end luxury versions, not what my family will be experiencing.

I assume all Pullmans had porters, even the tourist Pullmans. Am I correct?

Mike

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, January 15, 2021 1:36 PM

m610
I assume all Pullmans had porters, even the tourist Pullmans.

Remember that there are two companies involved here.  The railroad provides the transportation - and its 'conductor' is responsible for collecting and 'administering' that.  Pullman provides the 'accommodation' -- the sleeper space, the maintenance and setup, and the attendants that provide those services.  It' too, provided a conductor (to oversee the accommodations matters), but to the extent that any car required personnel to make it up for the night or put up the berths the next day, 'porters' would have done the work.

This would have been the heyday of the Society for the Prevention of Calling Sleeping Car Porters "George".  By 1926 that organization had succeeded in getting the Pullman Company to provide signs with the porters' right names in at least some of the cars.  It will be interesting to see how your travelers 'treat the help' in this era...

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Posted by m610 on Saturday, January 16, 2021 2:55 AM

I had heard the stories of all porters being called George, a custom that came from slave days. I had already decided that Anna, the mother, when the porter introduced himself as George as the family boarded, that she'd tell him flatly she would never call him that. The children would ask for an explanation, why Anna would not say his name. Later Anna will ask for his real name and she and the children would go by that. Meanwhile Elizabeth, the youngest and only 8, had a habit of wandering off and chatting up the other passengers, learning their names and such. She'd take a liking to their porter, and so on. The reaction of the other passengers seeing her fraternizing with a black man would tell the rest of the story.

People who knew Anna said she would never tolerate anyone denegrating another person and demanded that her children both show and expect respect. She was very stern in certain areas.

There are several themes I want to develop in this chapter, and this is one of them.

Mike

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