Sticking to Southern Pacific tradition, as an overnight train the Cascade was not adorned in the railroad's beautiful Daylight livery (except for the locomotives). Instead, similar to the Lark (the overnight run between Oakland/San Francisco - Los Angeles), the train was clad in a unique two-tone grey scheme. Despite the Cascade's late-night status it was nearly on par with the Shasta offering a 16 1/2-hour schedule along the 718 mile corridor between Portland and Oakland. Additionally, its all-Pullman accommodations including sleepers in all of the popular arrangements (bedrooms, roomettes, compartments, and drawing rooms) with the most notable feature being a unique, three-car articulated kitchen-diner-lounge known as the Cascade Club (a similar setup operated on the Shasta).
(The below Cascade timetable is dated effective January 15, 1954.)
Time/Leave (Train #11)
Time/Arrive (Train #12)
|4:45 PM (Dp)||0.0||Portland, OR (Union Station) (PT)||9:20 AM (Ar)|
|5:55 PM||53||Salem, OR||8:02 AM|
|6:27 PM||80||Albany, OR||7:32 AM|
|7:09 PM (Ar)||124||Eugene, OR||6:52 AM (Dp)|
|7:14 PM (Dp)||124||Eugene, OR||6:45 AM (Ar)|
|244||Chemult, OR||3:46 AM|
|11:30 PM (Ar)||318||Klamath Falls, OR||2:30 AM (Dp)|
|11:40 PM (Dp)||318||Klamath Falls, OR||2:20 AM (Ar)|
|2:20 AM (Ar)||425||Dunsmuir, CA||11:50 PM (Dp)|
|2:30 AM (Dp)||425||Dunsmuir, CA||11:40 PM (Ar)|
|4:07 AM||482||Redding, CA||10:06 PM|
|4:55 AM (Ar)||526||Gerber, CA||9:20 PM (Dp)|
|5:00 AM (Dp)||526||Gerber, CA||9:15 PM (Ar)|
|6:42 AM (Ar)||639||Davis, CA||7:25 PM (Dp)|
|6:47 AM (Dp)||639||Davis, CA||7:20 PM (Ar)|
|7:08 AM||666||Suisun-Fairfield, CA|
|7:33 AM||683||Martinez, CA||6:35 PM|
|7:42 AM||689||Crockett, CA||6:30 PM|
|8:00 AM||703||Richmond, CA||5:59 PM|
|8:14 AM||709||Berkeley, CA||5:51 PM|
|8:25 AM||712||Oakland, CA (16th Street Station)||5:43 PM|
|8:35 AM||714||Oakland, CA (Oakland Pier)||5:35 PM|
|8:55 AM||714||Oakland Pier, CA (Ferry)||5:20 PM|
|9:15 AM (Ar)||718||San Francisco, CA (Market Street Station) (PT)||5:00 PM (Dp)|
In all, the train (listed on the timetable as #11, southbound, and #12 northbound) ran originally with a 13-car consist (a baggage, Railway Post Office, three sleepers, the Cascade Club, and additional five sleepers). Before the Espee took such a hardline approach to its passenger trains the railroad provided some of the most memorable and luxurious accommodations throughout the West. Its advertisement (featured above) describing the new Cascade made sure to mention these first-class services, "It will be just an overnight luxury jaunt between San Francisco and Portland via the faster, streamlined, Cascade!" Interestingly, the train's all-Pullman status was very brief as by October of 1950 a pair of coaches began running within the consist although neither ran through to Seattle.
As the public left the rails for highways and airlines in increasing numbers throughout the 1950s Southern Pacific grew disenchanted with passenger trains by the end of the decade. In 1959 it cutback the Shasta Daylight to a thrice-weekly schedule during the off season and five years later during 1964 reduced the once-proud train to a summer season-only operation. In 1967 SP discontinued it altogether. The Cascade fared a bit better but also saw its share of service reductions. By the 1960s the train had lost its interesting two-tone grey livery, replaced by an all-aluminum look with red trim (diesels were also reduced to an uninspiring grey and red livery). During 1966 through sleepers to Seattle were shed and a year later the widely popular three-car, articulated Cascade Club sadly came off.
In 1970 the Cascade was reduced to a thrice-weekly schedule, in which it remained until the start of Amtrak on May 1, 1971. Southern Pacific had attempted to end dining service on the train during the 1960s, replaced by vending machines, but was disallowed by the Oregon Public Utility Commission. It also tried to discontinue the train several times but was thwarted from doing so. During its final years the Cascade continued offering a diner-lounge, chair cars, and sleepers with roomettes and bedrooms until the end while porter service was also still available which is somewhat incredible considering SP's stance during those years. Today, Amtrak's Coast Starlight runs virtually the same corridor as well as a more southerly connection at Los Angeles.
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