The Shasta hit the rails in the spring of 1949, twelve years after the SP had started its Daylight. In that amount of time the Daylight fleet was a national sensation and the SP soon realized that it had another hit with the Shasta.
The train operated between Oakland/San Francisco and Portland, a
distance of a little over 700 miles and just like the regional Daylights the Shasta featured spectacular scenery along its entire route. Also just like the original Daylights the Shasta was clad in the “Daylight”
livery of red, orange, and black and hauled by either EMD E-series or
Alco PA diesels (the PA is arguably the most beautiful diesel-electric
ever built). Listed as Trains #9 and #10 on the Southern Pacific's official timetable the Shasta Daylight departed Portland, Oregon at 7:45 am heading south towards California.
(The below Shasta Daylight timetable is dated effective August of 1950. For additional timetable and consist information please click here.)
|Read Down Time/Leave (Train #9)
Time/Arrive (Train #10)
|7:45 AM (Dp)||0.0||Portland, OR (Union Station)||11:15 PM (Ar)|
|9:00 AM||53||Salem, OR||9:56 PM|
|9:29 AM||80||Albany, OR||9:26 PM|
|10:10 AM (Ar)||124||Eugene, OR||8:42 PM (Dp)|
|10:13 AM (Dp)||124||Eugene, OR||8:39 PM (Ar)|
|2:13 PM (Ar)||318||Klamath Falls, OR||4:41 PM (Dp)|
|2:23 PM (Dp)||318||Klamath Falls, OR||4:31 PM (Ar)|
|4:50 PM (Ar)||425||Dunsmuir, CA||2:06 PM (Dp)|
|5:00 PM (Dp)||425||Dunsmuir, CA||1:56 PM (Ar)|
|6:30 PM||482||Redding, CA||12:26 PM|
|7:15 PM (Ar)||526||Gerber, CA||11:40 AM (Dp)|
|7:20 PM (Dp)||526||Gerber, CA||11:35 AM (Ar)|
|9:04 PM (Ar)||639||Davis, CA||9:52 AM (Dp)|
|9:06 PM (Dp)||639||Davis, CA||9:49 AM (Ar)|
|9:49 PM||683||Martinez, CA||9:05 AM|
|10:26 PM||709||Berkeley, CA (University Avenue)||8:30 AM|
|10:35 PM||712||Oakland, CA (16th Street Station)||8:23 AM|
|10:45 PM (Ar)||714||Oakland Pier, CA||8:23 AM (Dp)|
|10:55 PM (Dp)||714||Oakland Pier, CA (Ferry)||8:15 AM (Ar)|
|11:15 PM (Ar)||718||San Francisco, CA (Ferry Building)||7:45 PM (Dp)|
After a stop in Martinez, California to pick up/drop
off passengers connecting to or from Los Angeles the train continued on
to Oakland and arrive at San Francisco just after 11 pm the same day
(if one continued on to Los Angeles they could expect to arrive there by
later morning the following day).
Along the way the train passed through beautiful northern California and then through the Cascades along the way passing locations
like Mount Hood, Odell Lake, Crater Lake, and other spectacular
features of the Pacific Northwest. What the made the trip even that
much more memorable was the extra large windows built into the
Pullman-Standard cars for maximum
sightseeing and outdoor viewing. Overall the train could average about
46 mph during its trip and complete the journey in under 16 hours.
Inside the train was no less spectacular. Featuring diners,
lounges, and parlor-observations that were stylized for the local
regions the train served, a trait that most certainly increased the
train’s popularity. However, the Shasta's most striking
feature was an articulated, two or three-car diner-tavern-lounge that
offered open, unimpeded space between all three cars due to a new design
feature from Pullman-Standard (whom the Southern Pacific purchased all
of their passenger equipment from) which removed the bulkheads between
cars and created an open walkway space between them to look as if all
three were one. As with the rest of the Daylight fleet the Shasta was completely air-conditioned, still a rather uncommon accommodation when the train debuted in the late 1940s.
The Daylight fleet remained very successful through the early
1960s but even the Southern Pacific with its vast array of popular and
extravagant passenger trains just could not compete with the age of the automobile and super-fast jet airliner. Most of the SP’s Daylight fleet had disappeared by the time of Amtrak in 1971, although its original, now named the Coast Daylight remained and was initially kept under Amtrak although was eventually terminated in favor of the Coast Starlight.
This new train now operates over the Southern Pacific’s old tracks
between LA and Portland, following virtually the same route as the Shasta Daylight and is today one of Amtrak’s most popular trains.
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