California Zephyr

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California Zephyr
Amtrak California Zephyr Green River - Floy, Utah.jpg
Westbound California Zephyr in front of the Book Cliffs in Utah
Overview
Service typeInter-city rail
LocaleWestern United States
PredecessorSan Francisco Zephyr/Rio Grande Zephyr
First serviceApril 24, 1983
Current operator(s)Amtrak
Average ridership973 daily
355,324(FY11)[1]
Route
StartChicago, Illinois
No. of intermediate stops33
EndEmeryville, California
Distance travelled2,438 miles (3,924 km)
Service frequencyDaily
Train number(s)5, 6
Technical
Rolling stockSuperliner sleepers and coaches
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Operating speed55 mph (average, including stops)
Track owner(s)UP and BNSF
Route map
Distance     Station
Unknown BSicon "INTACCa"
0      Chicago
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
28 mi (45 km)Naperville
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
104 mi (167 km)Princeton
Stop on track
162 mi (261 km)Galesburg
Unrestricted border on track
Illinois/Iowa border
Station on track
205 mi (330 km)Burlington
Stop on track
233 mi (375 km)Mount Pleasant
Stop on track
279 mi (449 km)Ottumwa
Stop on track
359 mi (578 km)Osceola
Stop on track
392 mi (631 km)Creston
Unrestricted border on track
Iowa/Nebraska border
Station on track
500 mi (805 km)Omaha
Stop on track
555 mi (893 km)Lincoln
Stop on track
652 mi (1,049 km)Hastings
Stop on track
706 mi (1,136 km)Holdrege
Stop on track
783 mi (1,260 km)McCook
Unrestricted border on track
Nebraska/Colorado border
Stop on track
960 mi (1,545 km)Fort Morgan
Unknown BSicon "ACC"Urban railway
1,038 mi (1,670 km)Denver Union Station
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
1,100 mi (1,770 km)Fraser-Winter Park
Stop on track
1,113 mi (1,791 km)Granby
Station on track
1,223 mi (1,968 km)Glenwood Springs
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
1,311 mi (2,110 km)Grand Junction
Unrestricted border on track
Colorado/Utah border
Stop on track
1,417 mi (2,280 km)Green River
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
1,488 mi (2,395 km)Helper
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
1,563 mi (2,515 km)Provo
Unknown BSicon "ACC"Urban railway
1,608 mi (2,588 km)Salt Lake City
Unrestricted border on track
Utah/Nevada border
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
1,871 mi (3,011 km)Elko
Stop on track
2,013 mi (3,240 km)Winnemucca
Unknown BSicon "ACC"Bus station
2,202 mi (3,544 km)Reno
Unrestricted border on track
Nevada/California border
Stop on track
2,237 mi (3,600 km)Truckee
Stop on track
2,301 mi (3,703 km)Colfax
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
2,336 mi (3,759 km)Roseville
Unknown BSicon "ACC"Urban railway
2,353 mi (3,787 km)Sacramento
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
2,367 mi (3,809 km)Davis Railroad Depot
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
2,411 mi (3,880 km)Martinez
Stop on track
2,430 mi (3,911 km)Richmond
Unknown BSicon "KACCe"
2,438 mi (3,924 km)Emeryville
 
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California Zephyr
Amtrak California Zephyr Green River - Floy, Utah.jpg
Westbound California Zephyr in front of the Book Cliffs in Utah
Overview
Service typeInter-city rail
LocaleWestern United States
PredecessorSan Francisco Zephyr/Rio Grande Zephyr
First serviceApril 24, 1983
Current operator(s)Amtrak
Average ridership973 daily
355,324(FY11)[1]
Route
StartChicago, Illinois
No. of intermediate stops33
EndEmeryville, California
Distance travelled2,438 miles (3,924 km)
Service frequencyDaily
Train number(s)5, 6
Technical
Rolling stockSuperliner sleepers and coaches
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Operating speed55 mph (average, including stops)
Track owner(s)UP and BNSF
Route map
Distance     Station
Unknown BSicon "INTACCa"
0      Chicago
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
28 mi (45 km)Naperville
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
104 mi (167 km)Princeton
Stop on track
162 mi (261 km)Galesburg
Unrestricted border on track
Illinois/Iowa border
Station on track
205 mi (330 km)Burlington
Stop on track
233 mi (375 km)Mount Pleasant
Stop on track
279 mi (449 km)Ottumwa
Stop on track
359 mi (578 km)Osceola
Stop on track
392 mi (631 km)Creston
Unrestricted border on track
Iowa/Nebraska border
Station on track
500 mi (805 km)Omaha
Stop on track
555 mi (893 km)Lincoln
Stop on track
652 mi (1,049 km)Hastings
Stop on track
706 mi (1,136 km)Holdrege
Stop on track
783 mi (1,260 km)McCook
Unrestricted border on track
Nebraska/Colorado border
Stop on track
960 mi (1,545 km)Fort Morgan
Unknown BSicon "ACC"Urban railway
1,038 mi (1,670 km)Denver Union Station
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
1,100 mi (1,770 km)Fraser-Winter Park
Stop on track
1,113 mi (1,791 km)Granby
Station on track
1,223 mi (1,968 km)Glenwood Springs
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
1,311 mi (2,110 km)Grand Junction
Unrestricted border on track
Colorado/Utah border
Stop on track
1,417 mi (2,280 km)Green River
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
1,488 mi (2,395 km)Helper
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
1,563 mi (2,515 km)Provo
Unknown BSicon "ACC"Urban railway
1,608 mi (2,588 km)Salt Lake City
Unrestricted border on track
Utah/Nevada border
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
1,871 mi (3,011 km)Elko
Stop on track
2,013 mi (3,240 km)Winnemucca
Unknown BSicon "ACC"Bus station
2,202 mi (3,544 km)Reno
Unrestricted border on track
Nevada/California border
Stop on track
2,237 mi (3,600 km)Truckee
Stop on track
2,301 mi (3,703 km)Colfax
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
2,336 mi (3,759 km)Roseville
Unknown BSicon "ACC"Urban railway
2,353 mi (3,787 km)Sacramento
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
2,367 mi (3,809 km)Davis Railroad Depot
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
2,411 mi (3,880 km)Martinez
Stop on track
2,430 mi (3,911 km)Richmond
Unknown BSicon "KACCe"
2,438 mi (3,924 km)Emeryville

The California Zephyr is a passenger train operated by Amtrak between Chicago, Illinois and Emeryville, California, passing through the states of Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California. At 2,438 miles (3,924 km) it is Amtrak's longest route and is also one of the most scenic, with views of the upper Colorado River valley in the Rocky Mountains, and the Sierra Nevada.[2]

Prior to the formation of Amtrak, the California Zephyr (the CZ, or "Silver Lady") was a passenger train operated jointly by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad (CB&Q), Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW) and Western Pacific Railroad (WP). The CB&Q, D&RGW and WP christened "the most talked about train in America" on March 19, 1949 with the first departure the following day. It was purposefully scheduled so that the train passed through the most spectacular scenery in the daylight. The original train ceased operations in 1970, with the D&RGW continuing to operate its own passenger train service, the Rio Grande Zephyr, between Salt Lake City and Denver using the original equipment until 1983. Since 1983 the California Zephyr name has been applied to the current Amtrak service, which operates daily and is a hybrid route between the route of the original Zephyr and that of its former rival, the City of San Francisco.

During fiscal year 2011, the California Zephyr carried over 350,000 passengers, a decrease of 6% from FY2010. The train had a total revenue of $44,751,539 during FY2011, which is a 2.3% increase from FY2010.[1]

Contents

The original California Zephyr

The train in Altamont, California prior to its first run in 1949.
The Vista-Dome coach "Silver Scout."
Inaugural 1949 consist
  • Baggage
  • Vista-Dome chair car
  • Vista-Dome chair car
  • Vista-Dome chair car
  • Vista-Dome dormitory-buffet-lounge car
  • Sleeper (10 roomettes, 6 double bedrooms)
  • Sleeper (10 roomettes, 6 double bedrooms)
  • Diner (48 seats)
  • Sleeper (16 sections)
  • Sleeper (10 roomettes, 6 double bedrooms)
  • Vista-Dome dormitory-buffet-lounge-observation (1 drawing room, 3 double bedrooms)
[3]

The original California Zephyr ran over the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad from Chicago to Denver, Colorado, the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad between Denver and Salt Lake City, Utah, and the Western Pacific Railroad from Salt Lake City to Oakland, California. Cars owned by different railroads ran together; cars cycled in and out of the consists for service, repairs, and varying passenger loads with the seasons.

The first train was christened in San Francisco by Eleanor Parker while California Lieutenant Governor Goodwin Knight, Mayor of San Francisco Elmer Robinson, and WP President Harry A. Mitchell looked on. For the inaugural run in 1949, every female passenger on the train was given a corsage of "silver" and orange orchids that were specially flown in from Hilo, Hawaii. The women who worked as car hostesses on this train were known as "Zephyrettes."[4]:68

In summer 1954 the schedule for 2532 miles Chicago to San Francisco was 50 hr 50 min.

An eastbound California Zephyr traveling through Ruby Canyon saw the train's its first on-train birth on March 1, 1955, when Reed Zars was born.

The Zephyr was not immune to the decline of passenger train travel in the 1960s. The Western Pacific applied to discontinue its portion in 1966 but the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) refused after public outcry. The D&RGW made the same request in 1969 and in 1970 the ICC finally permitted the Western Pacific to end its portion, provided that the D&RGW and Burlington provide "some semblance of [service]" between Chicago and Ogden, Utah. The last westbound California Zephyr through to the west coast departed Chicago on March 22, 1970 and arrived in Oakland two days later. The California Zephyr had operated for 21 years and 2 days. East of Salt Lake City the train was reduced to a tri-weekly schedule, operating as California Service on the Burlington and as the Rio Grande Zephyr on the Rio Grande. The Rio Grande portion of the train was extended beyond Salt Lake to Ogden, Utah, allowing Nevada and California passengers to connect to the Southern Pacific Railroad's City of San Francisco. This continued until the creation of Amtrak on May 1, 1971.[4]:69-70

Equipment used

The Budd Company manufactured six ten-car trainsets; three went to the Burlington, two to the Western Pacific and one to the Rio Grande. In line with the train's sightseeing schedule, each set included five of the new "Vista-Domes" (three coaches, a dormitory-lounge, and a dormitory-observation car). The California Zephyr was the first long-distance train to carry domes in regular service.[4]:68

The forward section of the first Vista-Dome car was partitioned off and reserved for women and children. There was a door in the corridor under the dome just behind the women's restroom to the reserved section. Early on, this reserved section was opened up to all passengers and the door and partitions were removed. Ownership of the cars was split between the three railroads almost evenly across all car types. Each car was owned by one railroad, but the ownership of the cars in any one day's train depended more on what was available at the terminals than whose railroad the train was operating over.

Generally positioned as the second Vista Dome coach was the car referred to as the "Conductor's Car". This car was like the other Vista Dome coaches, except in the B end, was a small booth with a bench seat and desk for the Conductor.

In 1952 another Pullman sleeper (6 double bedrooms - 5 compartments) was added. With the new cars delivered that year, cars arriving in Chicago on the California Zephyr were made available for use on the Ak-Sar-Ben Zephyr for an overnight round trip to Lincoln, Nebraska. When the cars returned from Lincoln the next day they were placed back in the westbound California Zephyr's consist for the next train out of Chicago that afternoon.

"Zephyrettes"

‹The template Citation needed span is being considered for possible deletion.› The California Zephyr was marketed (especially to families) as "...a vacation unto itself." Train hostesses, while not new to the industry in the late 1940s, were elevated to a new level on the CZ in the form of the "Zephyrette." The "Zephyrettes" functioned as social directors, tour guides, babysitters, nurses—in short, they filled just about any role required to ensure that the passengers had a memorable trip. A pool of about twelve women was assigned at any one time to the CZ in this capacity.[citation needed] When Amtrak revived the California Zephyr in 1983 it invited one of the original "Zephyrettes", Beulah Bauman, to host the first trip.[5]

A pair of the Western Pacific's Budd Rail Diesel Cars (RDCs), replacements for the discontinued Royal Gorge (trains No. 1 and 2) also picked up the name "Zephyrette."[6]:26 These were in service between September 17, 1950 and October 2, 1960[citation needed]

Amtrak era

An EMD FP7 and two EMD SDP40Fs pull the eastbound San Francisco Zephyr through the Yuba Gap in 1975.

Amtrak intended to revive the California Zephyr as part its original route network in 1971, using a combination of the Burlington Northern east of Denver, the Rio Grande between Denver and Ogden, and the Southern Pacific west of Ogden, Utah. At the last minute the Rio Grande refused to join Amtrak, forcing Amtrak's new train on to the Union Pacific's Overland Route through Wyoming instead of Colorado. After several false starts Amtrak dubbed this service the San Francisco Zephyr, paying homage to both the California Zephyr and the San Francisco Chief. The Rio Grande continued to operate the Rio Grande Zephyr between Denver and Ogden.[7]:136-137

In 1983 the D&RGW reversed its earlier opposition and elected to join Amtrak, citing increasing losses in passenger operations. Amtrak re-routed the San Francisco Zephyr over the D&RGW's main line between Denver and Salt Lake City, Utah, its original preference from 1971. The change was initially scheduled for April 25, but a mudslide at Thistle, Utah closed the D&RGW's main line and delayed the change until July 16. With the change of route, Amtrak reinstated the California Zephyr name.[8][9] The train operates on the former Western Pacific's Central Corridor until central Nevada, changing to the Overland Route by the time the train reaches Winnemucca. As the two lines operate in a directional running setup across central Nevada, the exact spot the train switches lines is different depending on the direction of travel.[10]

A small blurb in the July 2010 Trains magazine stated that this train is listed not only for route improvement, but also to host a second route, the discontinued Desert Wind route.[11] The following is what is listed for the Zephyr route:

The Zephyr was involved in a notable collision on June 24, 2011 when a semi truck struck a westbound train about 70 miles (113 km) miles east of Reno, Nevada. Six people were killed, including the truck driver and an Amtrak conductor, and dozens were injured. The resulting fire destroyed two rail cars.[12] Witnesses reported that the crossing gates were functioning properly and that the truck driver tried to stop prior to the collision.[13]

Route description

A pre-Amtrak California Zephyr in the Feather River Canyon.

Leaving Chicago's Union Station the Willis Tower can be glimpsed as the train passes urban industrial zones and bricked residential streets. The Chicago suburbs are expansive but traversed within the first hour of the train's journey, stopping once in Naperville, Illinois.

Heading west from Chicago there are many small towns as the train crosses the great plains towards Denver. The Burlington Rail Bridge across the Mississippi River affords a view of Burlington, Iowa and marks the state line between Illinois and Iowa.

At Denver the California Zephyr departs BNSF Railway-owned track. From Denver west, the train runs along the Union Pacific Railroad's Central Corridor. The scenery changes dramatically departing Denver as the train climbs the Rocky Mountains. After going through the Tunnel District then crossing the Continental Divide via the Moffat Tunnel under James Peak, the tracks follow the Colorado River for several hours. Passengers can see the transition from a narrow, whitewater river (popular with rafters, who habitually moon the train as it passes) to a much wider stream past Glenwood Canyon and Interstate 70 toward Grand Junction. The train finally departs the now much larger Colorado River after exiting Ruby Canyon which is also where the train enters Utah.

In Utah the train follows the southern rim of the Book Cliffs to their end near Helper. The train then crosses the Wasatch Mountains, cresting at Soldier Summit. After passing the Wasatch the train arrives at the Wasatch Front where most of the population of Utah is located.

Once the train reaches Salt Lake City the train loosely follows Interstate 80 until the terminus of the train in California. Both the freeway and railroad pass along the south shore of the Great Salt Lake and across the Bonneville Salt Flats towards Nevada.

The Humboldt River provides the path across most of Nevada. However, before the train reaches the Humboldt river, it crosses through 2 mountain ranges, tunneling under the Pequop Mountains. The tracks cross the center of the Forty Mile Desert, on the other side of this desert valley is the Truckee River which provides the train's path to Reno and up the Sierra Nevada in California.

In California, the train crests the Sierra Nevada at Donner Pass and descends following a high ridge between the American and Yuba Rivers. Eventually, the California Zephyr reaches the lowland areas of the California Central Valley. The trip ends in Emeryville, a suburb of Oakland. From Emeryville the free Emery Go Round shuttle connects passengers to the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system, or a Thruway Motorcoach provides connecting service to downtown San Francisco (with sweeping city views along the way).

The original California Zephyr used the Feather River Route as its path through the Sierra Nevada. The rails are still in use for freight; however, anyone wishing to see this portion of the original route must now use State Route 70 which runs parallel to the old Western Pacific track.

Preservation and surviving equipment

The former California Zephyr dome coach "Silver Lariat" en route to Oakland on the Coast Starlight at San Luis Obispo.
A former California Zephyr dome car in service with the Inland Lakes Railway at Plymouth, Florida.

The high quality Budd built cars of the "California Zephyr" have proven to be popular with private car owners. Today, several former California Zephyr cars operate in private charter service on Amtrak, including dome-observation car "Silver Solarium",[14]:155 dome-coach "Silver Lariat", sleepers "Silver Rapids" and "Silver Quail" and a dome lounge now known as the "Sierra Hotel".

Six museums currently hold equipment once used on the California Zephyr:

Replicas

A non-functional replica of the California Zephyr was located at Disney California Adventure Park theme park in Anaheim, California. The train served as the location of Baker's Field Bakery and Bur-r-r Bank Ice Cream counter service cafes at the Sunshine Plaza main entrance area of the park. The exhibit closed on July 31, 2011, as part of a reconstruction of the attraction. Disney donated the replica to the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in Portola, California.[16]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Amtrak Ridership Rolls Up Best-Ever Records" (PDF). Amtrak. October 13, 2011. http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/BlobServer?blobcol=urldata&blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobkey=id&blobwhere=1249232964000&blobheader=application%2Fpdf&blobheadername1=Content-disposition&blobheadervalue1=attachment;filename=Amtrak_ATK-11-133_Record_FY11_Ridership_and_Revenue.pdf. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
  2. ^ Amtrak. "California Zephyr". http://www.amtrak.com/california-zephyr-train. Retrieved 2013-02-05.
  3. ^ Brehm, Frank. "California Zephyr Consists". Western Pacific Online. http://www.wplives.com/operations/passenger/cz/equipment/CZConsists.html. Retrieved 2013-02-05.
  4. ^ a b c Schafer, Mike and Joe Welsh (1997). Streamliners: History of a Railroad Icon. MBI Publishing Co., St. Paul, MN. ISBN 0-7603-1371-7. http://books.google.com/books?id=qqBLFo5kHjgC.
  5. ^ "New Amtrak train christened Zephyr". Gadsden Times. July 17, 1983. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=j54fAAAAIBAJ&sjid=B9YEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2198,2485019. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  6. ^ Humbert, James E. "Railroading in the Feather River Canyon: Past, Present, and Future". Prototype Modeler: 21-27; 44. http://www.trainlife.com/magazines/pages/826/53395/october-1985-page-21.
  7. ^ Sanders, Craig (2006). Amtrak in the Heartland. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-34705-X.
  8. ^ "Scenic route to be taken by Amtrak". Eugene Register-Guard. March 17, 1983. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=1MoTAAAAIBAJ&sjid=QOIDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3725,3891013&dq=san-francisco-zephyr&hl=en. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
  9. ^ "Last passenger trains rolling across Wyoming". Spokesman-Review. July 13, 1983. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=6OsRAAAAIBAJ&sjid=re4DAAAAIBAJ&pg=7126,6604371&dq=san-francisco-zephyr&hl=en. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
  10. ^ Benchmark Maps (2003). Nevada Road and Recreation Atlas (Map). 1:250000 (2003 ed.). pp. 41–44. ISBN 0-929591-81-X. http://www.benchmarkmaps.com.
  11. ^ "Amtrak Trains Under the Microscope in 2010", Trains, July 2010, 20.
  12. ^ Sonner, Scott (June 26, 2011). "Officials confirm 6 dead in Nevada Amtrak crash". Associated Press. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_AMTRAK_TRUCK_CRASH?SITE=NCBER&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT. Retrieved June 26, 2011.
  13. ^ Stark, Lisa and Lauren Vance (June 26, 2011). "Amtrak Crash Death Toll Rises; Truck Driver Investigated". ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/US/amtrak-crash-death-toll-rises-truck-driver-investigated/story?id=13930136. Retrieved June 26, 2011.
  14. ^ Zimmermann, Karl (2004). Burlington's Zephyrs. Voyageur Press. http://books.google.com/books?id=4O7bl6xzoQkC.
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ Weiss, Werner (May 8, 2012). "Golden Gate Bridge at Yesterland". Yesterland. http://yesterland.com/goldengate.html. Retrieved 2013-02-06.

External links