The Overland Limited

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The elimination of the Overland Limited was accomplished through two agencies: the disastrous decline in railroad passenger traffic everywhere that characterized the mid-fifties; and the willing, even enthusiastic co-operation of the Southern Pacific, a carrier never in recent years noted for optimism in the field of passenger transport. By 1947 there were four regularly scheduled trains a day between Chicago and California on the Overland route: the Fast Mail, which carried only a rider coach for passengers; the Gold Coast, a train of largely military clientele and such mediocrity of scheduling and equipment that it was widely known as “The Cold Roast”; the streamlined City of San Francisco; and the San Francisco Overland. The Gold Coast died a natural death, and, when the Overland ceased to run east of Ogden, the City absorbed the passenger business between San Francisco and Chicago in its entirety.

Finally, a year ago last July, the Interstate Commerce Commission granted a petition to discontinue even the San Francisco Overland except during summer and Christmas holiday seasons. Meanwhile the Overland Limited found its final repository in the historic annals of the West it had served so long and so usefully, and in the memories of sentimental men and women, where it will run forever, as a name too radiant to die.