Golden Gate To Portland Glorious Rail Journey, Published 30 August 1956

Aboard Shasta Daylight - A the long shadows of evening caress this beatiful (sic) red and gold streamliner, I am winding up one of the most romantic rides anybody can have on the North American continent. Between breakfast and a late supper I am going from palms to pines; I am making the glorious rail journey from the Golden Gate to the City of Roses, Portland.
Every inch of this trip is exciting. First I took the ferry boat this morning across San Francisco Bay, past Alcatraz, and over to Oakland Mole. There I got aboard the Shasta Daylight. This streamliner is a gadgeteer's dream. First of all, the baggage is hoisted aboard on a private elevator. A lift for the luggage but the passengers have to make it on Shank's Mare. Then the doors have a fingr (sic) tip touch which opens them magically. There are two diners back to back connected with a full kitchen car. The head diner is a coffee shop and cheaper; the rear one is a full 14-table diner with table cloths and higher prices.
The train first cleared Oakland, running along shimmering San Francisco Bay, with a full view of San Quentin where the quail come from. Then the noble, sky-splitting campanile on University of California's campus, before we plunged Inland through yellow slopes and quivering eucalyptus till we by passed Sacramento and headed north to Portland. Though cool inside the train it was an easy 100 outside, a fact I easily checked when I left our observation car at Redding and stepped Into Nebuchadnezzar's Seven Times heated furnace.
It seems to me the real thrill however, starts at Dunsmuir. Here you are already 2,286 feet above sea level. You have taken a casual glance at Mount Lassen, only active volanco left in United States, its cold cone idle up there in the clouds. But now, as Mount Shasta for your chaperone, you have to cut circles like Barbara Ann Scott as you tackle the high mountains. For within 43 miles, you have to climb to the summit at Grass Lake, California, at 5,063 feet. In my next column, we'll climb that 2,717 feet.

Up And Over The Peak Aboard Shasta Daylight, Published 31 August 1956

Aboard Shasta Daylight. Here we are a yellow and red snake picking our way out of Dunsmuir, California, and soaring toward the mile summit. The Shasta Daylight with her three powerful diesels has scorned any helpers to boost her over the hill and here we go. To reach the top you pass yourself a couple of times and there is one place outside Dunsmuir, where, at least in winter, you can see three different layers of the Southern Pacific as it searches for the sky. Up it goes and round, till at long last it crawls over the top and starts to scurry for Klamath Falls.
I said that Mount Shasta chaperones the train. It is true enough. You can look out the window any window any time, any side, and there is the snow covered Shasta. It is only later on in the afternoon when you seem to have spent three hours going round it that you find the north slopes are adorned with live glaciers, and garnished with small volcanic outlets. The latter you cannot see giving off jets of live steam and molten sulphur.
For some reason, the train newsie did not announce the precise location of the Oregon-California border, but I did see the wayside "customs" station at the border on Highway 99 where all vehicular traffic must stop for a bad mannered and humiliating inspection.
Then Klamath Falls, a lumbering city 4,105 feet above sea level on beautiful Klamath Lake which must be about 15 miles long. Here the Shasta Daylight makes its longest stop of the trip, a full 10 minutes, where our thirstly diesels gulp 1.500 gallons of oil.
On the train goes through the fine firs of Southern Oregon. It creeps over the Cascade Summit at 4,885 feet altitude, then roars down toward civilization at Eugene. Here is the University of Oregon, here once more civilization dutifully assumes the conventional squares and rectangles of civilization, city wise and country wise.
The lights come on, night swallows Oregon, and that bright spot you see is the flood-lit state capital at Salem. Then triumphantly the long 17-car streamliner makes its last ellipse of the day into Portland. It is a half hour short of midnight, and between breakfast and now we have covered 771 miles. The romantic run from the orange groves is all over. Change here for Canada.

Home   Circle   Cross Articles

Updated 27 May 2019