See what 1950s train travel was like during railroad’s golden age

See what train travel in the 1950s was like during railroad's golden age

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What was 1950s train travel like, back when riding the railroad was more affordable — and sometimes more luxurious — than airplane travel? Here’s a look back at the fine dining, sleeper cars, a pub and more.

1950s train travel: How much did a train ticket cost in the 50s?

Back in 1955, a train fare from Chicago to Los Angeles cost $55.44 (plus tax) in Coach.

Four years later, in 1959, the Domeliner from Los Angeles to Chicago was $61.12 (plus tax and a small reserved seat charge), while the train fare between Los Angeles and St Louis cost $56.18.

Cost of train trip from Chicago to Los Angeles (1955)

Vacation bound? Let Union Pacific help you (1956)

The photos on this page portray the various National Parks and other western vacation regions served by our railroad. We have beautifully illustrated booklets describing each of these picturesque areas. Just mail the coupon.

The restful, enjoyable way to reach these vacation-lands is on one of our smartly appointed Domeliners or Streamliners. You’ll relax all the way. So, when you go, ask to be routed on Union Pacific.

Vacation bound Let Union Pacific help you - National parks (1956)

How Union Pacific’s Family Travel Plan gives you luxurious, restful travel at small cost (1956)

Now you and your family can enjoy the finest in rail travel — all its comforts and conveniences — at a remarkably big saving. Now there’s no need to drive your car for economy’s sake. No need to fight traffic, to worry about where to stay overnight.

Briefly, here’s the family plan. Only one parent pays full rail fare. Others in the family group pay one-half or one-quarter fare depending on age. Children under five years ride free… This money-saving plan applies on all Union Pacific Domeliners and Streamliners serving the scenic West.

For a relaxing vacation for all the family, go by rail — by Union Pacific. On arrival, you can rent a car for sightseeing. Ask your ticket or travel agent for full information.

ALSO SEE: Vintage travel posters: Captivating artwork featuring 50 fabulous places you could see by train or plane

Union Pacific's Family Travel Plan gives you luxurious, restful travel (1956)

Union Pacific railroad travel (1956)

On your vacation, take the children on the money-saving family travel plan

Union Pacific covers a number of western vacation regions. Among them are Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks — Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon National Parks – California and Pacific Northwest – Colorado mountain parks – Sun Valley, Idaho

A visit to any one will be an educational treat for the youngsters… an enjoyable experience for parents. And you can go in complete comfort on a Union Pacific Domeliner or Streamliner.

Union Pacific railroad travel (1956)

Turquoise room – Private dining room on Santa Fe Super Chief train (1951)

Entertain in the grand manner while en route between Chicago and Los Angeles — in a perfectly appointed private dining room for a party up to ten. The Turquoise Room in the new Lounge Car of the new Super Chief is the most distinctive social feature ever provided on any train.

You are invited to enjoy it, and the other new features on the beautiful new all-roorn Super Chief. For Turquoise Room reservations, just consult any Santa Fe ticket agent, or the dining-car steward on the Super Chief.

Turquoise room - Private dining room on Santa Fe Super Chief train (1951)

MORE: See trains from the 1940s, when passengers could ride the railroad in comfort & class

1950s train travel: Sleeping on New York Central (1952)

What other travel can match the slumber comfort of a New York Central hotel room on wheels? The soft, six-foot-plus bed. The air-conditioned climate set to your liking.

What other travel provides such a prelude to sleep? A leisurely, freshly prepared dinner, at a real table. Refreshments and relaxation in the lounge. A deep-down sense of security in any weather.

Child sleeping on New York Central train (1952)

Vintage Pullman trains for family travel (1955)

One of the good things of life any American family can enjoy

A thrilling adventure for youngsters, a restful treat for mother and dad. No other form of travel is so safe, so sure, so comfortable.

Have you been on a Pullman lately? Do you know the feeling of restful peace and quiet that comes to you — the moment you step aboard? Have you seen what modern design has done to make every minute of your trip one of pure enjoyment? Come aboard this modern miracle of safe, secure travel. Leave all your cares behind.

ALSO SEE: Vintage beauty cases & train cases: See luggage with fold-out trays from the olden days

Here in the privacy and cleanliness of your own accommodations, you’ll really live while traveling. Here is service that equals that of the finest hotels. Tempting foods in appetizing variety, served hot from spotless rolling kitchens. Cooked to a turn by expert chefs.

Here is complete relief from nervous tension, complete freedom from highway traffic hazards and weather worries. Here is air-conditioned comfort, adjustable to your own desires. And here is speed with safety. For Pullman is the fastest form of land travel — with no mile-wasting stops for eating and sleeping.

Nowhere in the world, will you find travel so suited to the needs and wishes of the American family. Nowhere, such a complete combination of comforts and services to make you all feel at home.

This year, when you plan your vacation, let your Pullman Ticket Agent tell you how little it costs to enjoy this family way of safe travel. Let him show you why Pullman travel is truly one of the good things of life every American family should enjoy.

HERE’S MEAL-MAGIC! Delicious food of your own selection, served hot, freshly-cooked in the friendly, inviting “dining room” of your train!

SLEEP COMES EASY in these man-size Pullman beds! Every attention at the push of a button. Forget highways, traffic, weather.

Vintage Pullman trains for family travel (1955)

The Pub on the Streamliner train City of Dover (c1956)

distinctive new dub car The PUB” is an invitation to relaxation on the Streamliner “City of Denver”‘ providing overnight every night service between Chicago and Denver for Pullman and Coach passengers. (Union Pacific Railroad)

The Pub on the Streamliner train City of Dover (c1956)

Roof garden dining on Union Pacific Astra Dome dining cars (1956)


Here it is! The first and only dining dome car between Chicago, Los Angeles and Portland


AND NOW THIS: See the luxurious old Deluxe Overland Limited trains, and what they looked like inside

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Comments on this story

One Response

  1. The Dome UP Diners were the best! They had all the comfort of the Sante Fe and the Western Pacific’s California Zephyr. The City of Los Angeles was faster too. Absolutely beautiful trains and well kept!

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