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A Few Funny Things about the Union Pacific Railroad in 1941

July 26, 2012 at 11:52 AM | by | ()

In the spring of 1941, the Union Pacific Railroad issued another of their full schedule booklets. The country was not yet at war, families were still heading off to vacation at National Parks and taking the train to reach them, and metal was for railroad tracks, not battleships. In the summer of 2012, the Union Pacific Railroad schedule booklet for spring 1941 fell into our hands, and we'd like to share a little bit of it with you now.

We've skipped past the timetables to focus directly on the ads that made up the final few pages, the ones advertising special services and upgrades.

What we're looking at below are seat reservation rates for the Pullman cars, slightly nicer seating which would be like today's Business Class. Looking at the $1.05 cost for a seat from Portland to Seattle, we were curious how it compares to today's price. Checking Amtrak, we note that the price for an upgrade to Business on the Portland-Seattle one-way is now $17. Seem about right.

Here's what really gets us about this timetable booklet—the little "Progressive" stamp on the ad below, implying that they're so forward-thinking just because they offer planning services to women travelers. And then, the reality sets in. Were it 1941, we could easily be one of those woman "travel experts" staffing the Union Pacific Women's Travel Department in Chicago. An intriguing thought that nearly sends us into Andrews Sisters-y daydreams.

And, finally, below we see Union Pacific's plea for continued settlement of the west. Take a one-way to "greater opportunities," it promises. We imagine Earle G. Reed and the sort of life he must've lead, sitting at his Omaha desk receiving calls from curious and ambitious men on the cusp of making a difficult decision for the good of their families. We hope Mr. Reed advised them towards SoCal versus western Wyoming!

[Scans: Jaunted]

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