Track 8 - The West and Southwest

This page takes in one of the broadest swaths of the United States, including most of the territory west of the Kansas-Colorado state line. (There are exceptions; through trains to and from the Pacific Northwest are included in Track 7 and anything south of the Santa Fe's "Transcon" freight line through Amarillo and Belen will be found on Track 9.)


The Trains:

The Butte Special

The Butte Special timetables have been moved to Track 7.

The California Limited

Santa Fe's first true luxury train was launched on November 27, 1892, and would continue in operation for the next sixty years (with a brief hiatus in 1896-1897) connecting Chicago, Kansas City and Los Angeles via Albuquerque.
California Express - January, 1889
California Limited - January, 1910
California Limited - December, 1952

The Chief

This train was the progenitor of one of if not the most successful luxury name train franchises in history. "Extra fast, extra fine, extra fare," it served Chicago, Kansas City and Los Angeles via Albuquerque and the Raton Pass route.
The Chief - January, 1927
The Chief - December, 1948

The City of Denver

Operated by Union Pacific and its partner railroads (C. & N. W./Milwaukee) between Chicago and Denver, this train was a direct competitor to the Denver Zephyr.
City of Denver - December, 1940
City of Denver - July, 1957 (Part of the Union Pacific 1957 Summer Tours series.)
April 1971 - See the "City of Everywhere" (Track 5)

The City of St. Louis

Union Pacific was the driving force behind this streamliner which connected St. Louis with Los Angeles via Kansas City, Denver, and Ogden/Salt Lake City—with some help from partner Wabash (later merged into Norfolk & Western) from St. Louis to Kansas City. Late in its life the service from St. Louis to Kansas City would be dropped and the train renamed City of Kansas City.
City of St. Louis - July, 1957 (Part of the Union Pacific 1957 Summer Tours series.)
City of St. Louis - June, 1967
April 1971 - See the "City of Everywhere" (Track 5)

The City of San Francisco

Throughout the streamliner era, this was the premier train on the Overland Route between Chicago and San Francisco via Omaha and Ogden. Operated jointly by Chicago & North Western/The Milwaukee Road, Union Pacific, and Southern Pacific.
City of San Francisco - September, 1938
City of San Francisco - July, 1957 (Part of the Union Pacific 1957 Summer Tours series.)
City of San Francisco - June, 1969
April 1971 - See the "City of Everywhere" (Track 5)

The Colorado Eagle

Missouri Pacific's entry into the streamliner market between St. Louis, Kansas City, and Denver, with a little help from partner Denver & Rio Grande Western west of Pueblo.
Colorado Eagle - August, 1944
Colorado Eagle - July 1957 (Part of the Union Pacific 1957 Summer Tours series.)

The Denver Zephyr

The original streamliner service on the Chicago-Omaha-Denver run, operated all the way by the Burlington.
Denver Zephyr - September, 1938
Denver Zephyr - May, 1957
Denver Zephyr - April, 1971

El Capitan

Santa Fe's all-coach speedster matched the Super Chief's schedule minute-for-minute between Chicago, Kansas City and Los Angeles via Raton Pass and Albuquerque.
El Capitan - September, 1938
El Capitan - July, 1956

The Grand Canyon Limited

Santa Fe operated this second-class workhorse of a train between Chicago, Los Angeles and (for a time) San Francisco. It operated in a northern section via the Raton Pass route and a southern section via Amarillo and the Belen Cutoff. Stripped of its name, it would become the very last pre-Amtrak passenger train to operate.
Grand Canyon Limited - August, 1944
Grand Canyon - July, 1966
Santa Fe Train Nos. 23 and 24 - April, 1971

The Los Angeles Limited

Inaugurated shortly after the completion of the Los Angeles & Salt Lake line, this was the top name train on Union Pacific's Chicago-Los Angeles run until the coming of the streamlined City of Los Angeles. It would continue to run in secondary service through much of the streamliner era.
Los Angeles Limited - January, 1927
Union Pacific Trains 7-5 and 6-8 - July, 1957 (Part of the Union Pacific 1957 Summer Tours series.)

The Overland Limited

The original name train on the Overland Route was eclipsed by the City of San Francisco during the streamliner era, but still provided fine service in its secondary role. Operated by Chicago & North Western, Union Pacific, and Southern Pacific between Chicago and San Francisco via Omaha and Ogden.
Passenger Express - June, 1869
San Francisco Overland Limited - January, 1927
Overland Limited - July, 1954
U. P. Trains 27 & 28/Streamliner San Francisco Overland - July, 1957

The Rio Grande Zephyr

This remnant of the former California Zephyr service would operate as a day train between Denver and Salt Lake City until 1983...but Never On Wednesday!
California Service/Rio Grande Zephyr - April, 1971

The Rocky Mountain Rocket

Rock Island's westernmost Rocket provided the only direct through service between Chicago and Colorado Springs, with sections to Denver and from Kansas City.
Rocky Mountain Rocket - June, 1941

The Royal Gorge

It was perhaps the longest way to travel from Denver to Salt Lake City, but it traversed some of the most spectacular railroad scenery on the North American continent. Operated by the Denver & Rio Grande Western.
Royal Gorge/The Prospector - May, 1957
Royal Gorge/The Prospector - July, 1957 (Part of the Union Pacific 1957 Summer Tours series.)

The San Francisco Chief

Santa Fe's final member of the Chief franchise connected Chicago and San Francisco via a roundabout routing through Wichita, Amarillo, Belen and Tehachapi.
San Francisco Chief - July, 1954
San Francisco Chief - June, 1965
San Francisco Chief - April, 1971

The San Juan Express

Passenger service over Denver & Rio Grande's narrow-gauge empire between Denver, Alamosa, and Durango, with connections for Santa Fe and Silverton.
 San Juan Express - June, 1941

The Scout

Originally making its debut as a secondary train connecting Chicago with Los Angeles via Topeka and Raton, it was eventually re-purposed as a train for economy-minded travelers and women traveling with children or alone operating on the Belen Cutoff route via Amarillo.
The Scout/The Missionary - June, 1916

The Utah Parks Special

Union Pacific's service from their western hub in Salt Lake City to Cedar City, Utah, which was their gateway to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks as well as the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Utah Parks Special - July, 1957 (Part of the Union Pacific 1957 Summer Tours series.)

The Yellowstone Special - See the Butte Special on Track 7.

See Also:

Track 5:  The California Zephyr, City of Los Angeles and the Super Chief
Track 7: The Butte Special and Yellowstone Special
Track 9:  The Golden State and the Imperial
Track 12: The Chili Line, the Silverton, the Steptoe Valley Flyer, and the Virginia & Truckee RR

All comments, original material and page design copyright 2006-2015 by Eric H. Bowen. Page created 2007-10-25. Modified 2016-07-04.