National Geographic : 1962 Oct
ABOARD ONE OF THE WORLD'S GREAT TRAINS by POLLY NOYES Travel Editor, San FranciscoChronicle I returned, not long ago, from Chicago to San Francisco on the California Zephyr. And as the wheels clickity-clacked on the last lap of the trip toward the City by the Golden Gate I re flected that right here in our own American West is one of the great train journeys of the world. On one of the world's great trains. Over many years of travel I recalled as memo rable the rail journey through the Alps by way of the Gotthard tunnel; the Japanese-print land scape from the train window between Tokyo and Kyoto; the little train whipping up the valley of the Urubamba. I remembered the famous Blue Train from Paris to Nice on the Cote d'Azur. All were fun trips. But the trip I was just com pleting was second to none of them. Three railroads - the Burlington, the Rio Grande, and the Western Pacific - combine their services to make this travel adventure pos sible. Westbound or eastbound, scheduling is so arranged that you see the best of the West in daytime. Five cars with Vista-Domes give you a view of mountain scenery high as the sky - a camera fan's delight. Zephyrettes are an institution on this spacious train. These attractive girls are charged with duties ranging from handling dinner reservations to warming baby's bottle. You step into your roomette, bedroom or com partment; hang up a dress in your own closet; spread out your cosmetics in your own lavatory and prepare to enjoy everything from the music flooding your carpeted private room to coffee in bed in the morning. The ever-beautiful Colorado Rockies achieve fairyland enchantment during the winter season. At Denver, coming from Chicago, you are 1000 miles along your way, with San Francisco 1500 miles ahead. The best is yet to come ... up, up into the Colorado Rockies, country of deep red canyons, sky-high mountains, and tumbling streams. Tunnel after tunnel, including the six mile Moffat bore, through the Continental Divide. There are those who think this day of our jour ney the most fascinating; others for whom the highlight is the more than 100 miles the Cali fornia Zephyr winds down through the Sierra Nevada, following the turbulent Feather River. Deep green pools and white water rapids. Forests of spruce and pine. Near the headwaters of famous Feather River, the Vista-Dome streamliner crosses the Sierra Nevada and starts its journey down the entire length of FeatherRiver Canyon. It's no hardship, incidentally, to economize with a coach seat on this train. I went up front to try them. They recline to any position and have adjustable leg and foot rests. I felt right at home in the clever "San Francisco Cable Car Room" open to both Pullman and Coach passengers for inexpensive meals and drinks from 6 A. M. to midnight.Food is also reasonably priced in the Dining Car-gracious ly served at tables decked with colorful Colo rado carnations. Best time of year to make the trip? We asked our Zephyrette her favorite. "Fall," she said without hesitation, "when the aspens are brilliant gold. Though Spring with all the wild flowers is a lovely time, too." But it's hard to imagine anything more beautiful and exciting than a trip West through the snow covered mountains in the dead of Winter. You'll arrive completely relaxed, thrilled with the ex perience of traveling aboard one of the world's great trains . .. the California Zephyr. FREE COLORFUL LITERATURE - address California Zephyr, Dept. 622-NG, 547 West Jackson Blvd., Chicago 6, III.