Friday, March 27, 2009

Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway

My dad went to work for the Santa Fe Railway in 1961. Historically, that's interesting because the railroad was started 98 years before by Cyrus K. Holliday. But we're not really into that kind of history on this site because that has very little to do with anything that happened later.

The railroad was a good job for a family man. One of the fringe benefits was a passenger train pass. When we lived in San Diego (and Oceanside, about 40 miles north) we often took a trip to Los Angeles Union Station. We'd walk to Chinatown to Philippe's Original to have a French dip sandwich. Then we'd ride home. Olvera Street is across from there. We lived in San Diego until 1962 and then in Oceanside until 1966, when we moved to Colton. Colton, which is near San Bernardino, is close enough to drive in less than an hour.

In 1971, passenger service was stopped on all major U.S. mainland railroads, with the exception of the Denver, and Rio Grande Western, and the Southern Railway. Eventually, those two railroads gave in (and actually faded away, as they were absorbed by the Union Pacific and Norfolk and Western lines). Watching the new trains of Amtrak was fun at that time, since they hadn't bought or repainted any of the rolling stock. It was sad in that there used to be seven trains (or more) between Los Angeles and Chicago. Today there are only two. A few years ago, there were three, with the Desert Wind going through Las Vegas, Nevada, and Salt Lake City, where it hooked up with the California Zephyr.

My dad had his problems with the railroad, as well as his health. He retired at the age of 63 in 1990 and died in 2007.

The Santa Fe Railroad died in 1995 when it merged with Burlington Northern.

So much for old Johnny Mercer songs!

No comments:

Post a Comment