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Does current California Zephyr have any similarities to the orginal?


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#1 Seany-V

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 03:55 AM

Hello all,

 

Does anybody know of any similarities between the Original California Zephyr and the current Amtrak one? or have a direction I can go in to find out. 

 

 

Specifically if the the train uses stainless steel around the body? 

 

I know they take a similar route, but struggling to find similarities in the train itself.

 

Currently researching for a TV  show on railways, so any help will be greatly appreciated!

 



#2 PaTrainFan

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 05:36 AM

I was fortunate enough to ride the original Zephyr as a child and the experience is with me to this day. Very few similarities outside of the name. Stainless steel may be about it. If you Google it you will find a wealth of information on the original Zephyr including where many of the cars reside now. Even the route west of Utah is different now than the original, though the schedule through the Rockies is similar. The domes and the observation car, not to mention superior service, are what made the original Zephyr a class unto itself. The dining experience of today cannot be compared with the original. The current Zephyr has its own charm with bi level cars and a very nice lounge, but it just isn't the same. 



#3 Seaboard92

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 08:40 AM

There is a good website that hasn't been updated in forever and that's the California Zephyr Virtual Museum. And I will go out there and say the stainless is not the same Budd Pattern that was originally used. A lot of former CZ cars are in charter service or preserved.

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Amtrak Routes I've riden: Silver Star(NYP-ORL), Silver Meteor(KIS-NYP),Carolinian(CLT-NWK), Palmetto (FLO-NYP), Acela(WAS-NYP), NE Regional(WBG-RVR), Pacific Surfliner(SAN-OSD), Piedmont(CLT-SAL), Crescent(NYP-CLT), Cardinal (WAS-CHI), Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS), Cascade (PDX-SEA)

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#4 Lonestar648

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 09:12 AM

The CZ of today is quite a bit different from the 1949-1972 version. I was reminiscing with my granddaughter this week as we rode the CZ about the differences. The difference in service, accomadations, dome cars, and the food. But the scenery outside is just as beautiful and breathtaking. I told her that a close comparison of then to now would be taking the VIA Canadian.

Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
Kentucky Cardinal                             Cardinal                                       Pere Marquette                                  Wolverines                        Lincoln Service            Empire Service          Keystone Service                               Acelas
NE Regionals                                    Pioneer                                        Desert Wind                                       Broadway Limited             Three Rivers                 Coast Starlight                          
 
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#5 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 09:14 AM

Well... It's still a long distance passenger train that features coach and sleeping car accomodations. The train still has a full service (kinda?) dining car and an observation car with large wrap around windows. I would say there are more similarities than differences and most of the differences are only going to be noticed in the details.

Amtrak: - Coast Starlight*, Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin*, Cascades*, Empire Builder*, California Zephyr*, Southwest Chief*, City of New Orleans*, River Cities, Illinois Zephyr*, Wolverine, Cardinal, Capitol Limited*, Lake Shore Limited, Downeaster, Acela Express*, Crescent*, Carolinian*, Silver Star*, Silver Meteor*, Maple Leaf* Texas Eagle.

 

VIA: - Canadian*

 

Iowa Pacific - Hoosier State*, and City of New Orleans Pullman*.   


#6 EmCee Al

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 09:17 AM

One big difference is that the original CZ used the Western Pacific route in the Feather River Canyon between Winnemucca, Nevada and the Bay Area.  Today's CZ uses the historic Southern Pacific route over the Sierras. 



#7 KmH

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 10:42 AM

Hello all,

 

Does anybody know of any similarities between the Original California Zephyr and the current Amtrak one? or have a direction I can go in to find out. 

Specifically if the the train uses stainless steel around the body? 

I know they take a similar route, but struggling to find similarities in the train itself.

 

Currently researching for a TV  show on railways, so any help will be greatly appreciated!

 

https://en.wikipedia...lifornia_Zephyr

https://en.wikipedia...ephyr#Equipment

http://californiazep.../resource.phtml

https://images.searc...v-web&fr=mcafee


Edited by KmH, 06 July 2017 - 10:43 AM.

1963U. S. Congress - underground trolley system • Disneyland train (1968/various other dates) • Old Tucson steam train (1969)

Amtrak: California Zephyr Coast Starlight •  Southwest ChiefSunset LimitedTexas Eagle • Illinois Zephyr

. . . . . . . Amtrak miles - 16,383, so far.

 

 

 

 

 


#8 tommylicious

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 11:10 AM

The closest thing to the original Zephyr experience is the VIA Canadian trains #1 and #2.  They are a delight.



#9 Bob Dylan

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 11:38 AM

The closest thing to the original Zephyr experience is the VIA Canadian trains #1 and #2.  They are a delight.

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#10 zephyr17

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 12:26 PM

There is virtually NO similarity between the equipment used now and that of the original California Zephyr, other than they both use stainless steel.   The original equipment was single level with dome cars and a round end observation.  It was built by the Budd Company.  The current equipment is double decked Superliner, made by Pullman-Standard (Superliner I - 1979-80) and Bombardier (Superliner II 1992).  Even the fluting pattern is very different.

 

There is really no continuity of history in the equipment.  The original California Zephyr was discontinued by the WP in March 1970, over a year before Amtrak.  BN and D&RGW continued "California Service" on a different schedule,using the original equipment, continuing on to Ogden where there was cross-platform transfer to SP's City of San Francisco.  After Amtrak, D&RGW elected not to join Amtrak and ran their own Denver-Salt Lake City train, the Rio Grande Zephyr, using their CZ cars.  Amtrak ran the "San Francisco Zephyr" at first basically with the SP/UP City of San Francisco equipment Day 1, and shortly transitioning to the "rainbow" period of cars from a variety of railroads, which were ultimately standardized into Amtrak livery.  This continued until roughly 1980 when the San Francisco Zephyr was re-equipped with the then new Superliners.  In April 1983, D&RGW finally joined Amtrak and discontinued the Rio Grande Zephyr.  Amtrak renamed the San Francisco Zephyr to California Zephyr, a name which had been out of use at that point for 13 years when they re-routed over the old CZ D&RGW routing (the name change happened immediately, notwithstanding that they didn't physically re-route immediately due to the huge Thistle landslide, which had cut the D&RGW).  The last remnant of the original CZ was the Rio Grande Zephyr.

 

In terms of equipment, the lineage is really SP City of San Francisco - Amtrak San Francisco Zephyr - Amtrak California Zephyr.  That was the continuously operating service.

 

The current routing is the same as the original CZ from Chicago to Weso, NV just east of Winnemucca, NV.  At that point, the Amtrak CZ follow the SP line over Donner Pass instead of the old WP through Feather River Canyon.

 

As pointed out, the closest thing to the original CZ is Via's Canadian.  The "feature cars" the dome obs, diner, and mid-train dome lounges were built by Budd to the exact same plans as the CZ's, except that CP did not want the skirting that the CZ cars had.  The sleeping cars were (and are) in VERY different configurations from the CZ's.


Edited by zephyr17, 06 July 2017 - 12:28 PM.

SP Coast Daylight, AT&SF San Diegan, AT&SF Super Chief, D&RGW Rio Grande Zephyr, Southwest Limited/Chief, San Diegan/Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, Cascades, California/San Francisco Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Sunset Limited (LA-Orlando), Desert Wind, Pioneer, City of New Orleans, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited, Cardinal, Hoosier State (Amtrak),  Hoosier State (Iowa Pacific), Ann Rutledge, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, NE Regional, Capitol Limited, Via Canadian (CP route), Via Super Continental, Via Atlantic Limited, Via Hudson Bay, Via Skeena, Via Canadian (CN route), Via "Corridor" (Toronto-Montreal), BC Rail Cariboo Dayliner, Eurostar, Thalys, DB, Netherlands Rail, Austrian Railways, BR, Korail (conventional), Korail KTX


#11 dlagrua

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 02:12 PM

Never rode the California Zephyr of old but it was a greatly different market back then where many railroads were competing for your business. From what I read in the history books it looks like today's CZ is not as upscale or as fast as the original. The old Vistaview observation cars provided a 360* view of the countryside and in addition to the dining cars, there was light food service available, and a few rooms on the lower level. The rear observation car was like a living room and smoking (ughhh) was permitted. In the evening passengers played cards, read magazines/books and socialized there. The old Zephyr may have also had a barbershop on board. The only improvement that I can see is the addition of showers in the sleepers. In the past the passengers must have stunk on those long trips.



#12 Northwest Railfan

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 01:47 AM

On occasion the train (as well as other Amtrak trains) will have a set of two or three former California Zephyr which are now privately owned. Might be a possible route to go for additional content.

#13 nti1094

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 12:14 PM

I have seen a documentary on YouTube that was about an hour and was pretty good. I'll try and find a link, but I'm sure you can search and find it easily.

#14 Deni

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 12:24 PM

Never rode the California Zephyr of old but it was a greatly different market back then where many railroads were competing for your business. From what I read in the history books it looks like today's CZ is not as upscale or as fast as the original. The old Vistaview observation cars provided a 360* view of the countryside and in addition to the dining cars, there was light food service available, and a few rooms on the lower level. The rear observation car was like a living room and smoking (ughhh) was permitted. In the evening passengers played cards, read magazines/books and socialized there. The old Zephyr may have also had a barbershop on board. The only improvement that I can see is the addition of showers in the sleepers. In the past the passengers must have stunk on those long trips.

 

I can't imagine I would have been willing to get a haircut or a shave on a moving train.  :P



#15 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 12:32 PM

To the general public, I doubt anyone would notice any major differences. It's still a silver train, traveling the same basic (and breathtaking scenic) route, with the same basic services.

Here is a photo I took this year on a 611 excursion of a restored former Zephyr vista dome.

Attached Files


Amtrak: - Coast Starlight*, Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin*, Cascades*, Empire Builder*, California Zephyr*, Southwest Chief*, City of New Orleans*, River Cities, Illinois Zephyr*, Wolverine, Cardinal, Capitol Limited*, Lake Shore Limited, Downeaster, Acela Express*, Crescent*, Carolinian*, Silver Star*, Silver Meteor*, Maple Leaf* Texas Eagle.

 

VIA: - Canadian*

 

Iowa Pacific - Hoosier State*, and City of New Orleans Pullman*.   


#16 OlympianHiawatha

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 12:33 PM

And the famous Zephyrette hostesses are no longer....



#17 KmH

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 03:47 PM

Whoa! The CZ train car pictured in post #15 derailed and is laying on it's side.  :wacko:


1963U. S. Congress - underground trolley system • Disneyland train (1968/various other dates) • Old Tucson steam train (1969)

Amtrak: California Zephyr Coast Starlight •  Southwest ChiefSunset LimitedTexas Eagle • Illinois Zephyr

. . . . . . . Amtrak miles - 16,383, so far.

 

 

 

 

 


#18 Larry H.

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 10:12 PM

I didn't ride the original Zephyr but I did ride the last month of operation of the Empire Builder which is a similar comparison.  Todays Amtrak is nothing like the experience when rail service  had individual decor which represented the route, first class dining with real china and silverware, table cloths, four or  five expert waiters and food they often could be proud to offer.  (toward the very end some of that was harder to find).   The sleepers in the old days of Pullman which I rode often including the City of St. Louis to San Francisco were wonders of function without the rattling and banging ill fitting doors and cabinets of today.  The lounges as someone mentioned often had book cases and writing desk with free post cars and paper with the engraved name of the train an photos.  Comfortable overstuffed sofas and chairs, not plastic like today.  Today you can't tell what route your on in most cases due to the use of the same equipment all over the nation.  Half the fun used to be looking forward to a wonderful golden tone line of passenger cars of the UP or the dark green of the Great Northern.  The windows usually were clean as was the train and mens lounges were just that, large expanses of restrooms and sinks not just a tiny multi sex bath room. The better trains usually had two diners, one for first class and one with lighter less expensive fare for coach passengers.  Another thing which I still miss is that normally the Pullman section ran on the back of the train where somehow it seemed more protected to me than up behind the engine.  

 

All that said, if you get the chance to ride the Zephyr route as it is today do so, the scenery is interesting and the passengers are always fun to meet.  One has to overlook a lot of flaws in todays Amtrak, but at least its still a passenger train going somewhere! 



#19 manchacrr

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 11:32 PM

There is a really good documentary of the original California Zephyr, called Silver Thread Through the West, which presents the history of the train and features commentary from a few people who worked on the original CZ, including a Zephyrette or two.

Here is a link to the DVD version on Amazon: https://smile.amazon...hrough the west

Here is a preview of the film on YouTube: https://www.youtube....h?v=_PRVcDXLpdk


Edited by manchacrr, 07 July 2017 - 11:38 PM.

Routes Traveled:
Amtrak: City of New Orleans, Crescent, Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, Coast Starlight, Gulf Coast Limited (Retired), Cascades, Capitol Limited, Northeast Regional, Adirondack, Vermonter, Acela Express, Downeaster, Cardinal, Maple Leaf, Texas Eagle, Wolverine, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Pennsylvanian, Lake Shore Limited

VIA Rail: Canadian, Ocean, Corridor (Montreal-Toronto)


#20 dogbert617

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 08:47 PM

There is virtually NO similarity between the equipment used now and that of the original California Zephyr, other than they both use stainless steel.   The original equipment was single level with dome cars and a round end observation.  It was built by the Budd Company.  The current equipment is double decked Superliner, made by Pullman-Standard (Superliner I - 1979-80) and Bombardier (Superliner II 1992).  Even the fluting pattern is very different.

 

There is really no continuity of history in the equipment.  The original California Zephyr was discontinued by the WP in March 1970, over a year before Amtrak.  BN and D&RGW continued "California Service" on a different schedule,using the original equipment, continuing on to Ogden where there was cross-platform transfer to SP's City of San Francisco.  After Amtrak, D&RGW elected not to join Amtrak and ran their own Denver-Salt Lake City train, the Rio Grande Zephyr, using their CZ cars.  Amtrak ran the "San Francisco Zephyr" at first basically with the SP/UP City of San Francisco equipment Day 1, and shortly transitioning to the "rainbow" period of cars from a variety of railroads, which were ultimately standardized into Amtrak livery.  This continued until roughly 1980 when the San Francisco Zephyr was re-equipped with the then new Superliners.  In April 1983, D&RGW finally joined Amtrak and discontinued the Rio Grande Zephyr.  Amtrak renamed the San Francisco Zephyr to California Zephyr, a name which had been out of use at that point for 13 years when they re-routed over the old CZ D&RGW routing (the name change happened immediately, notwithstanding that they didn't physically re-route immediately due to the huge Thistle landslide, which had cut the D&RGW).  The last remnant of the original CZ was the Rio Grande Zephyr.

 

In terms of equipment, the lineage is really SP City of San Francisco - Amtrak San Francisco Zephyr - Amtrak California Zephyr.  That was the continuously operating service.

 

The current routing is the same as the original CZ from Chicago to Weso, NV just east of Winnemucca, NV.  At that point, the Amtrak CZ follow the SP line over Donner Pass instead of the old WP through Feather River Canyon.

That's interesting to learn, that the original CZ had a different route west of Winnemucca. I guess per these schedules on the Streamliner website, the stops mentioned here reflect the old Western Pacific route rather than the Southern Pacific route? http://www.streamlin...phyr195008.html(1950), and http://www.streamlin...phyr197002.html (1970) I'd suspect one reason the CZ got rerouted to the SP route west of Winnemucca, is that the WP route has less population vs. the SP route. Wonder if Amtrak CZ trains have rarely used the WP route, if the SP route had an issue(i.e. flooding) that caused trains to be rerouted?

 

 

There is a really good documentary of the original California Zephyr, called Silver Thread Through the West, which presents the history of the train and features commentary from a few people who worked on the original CZ, including a Zephyrette or two.

Here is a link to the DVD version on Amazon: https://smile.amazon...hrough the west

Here is a preview of the film on YouTube: https://www.youtube....h?v=_PRVcDXLpdk

I will take a look at the preview of this video, later. I wouldn't mind watching this video about the pre-Amtrak California Zephyr, someday!






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