Golden Gate (train)

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The Golden Gate circa 1938.

The Golden Gate was one of the named passenger trains of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (Santa Fe). It ran between Oakland and Bakersfield, California; its bus connections provided service between San Francisco and Los Angeles via California's San Joaquin Valley.

History[edit]

In 1912 The Santa Fe tried to compete with Southern Pacific Railroad (SP) with overnight trains that included cars to and from San Diego, the Saint train to San Francisco and the Angel train to Los Angeles. The Santa Fe route via San Bernardino and Barstow was longer than the SP route via Glendale and Lancaster and the San Francisco to Los Angeles schedule was 16 hrs 45 minutes, compared to 14-45 for SP's Owl and 13-45 for the Lark. The Saint and Angel were withdrawn in 1918.[1]

In 1936 the completion of improvements on the Ridge Route highway south of Bakersfield and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge gave the Santa Fe an opportunity to compete with the SP with faster service. The lightweight Golden Gate streamliners were assigned Nos. 60–63 and ran daily between Oakland (station was actually in Emeryville) and Bakersfield. Santa Fe buses connected San Francisco across the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge to Oakland and between Bakersfield and Los Angeles, most with stops at North Hollywood and Hollywood and some with stops at Burbank, Glendale, and Pasadena. The Oakland transfer point moved to Richmond in 1958 with buses making stops at Oakland and Berkeley.[2]

A competitor to the Southern Pacific Railroad's San Joaquin Daylight, the Golden Gate's scheduled 9-hour and 25-minute time bested that of the Daylight. After a series of hearings and legal challenges, the new six-car consists entered service on July 1, 1938. Coach fares were $6.00 one-way, $10.80 round-trip, rates that were matched by the SP. San Francisco to Los Angeles was 312.8 rail miles plus 112 bus miles.

In 1939 another train, the Valley Flyer, was added to the Bakersfield-Oakland route[3] to carry passengers to the Golden Gate International Exposition. In 1940 the Exposition ended and this train moved to the San Diego to Los Angeles route.

The Golden Gate was all but eliminated on April 11, 1965 though No. 62 was reassigned as No. 8 and took over the duties of the southbound Fast Mail Express. That service ended April 28, 1968. Today Amtrak California's San Joaquin runs the same route from Port Chicago to Bakersfield.

Timeline[edit]

  • January 20, 1912: The Santa Fe begins service between Los Angeles and San Francisco via Barstow and Bakersfield with overnight trains with through cars from/to San Diego, the Saint northbound and the Angel southbound.
  • December 31, 1918: The Saint and the Angel are discontinued.
  • October 8, 1935: The Santa Fe applies for permission from the Railroad Commission of the State of California to operate "one-ticket, point-to-point, streamlined train service" between San Francisco and Bakersfield, with coordinated motor coach (bus) service extending the route south to Los Angeles.
  • November 12, 1936: The San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge opens.
  • July 1, 1938: Santa Fe's coordinated rail-bus service starts.
  • June 11, 1939: The Valley Flyer is added to the route to serve the Golden Gate International Exposition.
  • 1940: The Golden Gate consists expand to seven cars with the addition of two "chair" cars.
  • 1940-1941 Valley Flyer reassigned to service between San Diego and Los Angeles.
  • 1942: Consist expands to 7 cars, and each logs 626 daily miles.
  • July 1949: Valley-type 6-6-4 sleeping cars are added to train Nos. 60 and 61.
  • 1957: Train Nos. 62 and 63 add railway post office cars to their consists.
  • 1958: round-end observation cars are discontinued.
  • February 2, 1958: Train No. 61 is withdrawn from service.
  • June 15, 1958: rail service is cut back from Oakland to Richmond.
  • April 11, 1965: Train Nos. 60 and 63 are withdrawn and No. 62 is redesignated as No. 8.
  • April 28, 1968: The Golden Gate makes its last run.

Equipment used[edit]

Initial Golden Gate consists (two lightweight trainsets), July 1938:

The Golden Gate consists (two trainsets) as of March 1948:

  • EMC E1A Locomotive #3LA, #4LA, #5L, #7L–#9L (shared power with the San Diegan)
  • Baggage-"Chair" car / Coach with newsstand (36 seats) #3490–#3491
  • "Chair" car / Coach (52 seats) #3070–#3116, #3119, #3137–#3166
  • "Chair" car / Coach (52 seats) #3070–#3116, #3119, #3137–#3166
  • "Chair" car / Lounge #3117–#3118
  • Fred Harvey Company Lunch Counter Diner #1500–#1507
  • "Chair" car / Coach (52 seats) #3070–#3116, #3119, #3137–#3166
  • Leg Rest "Chair" car / Coach (44 seats)* #2861–#2911
  • Sleeper Valley-type (6 sections, 6 roomettes, 4 bedrooms)
  • Round-end "Chair" car / Coach-Observation (58 seats) #3243–3244
*Extra car added between Chicago and Oakland during the summer months.

Golden Gate consists in 1958:

 Nos. 60–63

  • any lightweight Baggage
  • "Chair" car / Coach (52 seats) #3070–#3101, #3108, #3111, #3115, #3119, #3144–#3158
  • "Chair" car / Coach (52 seats) #3070–#3101, #3108, #3111, #3115, #3119, #3144–#3158
  • Bar-Lounge #1388–#1399, #1346–#1349
  • Fred Harvey Company Lunch Counter (Diner) #1500, #1503–#1507
  • "Chair" car / Coach (52 seats) #3070–#3101, #3108, #3111, #3115, #3119, #3144–#3158
  • "Chair" car / Coach (52 seats) #3070–#3101, #3108, #3111, #3115, #3119, #3144–#3158

 No. 62 only

  • Railway Post Office-Baggage #3402–#3408, #3600–#3606
  • any lightweight Baggage
  • "Chair" car / Coach (52 seats) #3070–#3101, #3108, #3111, #3115, #3119, #3144–#3158
  • "Chair" car / Coach (52 seats) #3070–#3101, #3108, #3111, #3115, #3119, #3144–#3158
  • Bar-Lounge #1388–#1399, #1346–#1349
  • Fred Harvey Company Lunch Counter (Diner) #1500, #1503–#1507
  • "Chair" car / Coach (52 seats) #3070–#3101, #3108, #3111, #3115, #3119, #3144–#3158
  • "Chair" car / Coach (52 seats) #3070–#3101, #3108, #3111, #3115, #3119, #3144–#3158

In May 1960 two-unit ALCO PA sets replaced the F-units. Car #1346 was converted to a "Vend-O-Lounge" vending machine car in May 1964 (operated by the Harvey Company), though it failed to gain acceptance and was replaced with a 1500-series Lunch Counter Diner the following September.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Duke and Kistler, pp. 63,65
  2. ^ Duke and Kistler, pp.99-101
  3. ^ Duke and Kistler, pp. 102-103

External links[edit]