Friday, January 22, 2016

The Portland Rose [1939]

"The Portland Rose" 1939 Brochure
Front Cover

During the glory days of travel by train, the Union Pacific operated the Portland Rose between Chicago and Portland, Oregon. The Rose was equipped lavishly providing all of the on-board amenities one might expect during those times. Our feature today is a 1939 brochure describing the train.

First pages inside

Description of the Train

The entire train is completely air conditioned.

"Tasteful harmony of color and soft shaded lights"

Ladies "Hair Bob" ... 75 cents!

Clothes need pressing?

Luxurious Club-Lounge Car of the Portland Rose

"Most important among the duties of the
Stewardess is the care of small children."

Back Cover
We always look forward to your comments about these old travel brochures. In the past some of you have mentioned that your experience with train travel was not all that great. Comparing modern-day passenger rail service with times before mid-twentieth century is a bit like comparing apples and oranges. Prior to 1971 passenger service in the USA was provided by private roads like the Union Pacific and the New York Central. There was not much competition from airplanes, busses, and automobiles. The private roads competed to provide the best travel experience possible. Then, after about 1950, a lot of that changed. Passenger rail service declined substantially due to competition from the other forms of travel. On May 1, 1971, AMTRAK started taking over passenger service throughout the USA. Operating passenger service profitably in today’s environment, in competition with the many other forms of transportation, is difficult due to the expenses involved with operating a railroad. In every country in the world, where train travel is still admired, there is substantial support from government funding. Here in America AMTRAK must continuously fight to get essential funding. Perhaps it is just unrealistic to expect first-class passenger train service to be a priority today, so it is still neat to go back and take a look at what things were like in the glory days.

Thank you for stopping by John's Island.


  1. Great post and brochure. It would have been neat to take a ride on this luxury train. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

  2. Interesting times it must have been back then.

  3. I have always loved to travel by train!!! Great, interesting post for the day, John!! And what an awesome train it was!! I really enjoyed the pics and your post for the day -- as always!! Thanks for sharing!! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!

  4. I would love a night away on this train !!

  5. Nowadays there are no modes of travel that appeal to me. I smiled at the stewardess, which of course doesn't even exist in that form on airplanes any more. I traveled overnight on a train from Beijing to Shanghai and although it was perfectly comfortable, it wasn't luxurious by any means. :-)

  6. That was first class service. People were not in a rush at that time.

  7. Anything with a beautiful rose on it catches my eyes.I have never been on a train,but it seems like a relaxed way to travel.

  8. I've never been a trip on a train but used to ride one all the time over to the next town when I was a kid. Used to cost 25 cents. : )
    Love the rose.

  9. I enjoyed reading the brochure and wished I could have ridden such a train in the glory days of old. I have ridden on a few trains in my life time but none of them provided the comfort and amenities that these kinds of trains provided.

  10. We took an overnight Amtrac to North Dakota. The food was great the sleeper like a closet and we were very late due to construction and the fact that the passenger had to pull over for freight and oil trains heading east. Money talks and Congress wants Amtrac and the Post Office killed...:(

  11. Eccellent and informative post about the "Portland Rose", interesting brochure.
    Many greetings!

  12. Love the cover with the Portland Rose. Wow, that is luxurious travel! It's too bad that service like that can't be found anymore. It's strange how so many nice things are shoved out of the way to make way for faster pace and less nice service. I think we the people are rebelling against the latest change--getting rid of checkers and replacing them with self check-outs--though. Sometimes I go into Walmart and the 2 or 3 rows with human checkers are filled, while the self check-outs are almost empty. To be honest I end up taking the self check-outs just to avoid the long lines. I guess I should be more loyal to our cause. :)

  13. That's a lovely bloom. Reminds me of the coming Valentine's Day. :D


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