Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Old Postcard Wednesday--The Shasta Limited at Shasta Springs, California



This is a cut-out of lower left corner of postcard. Click on either image to enlarge.

Shasta Springs was the name of a popular summer resort on the Upper Sacramento River, during the late Nineteenth Century and early Twentieth Century. It was located just north of the town of Dunsmuir, and just north of Upper Soda Springs along the Siskiyou Trail in northern California.

The resort was on the main line of the Southern Pacific Railroad, and natural springs on the property were the original sources of the water and beverages that became known as the Shasta brand of soft drinks*.

The resort closed in the early 1950s when it was sold and continues to be owned by the Saint Germain Foundation, and is used as a major facility by that organization. It is no longer open to the public and the lower part of the resort- the bottling plant, the train station, the incline railway, the kiosk and the fountains are all gone. The falls that were visible from the railroad tracks and what ruins are left of the lower part of the resort are all overgrown by blackberry bushes. [Source: Wikipedia (emphasis added)]

It is not easy to hone in on concrete information about The Shasta Limited. I am tempted to check back later for this currently Out-of-Stock book printed by Southern Pacific Railroad titled: THE ROAD OF A THOUSAND WONDERS. The Coast line-Shasta Route of the Southern Pacific from Los Angeles through San Francisco, to Portland, A Journey of Over One Thousand Three Hundred Miles.

The sketchy information I found about The Shasta Limited is from the Mount Shasta Annotated Bibliography that mentions a book printed in 1914 by Southern Pacific Company titled, The Shasta Route, in which there is a list of photographs included in the book. One of them is "A Shasta Route Limited Train at Edgewood Station, California." Evidently The Shasta Limited was a small, scenic route spun off from or a part of the larger Coast Line-Shasta Route known as The Road of a Thousand Wonders.

Wikipedia has information about the train that replaced The Shasta Limited, known as The Shasta Daylight, in which The Shasta Limited is mentioned. The article is extensive and I'm posting only a portion here (some emphasis is mine):
The Shasta Daylight was an upgraded replacement for the famed Shasta Limited that had traversed the Shasta Route in various forms since October 21, 1895. The first Shasta followed the original routing through the Siskiyou Mountains, via Medford, Grants Pass, and Roseburg, Oregon. This line featured steep grades and sharp curves which proved a disadvantage to the Southern Pacific. . .

The Shasta Daylight was a train operated by the Southern Pacific Railroad. It was inaugurated on July 10, 1949 between Oakland Pier in Oakland, California and Portland, Oregon and was SP's third set of "Daylight" lightweight streamlined trains. The new Shasta Daylight operated on a fast 15 hour 30 minute schedule in either direction for the 713 mile trip through some of the most beautiful and spectacular mountain scenery of any train in North America. The new Shasta Daylight replaced heavyweight trains named the Shasta on the same route that had required nearly a full day and night to complete the run. The Shasta Daylight was the first diesel powered Daylight to enter service and the first and only Daylight to operate in interstate service. All other Southern Pacific Daylights would operate solely within the state of California. The scenic route of the Shasta Daylight passed by its namesake mountain in daylight hours; in fact, the Shasta Daylights ran on the very flanks of Mount Shasta. . .

. . . 
Service withdrawn

Southern Pacific asked for permission to not operate the train in 1966 but, after hearings along the line, were ordered to provide service for that summer. This ruling, noting the train was to operate for 1966 was to prove to be a loophole when SP announced the Shasta Daylight would not operate in the summer of 1967. The Oregon PUC protested but the remains of the Shasta Daylight now ceased operations. Russell's handpicked successor, Benjamin F. Biaggini claimed "...the cold fact looms that the long-distance passenger train is dead and no amount of prayer or wishful thinking can bring it back to life."... Labor Day saw the final runs of SP's former "sweetheart."

Chair cars from the Shasta Daylight had already been transferred to the Cascade, which after this time became the sole passenger service on the Shasta Route. But it too had already been downgraded from an all-Pullman service with a triple-unit diner and would itself become a triweekly train in 1970. That it was able to survive up to the creation of Amtrak proved a savior to west coast rail passenger service although Mount Shasta is passed in the dark of night. . .

Today's Coast Starlight is a reminder of what the Shasta Daylight once offered.
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13 comments:

Jennifer said...

Three thoughts --

By reading this, I've learned a bit about a time that feels very far away (ah, the death of the passenger train).

I need to see more of what lies north (we've been talking about a driving trip to Oregon -- must do it).

Before I clicked on the commercial, I knew how the jingle went. And remembered a trip to Minnesota with my father, stepmother, and two friends of theirs where someone packed a cooler full of sandwiches and . . . Shasta.

La Belette Rouge said...

I have special memories of Shasta. Once, many years ago, when we were driving to Oregon I convinced a younger cousin that Shasta soda was made inside Shasta mountain. I told her that elves lived in the mountain and that was were they manufactured the bubbly beverage.

Kim said...

I love this postcard. So whimsical and colorful. And it's sad that the tracks are no longer there anymore.

Darlene said...

I have often thought about taking the train instead of a plane to Oakland, where my daughter picks me up. The problem is, the train goes through Tucson at 1 am and that is not a convenient time to get to the train station.

I love train travel and hope to make the Canadian cross country train trip before I depart this life.

Lydia said...

Jennifer~ It does seem like a time long gone, I agree. Fills me with a certain sadness. But....a road trip to Oregon is a great way to shake off the blues if you have them and see some new wonders, and to meet, face-to-face, moi if you are in our neck of the woods!
I'm amazed you remembered the jingle. I would not have...it must be blotted out by the Dr. Pepper jingle there. :)

Kim~ {Hey everyone reading this, please check out Kim's new online journal for bloggers, artists, and writers. Look for the Drop of Ink in her sidebar.}

You are feeling that sadness too. There's just something about knowing that you can't experience what it describes that tugs at the heart.

Darlene~ No, 1:00am is no time to be arriving in Tucson. What a shame that the schedule is such. I've never taken a train trip and would love to...even the one from Salem to Vancouver, B.C. - - but your idea of going all across Canada is wonderful. I hope you get to do it!

Lydia said...

La Belette Rouge~ I'm feeling dopey because I have another window opened up with links for you about Lemurians at Mount Shasta, and then I didn't include my comments to you along with the others....
Are you aware of the folklore about these Lemurians who supposedly live inside the mountain? I think it synchs nicely with your tall tale about elves making Shasta pop!
Go here for an article about the folklore: CLICK ...
and if you are in a really peculiar frame of mind you just must check out this site: CLICK, where you can read about Lemurian teachings, etc. ;]

Erin Davis said...

I have always had positive associations with the name "Shasta." When I was little, my grandma would have lots of shasta soda in the ice chest at her house for every family gathering--something my parents NEVER had. I think that's where it comes from, and I can remember those old shasta commercials. And the Shasta limited postcard looks heavenly--my favorite terrain. Trains provide the opportunity to really take in the scenery, something I don't think most people do very often any more.

Lydia said...

Erin~ Your grandmother's ice chest filled with Shasta soda is a great memory that I can almost see. Or feel. Or see you feeling, or feel you seeing!
I hope trains make a come-back as a major travel alternative. Unlikely, however.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

You know when i looked at the postcard i thought: "Austria"

i could imagine men in lederhosen with alpine horns trotting about the place in their skiis, so the fact that this is america was a revalation!

Love your postcard collection as always - so interesting to see these little snapshots of things that have been lost

La Belette Rouge said...

This is sooooo cool. I had no idea about the Lemurians. This makes my Shasta elf mythology all the better. Thank you for sharing the links with me. You are the best!

the watercats said...

I so badly would love to go there.. back in time, to that warm, scented postcard... sit by the river... sway on the train... have tea in that little house.. bask in the sun... hhhmmmmmm..

Lydia said...

the watercats~ I was longing to step into the scene before I read your comment.....and now, after reading your descriptions, it is an even stronger desire.
(Pssssst...time travel just has to be possible, right?)

Lydia said...

Don't Feed the Pixies~ Lederhosen...Austria...yes, now that you mention it I agree with you that it seems the scene could be elsewhere. It really does look Alpine. But then, that is the feeling I got when I stayed the night in Mount Shasta City three years ago. So your sense of this is really good.

Belette~ It tickles me no end to introduce you to the lore. The way I learned about Lemurians? I bought a book about Mount Shasta at a restaurant gift shop there in Mount Shasta City because I hated to leave the place and I wanted to take something back home to remind me of how special it is. Boy was I surprised that it wasn't a book about local history, geological facts, etc.! :)

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