The Zephyr Blew Through San Leandro
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Friday, 13 July 2012 21:36
PHOTO BY BOB OLIVER
The Western Pacific Railroad’s California Zephyr, shown here in about 1969, ran through San Leandro on its route between Oakland and Chicago.
By Bob Oliver
Special to the Times
The California Zephyr passenger train traveled through San Leandro from 1949 to 1970.
It originated in Oakland and the final destination was Chicago. It’s route took it via Niles Canyon, through the Altamont Pass, and up through the Feather River Canyon and the Colorado Rockies on its 46 hour trip.
The Western Pacific railroad operated the Zephyr from Oakland to Salt Lake City, the Denver Rio Grande & Western from Salt Lake City to Denver, and the Chicago Burlington & Quincy from Denver to Chicago
I was lucky enough to ride the Zephyr from Omaha to Oakland during its last summer of operation in 1969.
You Could See the Zephyr from McKinley School
The scenery you see from a train can never be duplicated from a motor vehicle. As a fourth grader at Mckinley School, Room 2, I used to go to the pencil sharpner and watch the Zephyr go through town as the sharpenner was in line with the Estabrook Street Crossing.
The Last Zephyr
The last eastbound Zephyr, train No. 18, departed on March 21, 1970; and the last westbound, train No. 17, was on March 22, 1970 as the Western Pacific discontinued its part of the trip for monetary reasons. I contributed to that as I owed the observation car attendant 17 cents for a Coke when I disembarked in Oakland.