The California Zephyr: The Silver Lady

The California Zephyr: The Silver Lady

The original California Zephyr ran over the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad from Chicago to Denver, Colorado, the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad between Denver and Salt Lake City, Utah, and the Western Pacific Railroad from Salt Lake City to Oakland, California. Cars owned by different railroads ran together; cars were switched in and out of the consists for service, repairs, and varying passenger loads with the seasons. The first train was christened in San Francisco by beautiful actress Eleanor Parker while California Lieutenant Governor Goodwin Knight, Mayor of San Francisco Elmer Robinson, and WP President Harry A. Mitchell looked on. For the inaugural run in 1949, every female passenger on the train was given a corsage of “silver” and orange orchids that had been specially flown in from Hilo, Hawaii. The women who worked as car hostesses on this train were known as “Zephyrettes.”

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