San Francisco Chief

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The San Francisco Chief was a named passenger train operated by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway as Nos. 1 & 2 from 1954 to 1971. Its route traversed the entire Santa Fe line from San Francisco, California south to Los Angeles, then east to Chicago, Illinois. The San Francisco Chief was one of the very last new streamliners introduced to the traveling public in the post World War II era. The train was reequipped with Budd Hilevel cars in 1964.

Despite its name, the San Francisco Chief never actually terminated in San Francisco. Instead, it ran to Santa Fe's Oakland Station (actually located in Emeryville!), and after about 1960, Richmond. In the years when it ran to the Oakland depot, passengers could continue on to San Francisco by transferring to a Key System train which would take them to a San Francisco-bound ferry. After the Bay Bridge was completed, the journey could be made by Key System train on the lower deck of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, or by bus. By the time service had been cut back to the Richmond depot, the San Francisco connection was by way of Santa Fe's own buses.

"Drumhead" logos such as this often adorned the ends of observation cars on the San Francisco Chief.
A map depicting the "Grand Canyon Route" of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway circa 1901.
1960 postcard of The San Francisco Chief

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