The Golden State Route of the Rock Island and Southern Pacific was probably the least well-known of all the transcontinental passenger routes. However, if you lived in the Sun Belt cities of El Paso, Tucson, or Phoenix it was the fastest and most direct way to Chicago and the East; hence its inclusion in this section.

View the Rock Island's advertisements for the Golden State Route in the Official Guide here: June 1947 and December 1948.


From the pages of the Official Guide, December 1948

Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific RR heraldSouthern Pacific Lines herald

The Golden State

Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific
Southern Pacific Lines
November 21, 1948

Through Sleeper New York-Los Angeles (Alternate days - see notes)
59 Connecting Train Number (New York Central) 66
11 00P Dp 0.0 New York, NY (Grand Central Tml.) (EST) Ar 8 45A
3 00P Ar 961.2 Chicago, IL (La Salle St. Station) (CST) Dp 3 15P
79 Connecting Train Number (Pennsylvania) 70
11 40P Dp 0.0 New York, NY (Pennsylvania Sta.) (EST) Ar 8 20A
1 09A 85.9 North Philadelphia, PA (EST) 6 39A
3 40P Ar 907.7 Chicago, IL (Union Station) (CST) Dp 2 30P
3 Train Number 4
Daily Miles (Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific) Services Daily
10 15P Dp 0.0 Chicago, IL (La Salle St. Station) (CST) C R Ar 11 30A
10 25P 6.6 Englewood, IL (Union Station) C 11 15A
F 40.4 Joliet, IL C F
F 114.2 Bureau, IL (Peoria via bus) C F 9 23A
F 179.3 Moline, IL C R F
1 35A Ar 181.2 Rock Island, IL C R Dp 8 10A
1 40A Dp Ar 8 00A
F 1 47A 182.8 Davenport, IA C R F 7 50A
F 210 Muscatine, IA C F
F 231 Columbus Junction, IA C F
F 292 Eldon, IA C F
F 334 Centerville, IA C F
8 25A Ar 510 Kansas City, MO C Dp 1 10A
Through Sleeper St. Louis-Los Angeles
9 Connecting Train Number (Missouri Pacific) 20
11 50P Dp 0.0 St. Louis, MO (CST) Ar 7 47A
7 30A Ar 279.2 Kansas City, MO Dp 1 20A
8 40A Dp 510 Kansas City, MO C Ar 12 55A
9 50A 579 Topeka, KS C 11 35P
11 25A Ar 661 Herington, KS C Dp 10 10P
11 30A Dp Ar 10 05P
F 707 McPherson, KS C F
12 50P 735 Hutchinson, KS C 8 37P
2 00P 787 Pratt, KS C 7 40P
4 05P Ar 919 Liberal, KS C Dp 5 30P
4 10P Dp Ar 5 25P
5 57P Ar 1030 Dalhart, TX C 3 44P
6 01P Dp 3 40P
7 45P Ar 1124 Tucumcari, NM (CST) C Dp 2 05P
(Southern Pacific)
7 00P Dp 1124 Tucumcari, NM (MST) C Ar 12 59P
10 06P Ar 1311 Carrizozo, NM C Dp 9 43A
10 11P Dp Ar 9 38A
12 35A Ar 1455 El Paso, TX (Union Station) C Dp 7 10A
12 55A Dp Ar 6 50A
4 40A Ar 1671 Douglas, AZ C RDp 3 05A
4 45A Dp Ar 3 00A
F 5 10A 1693 Bisbee Junction, AZ (Bisbee via bus) C F 2 37A
7 00A Ar 1794 Tucson, AZ C R Dp 12 28A
7 10A Dp Ar 12 18A
F 1859 Coolidge, AZ F
F 1892 Chandler, AZ C F
9 29A Ar 1915 Phoenix, AZ C R Dp 10 03P
9 42A Dp Ar 9 53P
12 49P Ar 2089 Yuma, AZ (MST) C Dp 6 44P
12 59P Dp Yuma, AZ (PDT) Ar 6 34P
2 07P 2154 Niland, CA 5 21P
F 3 02P 2211 Indio, CA F 4 25P
3 36P 2239 Palm Springs, CA C R F 3 55P
D 4 51P 2283 Colton, CA C R 2 51P
D 5 21P 2308 Pomona, CA C R R 2 22P
5 55P 2334 Alhambra, CA (Pasadena) C R 1 48P
6 15P Ar 2340Los Angeles, CA (Union Psgr. Tml.) (PDT) C R Dp 1 30P

Train 3 (Chicago-Los Angeles): 34 stops, 45:00, 52.0 MPHTrain 4 (Los Angeles-Chicago): 34 stops, 45:00, 52.0 MPH



Note: All times at Rock Island stations are Central Standard Time. All times at Southern Pacific stations east of Yuma are Mountain Standard Time. All times at stations west of Yuma are California Daylight Savings Time.

(Rock Island Notes)

THROUGH CAR EQUIPMENT—Westbound

No. 3—THE GOLDEN STATE. Daily.
EXTRA FARE
(Only tickets sold at regular fares and tickets endorsed Special Coach will be honored on the GOLDEN STATE.)
(Coaches and Sleepers available for occupancy 9:15 p.m.)

Observation or Club Lounge Car—(Barber-Valet Service).

(Observation Car (30) 1 Drawing-room, 2 Double Bedrooms) Chicago to Los Angeles.

Sleeping Cars—

New York to Los Angeles—4 Double Bedrooms, 2 Drawing-rooms, 4 Compartments (Car N.Y.C. 5903-Penna. 89.) (See Note 2.)

Chicago to Los Angeles—4 Double Bedrooms, 2 Drawing-rooms, 4 Compartments (36).

Chicago to Los Angeles—6-Section, 6 Roomettes, 4 Double Bedrooms (35).

Chicago to Phoenix—4 Double Bedrooms, 2 Drawing-rooms, 4 Compartments (34).

St. Louis to Los Angeles—6-Section, 6 Roomettes, 4 Double Bedrooms (94). (From St. Louis to Kansas City, via Missouri Pacific No. 9; Kansas City to Los Angeles No. 3.)

Dining Car—Serving all meals

Coffee Shop Lounge-Dining Car—

Chicago to Los Angeles.

Chair Cars(Reclining Seats Reserved in advance). (Pillows available.) Chicago to Los Angeles (37-38-39).

All Cars Air-Conditioned.

NOTE 2: New York to Los Angeles Through Sleeping Cars. New York Central Sleeping Car No. 5903 will leave New York December 1 [1948], and alternate days thereafter. Pennsylvania R.R. Sleeping Car No. 89 will leave New York December 2 [1948], and alternate days thereafter.

THROUGH CAR EQUIPMENT—Eastbound

No. 4—THE GOLDEN STATE. Daily.
EXTRA FARE.
(Only tickets sold at regular fares and tickets endorsed Special Coach will be honored on the GOLDEN STATE.)

Observation or Club Lounge Car—(Barber-Valet Service).

(Observation Car (40) 1 Drawing-room, 2 Double Bedrooms) Los Angeles to Chicago.

Sleeping Cars—

Los Angeles to New York—4 Double Bedrooms, 2 Drawing-rooms, 4 Compartments (Cars N42-P42.) (See Note 2.)

Los Angeles to Chicago—4 Double Bedrooms, 2 Drawing-rooms, 4 Compartments (46).

Los Angeles to Chicago—6-Section, 6 Roomettes, 4 Double Bedrooms (45).

Phoenix to Chicago—4 Double Bedrooms, 2 Drawing-rooms, 4 Compartments (44). (Open for occupancy 9:00 p.m.)

Los Angeles to St. Louis—6-Section, 6 Roomettes, 4 Double Bedrooms (41) (Los Angeles to Kansas City No. 4; Kansas City to St. Louis, via Missouri Pacific No. 20).

Dining Car—Serving all meals

Coffee Shop Lounge-Dining Car—

Los Angeles to Chicago.

Chair Cars(Reclining Seats reserved in advance). (Pillows available.) Los Angeles to Chicago (47-48-49).

All Cars Air-Conditioned

NOTE 2 - Los Angeles to New York Through Sleeping Cars. New York Central Sleeping Car No. N42 will leave Los Angeles December 1 [1948], and alternate days thereafter. Pennsylvania R.R. Sleeping Car No. P42 will leave Los Angeles December 2, and alternate days thereafter.

COAST TO COAST SLEEPING CAR
An all-room sleeping car is operated daily between New York and Los Angeles.
East of Chicago it is handled on alternate days via the New York Central and Pennsylvania.
Between Chicago and Los Angeles daily on the "Golden State."


PILLOWS for coach passengers are available on the GOLDEN STATE and IMPERIAL, also on the ROCKY MOUNTAIN ROCKET, CHOCTAW ROCKET and TWIN STAR ROCKET (between Kansas City and Dallas.)
A charge of 25c. will be made for this service for each 12 hours or fraction thereof.


(Southern Pacific Notes)

Train 3 - STREAMLINER GOLDEN STATE. Extra Fare.
Via Rock Island and Southern Pacific


Full Lounge Car—Chicago to Los Angeles. (For Pullman passengers.) (Barber, Shower Bath.)

Standard Sleepers—New York to Los Angeles (Bedrooms, Compartments, Drawing-rooms) (Note: Operates via Penna. No. 79 and N.Y.C. No. 59 alternate days. Consult agent.)

Chicago to Los Angeles (Roomettes, Compartments, Drawing-rooms, Bedrooms, Sections).

Chicago to Phoenix (Compartments, Roomettes, Bedrooms, Drawing-room, Sections).

St. Louis to Los Angeles (Sections, Roomettes, Bedrooms) (via Missouri Pacific No. 9 to Kansas City, R.I.-S.P. No. 3).

Chicago to Los Angeles (2 Double Bedrooms, 1 Drawing-room, Buffet Observation) (3 days out of 5 - consult agents).

Dining Car—Chicago to Los Angeles.

Coffee Shop Car—Chicago to Los Angeles.

Reclining Chair Cars—Chicago to Los Angeles (all seats in Chair Cars must be reserved in advance).

Tickets Honored—Ask agents.


Regularly assigned cars are air-conditioned.

Train 4 - STREAMLINER GOLDEN STATE - Extra Fare.
Via Southern Pacific and Rock Island

Lounge Car—Los Angeles to Chicago. (For Pullman Passengers.) (Barber - Shower bath.)

Standard Sleepers—

Los Angeles to New York (Bedrooms, Compartments, Drawing-rooms). NOTE: Operates via Penna. No. 70 and N.Y. Central No. 66 on alternate days. Consult agent.

Los Angeles to Chicago (Roomettes, Bedrooms, Drawing-rooms, Compartments, Sections).

Phoenix to Chicago (Bedrooms, Compartments, Drawing-rooms, Roomettes, Sections).

Los Angeles to St. Louis (Roomettes, Bedrooms, Sections) (via S.P.-R.I. No. 4 to Kansas City, Missouri Pacific No. 20 to St. Louis).

Los Angeles to Chicago (2 Double Bedrooms, 1 Drawing-room, Buffet Observation) (3 days out of 5 - consult agents).

Dining Car—Los Angeles to Chicago.

Coffee Shop Car—Los Angeles to Chicago.

Reclining Chair Cars—Los Angeles to Chicago (all seats in chair cars must be reserved in advance).

Tickets Honored—Ask agents.


Regularly assigned cars are air-conditioned.

At the time of this timetable there were three daily trains on the Golden State Route: The flagship Golden State shown here, the secondary Imperial which provided San Diego's only direct outlet to the East (via the San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway, a Southern Pacific affiliate), and the Southwest Express, which looks to have been an afterthought to handle local traffic, head-end mail and express business, and the through cars to and from Memphis of the Memphis-Californian. But just as recently as the previous year there had been plans for a fourth: A super-deluxe express, positioned to compete directly against the Super Chief and City of Los Angeles on an identical 39- hour schedule, to be named the Golden Rocket. This train was under construction by Pullman-Standard and the Rock Island had committed to take delivery of their set of equipment when, in late 1947, Southern Pacific abruptly pulled out.

Why? This was well before Southern Pacific completely lost faith in the passenger business; indeed, the very next year SP would commit to spend $15 million to streamline the Sunset Limited. While the exact reason is now lost in the mists of time, the most plausible explanation I have heard ties SP's pullout to the ICC's order of June 17, 1947, which mandated a maximum speed limit of 79 mph on track not equipped with special signaling equipment (Automatic Train Stop or Cab Signals). While it would not take full effect for a few more years, the handwriting was on the wall: High speeds would require special, expensive signal upgrades. The Golden State Route was 116 miles longer than the Santa Fe's Raton Pass line; it would require a lot of 100+ MPH running to match the Super Chief's hot schedule. But the Rock Island could not and the Southern Pacific would not spend the money needed to upgrade the signals to keep the schedule legally. With no way to keep a competitive schedule, there was no point in moving forward with the Golden Rocket.

The Rock Island would keep the Golden Rocket's red-and-silver paint scheme and most of the equipment built for the train, using it to upgrade the Golden State to streamliner status in 1948. The final combination would include a hodgepodge of prewar and postwar equipment, leaving the Golden State as rather a patchwork streamliner. While the Golden State Route would never field a true competitor to the Super Chief and City of Los Angeles, the Golden State as shown here did compete successfully against the original Chief for many years. At the time of this timetable, in fact, it matched the eastbound Chief's departure and arrival times in L.A. and Chicago to the minute.