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Home > Archives > San Francisco Zephyr at Emigrant Gap, 1970s.

San Francisco Zephyr at Emigrant Gap, 1970s.

Black and white promotional photograph showing the San Francisco Zephyr (Chicago-Oakland/San Francisco) passing through Emigrant Gap in the Sierra Nevada Mountains; image dates to the 1970s.

<i>San Francisco Zephyr</i> at Emigrant Gap, 1970s.

Between May 1971 and June 1972, the Chicago-San Francisco/Oakland route was covered by two trains: the daily Denver Zephyr (Chicago-Denver) and the thrice-weekly City of San Francisco (Denver-San Francisco/Oakland). In mid-1972, the route became daily and was rebranded the San Francisco Zephyr.

In this image, the train snakes through Emigrant Gap in the Sierra Nevada Mountains between the stations at Reno, Nev., and Sacramento, Calif. During the late 19th century, Emigrant Gap provided a popular opening through the mountains for those heading west to take part in the famed California Gold Rush.

In July 1983, the San Francisco Zephyr was rerouted from southern Wyoming onto the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW) line between Denver and Salt Lake City. By that time, the D&RGW had decided to turn over its Rio Grande Zephyr - the last privately operated intercity passenger train in the country - to Amtrak. Amtrak preferred the D&RGW route due to its breathtaking scenery along the Colorado River. To mark this transition, Amtrak renamed the train the California Zephyr.

Photographer: Rich Tower for Amtrak. From the Amtrak Corporate Collection.