California’s Own Train, The Coast Daylight:

A California Legend Reborn

The Southern Pacific Railroad’s southbound Noon Daylight departs San Francisco in 1949 with a perfectly matched, full amenities consist from the locomotive to the round-end observation car for its daily run to Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal. Wikimedia Commons photo.

Inspired by yesterday, driven by tomorrow, a beautiful new travel experience to connect California’s two most demanded destinations

The World’s Most Beautiful Train

A 1961 post card publicity shot by Southern Pacific for the Coast Daylight, showing why it has Coast in its name. Today, Union Pacific’s Coast Line tracks still run along some of California’s most scenic shoreline. Wikimedia Commons photo.,
Four perfectly matched passenger steam locomotives ready for service on the 1937 streamlined Coast Daylight. Wikimedia Commons photo.
Southern Pacific prided itself on the high level of service found on the newly streamlined Coast Daylight in this 1937 company publicity photo showing the Daylight’s lounge car operating between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Wikimedia Commons photo.
Another part of the 1937 streamlined Coast Daylight lounge car which includes casual booth seating and a writing desk. Wikimedia Commons photo.

In 1937, the Southern Pacific Railroad, one of California’s oldest corporate citizens, launched a new streamlined train, the Daylight.

It was an immediate success, so much so that just three years later the company added a second frequency in 1940.

The train’s striking colors were red, orange and black with a silver accent pinstripe, from the tip of the locomotive to the rounded rear-end observation car.

The train became legendary for its colors, quality of service, and storied route between downtown San Francisco and downtown Los Angeles via Southern Pacific’s coast line.

Travel writers and advertising copy writers dubbed the Daylight “The World’s Most Beautiful Train.”

A legend was born.

Corridor Rail Development Corporation proposes the rebirth of the Coast Daylight. See the accompanying presentation for details, and allow yourself to imagine a ride again on the new, World’s Most Beautiful Train.

Advertising page from a 1945 Southern Pacific timetable heralding the Daylights. Wikimedia Commons illustration.
A Coast Daylight streamlined steam locomotive in 1954. Wikimedia Commons photo.
Somehow it seems like the Coast Daylight color scheme creating The World’s Most Beautiful Train and and running between water and mountains was irresistible to Southern Pacific company photographers in 1956. Wikimedia Commons photo.
January 1967 and business is still strong on the Coast Daylight. Southern Pacific kept up the service with plenty of seats to meet ridership demands. Wikimedia Commons photo.
The Coast Daylight at San Luis Obispo in February of 1971. Southern Pacific had converted the train’s livery to the standard Southern Pacific-interchangeable-with-all-other-trains color scheme. Note the length of the train; it was still popular with riders. Wikimedia Commons photo.
April 1971 at Santa Clara, California station and bringing a close to Southern Pacific Coast Daylight operations as Amtrak would take over the train on May 1, 1971. Wikimedia Commons photo.
May 1, 1971 and the Coast Daylight begins the Amtrak era. The Coast Daylight would be merged into the longer route of the Coast Starlight in 1974 and end the train name. Wikimedia Commons photo.

Here is the short, condensed version of Corridor’s 2015 presentation on creating a new Coast Daylight as California’s signature train. The full presentation follows these three pages.

Here is the full Corridor 2015 presentation with details for the creation of a new Coast Daylight operating between San Francisco and Los Angeles with the ability to extend to San Diego for daytime service. This presentation was created and delivered in 2015.