Railroad Short Name: WP
Originally operated by CB&Q, D&RGW and WP, The California Zephyr was considered to be the pinnacle of design, comfort and luxury of the late 1940s. Its inaugural run on March 12, 1949, attended by politicians, hollywood stars, and corporate executives, spared no expense. The Zephyr presented each inaugural female passenger with an exotic corsage of silver and orange orchids flown in from Hilo, Hawaii.
Marketed to families as “a vacation unto itself”, luxury is obviously an important part of the Zephyr’s lasting allure. Each car was adorned with intricate oil paintings, carved linoleum and etched glass. Radio service was also provided throughout the train with an allowance of thirty-four different broadcasting stations. Various lighting elements were meticulously designed for optimal ambiance and comfort; fluorescent lighting was provided in all common spaces and incandescent reading lamps were installed in each roomette and over each seat, as well as in restrooms, vestibules and passageways. The dome lighting’s intensity was specifically designed to decrease as you ascended — not only to create an air of elegance — but also to allow glare-free night viewing by the passengers. Elevating the notion of travel luxury were the famed “Zephyrettes”, specially selected train hostesses that filled mostly any role to help make the trip both memorable and relaxing – from babysitting to organizing social activities.
Throughout its twenty-one year run, the California Zephyr ran with cars of mixed ownership split between the three railroads. This mixed consist depended mostly on what cars were available at the terminals rather than the railroad it was operating on at the time. Its final run was completed on March 22, 1970. Today, the stainless steel cars of the original California Zephyr are extremely popular with private collectors and several operate in charter service through Amtrak.
- True-scale dimensions and details
- Selectable interior lighting–choose either track or self-contained battery power
- Full-scale length cars, approx. 21.3” over diaphragms
- Accurate representation of the stainless-steel corrugations and welding seams
- Realistic aluminum finish
- Full interior details and interior LED lighting
- Full underbody details
- Patented Adjust-A-Coupler™ system for horizontal adjustment of couplers and spacing between cars
- Working diaphragms
- Sprung die-cast trucks
- Minimum diameter curve (3-Rail): O-72
- Minimum radius curve (2-Rail) 40.5”