Southern Pacific Lines

Coast Line Division 

“The Route of the Octopus”


General Info

SP Advertising

  1. Espee's slogan was "Your Friendly Southern Pacific". This was seen in numerous billboards and ads.

  2. Rob Sarberenyi

  3. A series of SP's ads with Virgil Partch cartoons on billboards all over SP's post-1955 slogan "Golden Empire" and print media. It even made it as a line on the Jack Benny radio program in a skit about Jonah being swallowed by the whale,

  4.     "Next Time, Try The Train."

  5. Bob Pecotich

  6. On an SP Passenger Timetable from 1959 that had a map of the system with the slogan "Serving The Golden Empire".

  7. In the late 80's/early 90's, the SP had a slogan titled "The Spirit That Won The West".

  8. They also brought back the old Circle and Bar emblem in Red and Orange with a Sunset on top of the middle bar.

  9. An acrylic desk paperweight, apparently issued by the DRGW/SP in the early 90's, labeled:

  10. "Southern Pacific Lines", and has both the "Southern Pacific Lines" sunset herald dating back to the early 20th Century and the "Rio Grande - the Action Railroad" speed-lettered herald:

  11. The paperweight also has two slogans:

  12.     "The Spirit of the West is Back"

  13.     "Extending Your Reach"


Fuel Conservation

  1. One was issued in 1923 to a locomotive engineer. It was gold plated enamel cap badge.

Perfect Station

  1. Issued to an agent. It was a sterling silver medal.

Safety Award

  1. Given out for increments of 5 years of accident free service. Safety was a major concern on the railroads. Groups of employees also received awards such as switchmen or roundhouse employees at yards.

Cost of a Ticket

  1. In 1948 the cost from LA $6 one-way, $11.90 round trip, (coach).

Fuel Economy Program





Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE)

  1. The Southern Pacific building constructed at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915, was a moving picture theater in this building, the “Sunset Theater”. There is a 1921 book about the Exposition that had a chapter on the railroad displays.

Radio Broadcast

  1. The radio show “All Aboard” 1/2 hour aired weekly in 1949-54 on NBC from Hollywood studios with Gordon MacRae as the star.

  2. The inauguration of the first Daylight train in 1939 was broadcast on NBC. Olivia de Havilland christened the train.


  4.                                                        (*see Daylight book, pg. 80 )

Rose Parade

  1. On January 1, 1940, the Brotherhood of Railway Clerks won the “theme prize” in the Tournament of Roses Parade with their 66’ streamlined Daylight locomotive float of flowers. It was spectacular to the eye and the largest float in the parade.

The SP Baseball Team

  1. CSRM has several photos of the SP baseball team, and duplication rights could be obtained easily.  There is a photo of the team on display in an exhibit case next to the NPC Sonoma that shows the team with their backs to the camera, and their shirts printed with the Sunset logo.  I have also seen a baseball bat stamped SPCO in the museum collection that is now over at the McClellan site.  It was a variation on a theme of a brakeman's club, but made to baseball specs. No doubt a special project of the wood shop.

  2. Scott Inman

  3. In researching newspapers from the 1860’s I found a reference to a Southern Pacific Railroad baseball team playing against other teams from the Sacramento area.

  4. Bill

The SP Baseball vs. San Quentin “All-Stars”

  1. The Southern Pacific had a company sponsored baseball team. A most unusual memorabilia item is a small (6"x 8") printed scorecard for a baseball game played at California’s notorious high security San Quentin State Prison between the baseball club of the Southern Pacific RR and the San Quentin “All-Stars” on July 24, 1932.

Sunset Magazine

  1. Sunset magazine was created in 1898, by the Passenger Department of the S.P., as publicity for railroad lands and tourism. The magazine sold the West’s best commodity, its environmental attractions and economic potentials to thousands, publishing countless promotional articles on towns and valleys on the brink of development. Occasionally, S.P. used its magazine as a corporate platform to defend freighting practices or to hint at political matters. The magazine was sold in 1914 and continues to promote the West. A complete collection of S.P.’s magazine exists in the California State Railroad Museum.

                                                                            (*see Sunset Magazine March ‘37).


  1. In 1948 & 1949 the reservation phone number was GArfield 1571 in SF.

  2. In 1955, the telephone sales office phone number was MIchigan 6161.

Train Travel on the S.P.

  1. The one-way train fare from Los Angeles to San Francisco is about $8. A coast-to-coast ticket costs almost $70.

  2. The Southern Pacific's Starlight and the Western Pacific's Zephyr are like modern hotels on wheels. Their dining cars offer restaurant-quality meals, prepared to order and served on white tablecloths.; a full-course dinner on these trains costs about $3.

  3. Club cars, observation cars and lounge cars are fitted out like urban cocktail lounges, and are staffed by experienced bartenders who know how to mix all the latest drinks. New cocktails, like the Martini or the Sidecar, cost about 35 cents.

  4. A night in a train is as comfortable as a night in a good hotel, if you're in a Pullman sleeping car.The Pullman cars have eight pairs of plush bench seats, and around nightfall the porter converts each pair of facing seats into upper and lower berths, and draws curtains around them.

  5. In 1940 a Pullman berth costs about $2.50 per night, in addition to the price of the ticket. Each Pullman car also has a private stateroom with its own sink and toilet, which costs about $7 extra per night. 

  6. The Men's and Ladies' washrooms are as sleek and clean as those in any leading hotel. But in 1940 many hotels still have only shared bathroom facilities; so it's quite proper for Pullman passengers to walk through the aisle to their respective washrooms wearing a robe or dressing-gown.

  7. For short train trips, such as Santa Cruz to Oakland,peoples won't sleep on board; so they ride in a day-coach, where the seats do not have to double as berths. So day-coaches typically have larger windows and more elbow-room than Pullman cars.

Companies owned by the SP

  1. There were a lot of companies SP owned outright, was in partnership with or affiliated in some way. These were in some cases owned for a limited time, and the list does NOT necessarily apply over decades and decades.

  2. Albion Lumber Co.

  3. Arizona Eastern

  4. Associated Oil Co.

  5. Associated Pipe Line Co.

  6. Bankers Leasing Co.

  7. Beaver Hill Coal Co.

  8. Black Mesa Pipelines Co.

  9. CPRR

  10. California Development Co.

  11. California Navigation & Improvement Co.

  12. Colorado Direct Navigation Co.

  13. Contract & Finance Co.

  14. Dallas Smith Co.

  15. Direct Navigation Co.

  16. Durango Land Co

  17. East Coast oil Co. (Mexico)

  18. Evergreen Freight Car Corp.

  19. Fresno City Ry Co.

  20. Fresno Traction Co.

  21. GH&SA RR

  22. Golden West Leasing Co.

  23. Gulf Lumber Co.

  24. HE&WT

  25. Houston & Shreveport RR

  26. Huntington Beach Corp.

  27. Importers Bonded Warehouse Co.

  28. Inter-Cal Ry. Co.

  29. Iron Chief Mining Co.

  30. John I. Hay Barge Line

  31. Kern Trading & Oil Co.

  32. Kirby Lumber Co.

  33. Louisiana Western RR

  34. Los Angeles Pacific Land Co.

  35. Los Angeles Pacific Market Co.

  36. Los Angeles Terminal Co.,

  37. ML&T RR

  38. Marion & Linn County RR

  39. NWP RR

  40. Nile Steamship Co.

  41. O&C RR

  42. Oceanic Steamship Co.

  43. Occidental & Oriental Steamship Co.

  44. Pacific Electric Land Co.

  45. Pacific Fruit Express Co.

  46. Pacific Greyhound Lines

  47. Pacific Improvement Co.

  48. Pacific Mail Steamship Co.

  49. Pacific Motor Trucking Co.

  50. Pacific Oil Co.

  51. Peninsular Ry. Co.

  52. Phoenix & Eastern RR

  53. Pickwick Stages

  54. Porter Fuel Co.

  55. Porterville Northern RR

  56. Rifled Pipe Co.

  57. Rio Bravo Oil Co.

  58. Rockaway Pacific Corp.

  59. SD&A RR

  60. San Jose Railroads,

  61. San Jose & Santa Clara Co. Ry. Co.

  62. Southern Pacific Air Freight Co.  (1980’s)

  63. Southern Pacific Building Co.

  64. Southern Pacific Communications Co.  (SPRINT)

  65. Southern Pacific Equipment Co.

  66. Southern Pacific Land Co.

  67. Southern Pacific Marine Transport Co.

  68. Southern Pacific Of Mexico

  69. Southern Pacific Navigation Co.

  70. Southern Pacific Pipe Lines CO.

  71. Southern Pacific Terminal Co.

  72. Southern Pacific Terminal Co RR

  73. Southwestern Transportation Co.

  74. Sprint

  75. Stockton Electric Co.

  76. Sunset Development Co.

  77. Sunset Magazine

  78. Sunset Ry

  79. Texas Town Lot Co.

  80. Ticor  (Financial Services)

  81. Tucson & Nogales RR

  82. Visalia Electric RR.

  83. John R. Signor

  84. S.P. also had smaller ownership percentages in various other oil, hotel, hospital, land and sugar companies.

  85. SP sold all its oil lands AND its majority ownership in Associated to Pacific Oil in 1920. My understanding is that SP did not have a majority piece of Pacific Oil--and Pacific Oil was sold to Standard of California in 1926.

  86. Tony Thompson

  1. I wrote up a history of Southern Pacific's communications company, spun off as SPRINT.

  2. Don Strack                                              


  1. A good source of information on SP's wholly-owned and majority or minority interest in railroad and non-railroad companies can be found in the various annual editions of "Poor's Manual Of Railroads". Manuals editions can generally be obtained thru interlibrary loan, for years not available in your local library.

  2. Bob Pecotich

SP Pipelines Division

  1. SP Pipelines was another longstanding SP subsidiary that Santa Fe acquired with the merger and subsequently sold. Anything not directly owned by the railroad became SPSF property on merger day. It was very clear that every single SP subsidiary was promptly spun off by Santa Fe and most sold fairly quickly (or at least recapitalized with new stock). When SP emerged from the "near-merger," I think they were doomed: all those subsidiaries had been sources of income, and some had been major long-term assets, like land. All were now gone. There are many threads in the downfall of the SP, but the rich family of assets stripped away in the SPSF debacle have to be a major part of any account. And let's don't blame Santa Fe; one reason they wanted the merger in the first place was to get their hands on all those assets. They got full benefit from them, too.

  2. Tony Thompson

SP Corporate Aircraft

  1. They did own or control three airplanes one GS4 and two Lear jets for corporate travel. Mr. Russell was flying in the Tenneco GS4. But it was Gentle Ben who got the SP G-IV (Gulfstream). It was keep at Oakland.

  2. Paul C. Koehler

  1. In the early 1950's SP owned a large share of United Airlines but was forced to divest itself of them. One could buy United Airline tickets at most major Espee stations.

Southern Pacific Lines
The Southern Pacific Company
General Info
SP Advertising
Panama-Pacific Exposition
Radio Broadcast
Rose Parade
SP Baseball Team
Sunset Magazine
Train Travel on the SP
Companies owned by the SP
SP Pipelines Division
SP Corporate Aircraft
  1. Armand T. Mercler        Southern Pacific President 1941-1951