Oakland ferry train shed and California Zephyr in Feather River Canyon


This photo by Richard Steinheimer, c. 1949, is from one of my railroad books, Portrait of a Silver Lady: The Train They Called the California Zephyr. This is the Oakland ferry train shed. Where is the woman in the right corner going and why? The Western Pacific makes-all-stops local on track 8 goes to Salt Lake City. But she would have taken the Zephyr if she were going that far. She’s probably going to some small town in the Sierra Nevadas or in the high desert of Northern Nevada where the Zephyr doesn’t stop. Did she get a call from home that someone has taken ill? Is she a San Francisco sleuth’s secretary being sent on an investigative assignment like Della Street in Perry Mason? I can’t look at this picture without wondering, and I can’t wonder without making up stories.


The train she didn’t take, the streamlined California Zephyr.

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