The Mercury train sets were designed by noted industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss, and are considered a prime example of Art Deco design. The success of the Mercury led to Dreyfuss getting the commission for the 1938 redesign of the NYC's flagship, the 20th Century Limited.
The interstate highway system and growth of the airline network in the 1950s slowly killed off these elegant trains - just look at these posh interiors.
Even the train brochures back then were frameworthy - can you say the same of marketing materials coming out of the rail industry today?
Amtrak’s 1958 Empire Builder had an air-conditioned (“year around”) double-deck with a dome-lounge car.
Brochure for Santa Fe “Travel the Chief Way” El Capitan, 1960
The City of San Francisco streamliner passenger train ran from 1936 to 1971 on the Overland Route between Chicago and Oakland, with a ferry connection on to San Francisco. It provided premium extra fare service from Chicago to San Francisco of 39 hr 45 min each way.
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