The Union Pacific Railroad has a long and proud history of operating premier passenger trains. But alternate modes of public travel became available in the 1920 era and ridership of passenger trains of all U.S. railroads began a slow decline. This decline persisted even as new equipment was introduced in the post WW II period. The railroad companies wanted to eliminate passenger trains in favor of becoming 100% freight haulers. The premier passenger trains in many instances were allowed to decline in service quality and name trains were combined. It was no different for the U.P.; Service quality was maintained but the “City Of Los Angeles” became the “City Of Everywhere”. It was decided the railroads would exit the passenger train business and a new entity, “Amtrak”, would assume the passenger train business. A date in 1971 was designated for the transfer of the passenger train business. This, of course, created a “last day” and a “last train” scenario in which I could not resist the urge to go down to the tracks and get the “photograph”. I was faced with the choice of a close-up shot or a distance shot. I choose a distance shot so as to include the entire train. That is how I found myself standing in a field near the City of Commerce waiting for the last passenger train on the Union Pacific Railroad, so I am told. I have no proof of this, but I believe it anyway. The flags on the 904 are enough for me. A headlight – and then it was over in an instant. I went home.
Years pass. The old slides are re-discovered in my current work of digitizing my photo collection and I am offering the opportunity for others to share that wistful moment with me.