Southern Pacific Lines

Coast Line Division 

“The Route of the Octopus”


General Information

The Golden State Limited

  1. The following is from SP Circular No. 1314, issued December 8, 1908.

  1. "The Golden State Limited, running between San Francisco and Los Angeles, via Southern Pacific, El Paso & Southwestern, and Rock Island Lines, to Kansas City, St. Louis and Chicago will be resumed December 15th from Chicago and December 15th, from Los Angeles. 

The Golden State Limited and the Rock Island Railroad

  1. The Golden State was a named passenger train between Chicago and Los Angeles from 1902–1968 on the Chicago, Rock Island and Southern Pacific Railroad. The Golden State was a joint train operated by the Rock Island and Southern Pacific connecting Chicago and Los Angeles and points in between. In the spring of 1967, SP and the Rock Island agreed to pool passenger units on the Golden State, rather than turn them back at Tucumcari. Home-road units would always lead, as demonstrated by Rock E8 #653 heading train #4 with SP E7s #6000 and 5916 at Kansas City in September 1967. Westbound, Rock Island units began to show up in Los Angeles.”  (Art Riordan photo, appearing on page 21 of SP Historic Diesels, Volume 3)


  3. “Turnabout was fair play; if SP E7s could appear mid-consist in Kansas City and Chicago on the Rock Island, then Rock power should be allowed to visit California. Sandwiched between FP7 #6457 and an Espee E9, Rock Island E8 #644 is pictured at Alhambra in October 1967. At least one Rock Passenger unit was heavily damaged in a nearby SP wreck a few weeks before this photo.”  (Robert Kern photo, appearing on page 49....)

  4. Joe Strapac

Golden State History

Golden State Timetable

  1. Golden State 69LA6:15 pmSF8:00 am


  1. The 1947 Golden State scheme was used by both CRI&P and SP.

Golden Rocket Paint Scheme

  1. Concerning the Golden Rocket. That was a special case. The Golden Rocket never ran; however, CRI&P cars did operate for a number of years in the Golden State with Golden Rocket lettering.

  2. Jeff Alan Cauthen

  3. While SP did not join the Golden Rocket, they did participate in the Golden State, which used this scheme. SP even had E-unit sets in the Golden State scheme. After the SP dropped the paint scheme, the Rock Island cars assigned to that run continued to carry ?Golden State? on the letter boards, right up to the end of service.

  4. Brian Ehni

  5. First, the paint scheme is at best a JOINT paint scheme. The red is SP Daylight Red (also Socony Red), so you can be sure that SP had a major hand in the design, even if they did not do it in isolation.

  6. Second, the two railroads each bought cars for the train, so either railroad having some of the cars after the train was discontinued might well only mean that they already owned them.

  7. Third, it is quite clear from the historical record that SP pulled out, not Rock Island, and in fact Rock Island tried to persuade SP to continue.

  8. Fourth, there is no evidence I'm aware of that SP bought ANY of the Rock Island's part of the train.

  9. Tony Thompson

  10. The Daylight Red should cover the top half of the car down to the belt rail just below the bottom of the windows.

  11. Jeffrey Alan Cauthen



The Golden State Train Consist

Golden State Steam Motive Power

Golden State Diesel Motive Power


  1. From Sept 1961 to June 1965, they were a hodge-podge of F's/E's and PA's.


  1. The locomotives that were typically used on the westbound Golden State in 1965 were: E7s, E9s, FP7s, LA passenger pool F7s,

  2. GP9s #3008, #3009.

  3. David Coscia


  1. For years, SP’s Los Angeles engine terminal preferred to send out the Golden State, Sunset and Coast Daylight with E-unit power. However, between 1966 and 1970, the E-units were retired.

  1. A Rock Island E-unit # 650 leading an SP 6441, presumably on the Golden State at El Paso in 1967. So we know it happened at least once by then.

  2. Bob Pecotich

  1. A photo of the Sunset/Golden State at Alhambra Station on 1/14/67, shows #6053 on the point and Rock Island 648 as the second unit.


  1. The hamburger-grill-lounge was replaced by an automat in the summer of 1969 and then removed.


  1. Everything Gray & Red.

  2. Jim Evans


  1. All SP E-units on a September 1965 day at Colton. See photos at


  3. Here's a photo of the Sunset-Golden State arriving LAUPT in July 1967 with a Rock Island E-unit:


  5. Jim Lancaster

Golden State Passenger Equipment


  1. "All cars will be electric lighted, and have latest appliances for the comfort and convenience of passengers. "The train will carry no chair car, but only mail and baggage cars, diner, Pullman sleepers and observation car as follows:

  2. 1 Mail Car                                                                                      LA to Chicago

  3. 1 Baggage Car                                                                                 LA to Chicago

  4. 1 Tourist Car, 14 sections, smoking room,                                     LA to Chicago

  5. 1 Diner                                                                                           LA to Chicago

  6. 1 Standard Sleeper,  10 sections, Drawing room, 2 State rooms      Santa Barbara to Chicago

  7. 1 Standard Sleeper, 10 sections, 2 Drawing rooms                          San Francisco to Chicago

  8. 1 Observation Car, Buffet, Smoking room, Library, Writing Desk, Observation Platform,  LA to Chicago


  10. Jeff Cauthen


  1. No domes were ever on the GS. All is explained in SP Passenger Cars Volume 5: Lounge, Dome, & Parlor Cars.

  2. Jeff Cauthen

  3. 1 Standard Sleeper, 10 sections, 6 rooms

Modeling Golden State Passenger Equipment



  1. The Athearn paint scheme shown was the 1947 to 1950 Golden State scheme used by both CRI&P and SP. They got it right.

  2. Jeffrey Alan Cauthen

Challenger Imports Pullman 10-6 sleeper

  1. A version was done by Challenger Imports with factory painting and interiors.

The Coach Yard Pullman 10-6 sleeper

  1. The original version was done by The Coach Yard in an un-finished (brass form).

Union Terminal Imports Pullman 10-6 sleeper

  1. Our version will be of the cars in their later form (’55-’56 and 60’s) The cars will mostly be de-skirted. They will be fully factory finished with interior and LED lighting. This project has been a long time in the making. We are doing two complete 8 car sets of the Golden State one with a Rock Island theme and the other with a Southern Pacific theme. We are also including in this project a number of interesting Pullman 10-6 sleepers for many different railroads. Please get your orders in as soon as possible we will only build the models that are preordered. We expect this project in Q3 of 2015. As all UTI projects these cars will be designed to operate as well as be impeccably finished.

  2. The cars included in these two sets are here:

  3. Rock Island and Southern Pacific Golden State and Pullman 10-6 sleeper project.



  6. Jacob Damron

Southern Pacific Lines
S.P. Golden State Passenger Trains
General Info
- Golden State History

The Golden State Consist
Steam Motive Power
Diesel Motive Power
Passenger Car Equipment