Handbill and Timetable for Wabash-Union Pacific Railway's Overland Route to Yellowstone National Park, 1927

Summary

The Wabash Railway, with origins dating back to 1838, was a strong Midwestern carrier until Amtrak took over the national passenger railroad system in 1971. Railroads made Yellowstone National Park accessible to tourists until cross-country automobile travel became feasible and popular. According to this 1927 brochure, the Wabash Railway promised "thru service" from St. Louis in about two days.

The Wabash Railway, with origins dating back to 1838, was a strong Midwestern carrier until Amtrak took over the national passenger railroad system in 1971. Railroads made Yellowstone National Park accessible to tourists until cross-country automobile travel became feasible and popular. According to this 1927 brochure, the Wabash Railway promised "thru service" from St. Louis in about two days.

The Wabash Railway, with origins dating back to 1838, was a strong Midwestern carrier until Amtrak took over the national passenger railroad system in 1971.

Railroads played a significant role in the development and promotion of America's national parks. Yellowstone was America's first national park, founded in 1872, and its emerging popularity was due in large part to accessibility by railroads. As early as the 1880s, the Northern Pacific Railroad realized profits could be made by tourists who wanted to see the natural wonders of Yellowstone National Park and extended its line ever-closer to the park's north entrance. From this railroad station, tourists could board stagecoaches into the park to see the attractions and stay at hotels--conveniently also developed in concert with the Northern Pacific.

When the Union Pacific Railroad extended a branch line to West Yellowstone (then called Riverside) in 1908, Yellowstone's west entrance became the new most popular access point. By this time, at least four different railroads competed for service to Yellowstone at different entrances and each of them competed for fastest times and most desirable amenities. In 1922, the Wabash Railway announced the inception of a daily "thru service" to Yellowstone National Park in arrangement with the Union Pacific system. At the time, the trip took 2 1/2 days from St. Louis, using "everything known in present day equipment and convenience." By the time of this 1927 flyer, the trip had been reduced to just over two days. Pre-planned escorted tours, using a fleet of motorcars, took tourists around the park or--via a combination of railroad and motorcar--on "circle tours" to other points of interest in the West. In 1929, the trip to Yellowstone from St. Louis was reduced another 5 1/2 hours.

Unfortunately, with the increasing popularity of automobiles, the days of Yellowstone-bound trains were numbered. While more than 4/5 of travelers to Yellowstone had gone by rail in 1915, this proportion had drastically reduced to about 1/8 by 1930.

Detailed Description
Artifact

Brochure

Date Made

1927

Subject Date

1927

Creators

Wabash Railway Company 

Union Pacific Railroad Company 

Place of Creation

United States, Missouri, Saint Louis 

United States, Nebraska, Omaha 

Creator Notes

Wabash Railway Company of St. Louis, Missouri and Union Pacific Railroad Company of Omaha, Nebraska combined for this tour advertising brochure.

 On Exhibit

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Object ID

2012.67.2

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift in Memory of John A. Barrett.

Material

Paper (Fiber product)

Color

Green

Dimensions

Height: 11 in

Width: 8.5 in

Inscriptions

Text from top reads in part: Yellowstone / National Park / DAILY THRU SERVICE / From St. Louis... WABASH-UNION PACIFIC / THE OVERLAND ROUTE

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