Some time back in a more graceful age, you could ride the Shasta Daylight from Redding. Riders watched Mt Shasta go by in daylight hours from a comfortable railcar with an observation dome, and enjoyed meals in the articulated Pullman diner-tavern-lounge car, which offered 3 railcar length unimpeded interior space.
This from Wikipedia:
The Shasta Daylight was a train operated by the Southern Pacific Railroad. It was inaugurated on July 10, 1949 between Oakland Pier in Oakland, California and Portland, Oregon and was SP’s third set of “Daylight” lightweight streamlined trains. The new Shasta Daylight operated on a fast 15 hour 30 minute schedule in either direction for the 713 mile trip through some of the most beautiful and spectacular mountain scenery of any train in North America… The scenic route of the Shasta Daylight passed by its namesake mountain in daylight hours; in fact, the Shasta Daylights ran on the very flanks of Mount Shasta.
There is good short article about this flagship run of the Daylight rail service at the American Rails site:
Starting off in Oakland the train passed through beautiful northern California and then through the Cascades towards its final stop at Portland along the way passing locations like Mount Hood, Odell Lake, Crater Lake, and other spectacular features of the Pacific Northwest. What made the trip even that much more memorable was the extra large windows built into the Pullman-Standard cars for maximum sightseeing and outdoor viewing… The popularity of the Daylight was incredibly high, even through the early 1960s although by the latter half of that decade the SP began greatly reducing services and amenities on the fleet as patronage declined.
Amtrak took over in 1971, and so we at least still have some rail travel from Redding, even if it blows through here in the dead of night. Not quite the same experience. It’s pleasant to imagine the return of the Shasta Daylight, and the tourism it might provide.
Redding has always been a rail town. For the past several decades, we have been a car town too. Of course, things change…