The Golden State Limited was a joint train of the Rock Island and Southern Pacific railroads and it ran between Chicago and Los Angeles starting on October 2, 1902.

On January 4, 1948, the all lightweight GOLDEN STATE replaced the Golden State Limited. For a brief period (1948-1952), the cars were decorated with SP Daylight Red over stainless steel or aluminum paint. There were at least 75 cars painted that way.  That is the period featured here. Most, but not all, pictures have a link to a larger image.

#3 WB Chicago->KC->Tucumcari->El Paso->LA
#4 EB LA->El Paso->Tucumcari->KC->Chicago


Prior to the creation of the GOLDEN STATE streamliner, Rock Island and Southern Pacific had planned an all new train called the GOLDEN ROCKET. The Rock Island ordered cars, the SP ordered diesels and both roads produced ads showing the red/silver scheme. Because of an ICC 1947 requirement for expensive automatic train stop equipment, the Southern Pacific changed their minds and the train never came to be. In my opinion, the SP changed their minds back because they eventually ordered all new equipment for the new GOLDEN STATE(even though it never reached the sub-40 hour originally planned schedule). Many of the RI GR cars retained their GR letterboard for many years.



Passenger Cars

Observation La Mirada (RI GR)

Vintage Rails, May/June 1999, courtesy Pentrex

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[Sleeper Golden Crest/Star/Sun (SP) - Diner Golden Chalice (SP)]

[unable to get permission - Can anyone help me reach Lou Cross?]

Observation Golden Vista/Divan (RI)

(Four Ways West)

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[GS at Nicklin, CA, May 1948]

[unable to get permission - Can anyone help me reach Frank Peterson?]

GS at Palm Springs (SP photo)

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GS power on SP #99

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GS power on SP Lark (SP photo)

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Southern Pacific Locomotives

(EMD photo)


EMD data card

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Saturday Evening Post, Sept. 4, 1948, Standard Oil

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Saturday Evening Post

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See as 1024x768 wallpaper (2.32MB)

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Used on the Southern Pacific cars



The RI used Zephyr lettering while the SP used Roman lettering.

Used on stationary and menus for many years

Click here for larger picture (378KB)



Examples only

N Scale


HO Scale

O Scale



Click here for large map (40MB)



The Golden State consists are maintained at the Rock Island Technical Society web site at


SP Diesel Paint Scheme

Click here for Southern Pacific Diesel Locomotive Paint Schemes: Golden State



"The Streamlined Golden State", Dennis Ryan & Mike Jarel, S$P Trainline #59, Southern Pacific Historical & Technical Society
"The Golden Rocket", Steve Hile, Railroad Model Craftsman, March, 1988


Rock Island Technical Society

Southern Pacific Historical and Technical Society

Jeff's Guide to the ROCK ISLAND LINES

SP Mailing List FAQ

Richard Percy's Espee Modelers Home Page

Thanks to Jeff Price, Dick Hutchins and others for their assistance!

Please bear with me as I attempt to gain permissions for any copyrighted material appearing here without an offsite link.

Please contact me with questions, broken links, additions and corrections at

Copy this Zephyr Font to c:/winnt/fonts (or wherever) to see this page with some Zephyr lettering.