Valerie Varnuska is a Westbury, NY, resident with a passion for the beauty and history embodied in classic trains and cars. Valerie Varnuska enjoys old trains and the way they evoke a bygone era of American history. One of the urban communities most affected by the advent of the automobile was Los Angeles, a former train transportation hub that lost many of its lines in the latter half of the 20th century.
From the 1930s to the 1960s, the iconic Super Chief embodied elegant rail travel for Southern Californians, with the Santa Fe Railroad-run Pullman sleeping car train making daily trips from Chicago to Los Angeles. The deluxe streamliner was known as an “exclusive” commuter special that incorporated a diner and three lounges, including an observation car and the Pleasure Dome Lounge car. In addition to Pullman porters and conductors, there was a full staff of cooks, waiters, and attendants on board, and five-star meals were served.
The “Super” featured an all-star Hollywood passenger list that included Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra and the train was enshrined in cinema in “Three For Bedroom C,” the hit 1952 Warner Brothers movie that starred Gloria Swanson. Faced with steadily declining ridership, the Santa Fe flagship was ultimately taken over by Amtrak in 1971.