November 17, 2020 — On this date in 1905, the Bottineau Courant announced the addition of a new train to the Northern Pacific lineup. The Oriental Limited would provide service between St. Paul and Puget Sound. It was touted as offering “all the comforts of home” while passengers sat back in luxury and enjoyed the scenery. Instead of being worn and tired from the trip, a traveler would reach the end of the journey well rested and with happy memories of a pleasant journey.
A Northern Pacific brochure described the luxury two-room suites, and compartments that included drawing rooms and bathrooms. Tourist sleeping cars with upper and lower berths were advertised for less than the cost of traditional standard Pullman travel. The deluxe cars offered bathroom facilities and dressing rooms. The dining car was said to be famous for its menu.
The Oriental Limited was the top of the line train from 1905 to 1929 when it fell to second place behind James J. Hill’s Empire Builder. It was eventually canceled in 1931 because of the Depression. It was restored to service in 1946 in anticipation of increased post-War travel, but the name Oriental Limited was retired for good in 1951.
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