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Owl train marks 30 years of service

December 18, 2006

Dec. 18, 1928: Southern Pacific's coastal Owl train celebrated three decades of service with festive rides for its passengers, The Times reported.

When the Owl "pulled out of Los Angeles northbound, and San Francisco southbound, it began its 21,900th trip since the train first was placed in operation," the newspaper said.

"When the first trip was made in 1898, Los Angeles was just a large overgrown town, but during all these trips day after day, the Owl has been bringing in its daily quota of people to help swell the population to a figure which makes Los Angeles today the fifth-largest city in the United States."

In each dining car "reposed a cake three feet in diameter and weighing 50 pounds, which bore around its frosted edge 30 birthday candles," The Times reported. "To each passenger on the train, a slice was presented as a souvenir of the occasion."

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