Thursday, March 30, 2017

"We're sticking to standard"

On the way home from Mendocino, we visited the Point Arena lighthouse and museum. In the museum a front page of the Independent Coast Observer from April 29, 1951 caught my eye. The lead article was about the fate of the japanese freighter "Kenkoku Maru", which ran ashore on April 28, 1951 at Point Arena. However, my brain immediately pattern-matched the Western Pacific ad on the page.

Back in the early 1950's the U.S. did not observe Daylight Savings Time consistently. The Western Pacific notified its passengers to explain they won't switch to DST, and rather stick with standard time instead.

The spin machine was out in full force:
"For several good reasons it's best for us (and our passengers and shippers) that we keep operating on Standard Time.
... all arrival and departure times will be Standard Time. To find out when your train arrives or departs by "your" time [...] just add one hour to the time indicated in the timetable."
Easy, isn't it? Never mind that they don't mention any of the good reasons, but I hear the California Zephyr is "the most talked-about train in the country". At least they had that going for them.

On the same page the Observer had a note on the impact of Daylight Savings Time in California. In style typical for the time it celebrates all the hours saved. I just wonder what the editors wrote in the fall when all those Californians took their savings back home...

Contrary to the Western Pacific, the Southern Pacific observed Daylight Savings Time.

"This will cause a great deal of cheerful confusion."

Uh-huh. I bet it did.

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