Santa Susana Railroad Historical Society

Griffin Yard | San Pedro | Santa Susana | Camarillo | Questa | Redding |Shasta Mountain | Felton
Depot of the Week | Railroad Advertisements | Trolleys | shortlines | Finicula Lines | Seldom Seen | The Big Four
2009 Calender | 2010 Calender
Summer Quarter | Fall Quarter 2008 | Winter Quarter 2008 |

Welcome The Santa Susana Railroad Historical Society

Coca-Cola, Railroads and Christmas

Coca-Cola (often "Coke") is a carbonated cola and the world's most popular soft drink. The Coca-Cola Company's headquarters are located in Atlanta, Georgia, where the drink was first concocted around 1886. Coke's inventor John Stith Pemberton was not a shrewd marketer of his drink, and the ownership of Coke eventually passed to Asa Candler, whose company remains the producer of Coke today. Candler's successful marketing, continued by his successors such as Robert Woodruff and established Coke as a major soft drink first in the United States and later around the world.

Originally designed to be sold at soda fountains, Coca-Cola was later sold in bottles whose distinctive shape has become a part of the drink's branding. Major advertising campaigns have established Coca-Cola slogans such as "The pause that refreshes" and "Always the Real Thing" as part of popular culture. 

Coca-Cola's advertising has had a significant impact on American culture, and is frequently credited with the "invention" of the modern image of Santa Claus as an old man in red-and-white garments; however, while the company did in fact start promoting this image in the 1930s in its winter advertising campaigns, it was already common before that. 

At the same time in conjunction with the major the railroads began shipping refrigerated box cars across the nation with perishable goods opening up markets that otherwise would not get the fresh fruit and vegetables (and Coke-Cola) to different regions of the US.  As part of Coke-Cola’s effort to promote the Coke-Cola name a series of refrigerated box cars were painted lipstick red and large Coke-Cola advertisements promoting "Ice-cold sunshine" or “Coca-Cola ... the pause that brings friends together.”  Here is a listing of famous Coca-Cola slogans that appeared on refrigerated boxcars:

·  1932 - Ice-cold sunshine.
·  1932 - Thirst come, thirst served.
·  1933 - Bounce back to normal.
·  1933 - Don't wear a tired, thirsty face.
·  1935 - Coca-Cola ... the pause that brings friends together.
·  1937 - America's favorite moment.
·  1938 - The best friend thirst ever had.
·  1938 - Thirst asks nothing more.
·  1939 - Coca-Cola goes along.
·  1939 - Coca-Cola has the taste thirst goes for.
·  1940 - Within easy reach of your thirst.
·  1940 - America's year round answer to thirst.
·  1941 - Work refreshed.
·  1941 - Coca-Cola belongs


The train advertisements last until the onset World War II when the red colors on the cars stood out as trains raced across the west and were painted back to mineral red or some other dull color.   

Santa Fe and Union Pacific were the major railroads that would haul the iced refrigerators across the nation as did other carriers but Southern Pacific hauled a few of these refrigerators as did other railroads.  Coke-Cola had Santa Fe “Coke-Cola Specials” caboose painted red with the large with a large Coke logo on the side.  Later in the 1960’s Santa Fe, probably someone in the Santa Fe remembering from his childhood that grew up in the 1930’s, took the idea of this large logo and painted the Santa Fe cabooses red with the large circle cross logo on the side as Coke had once before. Santa Fe would typically put there Northern 4-8-4’s and ensure fast delivery from Chicago to Los Angeles.

The Union Pacific not to be out done Santa Fe named their train “Coke-Cola Overland Express” and also painted several bay window cabooses armor yellow with Coke bottles on the side.  Union Pacific used there “Big Boys” 4-8-8-4 to move the boxcars across the Overland route and speed it to the thirsty customer.  

Both railroads brought the cool refreshing drink to the west and quenched thousands of “dry mouths.” Thanks to the railroads the Coke-Cola advertisement on steel rails help to propel the “Santa Claus legend” as kids and parents view these billboards on rails speeding across the nation.

Happy Holidays!

1. Note this was purely fictional as no refrigerated boxcars were ever painted red or carried Coke-Cola on the side of the boxcars. 

 

| Site Map | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © 2004-2008 SSRHS