The Pioneer Zephyr 1934.
The Pioneer Zephyr is a diesel-powered railroad passenger train formed of railroad cars permanently articulated
together with Jacobs bogies, built by the Budd Company in 1934 for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy
Railroad (CB&Q), commonly known as the Burlington. The train featured extensive use of stainless steel, was
originally named the Zephyr, and was meant as a promotional tool to advertise passenger rail service in the
United States. The construction included innovations such as shotwelding (a specialized type of spot welding)
to join the stainless steel, and articulation to reduce its weight.
On May 26, 1934, it set a speed record for travel between Denver, Colorado, and Chicago, Illinois, when it
made a 1,015-mile (1,633 km) non-stop "Dawn-to-Dusk" dash in 13 hours 5 minutes at an average speed of 77 mph
(124 km/h). For one section of the run it reached a speed of 112.5 mph (181 km/h), just short of the then US
land speed record of 115 mph (185 km/h). The historic dash inspired a 1934 film and the train's nickname,
"The Silver Streak".
The train entered regular revenue service on November 11, 1934, between Kansas City, Missouri; Omaha,
Nebraska; and Lincoln, Nebraska. It operated this and other routes until its retirement in 1960, when it was
donated to Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, where it remains on public display. The train is
generally regarded as the first successful streamliner on American railroads.
The first Zephyr was completed by Budd Company on April 9, 1934, powered by an 8-cylinder, 600-horsepower
(447 kW), 8-201-A model Winton engine. Like the diesel-electric locomotives that soon displaced the steam
locomotive on American railroads, this engine powered an electrical generator; the electricity it generated
was then fed to electric traction motors connected to the axles in the train's front truck.
The train's engineer sat in a small compartment in the nose of the train, directly in front of the prime
mover. Behind the engine in the first carbody was a 30 ft (9.1 m) long railway post office section. The
second carbody consisted of a small baggage section and a short buffet and 20-passenger coach section. The
third and final carbody in the train, as originally built, was configured as half coach (40-passenger seats)
and half observation car (12 passenger seats). As built, the train had 72 seats and could carry 50,000 pounds
(22.7 tonnes) of baggage and express freight. This train's official christening occurred on April 18, 1934,
at the Pennsylvania Railroad's Broad Street Station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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