Burlington Route Passenger Trains Vol 1 by John F Strauss Hard Cover
Burlington Route Passenger Trains Vol 1 by John F Strauss Hard Cover
Burlington Route Passenger Trains Vol 1 by John F Strauss Hard Cover
Burlington Route Passenger Trains Vol 1 by John F Strauss Hard Cover

Burlington Route Passenger Trains Vol 1 by John F Strauss Hard Cover

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Burlington Route Passenger Trains Vol 1 by John F Strauss Hard Cover
Burlington Route Passenger Trains Vol 1 by John F Strauss
The fleet gives way to the West Wind
Hard Cover
208 pages
Copyright 2006
Selected Bibliography  3
Dedication  3
Acknowledgements  3
"The Flyers"  4
Anniversary Fleet  21
"Shovel-Nose" Zephyrs 64
Demand Exceeds Capacity 118
The Zephyr Fleet And Elegant E5s 151
Specials: Everywhere West 176
Farewell To Steam Program 193
The Burlington had achieved a world renowned reputation for its "Flyers" by the time its passenger train service had reached its Eightieth Anniversary during 1930. However, its humble beginnings that originated with the Aurora Branch, the Burlington's original predecessor railroad, during 1850 surely did not predict the enormously successful achievements that became centered around its "Flyers". Its first train service to and from Chicago was inaugurated on September 2, 1850, with a steam engine and a wood, open-platform coach borrowed from the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad, which was the original predecessor of the Chicago & North Western. This inaugural train with appropriate celebration traveled over the new Aurora Branch between Batavia and Turner Junction, Illinois, and over the Galena & Chicago Union to and from Chicago. The borrowed steam engine was the PIONEER (below right), the first to be operated in the Chicago area during 1848.
When construction was completed between Aurora and Batavia, the Aurora Branch inaugurated Aurora-Chicago passenger train service on October 21, 1850. This time, the financially-deficient Aurora Branch had to resort to the purchase of two secondhand steam engines and open-platform coaches. The two American type steam engines were named the WHITTLESEY and the PIGEON, and they were the first to be owned by the Aurora Branch. Those who participated in or witnessed the inauguration of these little, secondhand passenger trains would have been startled into disbelief had they been told that these trains would evolve into a group of renowned "Flyers" during the early 1900s and eventually blossom out into the famed Zephyr Fleet.
The schedules, effective as of October 21, 1850, became the predecessor for the renowned Chicago-Aurora Suburban Commuter District Service that continues its excellent service as this is written. Of course, the operating agencies have been changed during over 150 years of operation. As this is written, these highly successful Chicago-Aurora commuter trains are operated by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) and Metra (the Chicago Metropolitan Rail Corporation) over the West Suburban Mass Transit District (WSMTD).
As this little railroad expanded westward with construction of trackage and with acquisition of other railroads, its corporate title became the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, but it was referred to as "the Burlington" or "the Q" by its employees and those who rode its "Flyers". Also, during these beginning years, the Burlington achieved a national reputation for its high-speed passenger trains and its inclination to be of service to the traveling public. Examples of this positive attitude toward its passenger train service occurred on the Burlington during the late 1800s.
With 12 hours advance notice, the Fast Mail was inaugurated on March 10, 1884, between Chicago and Omaha via Galesburg, Burlington, Pacific Junction, and Council Bluffs, a distance of 496 miles with a 17-hour schedule. It departed Chicago at 3:00 AM, and it arrived in Council Bluffs at 7:59 PM for a connection with a Union Pacific train. The events leading up to the inaugural of this new mail train service were described in a Burlington Route souvenir brochure. "On March 9, 1884, the Postmaster General of the United States came to Chicago to consider the inauguration of a Fast Mail train upon which to concentrate all of the mail from the East destined for California including mail from England bound for Australia. Thomas Potter, Vice President of the Burlington, agreed to undertake the service for one year. When asked 'When can the train start?' he replied, 'It will be ready tomorrow morning.' At 3:00 AM the following morning, the first solid Fast Mail train west of Chicago started its flying schedule from Chicago to Omaha with an historic gentlemen's agreement that the service should be maintained as long as the Burlington continued it in a satisfactory manner."
This schedule was quite a bit faster when compared to that of the Burlington's distinguished passenger train, the Denver and Pacific Express, between the same terminals. In addition to an American 4-4-0 type steam engine, the inauguration consist included a carload of mail from the East, a baggage car loaded with Chicago newspapers, and a business car for the United States Post Office Department and Burlington Route officials. During the early years of operation, the Fast Mail was also known as "the White Mail", since its cars were painted white with gold trim and lettering. Years later, the ZEPHYR, the Burlington's monthly newsletter, commented on an anniversary of this mail train service: "Because of its superior condition, the Burlington was able to provide United States mail service to the West on a moment's notice almost, and has continued it uninterrupted for over 80 years."
The Burlington developed a wider fire-box and grate area supported by a set of trailing wheels, when it built No. 590, the first Columbia 2-4-2 type steam engine in the country during 1895. This experimental steam engine led to the development of the much larger, heavier, and faster Pacific 4-6-2 type steam engines that were built from 1900 onward. Harry Boggs, the station-express agent in Princeton, Illinois, at this time, observed: "Burlington officials loved to use No. 590 on fast `Specials', usually with an American type in the lead to compensate for No. 590's unstable tracking ability at high speeds. In 1897, 'the U. S. Post Office Mail Clerks Special' between Chicago and Denver was assigned No. 590 and American No. 8 for its Chicago to Burlington, Iowa, run. This `Special' came down Princeton Hill close to 90 miles per hour with lead No. 8's drivers just a blur, but No. 590's turning easy-like. The engineer told me later that the drawbars between No. 8 and No. 590 never tightened, but that No. 590 hauled the `Special's' eleven passenger cars and pushed No. 8 all the way to Burlington."
On Febrary 15, 1897, the Burlington operated "the Henry J. Mayham Special" for Mr. Mayham, a Denver industrialist, and it established a new speed record for a steam-operated train between Chicago and Denver. The "Special" covered the 1,008 miles via the Plattsmouth-Ashland Cutoff in 18 hours and 53 minutes for an average speed of 54.3 miles-per hour. This record included the time that was necessary to change nine steam engines in and out of the train plus time for en route crew changes, fueling, and taking on water. This "Special" was assembled by the Chicago General Offices and the 14th Street Coach Yard for Mr. Mayham on short notice in order to get him back to Denver as fast as possible because of a family emergency.
Examples of the Burlington's elegant "Flyers" in regular service appeared between Chicago and the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis on June 2, 1897, and between Chicago and Denver during 1901. The Chicago-Twin Cities Limited, renamed the Minnesota Limited a few years later, was inaugurated on June 2 as "the Finest Train on Earth" in the highly competitive, overnight service between Chicago and the Twin Cities with Chicago & North Western's North Western Limited, Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul's Pioneer Limited, and overnight trains operated by Chicago & Great Western, Minneapolis & St. Louis/Wabash, Rock Island Lines, and Wisconsin Central (Soo Line). The St. Paul PIONEER PRESS described this new train in glowing terms. "A journey on the Burlington's superb Chicago-Twin Cities Limited sets the passenger to wondering what would be possible to make any great improvement on its comfort and conveniences. Unless an entire hotel can be set on wheels, it is hard to imagine what more could be done. Its cars are the finest; there are none ever built to equal them. The Chicago-Twin Cities Limited is the finest regular train on earth."
Each of its two, new, electrically-lighted consists included an American 4-4-0 type steam engine and the following cars, which were named as indicated.

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