CHICAGO Museum of Science and Industry - June, 2012
The Pioneer Zephyr (and other images)
Note - Click on any small photo to see larger version


Front view of 1934 Burlington ZephyrFront view of the Pioneer Zephyr, a diesel-electric train formed of 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.  The train was VERY light weight and the streamlining enabled it to reach 112.5 MPH, which was FAST in 1934.




Side view of Burlington ZephyrSide view of Burlington Zephyr in the museum.  Tours of the train are free and feature an annimated presentation in each car.



Rear of Burlington ZephyrRear of the Burlington Zephyr.  Note the stainless steel skirt over the rear bogey.  Classy!!



Burlington Zephyr TourThis is the baggage car.  The donkey ("Zephyr") is animated and he moves and talks in time with the historic movie that plays on the monitor above him.  He's very convincing - so much so that you want to pet him.



Inside of coach car This is the "radio" car.  It's a coach with a radio / PA system. Mannequins represent various typical 1934 passengers (bearing in mind that the coach fare was $8 and the Observation car was $12 for the Denver to Chicago trip in 1934).



Interior of Observation carThis is the observation car with animated mannequins.  They are very well done and give a narrative summary of the trip while various scenes go by.  The scenes are displayed on the four "windows," which are actually rear-projection movie screens.  Very realistic - looks like you are actually on the train.



Inside the baggage compartment behind the engineInside the baggage compartment which is behind the engine in the first car of the unit train.  It has a virtual postmaster who explains the standard RPO process.




Engine compartmentThis is the engine compartment, looking back towards the baggage room.  On the exhaust (fireman's side) of the Winton 201A diesel engine.


Engine compartmentEngine compartment, looking towards the cab, fireman's side.


Engine compartmentEngine compartment, looking towards the cab, engineer's side.  Note the air tanks on the right.


View in cab from fireman's seatView of the cab from the fireman's seat.  It's very cramped; you cannot get between the engineer's and the fireman's seats in the cab.  You must exit the cab, go around the rear of the engine, and back up the other side of the cab.  Lots of fun if she's in run 8!



Air compressor in the cabThis is the air compressor.  It's driven off of the front of the generator and sits in between the engineer and the fireman!


Fireman's seatEngineer's seat.  I couldn't get into it because the plexiglass barricade was too high and cab door was in the way.  I almost tried to get into it, but decided that it would not be cool to get stuck trying!  The Zephyr scared the engineer's who ran it.  There was absolutely no protection in front and the seating positions in the cab were relatively low; only about 12 feet off of the ground.  They did say that it was thrilling to run though.  She would do over 110 MPH (which it hit ocassionally on the run between Denver and Chicago) and the train averaged about 77 MPH on the trip.  In 1934, that was FAST!




View out from the fireman's seatThis is the view out of the front of the cab, fireman's side.  A museum management staff person walked by while I was sitting in the seat.  Fortunately, it's hard to see anybody in the cab from the floor of the museum.