The Pioneer Zephyr is a diesel-powered trainset built by the Budd Company in 1934 for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. The trainset was the second internal combustion powered streamliner built for mainline service in the United States. It was the first such train powered by a diesel engine, and the first to enter revenue service. On May 26, 1934, it set a speed record for travel between Denver and Chicago when it made a 1,015. 4-mile non-stop dash.
About Pioneer Zephyr in brief
The Pioneer Zephyr is a diesel-powered trainset built by the Budd Company in 1934 for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. The trainset was the second internal combustion powered streamliner built for mainline service in the United States. It was the first such train powered by a diesel engine, and the first to enter revenue service. On May 26, 1934, it set a speed record for travel between Denver and Chicago when it made a 1,015. 4-mile non-stop “Dawn-to-Dusk” dash in 13 hours 5 minutes at an average speed of almost 78 mph. For one section of the run it reached a speed of 112. 5 mph. The train is generally regarded as the first successful streamliner on American railroads. 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’s technologies were pivotal in the subsequent dieselization of passenger rail service. Its operating economy, speed, and public appeal demonstrated the potential for diesel-electric powered trains to revitalize and restore profitability to passengerRail service that had suffered a catastrophic loss of business with the Great Depression. The construction incorporated recent advances such as shotwelding to join the stainless steel, and unibody construction and articulation to reduce weight. In 1932 Ralph Budd met Edward G. Budd, an automotive steel pioneer who was founder and president of the Budd company. Edward Budd was demonstrating his new Budd-Michelin rubber-tired rail cars built of stainless steel. The project hinged on two major elements, developing lighter railcars and developing an internal combustion driven power system adequate for high speed service.
Pneumatic-wheeled railcars never found popularity for actual service, but they demonstrated the successful construction of lightweight stainless steel unibODY railcars. The Budd Company used the formed steel technology in which they were industry pioneers and solved the most difficult problem in using stainless steel for railcar construction: developing a welding technique that would not compromise the strength and corrosion resistance of the steel. On August 20, 1932, Earl J. Ragsdale filed a patent application for a method, automatic control of the timing of the individual welds that are pressed together with an electric current. The United States Patent and Trademark Office granted a patent on January 16, 1934. In a very high electric current, the two pieces of metal are passed through the joint and fuses together. If a spot is heated too long, the welds will spread at a rate too long from the heated heat from the heat of the electric current to spread at the weld at a time too long to spread from the weld. The train entered regular revenue service on November 11, 1934,. between Kansas City, Missouri, Omaha, Nebraska, and Lincoln, Nebraska. Since the carbody was much lighter than similar cars, it would be able to carry a higher revenue load for the same cost. Some power-trailer car sets in that series embodied the basic elements of car construction that would be used to build a lightweight streamliner train.