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Burlington Silver Streak Zephyr, 1940 –1950s

Burlington Silver Streak Zephyr, 1940 –1950s

Fred Klein, 2003, 2010, 2013

The Silver Streak Zephyr connected Kansas City, Omaha and Lincoln Nebraska and began service in April 1940.  The cars were Budd stainless steel cars built in 1939 and 1940 expressly for the Silver Streak and other Chicago, Burlington and Quincy trains.  Cars were individually coupled, non-articulated cars, unlike the articulated trainsets of the earlier Pioneer, Twin Cities and Denver Zephyrs.  The Streak left Kansas City at 4 PM arriving Lincoln at 9 PM.  It departed Kansas City the following morning and made one round trip a day.  Wayner (Car Names Numbers and Consists, page 216) and Dorin (Everywhere West, the Burlington Route, page 76) list the specific car names that were placed in service.  After the war, Silver Streak cars were exchanged with other trains but a train still covered the Kansas City to Lincoln route.  Pictures of the entire train can be found on pages 55 and 57 of Dorin’s Everywhere West, the Burlington Route. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Streak_Zephyr.

 

The Silver Streak circa 1940. From Karl Zimmerman’s Burlington’s Zephyrs, page 85.

 

Prototype & model car

Prototype number

Model number

Brand

prototypical?

E5A diesel

CBQ Silver Bullet

Silver Bullet

Kato

yes

73' Baggage

CBQ Silver Light

Silver Crest

Kato

yes

73' RPO

CBQ Silver Sheen

Silver Sheen

Kato

yes

Coach 52-seat

CBQ Silver Gleam

Silver Cloud

Kato

yes

Coach 52-seat

CBQ Silver Glow

Silver Birch

Kato

yes

89' observation-diner

CBQ Silver Spirit

Silver Fountain

Kato

yes

 

The Silver Streak circa 1940.

 

The train is a very easy one to model because Kato made all of the cars prototypically accurate for the Silver Streak Zephyr. In 2013, Kato reissued the cars and a new E5 locomotive as a set of the Silver Streak with the prototypical car names. I show both trains on this web page.  See my web page “Prototypes for N scale passenger cars part 3: Streamlined lightweight corrugated cars, Kato” for a bit more information about these cars.

 

Silver Streak Zephyr, first portion, original models

 

The train was initially pulled by an EMD E5A 2000 hp diesel named “Silver Bullet”.  The E5s had stainless steel sides with corrugations on the lower portion to match the cars. CBQ was the only railroad that ordered the E5 locomotive. I added Evergreen corrugated styrene, and used Microscale decals on an E6 model from Lifelike.  The sides of the E5 have an extra panel between the side windows and the grilles that the E6 does not have, but the appearance is very similar.  Russell Straw made an excellent model of the E5 and the Sam Houston Zephyr (N Scale Railroading magazine, Mar/Apr 2001, page 32).  The 73’ baggage car “Silver Light” and 73’ RPO “Silver Sheen” then follow, but head-end cars might be added or subtracted as needed.  Pictures I have seen without them may have been taken on a Sunday when the post offices were closed.

 

Silver Streak Zephyr, second portion, original models

 

Next came two 52-seat coaches, “Silver Gleam” and “Silver Glow”.  This model train uses the identical cars “Silver Cloud” and “Silver Birch”.  The last car is the 89’ diner-parlor-observation car.  Four identical observation cars were ordered and “Silver Spirit” was assigned to the Silver Streak Zephyr.  Kato decorated this tail car as “Silver Fountain”, which is an accurate car for the Silver Streak Zephyr.  Kato made and decorated each of the model cars in the train, leaving little for the modeler to do except enjoy!

 

Silver Streak Zephyr, first portion, Kato set

 

The train was initially pulled by an EMD E5A 2000 hp diesel named “Silver Bullet”.  The E5s had stainless steel sides with corrugations on the lower portion to match the cars. CBQ was the only railroad that ordered the E5 locomotive. The 73’ baggage car “Silver Light” and 73’ RPO “Silver Sheen” then follow, but head-end cars might be added or subtracted as needed.  Pictures I have seen without them may have been taken on a Sunday when the post offices were closed. All are prototypical Kato models.

 

Silver Streak Zephyr, second portion, Kato set

 

Next came two 52-seat coaches, “Silver Gleam” and “Silver Glow”. The last car is the 89’ diner-parlor-observation car.  Four identical observation cars were ordered and “Silver Spirit” was assigned to the Silver Streak Zephyr. Kato made and decorated the locomotive and each of the model cars in the train, leaving little for the modeler to do except take them out of the box.

 

 

182.jpg

 

REFERENCES

 

Dorin, Patrick, Everywhere West, the Burlington Route, Superior Publishing, 1976.

Wayner, Robert J., Car Names Numbers and Consists, Wayner Publications, 1972.

Zimmerman, Karl. Burlington’s Zephyrs MBI Publishing, 2004.

 



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