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The Tale of the MoPac Eagle - Screaming Eagles Over the Prairie
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The Tale of the Eagles

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I love shots of GP35s, SD40s, or U30Cs in the "Turbo Eagle" scheme of the '60s and '70s. You have to remember this was a very dominating symbol and not a mere decoration to fill-in a blank space ... imagine what it was like to see this emblem in person for the very first time ... the white eagle logo painted billboard-size on the long hood... the long wing feathers stretched back in a stylized "speed" fashion... talons out-stretched aggressively ... you can almost hear the raptor's shrieking cry. This pretty much symbolized the company's mindset at the time - bigger, faster, stronger. And indeed that's what the MoPac became.

The Tale of The Eagles
Emblem of the Missouri Pacific Railroad
By Todd Greuter

The Missouri Pacific wasn't always known as the Route of the Eagles. There is a beginning to this symbol which became synominous with the road.

MoPac adopted the name "Eagle" for its trains after holding an employee contest to name the very first MP (Eagle) train of 1939.

The new name for the trains were to by selected from the submissions made by the rail employees. A name commitee was created at MoPac's St. Louis headquarters. Company President L. W. Baldwin promised "fame and and the thanks of the management... who comes forward with the best suggestion". "Speed and bright moderness" were the ideas to be conveyed by the new name.

By August 1939, the MP employee magazine announced the winning entry was "The Eagle - swift, graceful, powerful and since the creation of our Republic, the symbol of American progress"



On the Wings of Eagles
The style of the new Eagle Streamliners was the creation of Raymond Loewy (who went on the to work on such projects as NASA's Skylab, no less) The focal point on the shimmery blue exterior was the stylized spread eagle of brushed metal (stamped aluminum for diesels, cast aluminum for rear of observation cars). with a crimson MP buzzsaw emblem proudly displayed. The eagle of a stylized Egyptian design with Art Deco influence, was applied to the slant nose of the new streamliners and the tail of the observation cars. The look of these new units and their passenger cars were striking. It heralded the "official" beginning of dieslization on the Missouri Pacific.


The nose Spread Eagle from MP #7001, one of the first Missouri Pacific paired streamlined diesels. The bird has a distinct Art Deco influence. Note: this photo has the eagle "spread flat" as the original Spread Eagles were wrapped-around the slant nose units.


Spread Eagle Medallion

Besides the commonly used design of the Spread Eagle to be applied on all Passenger units in the years to follow, there were two other versions of ornament, one for the Texas & Pacific and one especially designed for the Colorado Eagle.

These variations are slight involving the emblem used on the eagle's belly. For the Texas & Pacific this involved the T&P diamond emblem replacing the MP buzzsaw. The T&P diamond - using #2002 as a reference - were applied over the same eagles designed for buzzsaw. The boys at the shop must have been in a rush at times, as the emblems appear all over the general area of the eagle's belly. On T&P #1581 the head is almost covered by it's diamond plaque.

By the 1960's, the buzzsaws were replacing diamonds system-wide to present a more uniform image of the railroad. The T&P diamonds were either painted over or (more likely) removed, with a buzzsaw metal plaque or decal applied in it's place. This is seen on units such as E7A #4 (1968) and E8A #41 (1968). This "quick-fix" seems to have been done sporadically as units came in to be shopped. Curiously, another 1968 photo of T&P #6 had it's eagle removed (weathering shows the outline of the spread wings) but retained it's T&P diamond emblem.

The Colorado Eagle E-units had a unique set of wings - No other Missouri Pacific streamliner had its own train name displayed on the buzzsaw. It was also unique in that the names of both roads which operated the run -- Missouri Pacific and Rio Grande -- were lettered below the wingspread.

 

 

MP 8009 - an ALCo PA at Raymondville, Texas on August 7, 1952 - Arthur B. Johnson Photo, T. Greuter Collection

Some wings were of the brushed aluminum with stamped outline features (primarily seen only on motive-power), others were with raised accents (used on tail-end passenger cars). Later models that would wear nose eagles appear to have larger or more exposed rivets used along the edges. On other later units the nose ornament appears to have the wings merely painted on with a metal buzzsaw riveted in place. A 1959 photo of T&P #8033 shows faded paint outlining where the wings once were.

Diesel Units delivered with the spread-eagle nose ornament (this was worn strictly by units in dedicated passenger service):

  • First - MP #7000-7001 (EMC E3, 1940)
  • Last - MP #8036 (ALCO PA-3, 9/52)




Route of the Eagles
In 1948 MoPac began to apply the "Route of the Eagle" slogan to the sides of two bay open top hoppers being built / out shopped at the DeSoto shops. It became standardized by 1949. Other revenue equipment followed as stenciling drawings were changed to fit boxcars, covered hoppers etc.
The application of the slogan to all new freight equipment (selected types of cars from 1949 through 1960, excluding all cars for Missouri-Illinois) was the standard scheme until being discontinued by the late 1960's.

By the dawn of the 1960s, it had become evident that there was no longer a need to continue advertising the "Route of the Eagles." As such, this slogan was discontinued in 1961. Box cars that were purchased new in 1961-62 as well as repaints received the 42 inch buzzsaw monogram but the "Route of the Eagles" was gone.

By 1964 the image of the eagle locomotives temselves were changing. Out with the highly eye-catching blue and gray with cream yellow trim and in with the utlitarian overall blue scheme. Yet in the dieing days of passenger service, some of the repainted units such as the E8's kept their spread eagle nose medallions, right to the bitter end. Though in hindsight it seems to have been all too short, the spread eagle medallions were a familiar sight on the front ends of MoPac's most elite power for almost 40 years.




Crossing along the MoPac's Crete branchline
T&P GP35s in sparkling new screaming eagle paint at Ft. Worth in March 1964. As recounted by Dick Sheehy, who worked in the EMD Service Department from 1962 to 1966: "During January-March 1964 I was in charge of the delivery of the first GP35's on the MOPAC system, to the T&P at their Fort Worth, Texas shops. As I recall, the road numbers were 600-608. These units were the first EMD turbocharged units on the MOPAC system and also the first to have the Screaming Eagle logo on their sides."

The large white eagle applied to the long hoods, aka the 'screaming eagle' and 'turbo-eagle', would become a distinct new symbol of the company during the diesel era, and was eventually integrated into the company logo by the mid and late 1970's. - R. Sheehy Photo

Screamin' Eagles
The second version of the classic MoPac eagle appeared as passenger rail waned on railroads across the country, and the original Eagle passenger streamliners were being phased-out on the system. In January 1964 the first GP35 was delivered to the company, the first of MoPac's "second-generation" diesels. The new all-blue turbo-charged units were delivered with a striking profile of a speeding white eagle in flight, which literally dominated the unit's sides. The new variation was to be applied on all turbo-charged units (there were a few non-turboed exceptions) with the latest blue locomotive paint scheme and the emblem earned the nicname "Turbo Eagle" or "Screaming Eagle"

Screaming Eagle from the side of an SD40.

Not every unit that recieved the turbo eagles were in fact turbo-charged. Likewise, not every turbo-charged locomotive recieved the turbo eagle. The GP28 like most all of the MOP's Geeps came without turbos (the GP35 class was the exception), but these units, as well some of the GP38 and a GP38-2 and or two somehow slipped by regulations and came out of the paintshops in the scheme. None of MoPac's covered wagons which survived into the Jenk's Blue era, even models such as the turbo-charged ALCo FA1, ever would wear the large white eagle on their sides. Though ALCo's first attempts at turbos didn't really work well, there's no apparent reason for this exclusion... it's interesting to picture what one would have been like.


Notable among the Screaming Eagle schemes were the units commemorating the Bicentennial of the United States in 1976, a practice that many roads participated in. It was especially appropriate since the MoPac was to be among the host roads of the special train to tour across the country.

Scan of the original artwork used in the production of the MoPac's Bicentennial scheme. Daryl W Favignano, (MPRR 1974-1986) who worked in the Mechanical Engineering Dept. at St Louis, was the one who drew up the paint scheme for MP 1776-1976. - Daryl Favignano Collection

See MOPAC BICENTENNIAL UNITS for more.


In late 1975 it was decided to present two units dressed in red, white and blue. The one-time scheme on these units would display a large blue eagle with an American flag, stars and banner, designed by the MoPac Mechanical Engineering Department at St Louis and the Mechanical Engineer Daryl W. Favignano (MPRR 1974-1986). MoPac was able to succesfully incorporate it's popular "screaming eagle" scheme into the special bicentennial livery.

MP 1776 - a 'chop-nosed' GP7u sublettered for the C&EI got special treatment. GP18u 1976 (see below) and #1776 were taken into the paint shop and tranformed into Bicentennial engines. Proclaiming "Happy Birthday America" across the sides they wore a unique scheme of an American flag, stars, eagle (turbo style) all in red, white and blue, commemorating America's 1976 Bicentennial. - Photographer and location unknown/T. Greuter collection.

The two units selected were to be numbered MP 1976 and 1776 appropriately enough. As luck would have it, the original 1776 was not in any condition for such a public exhibition, lacking the modern "chop-nosed" cut down hood treatment. C&EI 84, however was in good condition, mechanically and appearence-wise, with the low hood only applied since 1975. It quickly was reassigned as MP 1776. Both Geeps came out of the paintshop in their new livery in February 1976. The 1776/1976 scheme was among the most eye-catching of all the bicentennial units (some 30 or so railroads participated)... but then this author is a slight bit biased!

Another favorite scheme seen on MoPac locomotives was the hybrid Double Eagles scheme when the new company Flying Eagle Buzzsaw logo (see article below) was applied to units still wearing the large Turbo Eagle.

 


Diesel Units delivered with the turbo-eagle on long hood (all turbo charged):

  • First - T&P #600 (GP35, 1/64)
  • Last - C&EI #3162 (SD40-2, 3/74. The final unit of the same order, #3163, was the first to wear large number scheme)

Diesel Units with the turbo-eagle on long hood which were not turbo-charged (exceptions):

  • KO&G #701/T&P #2001/MP #2001 (GP28, delivered w/ eagle, repainted in large number scheme)
  • MP #577/#2007 (GP38)
  • MP #1976 (GP18, Bicentennial scheme, 1976)
  • MP #1776 (GP7, Bicentennial scheme, 1976)





Symbol of a Mighty Road
The final version appeared in the mid to late 1970's. The latest eagle
was sized to fit over the classic Missouri Pacific Lines logo. The familiar white "Screaming Eagle" (with some slight variations) was superimposed on the buzzsaw, the "Missouri Pacific Lines" name was eliminated (the other "Lines": T&P, C&EI and M-I, had all been merged into the Mopac, essentially becoming one railroad) and the word "Mopac" was stenciled directly under the Eagle's beak

The new emblem was applied on the cab under the engineer's and fireman's windows. Called the Flying Eagle Buzzsaw, this new emblem actually first appeared on a company newsletter in 1969. As the new logo was applied to locomotives, the elimination of the larger Screaming Eagle on the sides began, with large numbers applied in it's place. There are exceptions here as well with quite a number of units having both eagle emblems, in a "hybrid" scheme. Lastly the eagle buzzsaw was to be seen on the newest and shopped cabooses as well as freight cars by 1978 and applied until the Union Pacific takeover.

MP 3039 - one of a handful of SD40's with double eagles. Hi-nosed geep #1710 is parked on the neighboring track while a buzzsawed double-door box is seen in the background - Photographer unknown, shot in Missouri in June 1984. - photographer unknown/T. Greuter collection ·




Strange How Fate can be Sometimes...
Years after the Union Pacific merger of MoPac and the last blue unit, GP38-2, left the system in 1994, another set of wings are now making a come-back -- this time on the newest power appearing on the Union Pacific system. Of course this is a ressurection of the classic the UP shield accentuated by spread wings, but one can imagine how fitting these engines would appear if the shield were a buzzsaw and the Armour Yellow was a freshly applied coat of Eagle Blue?

 

 




Eagle Facts

There were also a number of Texas & Pacific Steam Locomotives to have the distinction of wearing both the Eagle name and colors. In 1948, colorful MoPac subsidiary Texas & Pacific painted a number of its P-1 Pacifics in Eagle blue and gray.
These were the only steam engines on the Missouri Pacific system to wear an adaptation of Eagle blue and gray colors. A few of these steamers would take this scheme a step further and display the name "The Eagle" on their flanks. T&P #700 received a streamliner inspired side skirting with the Eagle name applied. None of the system's streamliners ever saw this treatment. These included:

  • T&P #700 (Eagle name & colors, can be seen on MPHS site at: http://mopac.org/history_tp.html)
  • T&P #804 (Eagle colors, can be seen on MPHS site at: http://mopac.org/history_tp.html)

 


A few towns that grew up along Missouri Pacific and served by the railroad were named Eagle. The small township of Eagle, in southeastern Nebraska was one example. The interesting fact here is that the Eagle naming of these towns predated the adoption of the railroad's symbol by well over a half century, and therefore was strictly coincidental.




Passenger cars carrying the Eagle name comprises a hefty list. These cars were owned by the Missouri Pacific, Texas & Pacific and the International-Great Northern.

Sleeping Cars:

  • Eagle Butte
  • Eagle Chasm
  • Eagle Haven
  • Eagle Hollow
  • Eagle Lodge
  • Eagle Meadow
  • Eagle Rapids
  • Eagle View

Head-End Car:

  • Eagle Ridge

Coaches:

  • Eagle Bridge
  • Eagle Village
  • Eagle Circle
  • Eagle Flight
  • Eagle Country
  • Eagle Watch
  • Eagle Glide
  • Eagle Trail
  • Eagle Creek
  • Eagle Rock

Sleeping cars:

  • Eagle River
  • Eagle Brook
  • Eagle Country
  • Eagle Domain
  • Eagle Path
  • Eagle Cliff
  • Eagle Canyon
  • Eagle Chain
  • Eagle Creast
  • Eagle Dam
  • Eagle Divide
  • Eagle Forest
  • Eagle Height
  • Eagle Hill
  • Eagle Knob
  • Eagle Lake
  • Eagle Marsh
  • Eagle Mountain
  • Eagle Point
  • Eagle Preserve
  • Eagle Refuge
  • Eagle Stream
  • Eagle Summit
  • Eagle Tree
  • Eagle Turn
  • Eagle Valley
  • Eagle Woods
  • Eagle Bay
  • Eagle Beach
  • Eagle Call
  • Eagle City
  • Eagle Island
  • Eagle Land
  • Eagle Light
  • Eagle Rest
  • Eagle Road
  • Eagle Spirit

 

There were a number of major routes that made up the whole Route of the Eagles service, including:

  • Missouri River Eagle
  • Texas Eagle
  • Aztec Eagle
  • Colorado Eagle
  • Delta Eagle
  • Valley Eagle



Units that wore Double Eagles "hybrid" paint scheme:

Known Double Eagles
Six GP35
MP 2518, 2554, 2556, 2558, 2559, 2564
Two U30C MP 2981, 2999
Two U23B MP 2256, 4503
Seven SD40 MP 3010, 3011, 3023, 3039, 3044, 3051, 3064
Fourteen SD40-2 MP 3092, 3099, 3110, 3129, 3132, 3146, 3150, 3151, 3152, 3154, 3155, 3156, 3158, 3161
   




Dates of Drawings for the Eagle medallion used on the front of Missouri Pacific E units
Compiled by G. Semon, from MoPac Group


MoPac Dwg GL-24159 Emblem, Locomotive End Dated 8-7-39
Used on 7000 & 7001.

EMD 8048628 Medallion Dated 8-10-39 First used Missouri Pacific Lines

EMD 8097526 Medallion & Wing Design Dated 4-20-45 Used on Eng. 7004
Original for Engine 7004 which used painted on front Eagle Medallion.
Replaced by EMD Dwg 8109682. First used on E-641 MoPac Passenger Locomotive.

EMD 8109682 Assembly Missouri Pacific Etched Medallion Dated 12-27-45
First used on E-716

EMD 81090410 Assembly Texas & Pacific Etched Medallion Dated 1945
Used on T&P 2000-2009 and T&P 2010-2017

 

The end of the line . . .
Eagle Buzzsaw from caboose.



Sources: Route of the Eagles - Missouri Pacific in the Streamlined Era, by Greg Stout
Ed Hawkins, Jim Ogden, Gene Semon, - MOPAC Group

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          trainweb.org/screamingeagle l Last Update to this page: 24 April, 2008
          All images & text 2000-2008 T. Greuter / Screaming Eagles, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.