Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Way of the Zephyrs

Denver Zephyr, originally uploaded by William 74.
The Zephyr fleet was one of the Burlington's signature services, high speed passenger trains renowned for their speed and service. Originally running with articulated trainsets (like the Pioneer Zephyr), but eventually with specially built, stainless steel EMD E5 locomotives and separate cars.

This is the Nebraska Zephyr, which is a hybrid of sorts. The locomotive is an E5 (the only one to survive, in fact), with the following cars being one of the original articulated Nebraska Zephyr sets. The Nebraska run got two sets, and all of the cars were named after classical deities-the "Train of the Gods" and the "Train of the Goddesses". This happens to be the latter, and the cars are called Venus, Vesta, Minerva, Ceres, and Juno. Two other cars, Psyche and Diana, were removed from service sometime in the fifties.

I photographed the Zephyr at the Illinois Railway Museum, where it has lived since it's retirement in 1968. It's a beautiful sight, and I'm glad that the museum still runs it regularly.

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