"STREAMLINED" Streamline Moderne 1930s Railroad Promotional Film

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"STREAMLINED" Streamline Moderne 1930s Railroad Promotional Film
Posted by Jones1945 on Wednesday, June 3, 2020 9:45 PM

"Made in the 1930s, this short film highlights the effort to introduce streamlining into the American railroad industry. It begins with a brief recap of the streamlining concept as applied to buses, aircraft, and even passenger cars before showing the design and manufacture of streamlined locomotives and passenger train cars. The film shows the Silver Streak Zephyr, of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad in the American midwest. 

On April 15, 1940, the Silver Streak Zephyr started operating on a Lincoln-Omaha-St. Joseph-Kansas City round trip daily. The new train was named Silver Streak Zephyr for the train portrayed in the Paramount Motion Picture The Silver Streak, with the starring role by the Pioneer Zephyr. The CB&Q liked the name and assigned it to the new Zephyr.

For power, the new five-car lightweight streamliner was assigned a new EMD E5A unit developing 2,000 horsepower (1,500 kW) Passengers were obviously pleased with the new Silver Streak Zephyr as ridership showed a marked increase within days of the new train's entry into service. 

The background of this film begins with the catastrophic loss of business during the Great Depression. To counter their financial troubles, American railroads cast their eyes on streamlined trains of lightweight material, streamlined to gain speed, and using an internal combustion diesel engine rather than steam. Two early American streamliners were the Union Pacific M-10000 (nicknamed Little Zip and as The City of Salina in revenue service 1934-41) and the Burlington Zephyr. Design of the Zephyr (later named the Pioneer Zephyr to distinguish it) started first, although the train took longer to build due to an advanced design incorporating a diesel-electric power system; the M-10000 used a spark-ignition engine running on "petroleum distillate", a fuel similar to kerosene. These trains were much lighter than the common engines and passenger cars of the day, as the "Zephyr" was constructed using stainless steel and the M-10000 chiefly of the aircraft alloy Duralumin. Both trains were star attractions at the 1933–1934 World's Fair ("A Century of Progress") in Chicago, Illinois.

On May 26, 1934, the Zephyr made a record-breaking "Dawn to Dusk" run from Denver, Colorado to Chicago. The train covered the distance in 13 hours, reaching a top speed of 112.5 mph (181.1 km/h) and running an average speed of 77.6 mph (124.9 km/h). The fuel for the run cost US$14.64 (at 4¢ per U.S. gallon).

For a short time in the late 1930s, the ten fastest trains in the world were all American streamliners.  A variety of Zephyrs were built for Burlington by the Budd Company. For example, after the introduction of the Pioneer Zephyr, two Twin Cities Zephyrs of the same design briefly served the link between Chicago and the Twin Cities. As a public relations gimmick, the two trains first headed to Minnesota on parallel tracks while carrying twins as passengers. Within a few years, the trains were replaced with a slightly different design, and the original trains went to the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad.

The success of the visual styling of the stainless steel locomotives did not go unnoticed by railroads still committed to the steam engine. Many steam locomotives were streamlined during this time to attract passengers, although the streamlining was less effective in improving efficiency for those engines than it was in making a visual statement."

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, June 3, 2020 10:43 PM

2:28 - is that one of the Mercury locomotives or the engine for the Rexall train?

Hard to say if some of the ATSF shots were a little accelerated in production - that shot with the wig-wag was a little shocking.

No one on the Florida train seemed to be having much fun...

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, June 3, 2020 11:10 PM

 Saying that those on the Silver Meteor, Champion or Dixie Flagler would meet the morning in Miami is rather disingenuous, meeting Florida in the morning is more apt.  All the Chicago-Florida streamliners arrived Miami at 2:50 PM, The Silver Meteor at 4:40 PM and the Champion at 6:00 PM

As a kid, when my family traveled on the Champion to Miami, I made the mistake of thinking that just because we had departed Jacksonville, Miami would only be a few minutes later.  Wrong, another 330+ Miles to go.

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Posted by Miningman on Wednesday, June 3, 2020 11:42 PM

Many scenes were accelerated! Reminded me of the early days in N scale when that was minimum speed to get it moving. You either went 0 or 120. My 73 Vette was sorta like that. 

Hey come on, hopin' around to an accordion like a frog is the best of times. 

The wig wag and then the wham-o, now we know, we know! where Spielberg got his inspirations. 

Years ahead of even the TGV. 

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Posted by M636C on Thursday, June 4, 2020 8:20 AM

Overmod

2:28 - is that one of the Mercury locomotives or the engine for the Rexall train?

Hard to say if some of the ATSF shots were a little accelerated in production - that shot with the wig-wag was a little shocking.

No one on the Florida train seemed to be having much fun...

 

Definitely a Mercury K-5...

Peter

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, June 4, 2020 9:57 AM

BaltACD
As a kid, when my family traveled on the Champion to Miami, I made the mistake of thinking that just because we had departed Jacksonville, Miami would only be a few minutes later.  Wrong, another 330+ Miles to go.

Yeah, same here.  Every time I head south I forget just how big Florida is.  But that's what comes from growing up in New Jersey where everwhere you want to go is usually no more than two hours away, at most.  Depending on traffic of course.

Wow!  That film was FUN!  And what a great razor-sharp print too!  

Thanks Mr. Jones!

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Posted by Jones1945 on Thursday, June 4, 2020 1:35 PM

Overmod

2:28 - is that one of the Mercury locomotives or the engine for the Rexall train?

I agree with M636C, that is a NYC K-5. I saw the same shot in another film. The framework reminds me of a crinoline, with lights!

Overmod

No one on the Florida train seemed to be having much fun... 

Understandable, even though those were paid actors and actresses in the film. All-coach streamliner like the Champion only consisted one Tavern-lounge-observation and one dining car, the 31-hour journey could be quite tiresome for non-railfans... You know people couldn't accelerate time like the film.

 

Flintlock76

Wow!  That film was FUN!  And what a great razor-sharp print too!  

Thanks Mr. Jones!

No problem! Wink

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, June 4, 2020 7:09 PM

[quote user="Jones1945"] 

Overmod

No one on the Florida train seemed to be having much fun...  

Understandable, even though those were paid actors and actresses in the film. All-coach streamliner like the Champion only consisted one Tavern-lounge-observation and one dining car, the 31-hour journey could be quite tiresome for non-railfans... You know people couldn't accelerate time like the film.  [/quote] 

31 hours on a train or 3 or more DAYS hard driving, with the Interstate not even a pipe dream at the time.  Traveling - back in the day - was done for necessity, not really for pleasure, at least among the common man that didn't have access to their own private car.

After my Grandfather retired in 1957 he and my Grandmother would make the 3 day driving trek from Maryland to Ormond Beach to be 'snowbirds' for the Winter - US 1, US 301, US 17 and A-1-A were among the routes on the map - 25 MPH or less through every wide spot on the highway that thought it was a town.  They kept up the routine for about a decade - each year they would comment on being able to drive on completed segments of what would become I-95 which by their last jaunt had whittled the trip down to two hard days.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, June 4, 2020 8:52 PM

BaltACD
31 hours on a train or 3 or more DAYS hard driving, with the Interstate not even a pipe dream at the time

If anyone wants to see what a cross-country trip was like before the interstates there's a great movie from 1954 called "The Long, Long, Trailer" starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz on a cross-country honeymoon trip and hauling a trailer as well!  Shows you what it was like.  Here's the promo film.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ucb9O8q1eOc  

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Posted by M636C on Friday, June 5, 2020 5:36 PM

I agree with M636C, that is a NYC K-5. I saw the same shot in another film. The framework reminds me of a crinoline, with lights!


Locally, and in the UK, the frames on which the steel boiler cladding sheets are secured (over the insulation) are actually called "crinolines". Is this not the case in the USA?

Peter

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, June 6, 2020 11:43 AM

M636C
Locally, and in the UK, the frames on which the steel boiler cladding sheets are secured (over the insulation) are actually called "crinolines".

I have to confess that I have never heard that term in American practice, either for streamlined-shroud support work or for framing used in "normal" lagging.

Incidentally, isn't the term of art in Oz and perhaps most of Britain 'cleading' for the boiler-jacket metal?  I think I've always just presumed that the framing was part of the cleading...)

 

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Posted by FlyingScotaman on Saturday, June 6, 2020 4:55 PM

Overmod
 

 

 
M636C
Locally, and in the UK, the frames on which the steel boiler cladding sheets are secured (over the insulation) are actually called "crinolines".

 

I have to confess that I have never heard that term in American practice, either for streamlined-shroud support work or for framing used in "normal" lagging.

 

Incidentally, isn't the term of art in Oz and perhaps most of Britain 'cleading' for the boiler-jacket metal?  I think I've always just presumed that the framing was part of the cleading...)

 

 

I worked on the restoration of Union of South Africa in 1998ish and the supporting framework for the streamlining was definately refered to as crinolin and nothing else.

https://www.glamorgan-gem.co.uk/images/news/2018/5423_UnionofSouthAfrica-(2).JPG

https://i.redd.it/3lw3xx7huyz41.jpg

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/c0/36/a7/c036a7150b11139b34a11cbfdda957c9.jpg

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Posted by M636C on Saturday, June 6, 2020 7:13 PM

Overmod

 

 
M636C
Locally, and in the UK, the frames on which the steel boiler cladding sheets are secured (over the insulation) are actually called "crinolines".

 

I have to confess that I have never heard that term in American practice, either for streamlined-shroud support work or for framing used in "normal" lagging.

 

Incidentally, isn't the term of art in Oz and perhaps most of Britain 'cleading' for the boiler-jacket metal?  I think I've always just presumed that the framing was part of the cleading...)

 

 

I've always understood "cleading" to refer to the strips of metal that retained the metal cladding sheets in place on the crinoline frame, but I don't claim to be an expert. My professional experience as a railway engineer extends back only to the EMD 645 and Alco 251.

Peter

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Posted by FlyingScotaman on Monday, June 8, 2020 4:43 AM

M636C

 

 
Overmod

 

 
M636C
Locally, and in the UK, the frames on which the steel boiler cladding sheets are secured (over the insulation) are actually called "crinolines".

 

I have to confess that I have never heard that term in American practice, either for streamlined-shroud support work or for framing used in "normal" lagging.

 

Incidentally, isn't the term of art in Oz and perhaps most of Britain 'cleading' for the boiler-jacket metal?  I think I've always just presumed that the framing was part of the cleading...)

 

 

 

 

I've always understood "cleading" to refer to the strips of metal that retained the metal cladding sheets in place on the crinoline frame, but I don't claim to be an expert. My professional experience as a railway engineer extends back only to the EMD 645 and Alco 251.

Peter

 

In UK consrtuction "cleader" rails are attached to primary steel to support cladding often at angled interfaces.

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