The most unique and original Postwar Streamliners

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The most unique and original Postwar Streamliners
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 5:19 PM
What was in your opinion the most unique and original Postwar Streamliner?

For me, it´s the Milwaukee Olympian Hiwatha. It was the first train using Full Length Domes and it had those unique and stylish Skytop Sleeper-Lounge-Observation cars. But also the round windows on the doors made this train stand out. The Tip Top Grill Coffee Shop Tap Lounge was also a very amazing car with it´s unusual seating possibilities. The Diner was also very unique with it´s triangular tables for 2 persons and non-symmetrical tables for 4 persons.
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Posted by passengerfan on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 5:57 PM
My vote would have to be for the Vista-Dome Twin Zephyrs. These were the trains that offered 120 seats under glass. Twice daily between Chicago and the Twin Cities. Probably one of the finest day streamliners ever built.
The Vista-Dome California Zephyr would get my vote for long distance trains.
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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, April 27, 2006 10:08 AM
I have three choices.
One vote would have to be for Illinois Terminal's three streamliners. The fact that they were almost complete flops should be immaterial.
The next vote would be for C&NW's bi-level Flambeau and Peninsula 400's of 1958. High capacity with comfort for the short and medium haul.
My last vote would be for the "Roger Williams" (I think) on NH. A modified RDC design that gives a quick turnaround for frequent service.
The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by David_Telesha on Thursday, April 27, 2006 10:33 AM
That distinction would absolutely have to go to the New Haven!

First of all, their Stainless-Steel fleet was unique and original. Turtle roofs, angled vesibules, etc.. The NH 8600's and rest of the fleet were one a kind and beautiful - first class luxury.

Secondly, how about the 3 Trains of the Future including the Roger Williams mentioned above? The Roger Williams even had third-rail capability - talk about a unique RDC! Not to mention the John Quincy Adams set, and the Dan'l Webster!

And since no streamliner is complete without an engine -- FL-9's, EP-5's... Need I say more?
David Telesha New Haven Railroad - www.NHRHTA.org
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Posted by wallyworld on Thursday, April 27, 2006 11:32 AM
The Illinois Terminal Streamliners have my vote with the Electroliners a close second.

Nothing is more fairly distributed than common sense: no one thinks he needs more of it than he already has.

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Posted by JanOlov on Thursday, April 27, 2006 1:57 PM
Milwaukee Road's Olympian Hiawatha for me too....
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket All the best! Jan
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Posted by PBenham on Thursday, April 27, 2006 5:04 PM
The United Aircraft Turbo Trains were unique and original and a pain to operate according to Amtrak and VIA employees that fought to keep them going.
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Posted by passengerfan on Thursday, April 27, 2006 6:24 PM
Just to relate a story that ties in with PBenham about the Via Turbos. When they were stiil CN owned I boarded one in Toronto one cold February Morning for the run to Montreal and traveling Turbo Club I made a beline to the Turbo Dome that would lead in route to Montreal for the best seat in the house looking over the shoulder of the engineer through the clear plexiglas that separated engineer from the rest of the passengers in the Dome. Much to my surprise no engineer was present instead the rear of a diesel unit no less a FPA-4 was instead coupled to the Turbo and would pull the turbo to Montreal this day. The car steward informed those of us curious about the arrangement that this was often the case in the winter when the Turbines were having problems. As long as they had one operational to supply the turbo with hotel power they would operate a diesl up front. Having ridden the turbo on numerous occasions i was quite surprised that the diesel was not only capable of maintaining the schedule but actually arrived in Montreal nearly five minutes early. The reason was simple the turbines took awhile to regain track speed everytime they left from a station or slowed down to change tracvks. The diesel was much faster regaining its speed thus this is the only thing i can see for the diesel able to maintain the schedule.
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, July 04, 2006 7:44 PM
The Blue Bird of the Wabash. Full diner, observation lounge and yes even dome cars on the non too scenic Shicago - St.Louis run.
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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, July 05, 2006 3:03 PM
I frequently rode the Boston - NY Turbo and sat behind the engineer. But my vote would have to be for the CZ and its RGZ offspring. Incidentally, the Electroliner was a prewar streamliner. See the CERA's ROUTE OF THE ELECTROLINERS.
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Posted by agentatascadero on Wednesday, July 05, 2006 4:28 PM
I, too, enjoyed(LOVED) the "Mother-in-law" seat on the Turbo, we hit 130 up around Providence. As one who bleeds SP red/orange, how about what I believe to be the only regularly powered/equipped "steam/domeliner"? That would be the San Joaquin Daylight. Others: The Shasta Daylight with it's "Shasta-sized" extra large windows. While not origionally post-war, the SP triple unit diners (Daylights), and diner-lounge-dorms(Lark, Cascade) were unique to the SP. No list is complete without the hi-level El Capitan, or the Auto Train. ALL domes were postwar introductions. And, in my opinion, "junk" like the PRR Keystone, or the Aerotrain (GM bus-train,UGH) does not qualify for such a list.
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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, July 06, 2006 4:06 AM
I still say the CZ was tops. The Keystone wasn't junk, but I wouldn't call it a streamliner, just an unusual and innovating set of cars. Similarly I really don't consider the Roger Williams a streamliner, just a dolled up set of RDC's, not junk, the equipment even went into Amtrak service, often mixed with other RDC's, New Haven Boston via Springfield. Prewar, aside from the Electroliner, which I agree was an excellent pair of trains and truly innovative, don't forget the New Haven's Comet, which gave a very acceptable ride and leve of comfort, and lasted quite a long time.
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Posted by agentatascadero on Thursday, July 06, 2006 5:55 PM
Dave, With your comments about frequent rides in the NEC area, can I conclude that you actually rode in Keystone cars? I have, and while they are of stainless steel construction (quality construction, I agree), I repeat my assertion that they were JUNK, barely commuter car quality on the interior, I remember being more impressed with the amenities in the modernized P70's! Remember, I am from the west, and have known, all my life, that passengers do much better west than east of Chicago, a factor which is true to this day.
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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, July 09, 2006 2:37 PM
I rode the Keystone equipment only once, only a few weeks after they were placed in service, and it was in a consist with regular equipment. Budd Congresisonal cars or modernized P70's, possibly both. I found the comfort acceptable and the ride extremely smooth. I had heard that toward the end of their use, however, the ride was quite bumpy. Apparently the trucks were experimental and were not maintained properly, as is usual with experimental equipment. The main disadvantage for me was not enjoying the scenery quite as much from a low level seat, and I ended up lingering over my meal in the regular dining car on the train as a result. I don;t remember much difference between the reclining seats in the car and those in the regular equipment. Possibly they modified the cars for higher capacity sometime in the use history? They did this with a number of modified P70's when they cleared up all the older equipment out of clocker service.
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Posted by Texas Zepher on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 10:43 PM

The question wasn't which one was "best" but most unique.    To me that leaves three trains.  1. The California Zephyr has to win for the dome car concept, even more for no reserve seats in the domes.  The "Monument to an Idea" now resides at the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden.  2.  The High Level El Capitan.  It wasn't until long into Amtrak that another train used that idea.  3.  The low level Penn Central Metroliner.  As far as I know, other than a few pendulum cars this idea wasn’t repeated until just recently with the new Acela cars.

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Posted by Mimbrogno on Thursday, July 13, 2006 12:28 AM

If you're not counting comfort, on-time performance or looks, then the BLH RP-210 (NYC X-plorer and NH Dan'l Webster) is the most unique and original by far. Powered by a 1000hp Maybach aircraft diesel (the same as used on the Hindenburg) which drove a 4 speed hydromatic transmission built in Germany. A second, smaller Maybach diesel drove a dedicated HEP generator for lighting, controls, brakes, and communications. The New Haven Dan'l Webster trainset had an electric traction motor hooked up to the transmission so that it could drive the train on third rail power. This brings up an intersting side note as this is the only instance that I know of where a traction motor was used in conjunction with a gearbox. This in effect extended the operating range of the motor, allowing a single, relativly small motor propel the whole train at the maximum limit of the track.

This was one of the first trainsets to use 480 volt Head End Power. It also was equiped with Westinghouse HSC electro-pnumatic brakes, which is virtually identical to the brakes installed on the Amtrak Acela.

It was not the most glamorous train however. The sleek Sharknose design had been flattened into an ugly duckbill, and the lower roofline didn't help looks either. Their light weight and single axle articulated trucks gave them very poor ride qualities. Only three locomotives and 2 trainsets were constructed, a double ender for NH and a single for NYC.

As far as rare and unusual (and ugly), these are supreme.

Matthew Imbrogno
Mechanical Vollenteer, Arizona Railway Museum.

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, July 13, 2006 5:38 AM

I may be  mistaken, and I will check references and report back, but I believe the Daniel Webster was the Budd Hot Rod train, not as innovative and the John Quincy Adams, which is the train I think you are discussing.   The train produced by Budd was basically the RDC concept warmed over, and yes it did have traction motors, but I am unsure that they drove through gear boxes.   Later, the Budd train equipment was mixed in with regular RDC New Haven equipment, and I rode one of these cars from New Haven to Framingham, MA on Amtrak's "Bay State" during the time when Amtrak served the Inland Route via Springfield, as well as the Shore line.  I have the book

 

The New Haven during the McGinnis Years

 

and that should answer the question.   Possibly also "Diesels to Park Avenue" 

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Posted by RailfanGXY on Sunday, March 11, 2018 4:33 PM

For the most unusual, I have a few candidates. One for a full streamlined consist, another for a multiple unit, and yet another for a trainset.

 

Budd's Keystone: The only real pre-Talgo passenger car design which actually favored the Natural/Passive Tilt concept for taking curves at speed. True, the split level aspect for the NEC's hi-level platforms was an issue, but it was still a good attempt. Especially better than the Talgos for the time. I honestly think if the Pennsy had gone through with their initial plan for the Keystone, it could've extended the careers of the low-slung P-12-42 and RP-210 (both of which remain the closest power cars in terms of height to the Keystones). On top of that, the Pennsy introduced an alternative to HEP by having a generator in a completely seperate car. No wonder the actual coach cars weigh just under 46 tons! Plus, not that much space was taken up with the addition of the HEP car. It worked with the amount of steam-heat locos still in use, and if the concept had stayed around a bit longer, we could kept the original size of the F40's and not have them be Screamers!

 

Budd Metroliners: Yes, they were mechanically unreliable. But look at the impact they left. This was the closest the USA ever got to a high-speed EMU to compete with the European and Asian High-Speed trains, only being hindered by the track conditions like the later Turboliners. The Metroliners also took after the fastest steam locomotives of the Pennsy, being that they didn't need a lot of fancy aerodynamic casing to be fast. After all, they were recorded to have a higher top-speed than even the USDOT was expecting! Then of course, there was their carbodies. While the tubular shape still irks me to a degree, they fit with Amtrak's promotion of essentially being the ground equivalent to travelling in passenger jets. Plus, how many EMU's can you say inspired a family series of passenger cars, as well as an additional self-propelled railcar? While its more common today, they were still unique in terms of shape, and having a concealable diaphagm. None of the other postwar streamlined trainsets or 'MU sets in North America inspried their own line of "trailer" cars. Neither the Turboliner no the Turbotrain did. Acela has yet to do so, and I doubt the Avelia will.

 

Bombardier LRC: The closest successful lightweght trains we ever got. True the LRC power cars were pretty heavy, but they were pretty powerful for their size! Though, I think they could've been more powerful had the trains used the Keystone concept, but I digress. Then there's the cars. The LRC's essentially became VIA's version to the Amfleet. Lightweight (48 tons), under 13 feet tall, and forms the backbone of high speed Corridor service. Plus there's the fact that these were the last streamlined trains regularly powered by an ALCo/MLW prime-mover. That in itself is unusual.

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