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Something else occurs to me.  The Midwestern version of "The Great Race to the North" started when Burlington announced that it would be buying a pair of Zephyrs to provide a 6 1/2 hour Chicago - Savanna - LaCrosse - St. Paul - Minneapolis service.  Chicago and North Western modified some standard equipment and rebuilt some heavy 4-6-2s (2C1 if you will) for the 400, and Milwaukee designed a steam streamliner in order to be able to vary the capacity of its Hiawathas.  (Fixed consists are the bane of any high-speed service with dedicated equipment, including the Eurostar, Talgo, and Acela Express.

In 1934, a souped up steam locomotive could pull a seven to nine car train.  By 1937, Electro-Motive was rolling out practical diesel locomotives that could be applied as A-A, A-B-A, or A-B-B-A sets for however large a consist one desired (generally limited by the length of station tracks, particularly in Chicago.)  Under those circumstances, a claim of a world speed record for a steam locomotive was not something likely to be forward-looking.  Thus the 400s and the Hiawathas set the pace for the world in relative obscurity, although the diesels of the day actually had a lower top speed of 117 mph.  All the same, there are some great recorder logs of one of the diesels making up 11 minutes against the 75 minute Milwaukee to Chicago schedule!

Stephen Karlson ATTITUDE is a nine letter word. BOATSPEED.

by SHKarlson (shkarlson at frontier dot com) on Sat Oct 22nd, 2005 at 10:03:26 PM EST
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