The Last Streamliner

The vista-dome Denver Zephyr was the last complete streamliner built during the Silver Age of passenger trains. Put in service on October 26, 1956, to replace the aging 1936 Denver Zephyr and compete against an incrementally improved City of Denver, the Burlington Railroad naturally had it built by the Budd Company, as it had every other train it had ordered since 1933.

Click image to download a 12.8-MB PDF of this 16-page brochure. Several of the pages fold out; to portray them, the pages that do not fold out are shown with blank spaces next to them.

The new train was in many ways patterned after the California Zephyr, with a roughly similar consist and interior decorations by the same artists. One difference was that the Denver train had only one dome-coach and two regular coaches instead of the three dome-coaches of the California train; a second difference was the blunt-end observation car on the Denver train–complete with a factory-equipped diaphragm for mid-train operation–instead of the semi-eliptical end on the California train.

Click image to download a PDF of this postcard.

Much of the railroad’s publicity for the Denver Zephyr used this photo of the train in front of mountains. Of course, there are no mountains between Chicago and Denver, and these mountains aren’t even in Colorado.

Instead, the mountains are from Glacier National Park. While cloud patterns suggest they aren’t taken from this exact photo, snow patterns suggest they were taken from a photo taken this same day. The two cowboys in the foreground of this photo don’t look exactly the same as the ones in the Burlington photo, but that may be a trick of the light. The Denver Zephyr part of the Burlington photo was actually taken in Illinois, and the two photos were spliced together by the 1950s version of PhotoShop (meaning Xacto knives and glue).

Click image to download a PDF of this postcard.

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