Here’s a piece of on-board stationery from the original Texas Zephyr featuring Zephyrus, the god of the west wind, and a shovel-nosed, articulated Zephyr train. The Texas Zephyr was one of the first Burlington zephyrs to use neither a shovel-nosed engine nor articulated cars.
Click image to download a PDF of this letterhead.
Burlington streamliners, incidentally, received their distinctive name when railroad president Ralph Budd was reading Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales one night. When he encountered the name “Zephyrus,” he immediately called his staff to let them know he had found a name for the train.
June Provines, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, expressed astonishment that a railroad president would spend his evenings reading Chaucer. But Budd actually didn’t have to read very far, as Zephyrus was in the fifth line of the book’s opening prologue. Though the Burlington used “Zephyrus” for the god, the Middle English version of Chaucer spells it “Zephirus” and modern English just uses “Zephyr.”