The Aristocrat

Introduced in 1930 as Burlington’s premiere train in the hotly competitive Chicago-Denver market, the Aristocrat lasted barely more than a decade. While the Aristocrat required 26 hours to go from Chicago to Denver, the Denver Zephyr, which began operating in 1936, took as little as 16.

Click image to download a PDF of this letterhead.

Where the Blackhawk remained on the schedule as an overnight train complementing the daytime Twin Zephyrs, the Aristocrat and Denver Zephyr competed as overnight trains. When Burlington-Rio Grande-Western Pacific introduced the Exposition Flyer in 1939, the Aristocrat‘s schedule was altered to connect with the Rio Grande’s Scenic Limited on a 21-1/2-hour schedule. Only the eastbound train was called the Aristocrat as the westbound train was considered too slow to deserve the name. In 1941, the Aristocrat was dropped from the Burlington’s timetables altogether.

Above is a letterhead recently sold on ebay. This is far less elegant than the one in my collection, so my guess is that this one was issued after the inauguration of the Denver Zephyr but before the Exposition Flyer (when the Aristocrat‘s schedule was speeded up).

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