Burlington Centennial Postcard

As previously noted, despite celebrating its 75th anniversary in 1925, the Burlington Route declared that its 100th anniversary was in 1949. Here is a postcard noting that “Burlington was first to operate a railway postoffice car; first to inaugurate a Diesel streamlined train; and first to introduce a Vista-Dome car.”

Click image to download a PDF of this postcard.

The postcard shows a vista-dome zephyr train which most closely resembles the Twin Cities Zephyr. The steam locomotive is probably supposed to look like locomotive #35, which was originally built in 1892 (when it was numbered 66) then rebuilt in 1932 to look like an older locomotive for the Chicago Century of Progress fair. The first car behind the steam locomotive represents the first railway post office car, which was the first car in which mail was sorted by postal employees en route.

Click image for a larger view. Photo from collection of Marty Bernard. See also this photo of the locomotive and a Burlington commuter train.

Despite the inauthenticity, the Burlington people trotted out this locomotive several times over the next couple of decades whenever they wanted to show of their company’s history. Sometimes it was lettered Hannibal and St. Joseph; sometimes Burlington and Missouri River, but always with the Burlington Route rectangular logo on the tender. It now sits in a St. Joseph, Missouri museum that seems more interested in celebrating its connections with Jesse James than with the first railroad to reach that far west.

Click image to download a PDF of a page from this note pad.

For good measure, here is a page that also commemorates the Burlington’s centennial. The same two trains from the postcard appear in a slightly different arrangement.

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