Post-war Railroads

Western Railroads After World War II

Western railroads invested heavily. Great Northern got in ahead of all the rest, with its reequipped Empire Builder, inaugurated in early 1947 to operate between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest, and competitor Milwaukee Road came along about six months later with its Olympian Hiawatha, featuring unique glass-turreted "Skytop" observation cars (offered on the road's Chicago-Twin Cities Hiawathas as well). Northern Pacific, also vying for passengers between Chicago and the Northwest, upgraded its lightweight North Coast Limited. New on Southern Pacific were a streamlined Oakland-Portland Shasta Daylight fin the lovely red and orange colors introduced before the war) and the Los Angeles-New Orleans Sunset Limited.

Union Pacific enhanced its Overland Route fleet serving Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Portland (with partners Chicago & North Western, Southern Pacific, and Wabash). The Santa Fe Chiefs-and in particular, the all-Pullman, extra-fare Super Chief between Chicago and Los Angeles-received a massive infusion of new equipment.

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy was a streamliner pioneer, having introduced its three-car, fluted-stain-less-steel Zephyr in 1934. (Along with UP's Streamliner, which debuted a week or so earlier, Burlington's little train, later called the Pioneer Zephyr, kicked off the lightweight era.) By the time World War II broke out, Burlington had significantly expanded its "Zephyr" fleet, a process the company continued immediately after Japan's surrender.