9900 The Pioneer Zephyr

  • Built: April 7th, 1934 by The Budd Manufacturing Company
  • First service: November 11th, 1934
  • Retired: March 20th, 1960
  • Preserved: May 26th, 1960

The Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad's No. 9900, The Burlington Zephyr - later renamed the Pioneer Zephyr - was the first diesel-powered streamliner train in regular service in the United States, narrowly beating Union Pacific's M-10000 to the title. It was developed to reinvigorate passenger rail service on the Chicago, Quincy, and Burlington Railroad which faced competition from automobiles. The Zephyr was designed to compete on speed as well as comfort with its new two-stroke diesel engine, lightweight and low maintainence stainless-steel exterior, and onboard amenities including heat, air conditioning, and radio reception.

The train debuted at the 1934 Chicago World's Fair after completing its record-breaking non-stop Dawn-to-Dusk run that topped out at 112 miles per hour. It then went on a six-month-long exhibition tour and starred in the film The Silver Streak before entering regular service on November 11th, 1934. The train was an immediate hit. Businesses capitalized on its fame by naming themselves after it. Schools changed their mascots to the zephyr and borrowed the train's Zephyrus emblem. A ride-on toy train for children was made in its likeness.

The Pioneer Zephyr was so successful commercially that Burlington ordered an entire fleet of stainless steel shovelnosed streamliners, each with its own identity. Two years into its service and three more Zephyr brothers later, the Burlington Zephyr was renamed the Pioneer Zephyr to differentiate it again. Traffic demand for the Pioneer Zephyr itself often exceeded its small capacity. It was frequently moved to underperforming routes more suited to its ability, only to have to be replaced by larger trains when it grew too popular.

Remaining in service for twenty-five years, the Pioneer Zephyr was retired in 1960. The train was donated to the Museum of Science and Industry where it has been on display since.

9911-A "Silver Pilot"

  • Built: February 27th, 1940 by The Electro-Motive Corporation
  • First service: Spring of 1940
  • Retired: March 16th, 1968
  • Preserved: October 1968

The Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad's No. 9911-A "Silver Pilot" is the last remaining of the sixteen E5 diesel locomotives manufactured by the Electro-Motive Corporation in 1940 and 1941. Successors to the nine original shovelnose Zephyrs, the E5 “slantnoses” were unique amongst the E-units that came before and after for their fluted stainless steel exterior, designed to match the streamlined cars they were built to pull.

Silver Pilot and its B-unit, Silver Mate, were designated CB&Q 9911-AB and were initially assigned to the Q’s Exposition Flyer, the Fast Mail, and the Ak-Sar-Ben Zephyr. In July 1955, the pair were sold along with five other E5s to subsidiaries of the CB&Q. First to Fort Worth & Denver and then very quickly to Colorado & Southern, who was in a better financial position to take them on. Renumbered 9952-AB, both E5s would frequently be assigned to the Texas Zephyr (which was the name applied to Silver Pilot’s left and right nose flanks), the Sam Houston Zephyr and the Denver-Dallas trains no. 7-8. They worked there until the discontinuance of the Texas Zephyr in September 1967.

Silver Pilot and Silver Mate would briefly reenter service (alongside Silver Steed, Silver Power, Silver Wings, and Silver Arrow) in November 1967 hauling low-speed drag freight; work for which they were not designed and which would render many of them completely inoperable, though not Silver Pilot or Silver Mate, who would be sent in dead-tow to Pielet Bros. Scrapyard in McCook, IL for trade-in credit with next-door EMD in March 1968.

Sometime in 1968, a local business owner negotiated with Pielet Bros. and EMD to purchase Silver Pilot and preserve it at the nearby Illinois Railway Museum to pull the recently-acquired Train of the Goddesses as the Nebraska Zephyr.

The engine and trainset have since become the main attraction at the IRM, making several excursions off-property for events, mainline runs, and occasional appearances in films such as A League of Their Own and Flags of Our Fathers.

The Museum of Science and Industry

German Submarine U-505

  • Laid Down: June 12th, 1940 by Deutsche Werft
  • Launched: May 24th, 1940
  • Captured: June 4th, 1944
  • Preserved: September 25th, 1954

German Type IXC submarine U-505's career started out with three patrols in which it sunk eight merchant ships without being attacked before its luck turned. It survived an aerial attack on its fourth patrol, but was badly damaged and had to return to its home port in Lorient, France. From there, it suffered several aborted patrols due to equipment sabotage from dockworkers working for the French Resistance. On its tenth patrol, it was spotted by British destroyer ships and forced to submerge to evade severe depth charge attacks, the stress of which drove the ship's captain, Kptlt. Peter Zschech, to shoot himself in front of his crew.

After a successful eleventh patrol in which it rescued thirty-three crew members from the sunk German torpedo boat T25, it was captured by the U.S. Navy on its twelth patrol. Task Group 22.3, commanded by Cpt. Daniel V. Gallery, located U-505 with sonar and hit it with depth charges, forcing it to surface. Its crew failed to scuttle the ship properly and the Navy was able to salvage and capture it.

U-505 was kept at a US Naval Operating Base in Bermuda for study, where it was painted to look like a U.S. submarine and renamed the USS Nemo to hide that it had been captured rather than sunk. At the end of the war in Europe, U-505 was used to promote war bond sales and went on an exhibition tour. After the war, the Navy had no more use for U-505 and it was left moored at the Portsmouth Navy Yard. The Navy had intended to use the ship for gunnery and torpedo practice until it sank, but Cpt. Gallery instead campiagned to have the Museum of Science and Industry (who already wished to display a submarine) take U-505 instead. The Navy gave the ship to the museum as a donation, while Chicago residents raised the $250,000 needed for its transport.

Ironically, owing to its poor fortune during the war, U-505 is now one of only five surviving U-boats today. Having been captured prior to the end of the war and not surrendered after, it was decided that it was exempt from the terms of Operation Deadlight, in which surrendered German ships were scuttled.

Santa Fe (ATSF) No. 2903

  • Built: 1943 by The Baldwin Locomotive Works
  • Preserved: 1961

Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe No. 2903 was used for passenger trains and freight, excelling at both. It could pull twenty coaches at up to ninety miles an hour or it could haul one hundred freight cars at once. The 2900 class were also the heaviest 4-8-4s ever built, due to the carbon steel boiler substition for the usual nickel steel boiler made necessary by material restrictions during World War II.

2903 was donated to the Museum of Science and Industry in 1961. Unlike its yardmates who were given indoor exhibits the 90's and 00's, 2903 was too heavy to be moved inside the building and was instead donated to the Illinois Railway Museum, where it is now the largest preserved engine in their collection. It also appeared alongside Silver Pilot in the movie Transformers: Age of Extinction.

New York Central and Hudson River Railroad No. 999

  • Built: 1893 by New York Central's West Albany Shops
  • First Run: May 1893
  • Retired: May 1952
  • Preserved: 1962

No. 999 is a 4-4-0 steam locomotive built by the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad for their passenger express service, The Empire State Express which ran from Syracuse to Buffalo. With 86-inch drive wheels the engine was capable of incredible speeds for the time. Using mile markers along the track to measure, the engine was said to have achieved a top speed of over 100 mph on May 10th, 1893; The first locomotive, supposedly, ever to do so.

The publicity from the stunt made the engine famous. It was exhibited that same year at the Columbian Exhibition in Chicago as the fastest engine in the world, after which it would return to regular service, though it had to be refitted with 70-inch drivers to curb wheel-slippage when handling longer trains.

Over the course of its service life, 999 would regularly tour and be displayed at exhibitions, including: The B&O’s Fair of the Iron Horse in 1925, the Century of Progress Fair in 1933, the New York World’s Fair in 1939, and the Chicago Railroad Fair in 1948-49. In 1952, the engine was retired from passenger service after reenacting its record-breaking run, and subsequently demoted to yard-switching service.

Following the mass-adoption of diesel locomotives in the U.S. the NYC scrapped most of its steam motive power in 1957 but decided to preserve 999. It was donated to the Museum of Science and Industry in 1962 and was placed outside for static display. In November 1993, the engine underwent complete cosmetic restoration and was moved inside where it now sits in the Transportation Hall.

The Illinois Railway Museum

The Nebraska Zephyr

  • Built: Autumn 1936 by The Budd Manufacturing Company
  • First service: December 18th, 1936
  • Retired: January 21st, 1968
  • Preserved: June 1968

The Train of the Goddesses was one of two streamlined articulated trainsets built for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad’s passenger service train, the Twin Cities Zephyr (later renamed to the Nebraska Zephyr in 1968). The second set was called The Train of the Gods. Both trains were themed to match the Zephyr title, with the car and engine names also taking inspiration from Greek and Roman mythology. Unlike the Pioneer Zephyr, these were the first of the Budd streamliners where the engines were not part of the articulated consist, allowing them to be more flexible and easily swapped out for maintenance.

The Train of the Goddesses was pulled by engine 9904, Pegasus. The set consisted of seven cars: Venus (power car and cocktail lounge), Vesta (coach), Minerva (coach), Psyche (dinette-coach), Ceres (dining car), Diana (parlor car), and Juno (observation lounge). Sometime in 1963, Psyche and Diana were removed from the consist and scrapped due to lower passenger demand.

The Train of the Goddesses was retired and sold to a private owner in 1968, then resold and subsequently donated to the Illinois Railway Museum the same year. Pulled by Silver Pilot, the whole train runs as the Nebraska Zephyr, taking visitors on short trips along the museum’s main line throughout the year. It has also appeared in the films A League Of Their Own and Flags Of Our Fathers.

J. Neils Lumber Company 5

  • Built: 1929 by Lima Locomotive Works
  • Retired: 1964
  • Preserved: Fall 1965

J. Neils Lumber Company 5 is a 3-truck Shay locomotive built for hauling logs and lumber for paper manufacturing. It worked at several logging companies during its 35-year service life including the J. Neils Lumber Company, the St. Regis Paper Company, and Klickitat Log & Lumber. Being a geared locomotive, it is slow but incredibly strong.

Donated to the Illinois Railway Museum in 1965, the engine pulled the museum’s first steam excursion on October 29th, 1967 and continued to operate for many years until it was retired in 1999 for repairs. In 2018 it was fully restored and certified by the Federal Railroad Administration for operation and returned to regular service. Due to its substantial pulling power, the engine works at the museum as both a passenger train for visitors and as a shunter for static displays when the need arises.

Other Engines

9911-B "Silver Mate"

  • Built: February 27th, 1940 by The Electro-Motive Corporation
  • First service: Spring of 1940
  • Retired: March 16th, 1968
  • Scrapped: Summer 1968 at Pielet Bros. Scrap Iron and Metal Company

Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy 9911-B "Silver Mate" was Silver Pilot's B-unit.

B-units, also called cabless or booster units, were designed to supplement diesel-powered engines' power output. In scenerios in which diesels were being used to replace steam engines, multiple units were often needed to meet the required strength. B-units were slightly cheaper to purchase and operate because they lacked controls and crew facilities. Unions therefore could not require that they be staffed, making them a tidy solution to the need for more motive power.

Silver Mate was manufactured with Silver Pilot and the two units were kept matched throughout their service life. The paired units worked for the Chicago, Quincy and Burlington Railroad as 9911-AB, the Fort Worth and Denver Railway as 9982-AB, and the Colorado and Southern Railway as 9952-AB.

Silver Mate was retired along with Pilot, but was scrapped alone in 1968. It is unknown to us presently whether Silver Mate was not wanted or if it was scrapped before an offer was made for Silver Pilot.

Union Pacific M-10000 The City of Salina

  • Built: January 1934 by The Electro-Motive Corporation
  • First Service: January 31st, 1935
  • Retired: December 16th, 1941
  • Scrapped: April 10th, 1942 at Ferer Junkyards

Originally known as Union Pacific M-10000 (the ‘M’ standing for motorcar), this trainset was the first streamlined passenger train delivered in the United States. Breaking the land speed record with a 110 mph sprint during its exhibition tour in early 1934, it was unfortunately quickly overshadowed by the Burlington Zephyr’s record breaking Denver-Chicago run that ended at the Century of Progress fair in Chicago where both engines were exhibited as the future of passenger rail travel.

M-10000 entered service proper at the start of 1935 as The Streamliner, and later City of Salina when it became one of a fleet of UP streamlined trains, all named after the cities they serviced. Other nicknames for the train were Tin Worm and Little Zip. It starred as a character in a 1937 children’s book titled “Choo Choo: The Story Of An Engine Who Ran Away”.

By 1941, the motor was in need of replacement. Deeming the cost to be too expensive, it was pulled from service and scrapped in 1942. The aluminum from the trainset was later recycled to build planes for the war effort.


The Twin Cities Zephyr

  • Built: March 1935
  • First Service: April 21st, 1935
  • Destroyed: By fire at Dacus, Texas on December 19th, 1944.
  • Scrapped: December 1944

The Twin Cities Zephyr

  • Built: April 1935
  • First Service: April 21st, 1935
  • Retired: February 1954
  • Scrapped: April 1956

9903 "Injun Joe"
The Mark Twain Zephyr

  • Built: October 1935
  • First Service: October 28th, 1935
  • Retired: May 1958
  • Sold: To Frank Dashner in June 1960

9904 "Pegasus"
The Twin Cities Zephyr

  • Built: November 1936
  • First Service: December 18th, 1936
  • Scrapped: August 1957 at West Burlington

9905 "Zephyrus"
The Twin Cities Zephyr

  • Built: November 1936
  • First Service:December 18th, 1936
  • Scrapped: September 23rd, 1955 at West Burlington

9906-AB "Silver King" and "Silver Queen"
The Denver Zephyr

  • Built: October 16th, 1936
  • First Service: October 23rd, 1935
  • Scrapped: June 1957 at West Burlington

9907-AB "Silver Knight" and "Silver Princess"
The Denver Zephyr

  • Built: October 19th, 1936
  • First service: October 23rd, 1935
  • Scrapped: Knight was dismantled on November 20th, 1955. Princess was scrapped two years later in June 1957.

9908 "Silver Charger"
The General Pershing Zephyr

  • Built: March 1939
  • First service: April 30th, 1939
  • Retired: 1966
  • Preserved: September 1966


9909 "Silver Bullet"

  • Built: March 1940
  • First service:
  • Retired:
  • Scrapped: March 15th, 1968

9910-AB "Silver Speed" and "Silver Power"

  • Built: February 1940
  • First service:
  • Retired:
  • Scrapped: October 31st, 1967

9912-AB "Silver Meteor" and "Silver Comet"

  • Built: March 1940
  • First service:
  • Retired:
  • Scrapped: March 1965

9913 "Silver Wings"

  • Built: October 1940
  • First service:
  • Retired:
  • Scrapped: March 15th, 1968

9914-A "Silver Arrow"

  • Built: June 1941
  • First service:
  • Retired:
  • Scrapped: March 15th, 1968

9914-B "Silver Swift"

  • Built: June 1941
  • First service:
  • Retired: Wrecked at Nodaway, Missouri August 8th, 1960
  • Scrapped: December 1960

9915-A "Silver Carrier"

  • Built: June 1941
  • First service:
  • Retired:
  • Scrapped: March 1965

9915-B "Silver Clipper"

  • Built: June 1941
  • First service:
  • Retired:
  • Scrapped: March 1965

9950-AB "Silver Racer" and "Silver Steed"

  • Built: March 1940
  • First service:
  • Retired:
  • Scrapped: Steed was traded in on October 31st, 1967 while Racer was traded in on March 15th, 1968

9980-AB "Silver Chief" and "Silver Warrior"

  • Built: February/March 1940
  • First service:
  • Retired: Chief wrecked at Memphis, Texas on October 10th, 1963.
  • Scrapped: Chief was scrapped November 27th, 1963 at Childress, Texas. Warrior was traded in on March 15th, 1968.