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Zephyr Makes World Record Run, 1017 Miles at Average of 78 an Hour

On Denver-Chicago Dash, Streamline Train Beats the Mark of Royal Scot, at Times Reaching 112 Miles an Hour--Cuts the Usual Running Time Nearly in Half.

Special to The New York Times.

      CHICAGO, May 26.--Ushering in a new era in railroad transportation, the Burlington's streamline train, the Zephyr, arrived here from Denver tonight at the end of the longest and fastest non-stop run in railroad history.
      Streaking over a distance of 1,015 miles between the Union Station in Denver and the Halsted Street Station in Chicago, the Diesel-motored silver tinted flier maintained an average speed of 77.6 miles an hour during its run of thirteen hours and five minutes.
      The train cut twelve hours and forty minutes from the regular running time of the Aristocrat, the road's crack regular train.
      The Zephyr left Denver at 7:04 (Central daylight time) this morning. Arriving at 8:09 o'clock tonight, the train negotiated the journey in one hour and fifty-five minutes better time than was expected by Burlington officials when the rail dash was planned. The goal aimed at was fifteen hours.
      Half an hour after it had reached the Halsted Street Station the Zephyr moved onto the stage of the Wings of a Century, the transportation pageant at the World's Fair grounds.
      In spanning a third of the continent the Zephyr's speed at times reached 112
1/2 miles an hour. The speed record of the nation on wheels is held by the Philadelphia & Reading--115.2 miles an hour over a 4.3 mile stretch between Brigantine Junction and Harbor, N. J.
      Between Denver and Harvard, Neb., officials announced here, the train bettered by one hour and fifty-three minutes the 401-mile London-Glasgow record set by the Royal Scot in 1928. The Zephyr's time for the distance was five hours and four minutes. For this distance the Zephyr averaged 79.1 miles per hour as against the Royal Scot's average of 56 miles an hour.
      Passenger traffic along the entire route was sidetracked. Freight trains also were tied up. Switches were spiked to prevent tampering. At each station, where crowds were gathered to see the silver king of transportation speed through, the track was guarded by local law officers, posts of the American Legion and Boy Scouts.
      Every road crossing over the 1,000-mile plus route was kept clear by a flagman. Difficult curves and isolated sections of trackage were watched by patrols of railroad men on foot and in motor cars. For days section gangs had worked on the tracks and road ballast, insuring that every spike and nut was in place for the supreme test of forward-looking railroading. Special placards warned the train's drivers as to practicable speeds along every part of the race course.

Engine Functions Perfectly.

      CHICAGO, May 26 (AP).--The 660-horsepower Diesel motor of the Burlington's Zephyr, which pushed the modernistic train along at record-breaking speeds in a non-stop dash from Denver to Chicago, functioned without a miss. Consistently the three-coach train, which weighs less than 100 tons, had accepted race challenges from airplanes and beaten them, officials of the road said.
      Yet in its 1,015-mile journey averaging 77.75 miles an hour, the Zephyr sped for 96.3 miles at a sustained velocity of 90 miles, and reached a peak speed of 112
1/2 miles per hour, which it held for three miles, beating its own previous mark by three miles.
      A crowd of about 100,000 at the World's Fair cheered enthusiastically tonight when, shortly after the Zephyr reached the Halsted Street station here, it wound its way over tracks in the city and appeared on Chicago's lake front.
      The crowd covered the train's track with pennies to be mashed as souvenirs.
      At the fair, the Zephyr was bunked in the Travel and Transport Building--representative of a new era of rail transportation and placed for exhibit beside an engine of the past--a Delaware & Hudson locomotive of 1827 vintage.
      It was, said Ralph Budd, president of the Burlington, a great day in American rail history.
      The trip, Mr. Budd said, demonstrated three things: "That the morale of the men and officers of the Burlington is proved by the way this run has been planned and carried out; second, the efficient condition of the railroad has been shown; third, the train performs fully up to expectations."

Start Delayed an Hour.

Special to The New York Times.

      DENVER, May 26.--The Burlington's streamlined train pulled out of the Union Station at 5:04 A. M. today (8:04 A. M. Eastern daylight saving time) on a new record-breaking non-stop run to Chicago.
      The start was originally scheduled for 4 A. M. (Denver time), but a discovery of a faulty main bearing delayed the start. Mechanics made the discovery in a final inspection of the equipment at the Burlington shops late last night, finding that one of the roller bearings on the traction motor armature was damaged.
      A replacement bearing was borrowed from the Union Pacific shops in Omaha and was brought here by plane, arriving shortly before midnight. Mechanics worked frantically to replace the damaged bearing, and for a while it looked as though the trip might have to be delayed even further.
      C. J. Ince, general manager of the Western division of the Western Union, was the official starter. He waved a flag and the train broke a tape attached to a clock which stopped at exactly 5:04:40 A. M., the clock hands bearing witness to the exact historic moment.
      Aboard the Zephyr was a distinguished group of men who conceived and built this history-making train. The group included Ralph Budd, president of the Burlington and almost every high ranking official of that railroad. Edward T. Budd, president of the Budd Manufacturing Company of Philadelphia, which built the train, was on the train to watch the performance of his creation.

Seating Capacity Exceeded.

      H. L. Hamilton, president of the Winton Motor Company, which developed the 660 horsepower Diesel motor of the train, also was a passenger.
      In addition to large train crews, there was a staff of technical experts associated with companies who designed and built different parts of the train. There were more passengers than seats and extra chairs had to be placed in the express and baggage cars. Newspaper men comprised a large part of the passenger list.
      The seating capacity of the train is seventy-two, but the passenger list exceeded eighty-five.
      The Zephyr had a fuel supply of 600 gallons of crude oil aboard. This is more than sufficient to make the run. The oil costs 4 cents a gallon and the total fuel bill for the Denver-to-Chicago run actually totalled only $17.
      On the train also was Zeph, a Colorado burro, which was taken along as a mascot at the request of Ralph Budd. There was a last-minute rush here to obtain some hay for Zeph.


Racing Train Didn't Give Crew a Minute's Worry, Says J. S. Ford.

Assistant Master Mechanic, Burlington Railroad, Who Piloted the Zephyr Into Chicago.

(As Told to the Associated Press.)

      Chicago, May 26.--It was the thrill of a century for me to be at the controls of the Zephyr as it roared into Chicago at the completion of its record-setting run from Denver to Chicago.
      There were three of us who shared the job of piloting the Burlington's ultra-modern speed train on the 1,015-mile trip. It was my good luck to be at the throttle for the last 165 miles. Our streamlined bullet certainly attracted the attention of the country.
      I guess there were more than a million people who turned out along the route to see us go by. It seemed like the entire population was lined up at every town, city and village to cheer us along. Even the farmers in the fields got a big kick out of it.
      Piloting that train was a wonderful sensation. It never gave us a minute's worry, and we burned up the rails. At times we reached a speed of 112 miles an hour, and they say we averaged seventy-seven miles an hour, although I haven't had time to figure it out yet.
      Our wheels never stopped moving from the time we left Denver until we reached Chicago. The Zephyr held the road beautifully and responded to every touch. I'd like to do it again."

Copyright © 2002 Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

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