Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Burlington Zephyr 1934

Here is a file clip from May 26, 1934. On this date, the Burlington Zephyr ran Chicago-Denver in 13 hours, dawn to dusk. It peaked at about 112 mph. At the time, 115 mph was the North American record. The average speed that day was 77 mph.  As you can imagine, we have come a long way since – backwards. I am sure today’s average on the same tracks is well below 60 mph.

Filed under: Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, United States High Speed Rail

5 Responses

  1. Loren Petrich says:

    I checked Amtrak’s schedules, and it’s 18h 15m over 1002 mi (Google Maps road) / 1038 mi (Amtrak schedule).

    Amtrak now averages at 55 mph instead of that train’s 77 mph.

  2. patlynch says:

    Thanks for doing the math! I was too lazy.

  3. David Gunn says:

    I don’t see how one can blame Amtrak for the reduction in speed. Burlington ran high speeds over their own track, and had the dispatchers set to ensure the train’s uninterrupted passage – a far cry from the world in which Amtrak is compelled to operate.

  4. The Fox says:

    The point is not that its Amtrak’s fault IMHO – the point is that the the infrastructure and the PRIORITIES in the last 80 years have not advanced rail transportation.

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