The CHICAGO, BURLINGTON AND QUINCY RAILROAD (reporting mark CBQ) was
a railroad that operated in the Midwestern United States . Commonly
referred to as the BURLINGTON or as the Q, the BURLINGTON ROUTE
served a large area, including extensive trackage in the states of
Wyoming , and also in
New Mexico and Texas
Colorado and Southern Railway , Fort Worth and
Denver Railway , and
Burlington-Rock Island Railroad . Its primary
connections included Chicago, Minneapolis-St. Paul, St. Louis, Kansas
City and Denver. Because of this extensive trackage in the midwest and
mountain states, the railroad used the advertising slogans "Everywhere
West", "Way of the Zephyrs", and "The Way West". It merged into
Burlington Northern in 1970.
In 1967, it reported 19,565 million net ton-miles of revenue freight
and 723 million passenger miles; corresponding totals for C&S were
1,100 and 10 and for FW&D were 1,466 and 13. At the end of the year
CB&Q operated 8,538 route-miles, C&S operated 708 and FW"> The charter
was obtained by citizens of Aurora and Batavia,
Illinois , who were
concerned that the
Galena and Chicago Union Railroad would bypass
their towns in favor of West Chicago on its route; at the time, that
was the only line running west from Chicago. The Aurora Branch was
built from Aurora, through Batavia, to Turner Junction in what is now
West Chicago. The line was built with old strap rail and minimal, if
any, grading. Using a leased locomotive and cars, the Aurora Branch
ran passenger and freight trains from Aurora to Chicago via its own
line from Aurora to Turner Junction and one of the G&CU's two tracks
east from there to Chicago. The G as a result, in the mid-1850s,
surveys were ordered to determine the best route for a railroad line
The line from Aurora to Chicago was built through the fledgling towns
of Naperville , Lisle , Downers Grove , Hinsdale , Berwyn , and the
west side of Chicago. It was opened in 1864, and passenger and freight
service began. Regular commuter train service started in 1864 and
remains operational to this day, making it the oldest surviving
regular passenger service in Chicago. Both the original Chicago line,
and to a much lesser extent, the old Aurora Branch right of way, are
still in regular use today by the Burlington's present successor BNSF
With a steady acquisition of locomotives, cars, equipment, and
trackage, the Burlington Route was able to enter the trade markets in
1862. From that year to date, the railroad and its successors have
paid dividends continuously, and never run into debt or defaulted on a
loan—the only Class I U.S. railroad for which this is true.
After extensive trackwork was planned, the Aurora Branch changed its
name to the Chicago and Aurora Railroad in June 1852, and to Chicago,
Burlington, and Quincy Railroad in 1856, and shortly reached its two
other namesake cities, Burlington,
Iowa and Quincy,
Illinois . In 1868
CB&Q completed bridges over the
Mississippi River both at Burlington,
Iowa , and Quincy,
Illinois giving the railroad through connections
with the Burlington and
Missouri River Railroad (B&MR) in
Iowa and the
Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad (H&StJ) in Missouri. The first Railway
Post Office was inaugurated on the H&StJ to sort mail on the trains
way across Missouri, passing the mail to the
Pony Express upon
Missouri River at St. Joseph,
The B&MR continued building west into
Nebraska as a separate company,
the BURLINGTON & MISSOURI RIVER RAIL ROAD, founded in 1869. During the
summer of 1870 it reached Lincoln , the newly designated capital of
Nebraska and by 1872 it reached Kearney,
Nebraska . That same year the
Iowa was absorbed by the CB&Q. By the time the Missouri
River bridge at Plattsmouth,
Nebraska was completed the B&MR in
Nebraska was well on its way to the Mile High city of Denver, Colorado
. That same year, the
Nebraska B&MR was purchased by the CB">
Burlington Route system map, 1892. Burlington lines are black;
connecting railroads are red.
Ultimately, Perkins believed the
Burlington Railroad must be included
into a powerful transcontinental system. Though the railroad as far
west as Denver and Billings,
Montana , it had failed to reach the
Pacific Coast during the 1880s and 1890s, when construction was less
expensive. Though approached by
E. H. Harriman of the Union Pacific
Railroad , Perkins felt his railroad was a more natural fit with James
J. Hill 's Great Northern Railway . With its river line to the Twin
Cities , the Burlington Route formed a natural connection between
Hill's home town (and headquarters) of
St. Paul, Minnesota , and the
railroad hub of Chicago. Moreover, Hill was willing to meet Perkins'
$200-a-share asking price for the Burlington's stock. By 1900, Hill's
Great Northern, in conjunction with the
Northern Pacific Railway
Northern Pacific Railway ,
held nearly 100 percent of Burlington's stock.
In 1901 a rebuffed Harriman tried to gain an indirect influence over
the Burlington by launching a stock raid on the Northern Pacific.
Though Hill managed to fend off this attack on his nascent system, it
led to the creation of the
Northern Securities Company , and later,
Northern Securities Co. v. United States ruling by the U.S.
Supreme Court .
Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad steam locomotive #5633
built 1940 at West Burlington,
Iowa , in service until 1956, on
display since 1962 in Douglas,
Following the purchase of the Burlington by GN and NP, expansion
continued. In 1908, the CB&Q purchased both the
Colorado & Southern
and Fort Worth "> It also extended its reach south in the Mississippi
Valley region by opening up a new line from Concord,
Illinois south to
Kentucky . It was during this period that the Burlington was
at its largest, exceeding just over 12,000 route miles in 14 states by
the 1920s. With the First World War having the same effect on the
railroad as on all other railroads, during the 1920s, the Burlington
Route had an increasingly heavy amount of equipment flooding the
yards. With the advent of the
Great Depression , the CB&Q held a good
portion of this for scrap. Despite the decrease of passengers, it was
during this time that the railroad introduced the famed Zephyrs.
In 1929, the CB however, there was no diesel engine suitable for that
purpose then. A Zephyr arriving at East Dubuque,
Always innovating, the railroad both purchased "doodlebug"
gas-electric combine cars from Electro-Motive Corporation and built
their own, sending them out to do the jobs of a steam locomotive and a
single car. With good success in that field, and after having
purchased and tried a pair of
General Electric steeple-cab switchers
powered by distillate engines, Burlington president Ralph Budd
requested of the Winton Engine Company a light, powerful diesel engine
that could stand the rigors of continuous, unattended daily service.
The experiences of developing these engines can be summed up shortly
General Motors Research vice-president
Charles Kettering : "I do
not recall any trouble with the dip stick."
Ralph Budd , accused of
gambling on diesel power, chirped that "I knew that the GM people were
going to see the program through to the very end. Actually, I wasn't
taking a gamble at all." The manifestation of this gamble was the
eight-cylinder Winton 8-201A diesel, a creature no larger than a small
Dumpster , that powered the Burlington Zephyr (built 1934) on its
record run and opened the door for developing the long line of diesel
engines that has powered Electro-Motive locomotives for the past
seventy years. Burlington locomotive hauling an express freight
circa 1967. These locomotives were also used for the Zephyr passenger
After the Second World War, the CB&Q was inundated with the
overworked steam locomotives existent in a fleet that was already
beginning to dieselize. Having expanded its dieselization program
rapidly, steam power was slowly put out to pasture, and on September
28, 1959, the last steam-powered commuter train from Chicago rolled to
a stop in Downers Grove , marking the end of steam passenger
operations on the railroad. The last steam in regular revenue service
was CB&Q Subsidiary C">
THE BURLINGTON ZEPHYRS
The passengers, including "Zeph" the burro, that rode the Zephyr
on the "Dawn-to-Dusk Dash" gather for a group photo in front of the
train after arriving in Chicago on May 26, 1934. The Alton
Ozark State Zephyr in 1936.
The railroad operated a number of streamlined passenger trains known
as the Zephyrs which were one of the most famous and largest fleets of
streamliners in the United States. The Burlington Zephyr, the first
American diesel -electric powered streamlined passenger train, made
its noted "dawn-to-dusk" run from Denver,
Colorado , to Chicago,
Illinois , on May 26, 1934. On November 11, 1934, the train was put
into regularly scheduled service between Lincoln,
Nebraska , and
Missouri . Although the distinctive, articulated
stainless steel trains were well known, and the railroad adopted the
"Way of the Zephyrs" advertising slogan, they did not attract
passengers back to the rails en masse, and the last one was retired
from revenue service with the advent of
The Zephyr fleet included:
Pioneer Zephyr (Lincoln–Omaha–
Twin Cities Zephyr (Chicago–Minneapolis-St. Paul),
Mark Twain Zephyr (St. Louis–Burlington),
Denver Zephyr (Chicago–Denver),
Nebraska Zephyr (Chicago–Lincoln),
Houston Zephyr (Houston–Dallas-Ft. Worth),
Ozark State Zephyr (
Kansas City–St. Louis),
General Pershing Zephyr
General Pershing Zephyr (
Kansas City–St. Louis),
Silver Streak Zephyr (
Ak-Sar-Ben Zephyr (
Zephyr Rocket (St. Louis–Burlington–Minneapolis-St. Paul),
jointly with Rock Island
Texas Zephyr (Denver–Dallas-Ft. Worth),
American Royal Zephyr (Chicago–
Kansas City Zephyr (Chicago–
California Zephyr (Chicago–Oakland): Chicago–Denver handled by
CB Denver–Salt Lake City by
Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad
Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad ;
Salt Lake City–Oakland by
Western Pacific Railroad
Western Pacific Railroad .
Other named passenger trains which operated on the Burlington
included: These trains were operated jointly with Northern
Pacific Railway and had a different name when they were east or
westbound. The club car of the Chicago Limited and the Denver
Limited. The train had an eastbound and westbound name.
* Adventureland (
* Aristocrat (Chicago–Denver): replaced the
* Ak-Sar-Ben (Chicago–Lincoln): replaced
Nebraska Limited and
replaced by Ak-Sar-Ben Zephyr.
* American Royal (Chicago–
Kansas City): replaced by the American
* Atlantic Express (Seattle-Tacoma-Chicago): jointly with Northern
Pacific Railway .
* Black Hawk (Chicago–Twin Cities overnight).
* Buffalo Bill (Denver-Yellowstone) Seasonal tri-weekly service
Yellowstone National Park via Cody,
* Chicago Limited (Chicago-Denver).
* Coloradoan (Chicago–Denver): replaced by the Aristocrat.
* Denver Limited (Denver-Chicago).
* Exposition Flyer (Chicago–Oakland) in conjunction with D">
The Burlington was a leader in innovation; among its firsts were use
of the printing telegraph (1910), train radio communications (1915),
streamlined passenger diesel power (1934) and vista-dome coaches
(1945). In 1927, the railroad was one of the first to use Centralized
Traffic Control (CTC) and by the end of 1957 had equipped 1,500 miles
(2,400 km) of its line.
The railroad had one of the first hump classification yards at its
Cicero Avenue Yard in Chicago, allowing an operator in a tower to line
switches remotely and allowing around-the-clock classification.
CITIES PLATTED BY THE CHICAGO, BURLINGTON AND QUINCY RAILROAD
* Pacific Junction,
* Railways portal
Burlington Refrigerator Express
* ^ "Chicago Burlington & Quincy Station". Rock Island Preservation
Society. February 2013. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
* ^ "Burlington Court of Appeals of Colorado, May 12, 1902". The
American and English Railroad Cases: A Collection of All Cases
Affecting Railroads of Every Kind, Decided by the Courts of Appellate
Jurisdiction in the United States, England, and Canada. Vol. 27. E.
Thompson. 1903. pp. 21–26. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
* ^ Dorin (1976) , p. 9.
* ^ Dorin (1976) , p. 10.
* ^ Schwantes (2003) , p. 187.
* ^ Yago (1984) , p. 172.
* ^ "The Pioneer Zephyr". ASME.
* ^ Dorin (1976) Chapters 2, 4, 5. pp. 14–29, 36–77, 78–90.
* ^ A B A Marvelous Vacation in Cool
Colorado (ad for the Denver
Zephyr). Life Magazine. 19 April 1937. p. 79. Retrieved 26 February
* ^ Mann, Charles F.A. (September 17, 1935). "Most Powerful Diesel
Ready for Rail Service". The Meriden Daily Journal. Retrieved 28 March
* ^ The Scenic Way to California (ad for the Exposition Flyer).
Life Magazine. 21 April 1941. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
* Dorin, Patrick C. (1976). Everywhere West: The Burlington Route.
Seattle, Wash.: Superior Publishing Company. ISBN 0-87564-523-2 . LCCN
OCLC 2225153 .
* Schwantes, Carlos A. (2003). Going Places: transportation
Redefines the Twentieth-century West. Indiana University Press. ISBN
* Yago, Glenn (1984). The Decline of Transit: Urban Transportation
in German and U.S. Cities, 1900–1970.
Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press .
ISBN 0-521-25633-X .
* Bryant, Keith L., Jr., Editor. Encyclopedia of American Business
History and Biography, Railroads in the Twentieth Century. New York:
Facts on File, 1990.
* Frey, Robert L., Editor. Encyclopedia of American Business History
and Biography, Railroads in the Nineteenth Century. New York: Facts on
* Hidy, Ralph W., et al. The Great Northern Railway, A History.
Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1988.
* Klein, Maury. The Life and Legend of E.H. Harriman. Chapel Hill,
NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2000.
* Larson, John L. Bonds of Enterprise:
John Murray Forbes and
Western Development in America's Railway Age, expanded edition. Iowa
City: University of
Iowa Press, 2001
* Martin, Albro.
James J. Hill and the Opening of the Northwest. New
York: Oxford University Press, 1976.
* Overton, Richard C. Burlington Route, a History of the Burlington
Lines. New York: Knopf, 1965
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