Burlington Northern


By the time the Burlington Northern was born the fleet of passenger trains on the respective railroads had diminished to just a few trains.  The California Zephyr, for example, survived for less than a month as a BN train but what was left was still impressive compared to the sorry pre-Amtrak year of most of the other railroads.  The BN still had a monopoly on dome cars, for example.  Many of the dome fleet survived and ran for a number of years both on the BN and other railroads under the Amtrak banner.

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On a Sunday afternoon the westbound California Service/Nebraska Zephyr and Quincy, IL train roll through Claredon Hills with a trainload of assaorted cars including a variety of former Zephyr dome cars.  Most of the train went on to Quincy with college kids going to Western Illinois University.

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The eastbound NCL/EB roars through Sugar Grove, just minutes from Aurora on a cold April, 1971 day.  Loaded with dome cars, the train had a few weeks left before Amtrak and a new route took place.

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The Empire Builder section heading west in Westmont.  The Great Dome was all ready re-painted in Burlington Northern colors in this December, 1970 shot.
Domes glisten in the sun as three E units pass Westmont on track 3 on the famed "3 track" speedway.  This is the combined Empire Builder/North Coast Limited. 

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The first part of the combined North Coast Limited had a former Great Northern dome coach behind its regular NP dome coach.  The third car was a Budd Slumbercoach assigned to the Limited.  Western Springs, 12/70.

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Not all BN trains had domes.  This is the WB Sunday Afternoon Twin Cities Zephyr at LaGrange, Illinois after making a quick stop.  Even more ironic was the inclusion of ex-CNW 400 cars now painted silver.

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The rear of the California Service train shown in the top left of this page.  The last four cars were the CS portion.

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Three E units were standard on the combined Empire Builder/North Coast Limited seen pulling into the Aurora station in early 1971.  

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It's Amtrak's "Denver Zephyr" with four dome coaches at Plano on a hot July, 1971 Sunday afternoon.  On this day the San Francisco train ran as the first section.  
Another shot of a Sunday California Service/Omaha/Quincy train. This time there are fewer dome cars but a hodge-podge of cars the BN threw together.  Leading is an EMD E-7 renumbered to 9911 by the BN.  

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An  ex-Frisco coach as well as a one of the home built Burlington dome coaches make up the Quincy train on the days the California Service train didn't run.  BN9965 was one of a number of paint schemes BN tried on their passenger units.
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The high speed single track former Burlington Line hosted some of the world's fastest trains at that time.  The eastbound NCL/EB flies around the curve at Hinkley with less than two weeks left before Amtrak.  No comment regarding the water tower, please. 

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West of Lisle the eastbound combined Empire Builder/North Coast Limited goes around a curve.  Amtrak is now weeks away in this April, 1971 picture.

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On the east side of Aurora three "E" units pull the combined Empire Builder/North Coast Limited into that town for the station.  Today both the train and station no longer exist on BN tracks.

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The combined North Coast Limited/Empire Builder speeds westward on the former CBQ single track high speed line most likely at Shabona, Illinois.  Seen here is the North Coast Limited section which was always the second part of the train.  It's April, 1971.
A westbound BN commuter train flies around the curve near Lisle on its way to Aurora in this April, 1971 pictur

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In May, 1971 the now Amtrak Denver Zephyr is seen with one of many experimental paint schemes the BN tried on its passenger E units.

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An eastbound make up Empire Builder with a mixture of equipment is seen east of Aurora, Illinois in this April, 1971 picture.  The observation car is the CBQ's "Little Chief Mountain" originally built for the "mid-century" Empire Builder.  Similar cars ran well into the early Amtrak years 

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revised on 21 December, 2011 23:03

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