Three tracks and high speed 


Of the four pre-merger lines of the Burlington Northern, the Burlington ran a tight ship with its high speed three track line between Chicago and Aurora being its showcase. Even now as part of the BNSF this partiular section of track has become more important and is still the race track in 2011 as it was 35 years or more ago.

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The curve at Canal Street in Chicago was where the Burlington started its trip west towards Aurora.  The California Zephyr begins its journey in this August, 1968 picture..

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In another shot at Highlands the westbound Morning Twin Cities Zephyr glides through on track 1 reduced to a few cars in this July, 1969 shot..

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The cars of the "Empire Builder" head east by Riverside, known for its water tower.  The passengers at the station are waiting for an eastbound commuter due shortly.
The days of the New  York Central were numbered as this GE U-25 leads an eastbound freight near Highland in this 1968 shot.

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Only on the busy three track line could one see a westbound commuter, eastbound freight and eastbound commuter at the same time as shown here at Highlands in this 1969 scene.

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By 1969, even in the summer, the Burlington combined the North Coast Limited and Empire Builder.  The eastbound combined effort is approaching Riverside at high speed after crossing the Des Plaines river in the background. 

The eastbound California Zephyr enters the Aurora station in this February, 1970 picture.

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Within a month this scene would not be seen at the Aurora station.  The dome observation cars would continue to run up to Amtrak but the Zephyr itself would be dead in less than a month.

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The Denver Zephyr of the Summer of 1969 required 4 units as it sped around the curve west of Downers Grove.
A summer heavy eastbound Denver Zephyr approaches Downers Grove in this Summer, 1969 shot.  The DZ was the last to receive domes in 1956.

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The kid on the bike inspects the westbound Empire Builder in Hinsdale in this summer, 1969 picture.  Some things never change! 

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Another view of the dome observation car of the California Zephyr.  This time at Hinsdale in this summer, 1969 picture. .

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Last  updated on Wednesday, 23 February, 2011 0:00