The Denver Zephyr was a passenger train operated by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad between Chicago, Illinois, and Denver, Colorado. The Burlington operated the train right up until Amtrak took over operations of the majority of intercity passenger train service in the United States in 1971. The record setting maiden voyage took place on May 26, 1933 and set a record for speed as it completed the route in 9 and 1/2 hours. The train directly served the Chicago World's Fair of 1933.
At the time when the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad had become part of the Burlington Northern Railroad merger, Amtrak, in its first year of operation, 1971, had decided to continue on with the two of the trains remaining from the service between Chicago and Denver, the California Zephyr and the Denver Zephyr.
Eventually, Amtrak made the decision to scale back its service to only one train on the Chicago to Denver route, eliminating the Denver Zephyr altogether. It should be noted that on Amtrak's first day of operation on May 1, 1971, the California Zephyr was initially tri-weekly service from the Denver to Oakland portion of the route, yet daily service from Chicago to Denver was maintained.
Four cars of the Zephyr are located in The Great Train story of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois and tell the story of the record setting trip.
- CB&Q / D&RGW / WP California Zephyr