Photo of the new Union Pacific streamliner M-10000 built by the Pullman Company at Pullman Works, Chicago, February 13, 1934.

The train is so new it still has stickers affixed to the glass for the windows. Click to enlarge.

(Salt Lake Tribune, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


UP Shield, 1934.


City of Salina redirects here.

The M-10000 was an early American streamlined passenger trainset that operated for the Union Pacific Railroad from 1934 until 1941. It was the first streamlined passenger train to be delivered in the United States, and the second to enter regular service after the Pioneer Zephyr of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad.


Union Pacific brochure 1934 for their new M-10000 Streamliner Trainset. Click to enlarge.

(Union Pacific, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)



The M-10000 car design built upon the efforts of William Bushnell Stout, an early designer of all-metal airplanes, who adapted fuselage design ideas to the Railplane (not to be confused with the Bennie Railplane), a lightweight self-propelled railcar built by Pullman-Standard in 1932. The tapered car cross-section, lightweight tubular aluminum space frame construction, and Duralumin skin of the Railplane were carried over into the M-10000 design. The performance of the Railplane in testing drew the attention of Union Pacific, who sought the services of Pullman-Standard in building a small, lightweight streamlined trainset for mainline service. Union Pacific ordered M-10000 from Pullman in May 1933 at a cost of $230,997, following an analysis of passenger traffic that concluded new, more cost effective equipment than heavyweight passenger cars and steam locomotives was required for maintaining profitability, especially on low-traffic routes. The streamlined body was developed from a series of wind tunnel tests that were carried out at the University of Michigan.

The Electro-Motive Corporation (EMC) developed the internal combustion-electric propulsion system powered by a 600 hp spark-ignition engine. As was their practice as a system engineering firm at the time, they contracted manufacture of the components of their systems to primary equipment manufacturers. General Motors' Cleveland subsidiary, the Winton Engine Corporation, provided the prime mover. The air brake compressor, main generator, traction motors and control equipment were manufactured by the General Electric Company. Skepticism that development efforts for diesel engines underway in the early 1930s would provide timely release of an engine adequate for high speed rail service led to use of a spark-ignition distillate engine. Trucks were strongly influenced by German passenger truck design, as investigated by Union Pacific chief engineer A.H. Fetters.


Photo of an early version of the Union Pacific M-10000, dated 5 August 1933. Click to enlarge. (Union Pacific, Chicago Daily News, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Photo of the new Union Pacific streamliner M-10000 built by the Pullman Company at Pullman Works, Chicago. January 24, 1934. Click to enlarge. (Issued by Union Pacific/Pullman Company-published by the Decatur Herald, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


Rear view of M-10000. Click to enlarge. (Theodor Horydczak, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


The M-10000 was a three-car trainset, with a combined power/baggage/railway post office car and two trailing passenger coaches. The power car measured 71 feet 9 inches (21.87 m) long, followed by coaches measuring 58 feet (18 m) and 71 feet (22 m). Including the space between cars, the trainset had a total length of 204 feet 5 inches (62.31 m), with a width of 9 feet 3 inches (2.82 m) and a height of 11 feet 11.5 inches (3.645 m) at the cab; the coaches were 1 foot (0.30 m) shorter. The trainset was articulated using shared Jacobs bogies to reduce weight, making the train operate as one integrated unit rather than as a separable locomotive and cars. The integrated-body-and-frame construction using aluminum reduced the required structural weight to a fraction of that for conventional body-on-frame railcars, and the trainset's total weight of 94 tons (83 tonnes) was about the same as a single passenger coach of the time.

The power car featured an elevated "turret cab" behind a nose featuring a large vertically-divided air intake grille formed by parabolic arches. On the roof of the cab were a headlamp and a vertical marker light. The train was powered by a single 600 horsepower (450 kW) spark-ignited distillate-burning engine built by the General Motors subsidiary Winton Engine Corporation driving a generator that powered two traction motors on the leading truck of the power car. The two passenger coaches each had a capacity of 60 people; the last coach also included a small galley at the rear end to prepare meals that were served at passengers' seats. Original livery consisted of Armour Yellow sides with a Leaf Brown nose, roof, rear, and lower panels, with red striping separating the two main colors. The nose was subsequently painted Armour Yellow consistent with other early Union Pacific streamliners.


Postcard photo of the M-10000 as the City of Salina. Click to enlarge.

(Union Pacific Railroad, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


Service history

The trainset was delivered on February 12, 1934, and was sent on a publicity tour across the US, during which about a million people toured it and its stops became local media sensations. During its 13,000-mile (21,000 km) exhibition tour across the US as The Streamliner, where it hit a top speed of 110 mph (177 km/h) during its journey, it visited Washington DC for inspection by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The popular train was put on display at the 1934 World's Fair ("A Century of Progress") in Chicago from May 26 to October 31, 1934. It was somewhat overshadowed by the other lightweight streamliner, the diesel-powered Burlington Zephyr, which entered the fair after a record-setting "Dawn to Dusk Dash" speed run from Denver to Chicago, in time to arrive at the "Wings of a Century" transportation pageant. During its testing, demonstration, and display periods, the M-10000 trainset included the sleeper car Overland Trail, which was removed from the consist prior to revenue service and added to Union Pacific's next streamliner, M-10001.

City of Salina

M-10000 was placed in revenue service between Kansas City, Missouri and Salina, Kansas as The Streamliner on January 31, 1935. It was subsequently named City of Salina as Union Pacific adopted the "City of..." convention for its new streamliners, but was also nicknamed the "Tin Worm" or "Little Zip". It operated until December 1941, by which time its engine, after powering the train for approximately 995,000 miles, required replacement that was deemed prohibitively expensive. The trainset was scrapped the following year, with its aluminum recycled for use in the wartime aircraft industry.


Photo of the seating in the observation car of the Union Pacific M-10000. Click to enlarge. (Union Pacific Railroad, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Photo of how meals were served on the M-10000 and M-10001 Union Pacific streamliners, May 8. 1935. Click to enlarge. (Union Pacific Railroad, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Photo of the buffet kitchen in the observation car of the Union Pacific M-10000. Meals prepared in this small kitchen were served at passengers' seats, in the same manner that today's airline meals are served. Click to enlarge. (Union Pacific Railroad, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)



Union Pacific commissioned five diesel-powered streamliners during 1934–1936, evolved from the M-10000 design. The color scheme originated with M-10000 was used for UP's later streamliners, and changed incrementally to the Armour Yellow and Harbor Mist Gray livery that became UP's standard. The "Streamliner" name for M-10000 became the general term for locomotives and passenger trains styled with clean lines and an aerodynamic look. The high-mounted, behind-the-nose cab design originated with M-10000 was later adopted for EMC's E-Series and F-Series locomotives, although without the front-mounted air intake. Integrated-body-and-frame, or carbody, designs became standard for rail equipment where weight was a concern, such as early mainline diesel locomotives, passenger cars, urban mass transit rail, and high speed passenger rail.

In popular culture

In the 1937 children's book "Choo Choo: The Story Of An Engine Who Ran Away" by Virginia Lee Burton, an M-10000 is cast as the streamliner train that helps Choo Choo's crew pursue the title engine after she runs away. Once Choo Choo is found on an old unused track, her engineer, Jim, uses a chain to help the streamliner tow Choo Choo back to the big city as the M-10000 lacks couplers.


Photo of the new Union Pacific streamliner M-10000 at Boulder Dam (now Hoover Dam) in March 1934. The train was on its way to travel a roadbed which would be under water after the dam was completed. Click to enlarge. (Galveston Daily News, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


Photo of the first streamlined train from 1934: "The City of Salina" at top with a photo of "The City of Los Angeles" (going eastbound by the train number). The combination photo was issued by the Union Pacific Railroad to mark the 19th anniversary of the first streamlined train (The City of Salina) and to promote their latest streamlined passenger trains. February 1953. Click to enlarge. (Union Pacific Railroad, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


Diagram of the layout of the 3 car M-10000. The RPO and baggage areas were combined with the power car. There was one coach car and an observation car which also held a buffet kitchen. Meals were served at seats, as is common with today's airline meal service. Click to enlarge. (Union Pacific Railroad, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


M-10000 Overview

Designer: Electro-Motive Corporation
Constructed: 1934
Entered service: 1934–1941
Scrapped: 1942
Number built: 1 trainset (3 cars)
Successor: M-10001
Consist: 1 power cab car (with post and baggage rooms), 1 trailer car (passenger), 1 trailer tail car (passenger)
Capacity: 120 (60 per passenger car)
Operator: Union Pacific Railroad
Car body construction: aluminum
Train length: 204 feet 5 inches (62,310 mm)
Car length: 71 feet 9 inches (21,870 mm) (power car); 58 feet 0 inches (17,680 mm) (intermediate car); 71 feet 0 inches (21,640 mm) (tail car)
Width: 9 feet 3 inches (2,820 mm)
Height: 11 feet 11.5 inches (3.645 m)
Maximum speed: 110 mph (177km/h)
Weight: 94 tons (85 tonnes), (84 long tons)
Traction system: gas–electric
Prime mover: Winton 191A
Engine type: Two-stroke petrol
Cylinder count: 45° V12
Cylinder size: 191 cubic inches (3,130 cm3)
Traction motors: 2
Power output: 600 hp (447 kW)
Transmission: DC-DC
AAR wheel arrangement: B-(2+2)-2
Wheels driven: 2
Trucks: 1 motor truck, 2 non-motor Jacobs trucks, 1 non-motor truck
Multiple working: no
Track gauge: 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in)
Seating: open coach, 2+2
Stock type: gas-electric passenger one-directional trainset


Front view of M-10000. Click to enlarge. 

(Theodor Horydczak, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


"Tomorrow's Train" brochure for the Union Pacific streamliner M-10000. The brochure contains technical information about the train, its layout and decor and how its livery colors were chosen. This train went on to become the UP's "City of Salina". Click image to download a 372 KB PDF file. (Union Pacific Railroad, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)