13.6.12

A CLARIFICATION FROM THE VATICAN.

Britain's Railway is the longest-published ferroequinology magazine in the world.  They've recently released a number of single-theme short books (bookazine is the latest barbarism perpetuated as a neologism) on a number of subjects, including a Flying Scotsman Travelogue.  That work made reference to s previous offering, World's Fastest Steam Railway:  London King's Cross to Edinburgh Waverley.

Yes, a number of fast steam locomotive trials took place on the East Coast Main Line, but turn to page 79 for an intriguing passage from the Defenders of the Faith.
On July 20, 1934, Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad 4-6-4 No. 6402 was tested in order to show that a high-speed service was feasible.  Heading a regular service train from Chicago, to Milwaukee, it hauled the 380-ton train over the 85 minutes [c.q. -- 85.5 miles from Union Station to the Everett Street Depot] in 67 minutes and 37 seconds.  A maximum speed of 103mph was reached.

It also averaged 89.92mph for a 68.9 mile length.  British author Bryan Benn believes it is the first claim of more than 100 mph (in which the surviving documentation strongly indicates its accuracy), and therefore it may be deemed by some to have beaten Flying Scotsman by a few months.  The success of the test run led to the railroad launching its 'Hiawatha' express in 1935.
Count Cold Spring Shops among the "some".  For partisans of British steam performance, however, the next paragraphs are instructive.
At the time, the 'Hiawatha' was the fastest scheduled express train in the world.

A recorded run with a dynamometer car behind locomotive No. 2 on May 15, 1935, from Milwaukee and Wisconsin [Milwaukee to New Lisbon, actually -- there is still a wye to turn a steam train at New Lisbon] saw 112.5mph recorded over a 14 mile stretch [this figure out of deference to the claimed speed record of New York Central 999, which Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry still unaccountably credits with that speed].  As such, it would have been the first steam locomotive to  officially exceed 110 mph.

They were followed in service by the six F7 streamlined 4-6-4s which were introduced in 1939 and ran at speeds in excess of 100mph on a daily basis.  One was recorded at 125mph on a run between Chicago and Milwaukee after managing an average of 120mph for 4 1/2 miles, a whisker short of Mallard's record.  The F7s were also recorded as running to the fastest scheduled speed between stations; the 'Twin Cities Hiawatha' [Morning Hiawatha] had to cover the 78 miles from Portage to Sparta [other way] in 58 minutes at an average of 81mph.
All as we have informed readers for years.  We await the opportunity to declare a new North American steam speed record.

That noted, the Flying Scotsman Travelogue clearly describes a more colourful railroad than the Route of the Hiawathas.  Dauntless dive-bombers flying out of Glenview or off lake steamers converted to practice aircraft carriers and on occasion crashing in Lake Michigan aren't quite as exotic as Zeppelins brought down by rifle fire, and Abraham Lincoln's stolen horse in Portage not as wild a political story as Cromwell or Mary Queen of Scots.  It's also hard to conceive of a camp train headed for a college of wizardry and witchcraft loading from any odd-numbered track in Chicago's Union Station.

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