Question in.re. the First Streamliners

Curious about an aspect of the first streamliners, and wonder what the group might have to say. I watched the Pentrex "Tour of the M-10000"
tonight, and recently read several reviews of the Con-Cor HO Zephyr, and it raised a question in my mind.
I understand, I think, many of the technology drivers for these units - lightweight, new and more efficient motive power, high-speed, and so on. I also understand the appeal of the design - the role of the art deco movement in the streamlined body, and the perhaps subconscious appeal during the Depression era of demonstrating modernization and commitment towards the future on behalf of the nation. There's no doubt the units were successful in many aspects, from public relations to technology testbeds.
My question is more narrow - why were these consists so short? Both were three car units - locomotive, coach, and coach-buffet car. Both were initially designed in such a fashion that they had to operate in this configuration. I think both handled passenger counts in the 80-100 range. Given the large investment in tooling and then radical lightweight construction, why wouldn't the roads have built them for larger capacities? Simply a limitation based on the engine technology? Necessary to achieve the target speeds? Or something else?
I realize that the Zephyr in particular added at least one additional car later in its existence, and I know that both roads found that the semi-permanent operational articulation of the cars was a drawback, and abandoned that aspect of the design as the concept evolved in subsequent iterations of other streamlined units. I'm curious what the logic was in the original design that dictated the as-built launch configuration.
Chris Kansas City
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snipped-for-privacy@sprintmail.com wrote:

My guess is that they were short on diesel horsepower....

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My guess as well...
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I don't think that many people were traveling in the time frame they were expecting.
snipped-for-privacy@sprintmail.com wrote:

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Probably to meet the speed desired and the target audience, the consist had to be that size. Remember the Winston only put out 600 hp. Bill

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snipped-for-privacy@sprintmail.com says...

The railroad long haul passenger business was in decline right up to the depression and if it weren't for the war it probably would have disappeared much earlier than it finally did. Rail travel was a big deal and out of reach for many average Americans. Remember that the bulk of the country was rural at that time. If you look at the copy of the menu here:
http://www.railfan.net/lists/erielackdigest/200103/msg00324.html
as an example, even though it dates from the forties, you can get a feel for how expensive train travel could be for someone from the country. In a small town, if you were to walk to the grocery, bakery and meat market with with five or so dollars in your pocket you could buy close to two weeks worth of food to feed a family of four or six and still have change left over. Store bought bread hovered around 5c. Ground beef 5c/lb. Potatoes 8c/10lb. Etc. Chickens and eggs came from the back yard. Canned vegetables came from whatever you put up from the garden. Paying 65c for a hamburger on the train while it sold for 15c or 20c back at the diner in town seemed an expensive luxury. Even 15c for a burger and a nickel for coffee was a stretch for an awful lot of people during those times.
If the RR's could fill up the fancy trains it would serve as a barometer showing improvement in the rest of the economy. Even with the heavyweight cars there were many sections of track with 70mph speed limits as early as 1920. Hauling shorter lighter consists would reduce fuel costs, reduce rail wear and allow high speed operation to continue.
Bob
--
The goal when driving is to miss the maximum number of objects.

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404 error "Page not found" for the link to the Erie Lackawana menu sample.
--
Jim McLaughlin

Reply address is deliberately munged.
  Click to see the full signature.
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snipped-for-privacy@spamioip.com says... <snip>
From a message here:
http://www.railfan.net/lists/erielack-digest/200103/home.html
Quote message>>>>Re: (erielack) When the Diner is done, here is the 40's Dinner menu
------------------------------------------------------------------------ -------- [Date Prev][Date Next] [Chronological] [Thread] [Top] Re: (erielack) When the Diner is done, here is the 40's Dinner menu
------------------------------------------------------------------------ --------
Subject: Re: (erielack) When the Diner is done, here is the 40's Dinner menu
Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2001 22:22:16 -0600
------------------------------------------------------------------------ --------
You forgot one item. ROLAIDS!!
LOL Sounds Great!!
Alex
- ----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, March 12, 2001 01:43 Subject: Re: (erielack) When the Diner is done, here is the 40's Dinner menu

As
Assorted
the
from
------------------------------
End of ErieLack Digest V3 #130 ******************************
------------------------------------------------------------------------ --------
References: (erielack) When the Diner is done, here is the 40's Dinner menu From: MajorDRMUS_@_aol.com Prev by Date: Re: (erielack) FW: Lackawanna 470 Next by Date: (erielack) FW: DL&W 770 Car Index(es): Chronological Thread
------------------------------------------------------------------------ --------
This HTML page is 2000-2005 Blue Moon Online System and The Railfan Network
This page and the data contained therein may not be reproduced for any form of redistribution or commercial use without the explicit permission of J. Henry Priebe Jr.
End quote message>>>
Bob
-- The goal when driving is to miss the maximum number of objects.
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On Sun, 11 Dec 2005 02:48:43 GMT, User wrote:

(and potatoe, both several times)
Is there any evidence that Dan Quayle's grandpa worked on the E-L?
--
Steve

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Thanks for the good answer Bob. Very informative
Carter Braxton
says...

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Thanks for the comments, guys!
Chris Kansas City
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The first German streamlined diesel trains appeared in 1933. They were three articulated cars, with 2x 410 ps (HP) engines, geared to run at 100mph. Later versions, 1935, had 2x 600 hp engines, same top speed. Transmission could be either electrical or hydraulic. Regards, Bill.

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snipped-for-privacy@sprintmail.com wrote:

Simply a limitation based on the engine technology Necessary to achieve the target speeds? Or something else? <snip>

I think you've pretty much figured it out with the statement given. Recall that these 'trains' were outgrowths of the 'doodle-bug' technology of the time. Engines were very small by today's standards. The whole thing was a test program by several companies, none of whom could afford to invest vast sums in oversized versions of these 'proof of concept' trains.
These 'demo' trains were hardly intended to replace conventional passenger trains. Only a very few were built to try things out. And as you point out, some things worked (Diesel engines, streamlining, lightweight construction), and some didn't (articulated train sets). The railroads and companies learned a lot from them. Bigger ones followed.
And today some are still messing around with articulated train sets (Amtrak Acela and Talgo for examples, and many more overseas). There are inherent advantages, and disadvantages, to the concept. A *LOT* depends on their intended market, HOW they are used.
Dan Mitchell ===========
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