Wednesday, April 3, 2013

TRAIN TIME: USPS Trains & Locomotives Post Card Series 1999 - Card 14

Ahh, finally, my favorite engine, the Milwaukee Road Hiawatha. The Postal Service would have been remiss had they not included this engine. Why? Well, not because it's my favorite but it was notable for several reasons. The locomotives were the first Class A locomotives to be designed and built from the beginning as streamlined engines. The original design is credited to famed industrial designer Otto Kuhler who worked for the American Locomotive Works (ALCO), the builders contracted by the Milwaukee Road. Each originally designed engine wore its shroud from birth to death. It was the first class of locomotives built for daily operation at speeds exceeding 100mph and they hauled the fastest scheduled passenger trains in the world by 1935. The first engines were 4-4-2 Atlantic's and were among the last Atlantic types built in America. Last but not least, they were gorgeous! Unfortunately not one of the Hiawatha engines survived the wrecker's torch but I believe there is only one Beavertail observation car and a passenger car, of the original 50 cars built for the various Hiawatha routes, which survive. Enjoy!