New Rail Service Twin Cities-Chicago and the Ghosts of the 100 MPH Hiawatha Trains

In June 1947, the Milwaukee Road Railroad introduced the streamlined, herculean Olympian Hiawatha train on the Twin Cities-Chicago route. Adam Burns of American Rails reported that the new “trains became instantly successful and regularly cruised over 100 mph with nary a bump or shudder during the ride.” He added that the “trains could make the jaunt between the two cities in roughly six hours.”

The 1952 afternoon Hiawatha from Chicago to St. Paul was scheduled at 6 hours and 15 minutes. In the pursuit of safety, Milwaukee Road installed “Reduce to 90” (miles-per-hour)...