A streamliner is a vehicle incorporating streamlining in a shape providing reduced air resistance. The term is applied to high-speed railway trainsets of the 1930s to 1950s, and to their successor "bullet trains". Less commonly, the term is applied to fully faired recumbent bicycle
Recumbent bicycle
A recumbent bicycle is a bicycle that places the rider in a laid-back reclining position. Most recumbent riders choose this type of design for ergonomic reasons; the rider's weight is distributed comfortably over a larger area, supported by back and buttocks...

s. The term was applied to cars, but now car streamlining is so prevalent that it is not an outstanding characteristic. In land speed racing
Land speed record
The land speed record is the highest speed achieved by a wheeled vehicle on land. There is no single body for validation and regulation; in practice the Category C flying start regulations are used, officiated by regional or national organizations under the auspices of the Fédération...

, it is a term applied to the long, slender, custom built, high-speed vehicles with enclosed wheels.


The first high-speed streamliner in Germany was the "Schienenzeppelin
The ' or rail zeppelin was an experimental railcar which resembles a zeppelin airship in appearance. It was designed and developed by the German aircraft engineer Franz Kruckenberg in 1929. Propulsion was by means of a propeller located at the rear, it accelerated the railcar to setting the land...

", an experimental propeller driven single car, built 1930. On 21 June 1931, it set a speed record of 230.2 km/h (143 mph) on a run between Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 and Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

. In 1932 the propeller was removed and a hydraulic system installed. The Schienenzeppelin made 180 km/h (111.8 mph) in 1933.
The Schienenzeppelin led to the construction of the diesel-electric DRG Class SVT 877
DRG Class SVT 877
The DRG Class SVT 877 Hamburg Flyer – sometimes also Flying Hamburger or in German Fliegender Hamburger – was Germany's first fast diesel train, and is credited with establishing the fastest regular railway connection in the world in its time...

 "Flying Hamburger". This two-car train set had 98 seats and a top speed of 160 km/h (99.4 mph). During regular service starting on 15 May 1933, this train ran the 286 kilometres (177.7 mi) between Hamburg and Berlin in 138 minutes with an average speed of 124.4 km/h (77.3 mph). The SVT 877 was the prototype for the DRG Class SVT 137
DRG Class SVT 137
The DRG Class SVT 137 was a class of streamlined diesel train sets of the Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft and later of the Deutsche Bundesbahn and the Deutsche Reichsbahn...

, first built in 1935 for use in the FDt
FDT may refer to:* Fédération Démocratique du Travail, the Democratic Federation of Labour* Front Démocratique du Tchad, the Democratic Front of Chad* File descriptor table* Fred Dalton Thompson* Fluctuation-dissipation theorem...

 express train service. During test drives, the SVT 137 "Bauart Leipzig" set a world speed record of 205 km/h (127.4 mph) in 1936. The fastest regular service with SVT 137 was between Hannover and Hamm
Hamm is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia , Germany. It is located in the northeastern part of the Ruhr area. As of December 2003 its population was 180,849. The city is situated between the A1 motorway and A2 motorway...

 with an average speed of 132.2 km/h (82.1 mph). This service lasted until 22 August 1939.

In 1935 Henschel & Son
Henschel & Son
Henschel & Son was a German company, situated in Kassel, best known during the 20th century as a maker of transportation equipment, including locomotives, trucks, buses and trolleybuses, and armoured fighting vehicles and weapons....

 a major manufacture of steam locomotives was able to upgrade its various steam locomotives to a high speed Streamliner type with a maximum speeds of up to 85mph by the addition of a removable shell over the old steam locomotive. The type was used on the Frankfort and Main and Berlin route.

In the United Kingdom development of streamlined passenger services began in 1934 with the Great Western Railway
Great Western Railway
The Great Western Railway was a British railway company that linked London with the south-west and west of England and most of Wales. It was founded in 1833, received its enabling Act of Parliament in 1835 and ran its first trains in 1838...

 introducing relatively low speed streamlined railcar
A railcar, in British English and Australian English, is a self-propelled railway vehicle designed to transport passengers. The term "railcar" is usually used in reference to a train consisting of a single coach , with a driver's cab at one or both ends. Some railways, e.g., the Great Western...

s and the London and North Eastern Railway
London and North Eastern Railway
The London and North Eastern Railway was the second-largest of the "Big Four" railway companies created by the Railways Act 1921 in Britain...

 introducing the "Silver Jubilee" service using streamlined A4 class
LNER Class A4
The Class A4 is a class of streamlined 4-6-2 steam locomotive, designed by Nigel Gresley for the London and North Eastern Railway in 1935. Their streamlined design gave them high-speed capability as well as making them instantly recognizable, and one of the class, 4468 Mallard, still claims the...

 steam locomotives and full length trains rather than railcars. In 1938 on a test run the locomotive Mallard
LNER Class A4 4468 Mallard
Number 4468 Mallard is a London and North Eastern Railway Class A4 4-6-2 Pacific steam locomotive built at Doncaster, England in 1938. While in other respects a relatively typical member of its class, it is historically significant for being the holder of the official world speed record for steam...

 built for this service broke the record for the fastest steam locomotive reaching 126 mph (203 km/h). The London Midland and Scottish Railway introduced streamline locomotives of the Princess Coronation Class
LMS Princess Coronation Class
The London Midland and Scottish Railway Coronation Class is a class of express passenger steam locomotives designed by William Stanier. They were an enlarged version of the LMS Princess Royal Class. Several examples were originally built as streamlined, though this was later removed...

 shortly before the outbreak of war.

The Ferrovie dello Stato
Ferrovie dello Stato
Ferrovie dello Stato is a government-owned holding which manage infrastructure and service on the Italian rail network. The subsidiary Trenitalia is the main rail operator in Italy.-Organization:Ferrovie dello Stato subsidiaries are:...

Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 railways) developed the FS Class ETR 200, a three unit electric streamliner. The development started in 1934. These trains went into service in 1937. On 6 December 1937 an ETR 200 made a top speed of 201 km/h (124.9 mph) between Campoleone and Cisterna on the run Rome-Naples. In 1939 the ETR 212 even made 203 km/h (126.1 mph). The 219 kilometres (136.1 mi) journeys from Bologna to Milan were made in 77 minutes, meaning an average of 171 km/h (106.3 mph).

In the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 Nederlandse Spoorwegen
Nederlandse Spoorwegen
Nederlandse Spoorwegen , or NS, is the principal passenger railway operator in the Netherlands.Its trains operate over the tracks of the Dutch national railinfrastructure, operated by ProRail, which was split off from NS in 2003...

 introduced the Materieel 34 (DE3) a three unit 140 km/h (87 mph) streamlined diesel-electric trainset in 1934. An electric version, Materieel 36 went into service in 1936. From 1940 the "Dieselvijf" (DE5), a 160 km/h (99.4 mph) top speed five unit diesel-electric trainset based on DE3, completed the Dutch streamliner fleet. During test runs, a DE5 ran 175 km/h (108.7 mph). That year the similar electric Materieel 40 were first built.

United States

Facing a catastrophic loss of business during the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, American railroads cast their eyes on streamlined trains of light weight material, streamlined to gain speed, and using an internal combustion diesel engine rather than steam. Two early American streamliners were the Union Pacific M-10000
The Union Pacific Railroad's M-10000, delivered to the railroad on February 12, 1934, at a cost of $230,997, was the first internal combustion engine, lightweight streamlined express passenger train in the United States. The carbodies and interior fittings were built by Pullman-Standard...

(nicknamed Little Zip and as The City of Salina in revenue service 1934-41) and the Burlington
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad
The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad was a railroad that operated in the Midwestern United States. Commonly referred to as the Burlington or as the Q, the Burlington Route served a large area, including extensive trackage in the states of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri,...

Pioneer Zephyr
The Pioneer Zephyr is a diesel-powered railroad train formed of railroad cars permanently articulated together with Jacobs bogies, built by the Budd Company in 1934 for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad , commonly known as the Burlington...

. Design of the Zephyr (later named the Pioneer Zephyr to distinguish it) started first, although the train took longer to build due to an advanced design incorporating a diesel-electric power system; the M-10000 used a spark-ignition engine running on "petroleum distillate", a fuel similar to kerosene. These trains were much lighter than the common engines and passenger cars of the day, as the "Zephyr" was constructed using stainless steel
Stainless steel
In metallurgy, stainless steel, also known as inox steel or inox from French "inoxydable", is defined as a steel alloy with a minimum of 10.5 or 11% chromium content by mass....

 and the M-10000 chiefly of the aircraft alloy Duralumin. Both trains were star attractions at the 1933–1934 World's Fair
World's Fair
World's fair, World fair, Universal Exposition, and World Expo are various large public exhibitions held in different parts of the world. The first Expo was held in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, United Kingdom, in 1851, under the title "Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All...

 ("A Century of Progress
Century of Progress
A Century of Progress International Exposition was the name of a World's Fair held in Chicago from 1933 to 1934 to celebrate the city's centennial. The theme of the fair was technological innovation...

") in Chicago, Illinois.

On May 26, 1934, the Zephyr made a record-breaking "Dawn to Dusk" run from Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
The City and County of Denver is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is a consolidated city-county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains...

 to Chicago. The train covered the distance in 13 hours, reaching a top speed of 112.5 mph (181.1 km/h) and running an average speed of 77.6 mph (124.9 km/h). The fuel for the run cost US$14.64 (at 4¢ per U.S. gallon).

For a short time in the late 1930s, the ten fastest trains in the world were all American streamliners.

A variety of Zephyrs were built for Burlington by the Budd Company
Budd Company
The Budd Company is a metal fabricator and major supplier of body components to the automobile industry, and was formerly a manufacturer of stainless steel passenger rail cars during the 20th century....

. For example, after the introduction of the Pioneer Zephyr, two Twin Cities Zephyrs of the same design briefly served the link between Chicago and the Twin Cities. As a public relations
Public relations
Public relations is the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc....

 gimmick, the two trains first headed to Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

 on parallel tracks while carrying twins as passengers. Within a few years, the trains were replaced with a slightly different design, and the original trains went to the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad
The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad was a railroad that operated in the Midwestern United States. Commonly referred to as the Burlington or as the Q, the Burlington Route served a large area, including extensive trackage in the states of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri,...


The Gulf, Mobile and Northern Railroad
Gulf, Mobile and Northern Railroad
The Gulf, Mobile and Northern Railroad was a railroad in the Southern United States. The first World War had forced government operation upon the company; and in 1919, when it became once more a free agent, it chose Ike Tigrett to charter its new course...

Rebel (train)
The Gulf, Mobile and Northern Railroad Rebels were lightweight, streamlined Diesel-electric trains built by American Car and Foundry. The first two trains, purchased in 1935, provided service between New Orleans, Louisiana and Jackson, Tennessee. The third train, purchased in 1937, allowed...

 trains were lightweight and streamlined, but not articulated. Designed by Otto Kuhler
Otto Kuhler
Otto Kuhler was an American designer, one of the best known industrial designers of the American railroads. According to Trains magazine he streamstyled more locomotives and railroad cars than Cret, Dreyfuss and Loewy combined...

, diesel-electrics built by American Car and Foundry Company
American Car and Foundry Company
American Car and Foundry is a manufacturer of railroad rolling stock. One of its subsidiaries was once a manufacturer of motor coaches and trolley coaches under the brand names of ACF and ACF-Brill. Today ACF is known as ACF Industries LLC and is based in St. Charles, Missouri...

 were placed into service July 10, 1935.

The success of the visual styling of the stainless steel locomotives did not go unnoticed by railroads still committed to the steam engine. Many steam locomotives were streamlined during this time to attract passengers, although the streamlining was less effective in improving efficiency for those engines than it was in making a visual statement. The first steam streamliner locomotive was the New York Central's Commodore Vanderbilt. Nonetheless, some of these steam locomotives became very fast—some were said to exceed 120 mph (193 km/h) on a regular basis. Examples include the New York Central
New York Central Railroad
The New York Central Railroad , known simply as the New York Central in its publicity, was a railroad operating in the Northeastern United States...

's "Super Hudsons
NYC Hudson
Hudson was the name given to the 4-6-4 steam locomotive wheel arrangement by the New York Central Railroad which was the first to use locomotives of this type in North America.-History:...

" as used on the Twentieth Century Limited and Empire State Express
Empire State Express
The Empire State Express was one of the named passenger trains and onetime flagship of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad...

; the Milwaukee Road's purpose-built Atlantics
Milwaukee Road class A
The Milwaukee Road class A comprised four high-speed, streamlined 4-4-2 "Atlantic" type steam locomotives built by ALCO in 1935-37 to haul the Milwaukee Road’s Hiawatha express passenger trains. They were among the last Atlantic types built in the United States, and certainly the largest and most...

 and Hudsons
Milwaukee Road class F7
The Milwaukee Road's class F7 comprised six high-speed, streamlined 4-6-4 "Baltic" or "Hudson" type steam locomotives built by ALCO in 1937–38 to haul the Milwaukee's Hiawatha express passenger trains...

 used in Hiawatha
Hiawatha (passenger train)
The Hiawathas were named passenger trains operated by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad , and traveled from Chicago to the Twin Cities in Minnesota. The original train takes its name from The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow...

service; the Pennsylvania Railroad
Pennsylvania Railroad
The Pennsylvania Railroad was an American Class I railroad, founded in 1846. Commonly referred to as the "Pennsy", the PRR was headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania....

's duplex-drive 4-4-4-4 type T1 locomotives, and two Union Pacific engines, a 4-6-2 and a 4-8-2, used on the "Forty Niner" and other trains.


The trend of streamliners also hit Japan. In 1934, Ministry of Railways (Japanese Government Railways
Japanese Government Railways
The Japanese Government Railways was the national railway system directly operated by the central government of Japan until 1949. It is a predecessor of Japanese National Railways and the Japan Railways Group.- Name :...

, JGR) decided to convert one of its 3-cylinder steam locomotives class C53 into streamlined style. The selected locomotive was No.43 of class C53. However Hideo Shima
Hideo Shima
was a Japanese engineer and the driving force behind the building of the first bullet train .Shima was born in Osaka in 1901, and educated at the Tokyo Imperial University, where he studied engineering...

, the chief engineer of the conversion, thought streamlining had no practical effect on reducing air resistance, because Japanese trains at that time did not exceed maximum speed of 100 km/h. So he designed the locomotive to create air flow that lift exhaust smoke away from the locomotive. He said he had expected no practical effect on reducing air resistance completely, therefore he never tried to test fuel consumption or tractive force of the converted locomotive. The Japanese government planned to use this one converted streamline locomotive on the passenger express route between Osaka and Nagoya.

The converted locomotive gained much popularity from the public. So JGR decided to build 21 new streamlined versions of the class C55 locomotive(Japanese). Also JGR built 3 streamlined class EF55
JNR Class EF55
The EF55 class of 2Co+Co1 wheel arrangement electric locomotives consisted of three locomotives built in 1936 by Hitachi, Kawasaki, and Tōyō Electric in Japan....

 electric locomotives. Kiha-43000 diesel multiple units and Moha-52 electric multiple units also got streamlined style. South Manchuria Railway
South Manchuria Railway
The , and operated within China in the Japanese-controlled South Manchuria Railway Zone. The railway itself ran from Lüshun Port at the southern tip of the Liaodong Peninsula to Harbin, where it connected to the Chinese Eastern Railway.-History:...

 under Japanese control at that time also designed Pashina type streamlined locomotive and operated Asia Express
Asia Express
The Asia Express was an express train built and operated by the South Manchuria Railway from 1934 until 1943....

, which had total coordinated style with Pashina locomotive.

These streamlined steam locomotives took many man hours to repair due to its casing. After the outbreak of WW2, the lack of an experienced labor force made the problems worse. Finally, the casings were removed and these locomotives were used with a miserable appearance.

United States

Streamliners and successor high-speed train systems largely disappeared in the United States due to the increasing popularity of the automobile and airline travel. Following a 1951 decision by the Interstate Commerce Commission
Interstate Commerce Commission
The Interstate Commerce Commission was a regulatory body in the United States created by the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887. The agency's original purpose was to regulate railroads to ensure fair rates, to eliminate rate discrimination, and to regulate other aspects of common carriers, including...

, most trains were restricted to speeds of 79 mph (35.3 m/s) or below unless automatic train stop
Automatic Train Stop
An automatic train stop is a system on a train that will automatically stop a train if certain situations happened to prevent accidents from happening....

, automatic train control
Automatic Train Control
Automatic Train Control is a train protection system for railways, ensuring the safe and smooth operation of trains on ATC-enabled lines. Its main advantages include making possible the use of cab signalling instead of track-side signals and the use of smooth deceleration patterns in lieu of the...

, or cab signalling
Cab signalling
Cab signalling is a railway safety system that communicates track status information to the cab, crew compartment or driver's compartment of a locomotive, railcar or multiple unit, where the train driver or engine driver can see the information....

 was installed. Government regulations forced railroads to continue to operate passenger-carrying rail service, even on long routes where, the railroads argue, it was almost impossible to make a profit. Some argue that these regulations and the government's heavy support of highway-building projects exacerbated the problem. Since 1971, the majority of passenger rail systems in the United States have been operated by Amtrak
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

. Faster Acela Express
Acela Express
The Acela Express is Amtrak's high-speed rail service along the Northeast Corridor in the Northeast United States between Washington, D.C., and Boston via Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York...

 trains have been introduced in the Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

 to Washington DC Northeast Corridor
Northeast Corridor
The Northeast Corridor is a fully electrified railway line owned primarily by Amtrak serving the Northeast megalopolis of the United States from Boston in the north, via New York to Washington, D.C. in the south, with branches serving other cities...

. Many areas around the United States have been considering construction of new high-speed lines, but rail travel is much less common in the United States than in Europe or Japan.

After 26 years of service and traveling over 3000000 miles (4,828,020 km), the Pioneer Zephyr went to Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry
Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago)
The Museum of Science and Industry is located in Chicago, Illinois, USA in Jackson Park, in the Hyde Park neighborhood adjacent to Lake Michigan. It is housed in the former Palace of Fine Arts from the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition...

. The M-10000 was scrapped, along with many other early trainsets. It was retired in 1942 and its Duralumin skin was recycled for military aircraft. The Flying Yankee
Flying Yankee
The Flying Yankee was a diesel-powered streamliner built in 1935 for the Maine Central Railroad and the Boston and Maine Railroad by Budd Company and with mechanical and electrical equipment from Electro-Motive Corporation...

, the third streamliner to be completed, is undergoing restoration to operational condition. Its design is only slightly different from the first Zephyr.


In Europe the streamliner tradition gained new life after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. In Germany, the DRG Class SVT 137
DRG Class SVT 137
The DRG Class SVT 137 was a class of streamlined diesel train sets of the Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft and later of the Deutsche Bundesbahn and the Deutsche Reichsbahn...

 were used again, but at lower speed. Based on the Kruckenberg
Franz Kruckenberg
Franz Friedrich Kruckenberg was an engineer and pioneer of high speed railway systems. He designed several high speed trains. His most famous train was the Schienenzeppelin....

 SVT 137 the DB Class VT 11.5
DB Class VT 11.5
The trainsets of Class VT 11.5 were diesel multiple units built by Deutsche Bundesbahn in the 1950s and used for Trans Europ Express services...

 (later renamed to DB Class 601) was used as "Trans Europ Express
Trans Europ Express
The Trans Europ Express, or Trans-Europe Express, is a former international railway service in Europe. At its maximum extent, in 1974, the network comprised 45 trains, connecting 130 different cities.-Origin:...

 (TEE)" for international high speed trains. In East Germany the DR Class VT 18.6 was built for international express service also. From 1965, DB used more and more streamlined electric locomotives DB Class 103
DB Class 103
The Baureihe 103 is a class of electric locomotives in Germany, originally operated by Deutsche Bundesbahn. For a long period, they were perceived as flagships of the DB rolling stock.- Development :...

 with regular trains for high speed service, but from 1973 DB used with the DB Class ET 403 (nickname "Donald Duck") a real streamliner again. The ET 403 was a four-unit electric train with tilting technology. Since 1991 the ICE Service with ICE 1 (Class 401) is used for high speed service. However, it needed 60 years to break the record speed of the first "Flying Hamburger" from 1933 on the run Hamburg-Berlin.

The Swiss SBB
This article is about the Polish band. For the Michigan band, see Small Brown BikeSBB is a Polish progressive rock band formed in 1971 in Siemianowice, Upper Silesia by multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Józef Skrzek...

 and the Dutch NS
Nederlandse Spoorwegen
Nederlandse Spoorwegen , or NS, is the principal passenger railway operator in the Netherlands.Its trains operate over the tracks of the Dutch national railinfrastructure, operated by ProRail, which was split off from NS in 2003...

 developed the RAm TEE (Dutch: DE) for the routes Zurich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

 and Amsterdam-Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. These trains were sold in 1977 to the Canadian
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 Ontario Northland Railway
Ontario Northland Railway
The Ontario Northland Railway is a Canadian railway operated by the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, a provincial Crown agency of the government of Ontario....

 (ONR) and served on the line Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

–Moosonee as the Northlander
The Northlander is a Canadian passenger train operated by the Ontario Northland Railway in Ontario.It operates 6 days per week year-round in both directions and connects Cochrane with Toronto...

. From 1961, SBB used the SBB RAe TEE II
The RAe TEE II, later known as RABe EC, is a type of high-speed electric multiple unit trainset of the Swiss Federal Railways , which was used from the 1960s until the 1980s on several Trans Europ Express services....

, a four system electric streamlined trainset for the TEE service.

Italy used pre-war trains and FS
Ferrovie dello Stato
Ferrovie dello Stato is a government-owned holding which manage infrastructure and service on the Italian rail network. The subsidiary Trenitalia is the main rail operator in Italy.-Organization:Ferrovie dello Stato subsidiaries are:...

 developed new trains such as the FS Class ETR 300 ("Settebello", FS Class ETR 401, ETR 450
ETR 450
ETR 450 was the first series Italian tilting train .The Pendolino project was started in the 1970s by FIAT Ferroviaria, but also absorbed technology from tilting train experiments from elsewhere, most notably the British Advanced Passenger Trains, FIAT having bought the patents...

 (Pendolino) and ETR 500
ETR 500
ETR 500 is a family of Italian high-speed trains introduced in 1993.Designed under the aegis of the Ferrovie dello Stato , it is now operated by Trenitalia on RFI tracks.-History:...


In the United Kingdom streamline services ended on the outbreak of WWII. During the war the LNER and LMS streamlined locomotives had part of their streamlining removed to aid maintenance. By the late 1940s and early 1950s the state of the railways was improving as war damage and delayed maintenance work cleared more mainline track for high speed running.

The first experiments with diesel streamliner services in the United Kingdom were the Blue Pullman trains introduced in 1960 and withdrawn in 1973. These provided 90 mi/h luxury business services, but were marginally successful and ran little faster than mainstream services. The Blue Pullman was followed by research into streamlined trains and tilting trains which led to the iconic Intercity 125
InterCity 125
The InterCity 125 was the brand name of British Rail's High Speed Train fleet. The InterCity 125 train is made up of two power cars, one at each end of a fixed formation of Mark 3 carriages, and is capable of , making the train the fastest diesel-powered locomotive in regular service in the...

 (Class 43
British Rail Class 43 (HST)
The British Rail Class 43 is the TOPS classification used for the InterCity 125 High Speed Train power cars, built by BREL from 1975 to 1982....

) offering 125 mi/h train services across the United Kingdom.


After WW2, Japanese railroads favored multiple unit
Multiple unit
The term multiple unit or MU is used to describe a self-propelled carriages capable of coupling with other units of the same or similar type and still being controlled from one driving cab. The term is commonly used to denote passenger trainsets consisting of more than one carriage...

 type trains, even on its mainlines. In 1949, Japanese National Railways
Japanese National Railways
, abbreviated or "JNR", was the national railway network of Japan from 1949 to 1987.-History:The term Kokuyū Tetsudō "state-owned railway" originally referred to a network of railway lines operated by nationalized companies under the control of the Railway Institute following the nationalization...

 (JNR) released Series 80 EMUs which were used for long distance trains for the first time as multiple unit trains. The lead coaches of Series 80 EMUs built after 1950 incorporated a streamlined design. In 1957, Odakyu Electric Railway
Odakyu Electric Railway
, or OER, is a major railway company based in Tokyo, Japan best known for its Romancecar series of limited express trains from Tokyo to Odawara, Enoshima, Tama New Town, and Hakone....

 released 3000 series
Odakyu 3000 series SE
The or SE , later becoming SSE , was a "Romancecar" EMU operated by the Odakyu Electric Railway in the Tokyo area of Japan...

 EMUs. The exterior design was developed using a wind tunnel
Wind tunnel
A wind tunnel is a research tool used in aerodynamic research to study the effects of air moving past solid objects.-Theory of operation:Wind tunnels were first proposed as a means of studying vehicles in free flight...

 intended for aircraft. Odakyu 3000 marked the world speed record at the time (145 km/h) for a narrow gauge train. Multiple Unit trains were now proven suitable for long distance trains by the JNR Series 80 and for high speed trains by the Odakyu 3000. These experiences led to the development of the first shinkansen
The , also known as THE BULLET TRAIN, is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan operated by four Japan Railways Group companies. Starting with the Tōkaidō Shinkansen in 1964, the network has expanded to currently consist of of lines with maximum speeds of , of Mini-shinkansen with a...

, the 0 Series. 0 series were strongly influenced by the Odakyu 3000, and also developed using a wind tunnel. The lead coaches of the 0 series were developed using a Douglas DC-8
Douglas DC-8
The Douglas DC-8 is a four-engined narrow-body passenger commercial jet airliner, manufactured from 1958 to 1972 by the Douglas Aircraft Company...

 for a reference. At a speed of 200 km/h, the aerodynamic style of the 0 series had a substantial effect on reducing air resistance.

High speed train services today

Worldwide many, if not most, high speed passenger trains are now streamlined, and speeds continue to rise as high-speed rail
High-speed rail
High-speed rail is a type of passenger rail transport that operates significantly faster than the normal speed of rail traffic. Specific definitions by the European Union include for upgraded track and or faster for new track, whilst in the United States, the U.S...

 services become the normal long distance rail service.

Streamlined cars

Many engineers tried to incorporate aerodynamics into the shape of cars in the 1920s, and some entered production. First such automobile (a prototype) to have a tear-drop shape and have the wheels within the body was the Persu automobile (1922), with an astounding drag coefficient of 0.22, built by Romanian engineer Aurel Persu
Aurel Persu
Aurel Persu was a Romanian engineer, and the first to apply aerodynamics principles to automobiles. He came to the conclusion that the perfectly aerodynamic automobile has the shape of a falling water-drop....


Production vehicles

  • Tatra T77
    Tatra T77
    The Czechoslovakian Tatra 77 is the first serial-produced truly aerodynamically designed automobile. It was developed by Hans Ledwinka and Paul Jaray, the noted Zeppelin aerodynamic engineer. Launched in 1934, the Tatra 77 is a coach-built automobile constructed on a central tube-steel chassis and...

  • VW Beetle
  • Saab 92
    Saab 92
    Saab 92 is an automobile from Saab. The design was very aerodynamic for its time, and the cW value was 0.30 . The entire body was stamped out of one piece of sheet metal and then cut to accommodate doors and windows. Full-scale production started December 12, 1949, based on the prototype Saab 92001...

  • Chrysler Airflow
    Chrysler Airflow
    The Chrysler Airflow is an automobile produced by the Chrysler Corporation from 1934-1937. The Airflow was the first full-size American production car to use streamlining as a basis for building a sleeker automobile, one less susceptible to air resistance...

  • Honda Insight
    Honda Insight
    The Honda Insight is a hybrid electric vehicle manufactured by Honda and the first production vehicle to feature Honda's Integrated Motor Assist system. The first-generation Insight was produced from 1999 to 2006 as a three-door hatchback...

Despite its smooth curves, the original Volkswagen Beetle has a Cd of 0.48, which is similar to many trucks and SUVs. On the other hand, many aerodynamic styling features are the result of feedback from aerodynamic optimization by testing in wind tunnel
Wind tunnel
A wind tunnel is a research tool used in aerodynamic research to study the effects of air moving past solid objects.-Theory of operation:Wind tunnels were first proposed as a means of studying vehicles in free flight...

s and nowadays, computer modeling. Such features include the teardrop blunt nose and tapered trailing body, rounded corners, smooth body transitions (such as hood-to-windshield and windshields-to-roof, as in Kammback
A Kammback is a car body style that derives from the research of the German aerodynamicist Wunibald Kamm in the 1930s. The design calls for a body with smooth contours that continues to a tail that is abruptly cut off. This shape reduces the drag of the vehicle."Kammback" is an American term...

 designs), rear wheel skirts, and removal of protruding features (integrated headlamps, hood ornaments, rear-view mirrors).

Vehicles used for speed records

  • Electric
    • Buckeye Bullet
      Buckeye Bullet
      The Buckeye Bullet is the name of a series of student-built, alternative-fuel race cars created by The Ohio State University students led by Dr. Giorgio Rizzoni at the Center for Automotive Research...

    • White Lightning
      White Lightning car
      The White Lightning was the fastest electric car, capable of speeds up to . It was built by Dempsey's World Record Associates and has been driven to record speeds by Pat Rummerfield, known as the first fully recovered quadriplegic in the world. In October 2003, its record was surpassed by the...

  • Combustion
    • Bluebird -
    • Blue Flame
    • Goldenrod
    • JCB Dieselmax
      JCB Dieselmax
      The JCB Dieselmax is a diesel-engined 'Streamliner' car designed for the purpose of breaking the land speed record for a diesel-engined vehicle.The car was built for JCB...

  • Thrust
    • Thrust SSC
      ThrustSSC, also spelt Thrust SSC by secondary sources, is a British jet-propelled car developed by Richard Noble, Glynne Bowsher, Ron Ayers and Jeremy Bliss....

Streamlined buses

Many buses adopted a stylish streamline look in the 1930s with tests showing that streamlined design reduced fuel costs.

Streamlined trailers

Camping (caravan) trailer manufacturers used streamlining to make trailers easier to tow. Current and past manufactures include Airstream
Airstream is a brand of luxury recreational vehicle manufactured in Jackson Center, Ohio, USA. It is currently a division of Thor Industries. The company, which now employs fewer than 400, is the oldest in the industry. Airstream trailers are easily recognized for their distinctive rounded...

, Avalon, Avion, Boles Aero, Bonair Oxygen, Curtis Wright, Silver Streak, Spartan, Streamline, and Vagabond.

Streamlined bicycles

Bicycle fairings help to streamline the vehicle and rider. Velomobile
A velomobile or bicycle car is a human-powered vehicle, enclosed for aerodynamic advantage and protection from weather and collisions. They are virtually always single-passenger vehicles. They are derived from recumbent bicycles and tricycles, with the addition of a full fairing . There are few...

s, completely enclosed bicycles or tricycles, take streamling even further.

Streamlined water transport

Streamlining was applied to the art deco
Art Deco
Art deco , or deco, is an eclectic artistic and design style that began in Paris in the 1920s and flourished internationally throughout the 1930s, into the World War II era. The style influenced all areas of design, including architecture and interior design, industrial design, fashion and...

 style auto/passenger ferry Kalakala in the 1930s.

Sterling Streamliner diners

Inspired by the streamlined trains, and especially the Burlington Zephyr, Roland Stickney designed a diner in the shape of a streamlined train called the Sterling Streamliner in 1939. Built by the J.B. Judkins coach company, who had built custom car bodies, the Sterling and other diner production ceased in 1942 at the beginning on American involvement in World War II.

One Sterling Streamliner remains in operation as the Modern Diner
Modern Diner
Modern Diner is a historic restaurant at 364 East Avenue in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, United States.Built in 1940, as one of the Sterling Streamliners, the diner was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978....

 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Pawtucket is a city in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 71,148 at the 2010 census. It is the fourth largest city in the state.-History:...


External links

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