The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad 1856–1970


Map Code: Ax01981

The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy railroad (CB&Q) is a transcontinental line, which has as its slogan, ‘Everywhere West’. It came into existence in 1856 when the Aurora Branch Railroad became the CB&Q. It went from a state railroad to one that included Burlington, Iowa, and Quincy, Illinois. This gave it through connections to major rail networks in Iowa and Missouri. It became a passenger and freight service in 1862 and by the 1890s had expanded westwards to Denver, Colorado, and Billings, Montana. In 1900, the CB&Q opened its doors to the Great Northern and Northern Pacific Railways, which ended up holding most of Burlington’s stock. In 1908, it purchased the Colorado & Southern and the Fort Worth & Denver railroads. After a ‘dip’ following World War I and the 1920s Great Depression, it introduced the Zephyrs: fast, lightweight trains powered by diesel-electric engines. In 1970, after a series of mergers, it became the Burlington Northern Railroad.

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