No. 10126 2-C+C-2 GG-1 Electric Locomotive, heading up the Streamlined Passenger Train "Silver Meteor"
Pennsylvania/Seaboard Air Line Railroads
Prodded by the formidable Florida tourism industry, the Seaboard Air Line Railroad contracted with the Edward G. Budd Manufacturing Company of Philadelphia in 1938 to construct a non-articulated, lightweight, stainless-steel all-coach 7-car streamliner for every-third-day overnight service between New York and Miami (25 1/2 hours)(1525 miles). The new air-conditioned “Silver Meteor” would accommodate 280 passengers and operate with partner Pennsylvania Railroad from New York to Washington, D.C., and from Washington to Richmond, Virginia, via partner Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad, connecting with the Seaboard at Richmond for the rest of the trip to Miami. Introduced in February, 1939, the “Silver Meteor” initiated one of the most successful rail passenger innovations in the country—the diesel-powered Florida Streamliner. This train put the Seaboard’s competitors- Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and ally Florida East Coast Railway—at a serious disadvantage, forcing them to develop their own streamliners, the “Champions” (New York-Miami) (see Nos. 10576 and 10648) and re-equipped “Dixie Flagler,”(see No. 10570), (Chicago-Miami), established in December, 1940. By the summer of 1940, the popular “Silver Meteor,” now expanded to 14 cars, was being operated on a daily basis with three trainsets (the “Champions”were daily trains from their inception in December,1939). At this time, the “Silver Meteor” divided at Wildwood in central Florida on each trip, serving both Miami and St. Petersburg. In 1941, sleeping cars (heavyweight) were added to both coasts of Florida.
After World War II, the Seaboard and its competitors re-equipped their streamliners with new coaches, diners, lounge, observation, sleeper, and baggage cars, ordered from the Budd Company and others (1946-1947), but the equipment delivery was delayed by the postwar demand for new cars by all railroads, nationally. In 1947, the “Silver Meteor” acquired a running mate, the “Silver Star,” operating daily between New York and both Florida coasts. Lightweight sleeping cars, part of the 1946-1947 order, were added to the “Silver Fleet” in 1949 (by Budd, Pullman-Standard and AC&F). “Sun Lounge” cars by Pullman-Standard were added in 1956. Today, Amtrak’s “Silver Meteor” and “Silver Star” offer all-reserved coach seating or comfortable bedrooms in “Viewliner” sleeping cars (see No. 10046). Snacks, sandwiches, and beverages are offered in the Lounge Cars, and full-service meals in the Dining Cars.
In 1956, the Pennsylvania Railroad repainted three of its fleet of 4620 horsepower GG-1 electric locomotives in silver with a single Tuscan red stripe to match the stainless steel consists of the “Silver Meteor” and “Silver Star” (see No. 10078 for more information on the GG-1 locomotive). These engines pulled Seaboard Air Line’s trains on Pennsylvania’s electrified rails from New York to Washington, D.C., 1956-1968, by which time the ACL and SAL had merged to form the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad (1967). In 1971, Amtrak took over the SCL fleet and continued the “Silver Meteor” and “Silver Star” service. The “Silver Meteor” became a Miami-only train in April, 1968, under Seaboard Coast Line’s management, leaving west coast service to the “Champion” (see No. 10631). The “Silver Star” continued to both Florida coasts into the Amtrak era, discontinuing its west coast operations in the 1980s. The trains are still running in 2006, New York-Miami.
No. 10126 represents an accurate scale model in “0" Gauge by MTH of the silver single stripe GG-1, pulling the 5-car streamlined “Silver Meteor” (No. 10127) as it would have been seen on the New York-Washington D.C. electrified segment of its run to Miami1956-1968, on a 25 ½-hour schedule.
As a footnote, south of Washington the “Silver Meteor” was powered originally by citrus-colored Electro-Motive E-4A 2000 horsepower diesel locomotives (1939), later upgraded in 1946 to Electro-Motive E-7s, also 2000 HP.