"Tomorrow's Train. TODAY!" heralded a Union Pacific brochure on the M-10000, America's first lightweight, streamlined, internal-combustion-powered passenger train. Lionel's model of the "Little Zip," introduced just months after the February 1934 debut of the prototype, could rightfully have been called "Tomorrow's Model Train Today!"
While Lionel's catalogs had long proclaimed that "Lionel trains and real trains differ only in size," that boast became fact with the introduction of the Streamline Train in the 1934 catalog. Lionel's designers had worked hand-in-hand with the Union Pacific to produce an accurate 1/45-scale replica of its new speedster. Although the model was largely made of brightly painted sheet metal like its tinplate brothers in the 1934 catalog, it signaled their death knell. Within a few years, Lionel's catalogs would be filled with relatively accurate O gauge models like the Streamline Train, and the tinplate era and standard gauge would be history.
Along with the new train, the 1934 catalog introduced larger radius (O-72) Model Builders Track, "without which no streamline train will function properly or realistically. The larger diameter has been scientifically determined to enable the train to travel over curved sections and retain its appearance of a single unit." Lionel's writers introduced the model itself with a similar 1930s mix of fact and hyperbole: "It's the sensation of model railroading! By every measurement, 1/45 actual size of that streamline beauty of the Union Pacific Railroad. This is the masterpiece of Lionel's engineers and craftsmen. Their greatest achievement in thirty-five years of model building."
Lionel Corporation proudly offers The Original Scale Model Streamliner, as it was called in the 1935 catalog, accurately reproduced with both Union Pacific and Lionel Lines lettering, and including the additional fourth car that was featured in the set from 1936-1941.