Pullman engineer Martin P Blomberg helped style the exterior of the M-10000 and the M-10001. The US Patent and Trademark Office assigned U.S. Patent D100,000, U.S. Patent D100,001, and U.S. Patent D100,002 for the design. The M-10000 featured a turret cab, an inward-slanting Duralumin body with a nose formed of parabolic arches, and large nose air intakes on each side of the centerline. The train was painted in Armour Yellow with Leaf Brown roof and undersides. Later, the area around the front air intake was also painted yellow. Dividing lines of red separated the colors.
The 204 ft (62 m) long, 85-short-ton (77 t) train was fully articulated: trucks, strongly influenced by German passenger bogie design as investigated by Union Pacific chief engineer A.H. Fetters, were shared between adjacent cars. There were three cars: a driving, power and baggage car at the front; and two passenger cars. The sleeping car "Overland Trail" was constructed for M-10000 and included in the consist in May 1934, but it was never used in regular service with that train; instead, because of M-10000's assignment to a day train the sleeper was mated with the next Streamliner, M-10001. Subsequent streamliners would be diesel powered, but a reliable engine of sufficient power-to-weight ratio was not available for the M-10000 and it was delivered instead with a spark-ignition Winton 191-A distillate engine. The front truck carried one General Electric traction motor per axle, and was the only one powered.
The M-10000 was as much a publicity tool as a practical train. During 1934 it made a 13,000-mile (21,000 km) exhibition tour across the US, visiting Washington, DC, for inspection by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Everywhere it went it attracted crowds and press attention, hosting almost 1,000,000 visitors. M-10000 succeeded in its aim of helping reinvent and modernise the passenger train in the popular imagination of Depression-era America, yet in contemporary memory it has long since been eclipsed by the later Pioneer Zephyr. Many other Streamliners inspired by the M-10000 were rapidly developed, and within 15 years most major American railroads had a "streamlined" train of some type.
The M-10000 was eventually named City of Salina for the Kansas City-Salina route it served, but it was also nicknamed the "Tin Worm" or "Little Zip". Since it was built of Duralumin (aircraft aluminium), the M-10000 was scrapped in early 1942 to contribute its materials to the war effort, among other reasons. The paint scheme devised for the M-10000 is still in use as of 2014, except that the brown portions were later painted in harbor mist gray.