Results of experimental studies of the amplitude–temporal characteristics of a runaway electron (RE) beam, as well as breakdown voltage and discharge current with a picosecond time resolution are presented. The maximum pressure, at which a RE beam is detectable, decreases with increasing the voltage rise time. The waveforms of the discharge and RE beam currents are synchronized with those of the voltage pulses. It is shown that the amplitude–temporal characteristics of the RE beam depend on the designs of the gas-filled diode and cathode, as well as the gap length. The mechanism for the generation of REs in atmospheric-pressure gases is analyzed on the basis of the obtained experimental data.