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Santa Fe’s Texas Chief, 1950-1960s

Santa Fe’s Texas Chief, 1950-1960s

 

Fred Klein, 2010

In 1948, Santa Fe expanded its Chief family into Texas. The new Texas Chief replaced the "Fast Fifteen", a service operated by Santa Fe's Texas affiliate G. C. & S. F. between Oklahoma and Galveston. The Texas Chief ran from Chicago to Galveston on a new faster schedule. The Texas Chief ran daily southbound as train #15 and northbound as train #16. The chair cars ran from Chicago to Galveston, but sleepers were destined for connections in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Wichita with only two continuing to Fort Worth, Houston and Galveston. In 1950, new sleeper cars replaced older ones in the consist, hence the start date of this train.

 

The consist on which I base this August 4, 1952 train is from Wayner’s Passenger Train Consists 1923-1973, page 59, at Temple, Texas. The train's consist would be a mixture of equipment from three different builders: Budd, ACF, and Pullman-Standard, with some of the cars being hand-me-downs from earlier Chiefs. Some of the sleepers in this train were built in 1950. Unlike the 1951 Super Chief, I do not think the Texas Chief had a stable consist through the years, so some adjustments probably occurred from 1948 until this 1952 consist and afterwards. The diner, however, was specially decorated for the Texas Chief with copper murals and a “lone star” theme and was assigned to this train.

 

Prototype car

Prototype number

Model car

Model number

Brand

prototypical?

F7A diesel

ATSF 38C

F7A diesel

ATSF 306(L)

Kato

yes

F7B diesel

ATSF 38B

F7B diesel

ATSF 306B

Kato

yes

F7B diesel

ATSF 38A

none

not used

F7A diesel

ATSF 38L

F7A diesel

ATSF 306C

Kato

yes

Baggage

ATSF 3410

72' corr Budd baggage

ATSF 3433

Kato

yes

Baggage

72' smooth side baggage

ATSF 3555

Walthers

yes

RPO baggage mail

ATSF 3600

60' RPO

ATSF 88

Arnold

yes

Coach (divided)

ATSF 3187

60 seat corrug. coach

ATSF 3077

Kato

yes

Coach

ATSF 2868

56 seat corrug. coach

ATSF 2896

Concor

yes

Coach

ATSF 2926

64 seat corrug. coach

ATSF 1210

Walthers

yes

Coach 44-seat

ATSF 2884

44 seat corrug. coach

ATSF 2884

JNJ side

yes

Diner

ATSF 1485 Awatobi

48 seat corrug. diner

ATSF 1481

Kato

yes

Dorm-buffet-lounge

ATSF 1374 Santa Clara

Dormintory lounge

ATSF 1341

Kato

yes

4 comp-4 dbr-2 draw

ATSF 1823 Regal Lane

4 comp-4 dbr-2 draw

ATSF Regal Elm

Des Plaines

yes

10 roomette-6 dbr

ATSF 1620 Pine Bluff

10 rmt-6 dbr

ATSF Pine Mesa

Kato

yes

24 duplex roomette

ATSF 904 Indian Falls

24 duplex roomette

ATSF Indian Maid

JNJ  side

yes

 

Power

Three or four F7 diesels powered the Texas Chief. These are factory painted Kato models.

 

Head end cars

One or more baggage cars were in the head end section. The first car is a Kato model of a 72’ Budd 1942 baggage car. This consist also calls for a baggage-RPO car (ATSF 3600, ACF, 1951). I do not have a baggage-RPO model, so I do what the railroads probably did in case of equipment failure: substitute a baggage and an RPO car, This is a Walthers model of a 72’ 1950s PS or ACF baggage car (incorrect number), and an Arnold model of a 60’ Budd RPO.

 

Coach section

The Texas Chief had a collection of coaches of various types, some as hand-me-downs. I tried to approximate a prototype set of 4 coaches, keeping in mind that numbers on model cars, even re-decaled ones, are often not correct. The first two are Budd coaches. The first model is by Kato of a 1937 60-seat coach, the second by Concor of a 56-seat 1941 coach. The third coach is a Walthers model of a PS c1950 coach, and the fourth is a JNJ brass sides model of a 44-seat PS 1947 coach.

 

Dining & lounge section

The Texas Chief used a hand-me-down Budd diner from the 1938 Super Chief, the ATSF 1485 Awatobi. The Kato model of the Budd 1937 diner pictured above is very, very similar to the Awatobi. The train also used another hand-me-down, a club-lounge-dormitory made by Budd for the Chief in 1937. This lounge will be replaced by a full dome lounge in 1968. I don’t have a model of this car, but the dormitory-lounge made by Kato of the 1950 PS car made for the 1951 Super Chief is an acceptable stand-in, even though the car is made by PS not Budd. After all, if your train is full of hand-me-downs, compromises are perfectly normal.

 

Sleeper section

The three sleepers in this train are all different, and not old hand-me-down cars. The first is a 4 compartment-4 double bedroom-2 drawing room car in the Regal series made by PS in 1950. I use one made from a Des Plaines Hobbies kit (also available as a metal side from M&R or a finished car from Kato from their Super Chief set). The 10 roomette-6 double bedroom sleeper in the Pine series (Budd 1950) is available as a prototypical finished model from Kato. The 24 duplex roomette car, made by PS in 1948 in the Indian series, is more unusual. There is no off-the-shelf model, but my car is made from metal sides from JnJ.

 

References

Frailey, Fred. A Quarter Century of Santa Fe Consists, RPC Publications, 1974.

Schafer, Mike and Joe Welsh. Classic American Stramliners, Motorbooks International, 1997.

 



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