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Santa Fe Super Chief, 1951-1953, Kato cars

Santa Fe Super Chief, 1951-1954, Kato cars

Fred Klein, 2010

In 1947 the Super Chief began daily service between Chicago and Los Angeles, and in 1951 the train was entirely re-equipped with new cars.  The Super Chief was an all-room, first class, extra-fare train that ran on the fastest 39 ¾ hour schedule possible.  Train number 17 was westbound, number 18 was eastbound.  The latest cars purchased by the Santa Fe in 1950 and 1951 were preferred for the Super Chief, but cars were protected and supplemented by other new cars from the late 1940s.  Santa Fe drew on all three major builders of light weight, stainless-steel cars: most of the cars for the 1937 and 1938 Super Chief came from Budd. Pullman Standard and Budd added cars in 1947 to make enough cars for daily service, and ACF and PS shared most of the construction of the 1951 Super Chief. 

 

The 1951 Super Chief had a basic consist, but some substitutions and addition of extra sleepers for summer and holiday periods did occur.  The train modeled here is a full one with the extra weekend 4/4/2 sleeper (Regal series) and an extra 10/6 sleeper (Palm series) for summer or holiday travelers.  Super Chief sleepers were usually of the popular 4-bedroom/ 4-compartment/ 2-drawing-room or 10-roomette/ 6-bedroom types.  Sectioned Pullman sleepers with their curtains were not popular after the war.  Cars during this post-1948 time were owned by Santa Fe and labeled Santa Fe in the letterboards, but were operated by the Pullman company and had Pullman in smaller letters near the car doors.  Most of the cars were initially delivered with side skirts.  Later service crews removed them to gain easier access to battery boxes, brake cylinders, etc.  This train is mostly without skirts.  The most convenient and concise source of information on the 1951 Super Chief is an article with a spread of color drawings in the August 1993 issue of Model Railroader.  More information can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Chief.

 

 

SCtrain51.jpg

Santa Fe publicity photo of 1951 Super Chief.

 

Kato made the entire Super Chief train with prototypically modeled cars to run right of the box. This consist has Kato cars supplemented by two other cars according to information in Fred Frailey’s A Quarter Century of Santa Fe Consists, page 93. Kato released the first Super Chief as 12 cars sold in sets of 4 cars (pictured), and second as a new 8-car set with the same set C of 4 sleepers as before. I added two non-Kato cars to make a typically expanded train. The smooth side baggage-storage mail car ATSF 3555 is a Walthers car, and the 10-6 car Palm Star is a Des Plaines Hobbies (now available from M&R sides) kit. Extra baggage cars and sleepers can be added as demand requires. The Palm Star represents an extra transcontinental sleeper that travelled on the B&O to Washington DC, and in the west, travelled on to San Diego. Perhaps politicians were travelling to a “retreat” meeting where golf and beaches were nicer than on the Potomac. The RPO and Palm Stream were in the train between Kansas City and Los Angeles. On this day, the 10-6 and 4-4-2 near the end of the train connected on to New York City with the New York Central in Chicago. On other days, sleepers would connect to the Pennsylvania Railroad and could travel to other eastern cities.

 

Car type

Car number

maker

year

F7A diesel

ATSF 306(L)

EMD

1949

F7B diesel

ATSF 300B

EMD

1949

F3B diesel

ATSF 306B

EMD

1947

F7A diesel

ATSF 306C

EMD

1949

Storage mail-baggage 70'

ATSF 3456

ACF

1950

Storage mail-baggage 70'

ATSF 3555

PS

1950

RPO 60' 82-88

ATSF 87

ACF

1947

10 roomette-6 dbr

ATSF Palm Stream

ACF

1951

10 roomette-6 dbr

ATSF Palm Haven

ACF

1951

4 comp-4 dbr-2 draw

ATSF Regal Crest

ACF

1950

4 comp-4 dbr-2 draw

ATSF Regal Gate

ACF

1950

Dome-lounge 500-505

ATSF 501

PS

1950

Diner 36-seat 600-606

ATSF 603

PS

1950

Lounge-dormitory 1339-44

ATSF 1341

PS

1950

10 roomette-6 dbr

ATSF Palm Star

ACF

1951

10 roomette-6 dbr

ATSF Palm Top

ACF

1951

4 comp-4 dbr-2 draw

ATSF Regal Hunt

ACF

1950

Observation-4 draw-1 dbr

ATSF Vista Canyon

PS

1948

 

Diesel power

sc51-0.jpg

Santa Fe purchased the F units (normally for freight service) with high-speed passenger gearing.  The war-bonnet paint scheme, introduced on the first E units with the first Super Chief, indicates these are passenger engines.  The B-units had steam generators for passenger car heat and air conditioning.  The A-B-B-A set of F7s generated 6,000 horsepower.  Kato made these factory decorated F3 and F7 locomotives.

 

Head end cars

sc51-2.jpg

The Super Chief ran with one (sometimes two) baggage express cars carrying storage mail.  The first baggage car was made by ACF in 1950, and was the standard baggage car for the Super Chief.  The corrugations were not used near the doors because mail carts and trucks would often dent them.  The second baggage car is a Walthers model of a 1950 Pullman Standard car from the pool of Santa Fe baggage cars.

 

The RPO cars of the type carried on the Super Chief were usually those built by Budd in 1940, or by ACF in 1947.  The RPO is a 60’ car.  The RPO space rented by the Post Office was either 30’ or 60’, thus there was no mail storage space in this car.  Postal workers had to pass into the mail storage car to get and return bags of mail as they were processed.  The RPO was switched into the Super Chief in Kansas City for mail work on the way to Los Angeles. 

 

Front sleeper section

sc51-3.jpg

A group of sleepers was in the consist in front of the central diner-lounge cars, and another group was behind.  The basic consist leaving Chicago would have a 10-roomette/ 6-bedroom sleeper behind the storage mail car.  On and just before weekends, a 4-bedroom/ 4-compartment/ 2-drawing-room sleeper would follow it.  Then, in Kansas City, the RPO and another 10/6 would be cut in behind the storage mail car.  The 10/6 sleepers were in the “Palm” series and were usually from a 13-car American Car and Foundry order from 1951.  Next, the 4/4/2 sleepers from the Regal series was either from a 17-car 1948 order from PS, or a 15-car 1950 order from ACF.

 

Lounge and dining section

sc51-4a.jpg

The next three cars are two lounges with a diner between them.  The first car running behind the forward sleepers is a dome-bar-lounge built by PS in the 500-505 series in 1950.  This was the only dome car in the Super Chief, also called the “pleasure dome” by Santa Fe.  This is the distinctive signature car of the train, and this type of dome car was not used on other trains.  The forward (longer) end of the car was the main lounge for 18 passengers.  The dome space sat 16 and the space under the dome was a cocktail lounge for 9.  The short end of the car was the “Turquoise room”, a dining room available for private parties, and adjacent to the kitchen in the following dining car. The next car was the diner: it sat 36 and had the kitchen end forward.  Pullman Standard delivered it in 1950.  Behind the diner is a PS dorm lounge built in 1950 from the 1339-1344 series.  The lounge car sat 28 in the central lounge (large windows), had a barbershop and a shower in the back of the car, and bunks for 18 crew members in the forward part of the car (small windows).

 

sc51-4b.jpg

The next car is a 10 roomette-6 double bedroom car in the Palm series made from a Des Plaines Hobbies (now available from M&R sides) kit. Extra sleepers like this car were sometimes added to the Super Chief as demand required, as long as the premier quality was not compromised.

 

Rear sleeper section

sc51-5a.jpg

sc1.jpg300px-ATSF_Super_Chief_combined_x3.png

The standard sleepers following the lounge section was a 4/4/2 car from the Regal series, and a 10/6 from the Palm series.  Normally, the Regal sleepers from the 1950 ACF cars were used, but sometimes a nearly identical 1948 PS car was substituted.  The drawing rooms are in the center of the car: each has two closely-spaced windows, but that is invisible because the hallway side of the car is pictured. The last car was a 4 drawing room-1 bedroom-lounge observation car in the Vista series.  PS built four cars in 1948 and ACF built one car in 1951.  The Kato passenger cars have correct, lighted Super Chief tailsigns.

 

REFERENCES

Dorin, Patrick. Super Chief and El Capitan 1936-1971, TLC Publishing, 2005.

Randall, David, From Zephyr to Amtrak, Prototype Publications, 1972.

Repp, Stan, The Superchief; Train of the Stars, Golden West Books, 1980.

Sperandeo, Andy, The Super Chief 1951-1953, Model Railroader, August 1993.

Wayner, Robert, Car Names, Numbers and Consists, Wayner Publications, 1972.

Zimmermann, Karl, Santa Fe Streamliners; the Chief and their Tribesmen, Quadrant Press, 1987.

 



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