Wednesday, March 16, 2016

1954 GFX Extra 248 East in N Scale

GFX 248 East leaving Barstow with EMD F7's having total
6000 H.P.
The hottest freight train on the Santa Fe Railroad in 1954 was the GFX (Green Fruit Express) trains, from the farmlands of California to points all over the map.  For those trains making it all the way to Chicago, distributions were made to all points Midwest.  Many entire trains were transferred to the Erie RR for Northeast delivery.  The B&O, PRR, and NYC covered D.C., Pennsylvania, and New York respectively.  All types of fruits and veggies grown in the West were on these trains, and time was of the essence.  Most cars were filled with ice on both ends of each car to keep everything cool.  Ice stops were to be made daily.  The train took 6 days to reach Chicago, reaching its destination on the morning of the sixth day.

The GFX ran from California to Kansas City or Chicago.  Others stops included Galveston, Dallas, and Houston.  These Texas trains ran as CTX or BTX. Cars could be pulled from the GTX at any junction point for delivery to places such as Denver or St. Louis, for example.  It was a very complicated system of delivery with too little space here to go into it further. 

Forty ft. Ice refrigerator cars passing Shell refinery.

Shell refinery, 1954.
In Needles, CA yard.
Here are photos of several classes of ATSF ice refrigerator cars that you could see in any Green Fruit Express train, no matter the destination...

Intermountain model RR23, with 1947 revised slogan herald, The Route of the Chief.  On the right is a RR25. 

Intermountain Santa Fe RR25 on left.  Straight Line map on the left, revised "Ship and Travel..." slogan on the right, a RR25.  Probably a repaint?

IM RR25, with original slogan.

IM RR25, with straight line map.
Intermountain RR27, with revised lettering, 1947-1959.

Intermountain RR27

Two Athearn 50' RR30's, with original slogan lettering on the left, and revised lettering on the right.

Athearn RR30, revised "Ship and Travel..." lettering on the left, straight line map on the right

 IM RR32's with original lettering.
IM RR32's with original lettering

Plug door RR53's of mid fifties manufacture for the Santa Fe. I cannot remember the manufacturer of these N scale cars.
Micro Trains wood side cars with heavy weathering.  I do not know the class name of these cars as they are general wood side reefers made by MT.  I added additional wood walkways near each icing door.
A video  of this train can be seen on YouTube at:

Thanks for viewing the Needles Division, 1954!

Monday, February 15, 2016

1954 #20 Santa Fe Chief in N Scale

This 1954 version of the Santa Fe Chief consists of both Chair cars and Sleepers.  This train, however, is not the carrier of trancontinental sleepers as in the past.  The trans con sleepers have now been transferred to the Super Chief.  It is labeled as the #20 (even numbered) as it is an eastbound train from Los Angeles to Chicago.  It remains a vital train on the Santa Fe.

Following the Budd baggage car, No. 3448, we see the "San Fernando", No. 1382, a Budd built Baggage Dorm Lounge.  The Dormitory section had berths for the crew, and a toilet in the baggage section.  The car was built with M&R brass sides and American Limited frames.

Two chair cars, Nos. 2900 and 2908, poised in front of the Barstow station.  Santa Fe defined chair cars as having reclining seats with footboards for more comfort.  Coach cars had no such amenities.

Chair car no 2884, one of four on the Chief,  comes from the Pullman Car Co. order of 1947.  This is how the car would have looked at delivery, with full skirting between the wheel sets.  Built from M&R brass sides and American Limited frames.
No. 2871, from the same 1947 Pullman order, 2861 class, 44 seat cars, with side skirting removed. Built from M&R brass sides and American Limited frames.

The Lunch Counter diner is a modified Kato car.  The reverse side of the car has an M&R side in place of the diner side as produced by Kato.

The diner Cochiti is from the from Oriental Limited, Santa Fe Super Chief set. Prototype manufactured by Budd in 1937. 

Shown here is a Bar Lounge Dorm, no.1347, built by Pullman.  A Budd built car would be more appropriate, but M&R has not produced "sides" for those Budd cars. Built from M&R brass sides and American Limited frames.

The first of the sleepers is a 10-6, named the Pine Leaf, manufactured by Budd. I modified a Kato CB&Q car by opening up the wheel wells and removing the side skirting.  The prototype often had skirting removed for easier maintenance.  See below for explanation of the 10-6 room arrangement.

Next, is a 4-4-2, the Mojave, manufactured by Pullman in 1939. Bedroom cars were becoming more in demand as passengers desired greater privacy.  The 4-4-2 remained popular on the Santa Fe for decades. Built from M&R brass sides and American Limited frames. Painted with Alcad Polished Aluminum paint. 

This is a stock Kato car from the Smooth Side passenger Set E.  The two tone gray on the Monument Valley 6-6-4 was correct for the time as the shadow stripe paint scheme had been phased out by this time.

The Tonto is a 17 roomette, 1 section car.  Built by Pullman in 1938, part of an eight car order.  Built from M&R brass sides and American Limited frames.

Bringing up the rear, the 3-2-1 lounge observation sleeper Navajo.  This car was the only Budd built sleeper observation on the Santa Fe.  Other Budd observation cars were chair cars.  The model is from the Super Chief set from Oriental Limited.  The lounge area is, of course, at the rear of the car.
                        PASSENGER CAR DESIGNATIONS

10-6                      10 Roomette, 6 Bedroom
4-4-2                    4 Compartment, 4 Bedroom, 2 Drawing Room
6-6-4                    6 Section, 6 Roomette, 4 Bedroom
17-1                      17 Roomette, 1 Section (for porter)

3-2-1                    3 Compartment, 2 Drawing Room, 1 Bedroom Lounge-Obs

Thanks for checking out my blog.

A video of this train can be seen on YouTube at:




Monday, October 26, 2015

1954 Santa Fe Extra 255 West in N Scale

Todays posting is of a Santa Fe freight train westbound to Los Angeles.  Extra 255 West is led by an ABBA combination of EMD F7 Locomotives, each boasting 1500hp.  The train number is taken from the locomotive number.  Most Santa Fe freight trains ran as "Extras". 
 Extra 255 passing Desert Cement outside of Needles, California.
Desert Cement

NYC boxcar originally purchased in the late 70's, one of the first Kadee N Scale releases.

Caboose 1790 brings up the rear of Extra 255.

Most westbound trains, both freight and passenger, fuel up in Barstow before finishing their run to LA or Richmond, CA.
ATSF 90000 was the only center depressed flat car of the class.
Two Union Pacific gondolas with tire loads (from Hays Bros.)
Maximum use of space with six tractors on a 50' ATSF flat car.
 Hays Bros. pipe loads in an SP gondola and a WP fishbelly gondola.  Both cars are from Micro Trains.

A video of this train can be found on YouTube at:

Thanks for tuning in to the Needles Division.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

1954 Santa Fe Fast Mail Express #7 in N Scale

Beginning in 1915, The Santa Fe Railroad daily ran express freight trains, Nos. 7 westbound and 8 eastbound between Los Angeles and Chicago. These trains were routed on a passenger schedule.  The railroad also had a contract with the government to handle all mail within its territory, no matter how much.  The same went for express freight.  The railroad had to provide transportation for various sized carloads.  Santa Fe also handled various express cars from other railroads, as well as their own RPO's and mail cars.  Thus, no two trains were alike.
Today's #7 Fast Mail is led by EMD F3 ABBA #16, which have been upgraded to F7 specifications.  Total horsepower is 6000. (The video has F7's leading). The models are Kato first generation units, upgraded with Phase III frames and motors (for quieter and smoother running).  They also feature "Farr" stainless steel grilles from JnJ trains.
Following the F units, we see a 50" Express Box car (Con-Cor) custom painted and a custom Santa Fe kit car (mfg forgotten).
Two Micro Trains 50' Express Freight cars.  It is probable that these cars would have received the simplified express cars paint scheme by 1954, but I included the just because they look so cool!
 REA refrigerator car from Micro Trains.
 REA 40' refrigerator car, maybe Intermountain.
 Baggage car from 3432 class cars.  From Kato.
Santa Fe owned ONE of these cars, an upgraded truss rod, wood sided car, with steel plates covering areas where there were once windows.  A major rebuild if ever there was one.  Atlas chose to manufacture these cars in quantity in N Scale! (I, of course, have several.)
Custom built from M&R sides, ATSF 1982 represents one of many horse express cars used to transfer race horses from tracks throughout the country.  Painted grey with silver lettering.  One of my favorite cars on the Needles Division.
Custom painted NYC baggage car.  The shell is from Con Cor.

Heavyweight RPO 65 is a Pecos River Brass model produced some 30? years ago.  Custom painted.  Found on Ebay in the nineties, I paid a premium price for my four RPO's and was glad to do it.  I modified the trucks for smooth operation. Very rare car.
The prototype was manufactured in 1924, with two 4-wheeel trucks covering a 60' 8 1/2"' length. These two cars are true Railway Post Offices, authorized by the Federal Government.
Custom built from M&R sides on an Atlas (Rivarossi) frame, ATSF 2028 is a baggage and mail car.  The prototype is from the ATSF 2000 class heavyweight all steel baggage and mail combine.  Built as a 70' car in 1927, it rides on 6 wheel trucks.
Santa Fe baggage 1827 is shown here in  a rarely seen "Scout" paint scheme.

70' PRR baggage from Walthers
Custom painted and decaled ATSF Fe-24 Express car from Micro Trains.  Note that the Cross Herald does not have a black background.

Two Atlas baggage cars
By law, a rider car was needed for any passenger traffic.  The prototype combines 2602-2608 were converted from Buffet-Library cars between 1937 and 1940 specifically for the Fast Mail Express.

You can view a video of this train on YouTube at: