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:

7 comments:

  1. I really like the hodge-podge collection of cars in this train. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks for your comment. Every Fast Mail Express seemed to be unique in its composition!

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    2. Actually the various consists of #7 also had some common characteristics once the makeup of the train is understood. That's also true when the train ran in sections - which was quite often.

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    3. Thanks for your comments. I agree with you on the common elements of the Fast Mail. The rider car, RPO's and mail cars were standard on the Fast Mail. I do not know if following sections required any of the above cars, especially the rider car. Do you have any knowledge of section requirements? Thanks, Mike

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  2. Hello Mike, great train but I thought the fast mail was mostly pulled by PA's.

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    1. There weren't enough PA's on the roster in 1954 to exclusively use them on the Fast Mail Express. Many PA'S were in use on front line trains such as the San Francisco Chief. In the 1960's, as passenger trains were decommissioned, PA's found a home on the Fast Mail Express, as did the F7's.

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