Monday, January 21, 2013

Combined Super Chief and El Capitan 1959


As the influence of the airlines and the superhighway system being created in America grew, rail traffic correspondingly decreased.  As a result, railroads had to compensate for this decreased volume of traffic.  Most railroads just let their passenger service languish.  However, the Santa Fe railroad insisted on maintaining a high level of service to it's customers.  A step was taken to decrease costs yet maintain a high service level.  The coach and sleeper trains were combined.

In 1958, the Super Chief and the El Capitan combined operations and ran as one unit running as trains 17 and 18 (westbound and eastbound respectively). They were only broken up into different trains during the holiday season and other times of high volume passenger traffic.

The typical combined Super Chief and El Capitan would be a consist with at least all of the following:

Motive Power:  EMD F7's              ABBA

60' RPO                                           Kansas City to Los Angeles
Baggage Mail
Baggage Dormitory Car                      
Hi Level Chair Car (step down)      All Hi Level cars Budd

Hi Level Chair Car
Hi Level Dining Car
Hi Level Lounge Car
Hi Level Chair Car
Hi Level Chair Car (step down)
10-6 Sleeper                                   Budd
4-4-2 Sleeper                                  American Car and Foundry
Dome Lounge Car                          Pullman Standard
Dining Car                                      P.S.
4-4-2 Sleeper                                 ACF
10-6 Sleeper                                   Budd or ACF
10-6 Sleeper                                                                       
Each section of the train were initially kept separate, but as time went on, passengers were allowed to move freely between the El Cap and Super Chief sections.  This happened mainly as passengers wanted to dine in both dining cars, and eventually the Santa Fe relented.

For a complete history of the combined trains, see "Super Chief and El Capitan" by Patrick Dorin. 
For a view of a short video of this train, follow this link to YouTube: