Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak on the Santa Fe’

Warbonnets in Joliet

January 30, 2021

In the early years of Amtrak trains hosted by the Santa Fe ran, for the most part, with locomotives and passengers cars of Santa Fe heritage.

The Santa Fe has maintained its passenger fleet well and there was little need to mix in cars that Amtrak acquired from other railroads.

Shown is Santa Fe F7A No. 303 leading a train into Joliet on April 14, 1973.

Although the photographer did not indicate which train this was, we’ll take a look at a consist from December 1972 for Amtrak’s westbound Super Chief/El Capitan.

The train was assigned six Santa Fe F units and had a steam car.

All of the passenger equipment had been built for the Santa Fe. The El Capitan section had a baggage car, baggage-dormitory transition car, five Hi-Level coaches, a Hi-Level lounge car and a Hi-Level dining car.

The Super Chief section featured all single-level equipment that included two 11-bedroom sleepers, one 10-6 sleeper, a 4-4-2 sleeper, a pleasure dome lounge car, and a dining car.

The 11-bedroom sleepers were the Indian Squaw and Indian Maid. The four compartments, four bedrooms and two drawing room sleeper was Regal Vale, and the 10 roomettes and six bedrooms sleeper was Pine Lodge.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

What Was in a Name?

October 22, 2020

Many Amtrak trains have names with roots that extend to the days when freight railroads operated passenger trains.

In several instances these names had been around for several decades by the time Amtrak began operations on May 1, 1971.

Amtrak’s initial timetable merely used verbatim whatever train names were still in use at the time those trains were conveyed to it.

Thus the Chicago-Los Angeles train continued to be named the Super Chief/El Capitan as it had been under the operation of the Santa Fe Railway.

That name was a combination of two separate names for two separate trains, the all-Pullman and extra fare Super Chief and the all-coach El Capitan.

Santa Fe consolidated the two trains, hence the combo name, in January 1958 although it continued to advertise them as though they were separate trains.

The combined Super Chief/El Capitan also maintained separate dining and lounge cars with passengers not allowed to use them interchangeably.

During the summer and holiday periods the Super Chief and El Capitan operated as independent trains, a practice that continued through 1969.

Amtrak kept the combo name until April 29, 1973 when Nos. 3 and 4 became merely the Super Chief.

Santa Fe President John S. Reed became disenchanted with how Amtrak treated what has been his railroad’s premier passenger train, particularly the removal of certain Santa Fe practices and services.

In March 1974 he informed Amtrak via letter that he was revoking permission for the passenger carrier to use the “Chief” names. Amtrak also operated the former Santa Fe Texas Chief between Chicago and Houston.

So on May 19, 1974, Nos. 3 and 4 became the Southwest Limited and the Houston train became the Lone Star.

The Lone Star was discontinued in early October 1979 but the ancestor of the Super Chief continued to operate.

By 1984 the name riff between Amtrak and Santa Fe had healed sufficiently that the Chief name could return.

But Nos. 3 and 4 would not be the Super Chief but rather the Southwest Chief.

In the photo above, No. 3 is in Joliet, Illinois, on Aug. 6, 1972, and still looks much like a Santa Fe passenger train, including former AT&SF locomotives 314C, 312B, 302, 320A, 314A and 315A.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Santa Fe Story in Joliet in the Early Amtrak Years

June 19, 2020

It is Oct. 13, 1971, and Amtrak’s Texas Chief is departing Joliet, Illinois, which was the first stop on its trek from Chicago to Houston.

Notes taken by the photographer show that the all Santa Fe motive power consist on this day included ATSF 314, 316B, 314A, 316A, and 309.

The Texas Chief, like its counterpart that used these says rails, the Super Chief to Los Angeles, had a mostly all Santa Fe equipment.

They also still had Santa Fe operating and service employees.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

When Warbonnets Still Led Amtrak

June 8, 2020

Santa Fe warbonnets are among the most iconic locomotives that people associate with the streamliner era in America.

In the early Amtrak years warbonnets pulled Amtrak’s Super Chief and Texas Chief, both of which were hosted by the Santa Fe.

In the image above, an Amtrak train is at Joliet, Illinois, on April 2, 1972. This photograph is a scan from an Agfachrome slide.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

One Day in Joliet

February 14, 2020

It’s April 1972 in Joliet, Illinois. It might look like a Santa Fe train, but it’s one of Amtrak’s Chiefs. Santa Fe F-units are leading an the train into Joliet. AT&SF motive power was standard here in the early 1970s.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Santa Fe Power on an Amtrak Train

October 14, 2019

Santa Fe F45 No. 5922 leads an Amtrak train into the Joliet Union Station in 1973.

The photographer said the image was made sometime between April and June 1973.

The photo was made on high speed Ektachrome color slide film push-processed to ASA 400 (now ISO 400) which was about the top ASA for slide film in 1973. “This let me take an action photo in cloudy weather,” he said.

No. 5922 was built by EMD in June 1968 for freight service and was a freight version of the Santa Fe passenger FP45.

Santa Fe routinely assigned F45s to passenger service, usually positioning them behind the red and silver FP45s.

No. 5922 was built as No. 1922 and would later have roster number 5972.

It was common in the early Amtrak years for Santa Fe motive to pull Amtrak’s Super Chief and Texas Chief.

Initially, F units were assigned to Amtrak service, but the F45s began spelling the ancient and increasingly unreliable F units in early 1973. An an F7B provided steam for heating and cooling.

But that practice began to end shortly after this photograph was made. In late June 1973 the Santa Fe received the first of Amtrak’s SDP40F locomotives.

In another year Santa Fe management would demand Amtrak cease use of former Santa Fe passenger train names and the Super Chief became the Southwest Limited while the Texas Chief became the Lone Star.

Photograph by Robert Farkas