Athearn FP45 & Super Chief

Discussion in 'N Scale' started by digisnaps01, Apr 25, 2008.

  1. digisnaps01

    digisnaps01 TrainBoard Member

    If this has already been covered apologies but I can't find the answer to whether or not the FP45's would have been appropriate power at any stage for the Super Chief as recently issued by Kato. I assumed from what I've read that the Super Chief and El Capitan got combined around 1968 and all the pics I've seen of the units on this train have hi-level cars in the consist.
    One source (can't remember where) suggested that they may have run as two sections during the summer months.
    There is one picture on of 102+104 on the Super Chief in Chicago in Aug 1968 but only the first two coaches are visible, both lo-level ones.

    Any help appreciated.

  2. Advertiser

    Yes they would work. W/O the obs. During the holiday rush the train (Super-ElCap) was run in two sections. I took photos with two FP-45s on one section and two F-45s and a steam generator car on the other section.
  3. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    According to my research and memories the answer is yes.

    To continue Wig Wag's thoughts on the subject. Several, (actual number unknown to me) cavalry blue pin stripe F45's, FP45's in the Red and Silver War bonnet and one FP45 dressed in the cavalry blue and yellow war bonnet were known to pull the Super Chief, Chief and combined trains up until Amtrak took over.

    Human interest perhaps: One of Santa Fe's presidents was heard to say he was going to go Blue with all the passenger locomotives. Not that I would approve but I don't remember him asking me...grin!
  4. digisnaps01

    digisnaps01 TrainBoard Member

    Thanks, guys.
    George has mail and I'll have a lighter wallet.
  5. David Leonard

    David Leonard TrainBoard Member

    I ordered some of these also. But to confirm what others have said, here's a photo of The Super Chief I took in the summer of 1970. Note that the FP45's had been renumbered by that time.

  6. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

    Yeah, and my understanding always was that the F45's were equipped with passthru steam generator lines, so it is proper practice to see an FP45 on front possibly leading an F45.

    They were also on-and-off Amtrak in the first two years. ATSF finished up until 1970 with the FP45's and F45's like the above picture until May 1, 1971. Then they took a group of the 300-class F-units and sent them to Amtrak as leased power and ran those. I rode Amtrak in July '72 and it was all F-units. Then there was a brief period where the F-unit reliability was SO BAD that ATSF banned the units on at least the Super Chief and put their own FP45/F45's back on the point until the Amtrak SDP40 F's were delivered. Sometimes you'd see F45's with F-units to provide the steam generator. This is March 1973 at Flagstaff:

    So the REALLY rare shots (and I've seen a couple) is the FP/F's leading rainbow consists or early Amtrak stripes.
  7. AB&CRRone

    AB&CRRone TrainBoard Supporter

    That is some curve that is being negotiated. A double S? Probably a no-no for a home layout. I've always liked the look of the FP45's. Too late for my modeling period but tempting.

  8. OC Engineer JD

    OC Engineer JD Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I have a W&R FP45 in the Yellow and Blue Warbonnet I am going to detail and put into service on some hot piggybacks. :) It may get passenger service once in awhile too. ;)
  9. Westfalen

    Westfalen TrainBoard Member

    Reminds me of reading about a couple of other speculative what if's attributed to a retired Santa Fe president. The first was that if they had known Amtrak was only going to run the Super Chief, Texas Chief and San Diegans, they wouldn't have joined Amtrak and kept running the passenger trains themselves for the P.R. and goodwill they generated. The second, a bit more far fetched, was that if they had known in the fifties that passenger business would drop off during the sixties and be gone altogether by the end of 1971, they would have given the best of the Northerns that still had potentially many years of life left in them thorough rebuilds to see out the days of the passenger trains, and so eliminate the need for investment in new passenger diesels that would see only a few years in their intended use.

    Admittedly this is fantasyland stuff, but it gives food for the imagination. F40PH's and P42's in red warbonnet, or maybe SD45's sharing the ready tracks with 4-8-4's.
  10. Allen

    Allen TrainBoard Member

    I had read that Santa Fe decided only at the literal last minute (within a month or so0 to join Amtrak and only did so because they knew that to provide their quality service, they needed to invest in new passenger equipment and the loss from that would've been too much of a burden.

    As far as retaining steam for passenger service, that would've been a stretch on several counts. Look at the N&W, their locos had well above average availability (better than most dieselized roads) and made money (at the time, N&W had one of the LOWEST operating ratios of any railroad).....BUT parts were getting hard to obtain (even after buying patterns for a lot of the parts they used), labor and fuel costs were going up at a rapid pace. This would've held true for the Santa Fe as well. BUT, it's nice to wonder...what if!
  11. AB&CRRone

    AB&CRRone TrainBoard Supporter

    That's the beauty of railroad modeling. You can run any vintage of motive power with any kind of consist. Heck, you can decorate any of the few steam locomotives for any road for that matter. The model manufacturers have always done so. Why not? No one will know but me, and I won't tell. [​IMG]

  12. mtaylor

    mtaylor Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Yep, the GN will be alive and well on the Canton Division (as a revived heritage subsidiary of the other words it is the BNSF). The GN on my layout will be primarly pooled cars and runthrough freight with some classic motive power. It is my excuse to run the F45 locos. The last remaining HO loco from my modeling days of the 80's (it is deader than dead) is a Sky Blue GN F45. I made a pact with myself that if they are ever done in N-Scale....I will have to run them. I am still working out the fantasy history piece to apease my a*** retentive mind :)
  13. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

    I've heard it from a number of sources that ATSF struggled with the Amtrak decision.

    There are some physical signs that they struggled, too. One of my favorites is that you could get a SANTA FE, SUPER CHIEF dining car menu AFTER Amtrak, 1971. I thought it was a joke or a typo, but now I own one. They still used their name on the dining car menu and I don't know of any other Amtrak-joiner that did that.

    I think that was part of the reason that they revolted and insisted that Amtrak remove the references to the "Super Chief" about 1973, when it became the "Southwest Limited". They insisted that Amtrak not sully THEIR good name with what they regarded as slipshod service.

    When I rode on Amtrak in 1972 on the Santa Fe, it was during the 'rainbow' era, and also the only summer when the "Chief" was a separate train (in lieu of a separate section of the Super Chief). While the train ran like a proverbial bat outa ----, the equipment was a dogs breakfast of two hi-level coaches, a Burlington dome, a UP diner, an Amtrak-stripe 10-6, a UP 10-6, and a collection of two coaches and another sleeper put on at Kansas City. It was pretty obvious that Santa Fe's cars were in a lot better shape than anybody elses - this is before the first cosmetic interior refinishing in the 70's. "Service" was more than just schedule to Santa Fe.

    So my model "Chief" is as much of a dogs breakfast as I can stomach.... until I hit that UP yellow car, and there I stop. Even I can't take that on my layout!
  14. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    I couldn't agree more!

    Randqust, I hear you loud and clear. I couldn't agree more!

    Santa Fe, and the then president (his name escapes me), the one just before Mike Haverty, he did say to a number of Santa Fe officials that he felt it was a mistake to allow Amtrak to operate trains over their tracks. The service provided in the diner was less then, a mockery of Santa Fe's refinement and excellent food service. And, it didn't stop there.

    I'm still of the older Santa Fe persuasion believing, that Santa Fe should have continued operating their own trains. They should have stayed independent as well.

    On my layout, Amtrash will not have a place. When it comes to those first years of Amtrak operation with the collective outfitting of assorted passenger cars, creating a insult to the rainbow. I mean I love a mixed consist but this goes way beyond my tolerances. I can't stomach running trains that look worse then a circus train. Come to think of it, a circus train has a consistent theme, that can be seen throughout the whole train, passenger cars included.

    I will stick with the era leading up to the end of Santa Fe's excellence. Anything and everything after that, is worth ignoring.

    Just my two cents.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2008
  15. Willyboy

    Willyboy TrainBoard Supporter

    No discrimination on my layout with the LAUPT once I get it built. There will be S.F., S.P., W.P., U.P., and I gonna have to figure out how to get the B.L. in there somehow. ;)
  16. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

    In my world the GN asorbed the UP and AMTRAK never existed. If I ever buy the Acela I will repaint it in "Pink Fox Lines'.
  17. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    Discriminatory Model Railroading


    I will only discriminate against Amtrash.

    I do have a California Zephyr, D&RGW Prospector or Pioneer, Santa Fe Chief, Super Chief and San Francisco Chief, an ATSF commute with a Zebra Stripe GP7 with torpedo tubes on top heading the two car consist. SP's City of San Francisco and the Coast Daylight, San Joaquin Daylight and from the Union Pacific, the City of Los Angeles. Me thinks I may need to bring them all together at your LAUPT. Grin.

    No Amtrak....period. Oh and no BNSF or today's conglomerates. Nothing like historical railroading.
  18. Willyboy

    Willyboy TrainBoard Supporter

    Me thinks that sounds good. Hopefully later this month I will find time to start again on my LAUPT. I finally got my computer running then my printer went out and the icing on the cake was that my monitor died also. Repaired printer and bought new monitor and am up and running again. Trying to catch up on my orders that have been delayed for four weeks so I can buy some more trains. ;)

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