ATSF Super Chief motive power

Discussion in 'N Scale' started by dieselfan1, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. dieselfan1

    dieselfan1 Guest

    What were the normal lashups for this train? I'm pretty sure an ABBA of F-7's was probably the most common , but what about an ABBA of F-3's or even ABBBA of F-3's? There are no F-7 B's available anywhere as far as I could tell.
    Looking for a Christmas gift for myself,(the complete train(Kato), and I don't care if it has ABBA or ABBBA of F-3's as long as the prototype did it.
    Thanks Super Chief fans.
  2. Kenneth L. Anthony

    Kenneth L. Anthony TrainBoard Supporter


    E-3 #11 on Super Chief, 1945 Warbonnet 2ndQ 2005 p.14

    E-6 “Modeling the E-6s on the Super Chief” Warbonnet 2Q 2006 p.19

    at various times with FTs, F3s, and F7s.

    Do youi mean specificially in the time period of the passenger car set you are acquiring?
  3. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    To go with the consist modeled by Kato, either F3s or F7s would be correct. In the summer of 1969 you could have seen FP45s when they ran the Super and the El Cap as separate trains during peak seasons for the last time. I think the FP45s were delivered in 1968 so maybe they were on the point of the Super Chief during the winter peak and the summer of 68.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 9, 2012
  4. dieselfan1

    dieselfan1 Guest

    Thanks, this is pretty much what I was thinking. How about an ABBBA of F-3's?
  5. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I believe they started adding extra B units when they ran the combined El Capitain/Super Chief. When running by itself, I believe they usually used A-B-B-A for power on the Super Chief.
  6. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Supporter

    F units in ABBA or ABBBA would be more dependent on track elecation that train. For example, across the flat lands of the Midwest an ABBA would be more than adequate. Up and over the Rockies would be a different story.
  7. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

    Frequently the combinations would be something like ABAABBA, as more locomotives were added as needed without breaking up the basic ABBA group.
  8. CBQ Fan

    CBQ Fan TrainBoard Member

  9. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

    Don't forget that the E1's, PA's, DL-107/8's and FM Erie Built were used as needed
  10. Westfalen

    Westfalen TrainBoard Member

    I've seen photos of ABABBA or ABABBB and other odd configurations, especially in their latter years when they were starting to show their age mechanically. I think when it came to the crunch they used whatever it took to get over the road. Santa Fe's F units came in neat boxed ABBA sets from EMD but they didn't last that way for long.
  11. NorsemanJack

    NorsemanJack TrainBoard Member

    BLW has the F7B units, and I'm sure other major dealers do as well. I suggest you decide which units you prefer, and then find them. Personally, I like the looks of the warbonnet F3 units best, but that's just one man's opinion.
  12. CBQ Fan

    CBQ Fan TrainBoard Member

    I have an F3 AB set and an ABA F7 set, plus my ABB PA set to pull my SC & El Cap.
  13. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

    It is important to remember that ATSF F units are a moving target. Any one unit probably changed it's appearance several times over its life.
  14. glennac

    glennac TrainBoard Member

    That's one of the consists I use for my SC.


    And this has basis in reality:


    But as everyone else has observed, the SC was pulled by all sorts of streamlined diesels in all sorts of combinations. Condensed from Wikipedia:

    A variety of state-of-the-art locomotives (including ALCO PAs, EMD E6s, FTs, F3s, F7s, and FP45s, along with Santa Fe's only ALCO DL-107/108s and FM Erie-built units) would make their appearances on the line in the succeeding years.

    Beginning in 1947, a typical Super Chief consist: EMD FTs
    A typical Super Chief consist from 1948 to 1951: EMD F3s
    A typical Super Chief consist from 1951 to 1956: EMD F7s
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2012
  15. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    However very rarely if at all by the time the Super Chief was reequipped with the cars modeled by the Kato set. By then the Santa Fe had pretty much settled on using four axle locomotives on the premier trains going over Raton Pass. Six axle locomotives still showed up on Cajon but were rare on Raton by the mid 50s.
  16. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

    One thing for sure is that there's a lot of information out there, the train was well-photographed and nearly every book on the Santa Fe has at least a couple pictures. You need to pick a year, or a range of years, that you're intending. Because this was 'the train', it always got the best, most reliable, and newest power of the era. And plenty of it. While it had some relatively exotic power over the years, that's when that power was considered (or at least sold) as 'state of the art'.

    Remember that the SC was combined with the El Capitan, at least outside the summer season, beginning in 1958. You can still run stand-alone SC's as 'summer trains' though much later. But all-year stand alone's SC's with the dome and Kato cars are.... I think.... 1951-1958.

    I rode on it in Feb. 1965 when it was combined with the El Cap, huge train.

    One other thing to be aware of is that ATSF delighted in redoing their F3's with F7 grilles to the point where half the time you can't tell them apart without a roster. The SC always 'looked' like it was solid F7's even though if you checked the roster it was a pretty mixed bag at times.

    So if your 'spotting feature' for F3's is the older grille and higher fans....just a heads up, ATSF got tired of that look:

    Now what's fun about this is the little details like the long warbonnet still hung around on the F3's.
  17. glennac

    glennac TrainBoard Member

    Some will moan that this is 'rivet counting'. But I love this kind of stuff. Anything that helps me improve my knowledge of railroad history and operations, improves my appreciation that much more. If I know why a certain paint scheme was chosen, why certain locomotives were used on a particular route, or why service on one Streamliner was different than another, then my interest in the hobby is heightened.
  18. Cajonpassfan

    Cajonpassfan TrainBoard Supporter

    Bingo, Russell, thank you.
    Much of what's been said does not apply to the pristine '51 Super as modeled by KATO, and for the very few short years it ran as such in the early fifties, the power was pure ABBA sets of 16 and 37 class F3 and F7's, rotated without prejudice. This was pool power out of Barstow, changed out on the westbound run so that clean units would arrive into Los Angeles.

    (An exception was that for a couple of years the new 300 class ABB F7 "bob tails" would take the Super from Barstow into LA because the grades were favorable westbound and the train was light. Eastbound out of LA to Chicago and back to Barstow, an ABBA set of pool power was used, while the ABB bobtails would take the Grand Canyon out of LA, with helpers over Cajon).

    By this time, other passenger power would have been relegated to secondary trains, (DL109/110, E's) returned mostly to freight service (FT's). PA's, as beautiful as they were, could still be occasionally found on the Chief, but they would have been rare on the '51 or later Super. #90, the Eriebuilt set, was explicitly banished from the Super, following a reliability incident.

    A some point in the mid-fifties, the Santa Fe started mixing things up with longer trains and F unit sets of five or more, elephant style, etc., but that's out of my era and I will let others comment.
    Regards, Otto K.
  19. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

    That shot of 18C reminded me of another couple of things. I've always been amused by the folks that literally are rivet counters when there are other 'signature' items that often get overlooked, particularly as the units got older.

    1) Note that the side skirts were cut back above the fuel tank - look at the 50's shot vs. this one. That was universal, and it's rarely modelled.

    2) I think ATSF was the only railroad to ever get in the habit of repainting the lead unit on almost every trip particularly to the name trains - giving the pilot and trucks a fresh coat of silver with a spray gun. And sometimes there was overspray. And the couplers - at least on the nose, are SILVER, because of that. You can't do that today as couplers can't be painted, but then, well, you can't have a rusty-looking coupler, can you?

    3) If you are doing any weathering at all, notice the 'bow wave' over the front truck lead axle. It's amazing what happens at 90mph, this little feature is very common on the F's and by the time a unit reached the end of the line, could become very pronounced. By the time time Amtrak came along it started to look like they were taking them 4-wheeling through the mud.
  20. Teditor

    Teditor TrainBoard Member

    Some very observant and interesting observations, I was not even aware of the 'long' Warbonnet along the sides.

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