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Super Chief: 1943

Super Chief: 1943

March 1943. "Santa Fe streamliner Super Chief being serviced at the depot in Albuquerque. Servicing these Diesel streamliners takes five minutes." 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Jack Delano for the OWI. View full size.


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They've chosed the American Flyer over the Lionel paint job for the Santa Fe logo.

Service Stop

The four hoses feeding the locomotives are not only providing fuel but also water for the diesel-fired steam heat boilers. See the wisp of steam at the rear of the lead unit. The water fill was located in the side of the carbody forward of the cab ladder.

Albuquerque is located on a secondary route mostly used by passenger trains that is no longer owned by Santa Fe successor, BNSF. That railroads still fuels its transcontinental trains in nearby Belen, NM.


Note the wartime shroud on the headlight.

Where's Shorpy ?

Ah, I see what you did there, Dave.

Very clever.

Keep up the good work !

Not the only Harvey House left

There are still a few of the former Harvey House hotels in operation, one not that far from this photo. The La Fonda in Santa Fe was acquired by the AT&SF in 1925 and promptly leased back to Fred Harvey to run. It operated as a Harvey property until 1968, when changing conditions led to a forced sale, though it remains a locally-owned property to the present day.

Harvey House

You can still stay at a Harvey House hotel: La Posada, in Winslow, Arizona.

My daughter and I did just that, as we drove from LA to Massachusetts a few years back. It was a wonderful stay, we ate at the restaurant and there were complimentary earplugs on our pillows. Necessary, because of the train yard immediately behind the hotel.

The hotel was almost torn down, and the story of how it was saved and restored is worth reading. Winslow is an interesting town, and not to be missed if you're out that way.

Santa Fe / Albuquerque

You the Ron Beck I was in the AF with? Don't think so, but it'd sure be wackily weird if you were! My dad worked at a baker at the Harvey House Restaurant in Albuquerque in 1944-45. We lived directly across the street from the Harvey House in some old, cheap hotel.

You can get back to me, if you wish, at

Enjoyed your comments. Railroad days were phenomenal!! Let's share some RR stories.

Texas 1947

Look out, here she comes, she's comin',
Look out, there she goes, she's gone--
Screamin' straight through Texas
like a mad dog cyclone.

"Big and red and silver,
she don't make no smoke,
she's a fast-rollin' streamline
come to show the folks.

-- Guy Clark, "Texas 1947"

Oh the Fabulous Memories!

When I was 12 years old I got to be the baggage guys' "helper" at the Hutchison, Kansas, stop. The biggest thrill was the night, like every other night, the Santa Fe Chief pulled into the station, and as always I got far enough down the tracks to be where the ABBA units would stop. This one night the engineer, I assume, recognized me as being a "regular" at that spot, opened the cab door, and let me climb up in the EMD F3 engine.

He then opened the rear door, and I was looking down the long cabin, at the biggest engines I had ever imagined existed, in the middle, with walkways down both sides. I will never forget the deafening roar the second the engineer opened that door.

Every time I see pictures of these EMD F3 setups, I get chills. Beyond a doubt, works of timeless rolling art. Now I am the proud owner of a G scale model RR set, ABA units, that are so realistic, you could almost climb aboard!


From Fritz Lang's "Human Desire" (1954).

Ready to Jump

Prep the Atavachron, I've decided where I want to go.

The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe

What a great photo. Even though I (like most I suspect) have gone all digital, I still believe that the pinnacle of color photography was Kodachrome transparencies. I remember when they doubled the ASA rating to 64, woo-hoo, great color and fast film! Unfortunately, there is little still in existence from this photo. Passenger rail travel is close to extinct, the Santa Fe is now part of a conglomeration that includes at least 3 grand old railroad lines, the Harvey House hotel (upper left behind the station) was torn down, and the beautiful Mission Style station burned in 1993.


Gee whiz, I remember getting arrested on the exact spot right below the camera by the AT&SF "Dick" one fine overcast day in July 1970. This was while we were moving out to California when I was 16. "Trespassing" was the charge. Just wanted to see some Warbonnets before returning to the motel and my folks then back out West on to THAT road, Route 66 the next a.m. Somewhat different world these days, huh?

Longest stop on a long ride

I rode the Super Chief from Chicago to Los Angeles and back in 1970. I remember that, at least westbound, the stop at Albuquerque was long enough that passengers were allowed to get off the train to stretch their legs on the platform, and was the only such stop on the whole trip -- which may explain that large gaggle back by the station. And I remember being impressed, as a youngster, by the Old Spanish architecture of that station, which was like nothing we had in the Midwest.


The fact that they're fueling from two tank cars on a siding shows how relatively new this technology was in the area - there wasn't a permanent facility available as there would be for coal fired locomotives. And yet in the Southwest in particular diesels were the perfect engines since they didn't need the scarce water.

Wartime Trivia

During the World War II years, some train headlamp openings were reduced in size to prevent Axis spies from seeing them traveling through the night. The E6 model pictured, built by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors in May 1941, has the shroud covering the larger headlamp opening. The number board above the cab and on either sides of the nose appear to be dimmed as well. This AT&SF E6 No. 15 was paired with a matching cabless booster unit E6A, and both were retired in June 1968 after several million miles of travel (and no doubt washed many, many times) since this great photograph was taken.

Super Chief

I rode the El Capitan and the Super Chief back in 1967 it was a wonderful trip and a great way to really see the country. I rode Amtrak's Southwest Chief in 1999 to and from Calif on my honeymoon, my wife enjoyed it too.


I toatally agree execept mine will be built using lego bricks!


This is EXACTLY how I want my model railroad to look like!

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