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   Post reply ( Re: SF's passenger equipment, post-AMTRAK )
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Topic Summary
Posted by: E8M 86 A-B Posted on: Mar 21st, 2017, 10:26pm
Gentlemen:
 
I know that AMTRAK purchased 400 ex-SF passenger cars, a number of which were still in service as of 1997 ( I would imagine all of these these cars have been since retired from revenue service)
 
 When did AMTRAK retire the last of its "Heritage" cars that were originally owned by the SF? (baggage/coaches/diners/sleepers)
 
I also know that the diner "COCHITI"  has been restored, as well as the observation car "NAVAJO"; both of these cars were part of the 1937 "SUPER CHIEF" (according to Steve Glischinsky's  "SANTA FE RAILWAY")
 
I am also guessing that a number of cars were sadly scrapped over the ensuing years; perhaps others might have been converted into MOW cars after being retired.........
 
Regards,
 
E8M
Posted by: E8M 86 A-B Posted on: Mar 21st, 2017, 11:26pm
All:
 
Must also make mention of Amtrak's "Superliners", which clearly owe thier distinctive design to the SF's stylish and sleek "Hi-Levels"....I guess that imitation is INDEED the SINCEREST form of flattery, after all.....
 
E8M
Posted by: Norm_Anderson Posted on: Mar 22nd, 2017, 10:57am
E8M,
 
I confess to being out of my depth here.  I can share musings (much of which may well be repeating back things that you already know).
 
I believe that the majority of equipment retained by Amtrak came from four railroads-- New York Central, Burlington, Santa Fe, and Union Pacific.  In 1971, Amtrak technically inherited all the passenger equipment from participating railroads, but it was a boast of theirs that they only kept one-third of the cars they were offered, because they were the only ones up to Amtrak's standards.
 
For all I know, there may still be a few ex-Santa Fe Sleepers and Diners among the "Heritage Fleet" (unless they've all been replaced by Viewliners by now).  If Amtrak retained the names on the sides of their Sleepers, the Santa Fe cars would be 10-Roomette, 6-Double-Bedroom cars in the Palm _______ or Pine _______ series.  (Ex-Burlington cars would be in the Silver _______ series, and ex-UP cars would be in the Pacific _______ series.)
 
The Hi-Level Chair Cars were in the best shape, and they were used even into the Superliner era.  (Some of them were only seven years old on A-Day!)  As the Superliners took over, the Hi-Level Chair Cars were converted into Chair/Dormitory cars, operated between the single-level Baggage Cars and the Superliners.  You can distinguish them in photographs by the narrowed windows in the forward half of the car (those were the Dormitory rooms).  The rear half of the car was retained as "overflow" Chair Car seating.  I do not believe any of them are still in use.
 
However, there are five ex-Santa Fe cars that are still in Amtrak service to this day.  They are five of the original six Hi-Level Lounge Cars from the El Capitan, that are serving as the First-Class-only  "Pacific Parlour Cars" on the Coast Starlight between Los Angeles and Seattle.  They were delivered to Santa Fe in the summer of 1956, so they will be 62 years old this Summer!  (For perspective, in 1956, a 62-year-old passenger car would have been built in 1894, and would have been made of wood . . .)  But they are still holding up just fine.
 
As you noted, a few of the original 1937 Super Chief cars are also still with us, in private hands.  Observation Lounge Car Navajo is in the care of the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden (outside Denver); Dining Car Cochiti is at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, where it is used to display vintage Dining Car china; and I believe Lounge Car Acoma was recently put up for sale-- the previous owners were fairly careful to maintain its original decor.
 
 
Regards,
 
Norm
Posted by: E8M 86 A-B Posted on: Mar 22nd, 2017, 11:21am
Norm:
 
Once again, greatly appreciate both your input and your time.....quite a nice start to my day, to learn that at least a few ex-SF cars are still in AMTRAK service....it proves that high quality lasts, and never goes out of style!
 
I have also seen photos of early-AMTRAK era trains (on the NEC) carrying ex-NP cars.
 
That the SF never let their passenger equipment grow shabby and raffish indeed would have made them look all the more attractive to AMTRAK.
 
Now...if only the Fred Harvey Dining Service was still with us....ahh, well, I guess you can't have everything......
 
E8M
Posted by: Norm_Anderson Posted on: Mar 22nd, 2017, 11:33am
on Mar 22nd, 2017, 11:21am, E8M 86 A-B wrote:       (Click here for original message)

Now...if only the Fred Harvey Dining Service was still with us....ahh, well, I guess you can't have everything......

 
I will heartily second that sentiment!  Although, I have to say that Amtrak's Dining Car service has improved over the years.  Still not up to Fred Harvey's standards, but it has progressed from "tolerable" to "pretty good, actually."
 
What I truly miss is the level of service that used to characterize passenger train travel.  It used to be so much more than just "accommodation."  The railroads (the good ones, anyway), tried to actually impress their patrons-- and not in an unctious, smarmy way, but with genuine respect.
 
But that's not Amtrak's fault, really.  That's a cultural shift, and we are the worse for it.
 
 
Regards,
 
Norm
Posted by: E8M 86 A-B Posted on: Mar 22nd, 2017, 11:58am
on Mar 22nd, 2017, 11:33am, Norm_Anderson wrote:       (Click here for original message)

 
I will heartily second that sentiment!  Although, I have to say that Amtrak's Dining Car service has improved over the years.  Still not up to Fred Harvey's standards, but it has progressed from "tolerable" to "pretty good, actually."
 
What I truly miss is the level of service that used to characterize passenger train travel.  It used to be so much more than just "accommodation."  The railroads (the good ones, anyway), tried to actually impress their patrons-- and not in an unctious, smarmy way, but with genuine respect.
 
But that's not Amtrak's fault, really.  That's a cultural shift, and we are the worse for it.
 
 
Regards,
 
Norm

 
 
Norm:
 
Agree 100% with your views!
 
Through the 1960's, The Erie-Lackawanna was known for carrying on the fine dining experience on its trains that had been standard since the old DL&W days; right up until the end of through service out of Hoboken in 1970, the railroad's tasty cuisine and fine dining experiences would have still delighted the lovely, legendary "Miss Phoebe Snow"!
 
In Steve Glischinsky's fine book on the SF, "SANTA FE RAILWAY", there is an excellent two-page "mini chapter" that's entitled "FRED HARVEY AND THE SANTA FE"......clearly, no one ever went hungry when traveling the Santa Fe way!
 
Ahhhh, me lads, t'was indeed the stuff of legends.....
 
E8M
Posted by: E8M 86 A-B Posted on: Mar 23rd, 2017, 5:54pm
Note AMTRAK section on this page......
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hi-Level
Posted by: ClydeDET Posted on: Apr 20th, 2017, 2:13pm
on Mar 22nd, 2017, 11:21am, E8M 86 A-B wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Norm:
 
Once again, greatly appreciate both your input and your time.....quite a nice start to my day, to learn that at least a few ex-SF cars are still in AMTRAK service....it proves that high quality lasts, and never goes out of style!
 
I have also seen photos of early-AMTRAK era trains (on the NEC) carrying ex-NP cars.
 
That the SF never let their passenger equipment grow shabby and raffish indeed would have made them look all the more attractive to AMTRAK.
 
Now...if only the Fred Harvey Dining Service was still with us....ahh, well, I guess you can't have everything......
 
E8M

 
Better believe there was a difference between Santa Fe and some other railroads in the 1960s. In 1966, was a newly-commissioned Second Lieutenant of Ordnance and went from Dallas to Aberdeen by train (my choice) at Uncle's expense. Roomette in a Pine-series, Budd-built 10-6 from Dallas to Chicago on the Texas Chief. Chicago east on the PRR's General (or just maybe Admiral), also in a Budd 10-6. Trust me - there was a difference in the way Santa Fe and PRR had maintained the equipment, nd just how the experience was. And PRR diner was no way up to Fred Harvey standards, but not that bad. Except on the Baltimore section between Harrisburg and Baltimore, where the only food service was an automat car, and it was pretty bad.
Posted by: E8M 86 A-B Posted on: Apr 21st, 2017, 3:37pm
Clyde:
 
From what I have read (and heard) over the years, Penn-Central diner cuisine was certainly not anywhere near the superb standards long established by the SF; certainly a far cry from the food once served in PRR and NYC diners.
 
SF management KNEW how to treat passengers the RIGHT way......they treated them as valuable GUESTS, and not mere annoyances to be barely tolerated.
 
Not surprisingly, much has been written over the years regarding SF cuisine; fine food, well prepared, and served in fine style.....it is, indeed, to the SF's credit that they did not allow their passenger trains......nor their diner food......to sink into a quagmire of lassitude and insipidness.
 
A fine example of the old adage, "The Customer Is Always Right"......
 
"E8M"