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Soo Line - The Laker
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Capitollimited
Chaser
Posts: 94
Soo Line - The Laker
 
« on: Jun 1st, 2009, 11:33am »
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I have just purchased some Soo Line coaches in HO scale and I am wondering if any of the participants of this group have any information about the consists of this train at any time. I am trying to model this train with some accuracy.
 
Thank you in advance for your cooperation.
 
Glenn


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Norm_Anderson
Historian
Posts: 1727
Re: Soo Line - The Laker
 
« Reply #1 on: Jun 7th, 2009, 8:05pm »
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Hi, Glenn,
 
This is from my October 1956 Official Guide:
 
The Laker, one of The Soo Line's relatively few named passenger trains, provided overnight service between Chicago and Duluth, Minnesota, on the far western tip of Lake Superior.  Train 17 left Chicago at 6:30pm, and arrived in Duluth at 8:15am the next morning.  Train 18 departed Duluth at 7:30pm, arriving in Chicago at 8:15am the next morning.
 
Equipment included two Sleeping Cars-- one was a 10-Section, 3 Double Bedroom car, and the other was a 1-Single Bedroom, 4-Double Bedroom, 12-Roomette car.  The timetable also advertised Reclining Seat Coaches and a Diner/Club Lounge Car.
 
Three nights per week, The Laker carried one additional Sleeper (8 Sections, 2 Compartments, 1 Drawing Room), bound for Ashland, Wisconsin, that was handed off to another train sometime during the night.
 
Equipment was advertised as "All Air-Conditioned," but was NOT advertised as "Lightweight" or "Streamlined."  (At this time, lightweight equipment was still enough of a "tout" that railroads that had 'em let the public know they had 'em.)  I have heard that the Soo's philosophy toward passenger equipment was "conservative," and that the best they ever did with streamlining was modernized heavyweights during the final decade or two.  I have seen photos of Diesel-hauled Soo varnish in the late '50s, that still appear to be all-heavyweight.  In the days of Steam, Soo seemed to be partial to 4-6-2s for Passenger power.
 
I'm going to take a speculative leap here, and say that if it were me trying to accurately model The Laker, a "hefty" consist would be three head-end cars, three Chair cars, the Diner/Lounge, and two or three Sleepers.  That's a pretty beefy consist for all but the largest pikes, though, so you could probably get away with dropping one of each type of car, and still satisfy all but the most obsessive rivet-counters.
 
 
Regards,
 
Norm
 
 
P.S.  Though the Soo was hardly cutting-edge with the modernity of their equipment, the equipment they did have was kept clean, tidy, and in good repair.  The equipment may have been old, but it was far from "shabby."


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Capitollimited
Chaser
Posts: 94
Re: Soo Line - The Laker
 
« Reply #2 on: Jun 7th, 2009, 11:09pm »
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Norm,
Thank you for your input. I was fortunate enough to ride one of the last southbound Lakers before it's demise. If I recall it was about a week before it's last call. My Dad worked for the B&O and my godfather was a huge rider of trains, the more obscure the better, so I rode a lot since I could get passes. We left Chicago on a Saturday morning on the Morning Zephyr, caught the GN either Gopher or Badger to Duluth, and then crossed the bay to Superior where the Laker originated at that time. I was about 7 or 8 at that time, so my memories aren't very clear. I do remember the train being split sitting in Superior so it didn't block many street crossings. I know the cars were all heavyweights and the motive power was a pair of GP7's or something similar. It still had the diner and one sleeper and some coaches.
 
I have purchased several of the Soo Line Walthers cars, including 3 coaches, a diner, a couple of sleepers, the solarium car and an RPO. I have just ordered a baggage car that was just announced. It appears that I was heading the right way.  
 
I really appreciate your reply. I like to get close to the trains I model, but I do not try to be exact since I don't super detail cars. I just like to run them and be as close as possible.
 
Thanks again!
 
Glenn


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George_Harris
Historian
Posts: 3833
Re: Soo Line - The Laker
 
« Reply #3 on: Jun 8th, 2009, 3:19pm »
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there was an article on Soo Line passenger services in around 1959-60 in Trains Magazine.  Among the statements was one to the effect that Soo had bought no new passenger equipment after the start of WW1.  Therefore, everything would be heavyweight equipment.  They did in the last few years of service have some streamlined sleepers in use, but these were Pullman owned cars.

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Norm_Anderson
Historian
Posts: 1727
Re: Soo Line - The Laker
 
« Reply #4 on: Jun 9th, 2009, 11:09pm »
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Glenn, this thread has afforded me the delightful opportunity (or is it an excuse?) to re-visit a long-neglected website.
 
Through the good graces of the Santa Fe Railway Historical & Modeling Society,
 
http://www.atsfrr.com

 
I was able to find a link to a truly fabulous website, a genuine labor of love compiled by a fellow named Tom Madden.  Mr. Madden has reproduced, in pdf format, an apparently complete list of every Sleeping Car in use on American rails in November 1950.  By my rough estimate, he has catalogued and cross-referenced around 6,000 cars (around 4,000 heavyweights, and around 2,000 lightweights), giving car name, lot number, floorplan type, railroad ownership, and many other details.  Adjectives fail me.  But here, see for yourself--
 
http://home.att.net/~tgmadden/List2.htm

 
 
As to the specific issue of The Laker, I was able to glean the following from Mr. Madden's website:
 
The Soo owned two heavyweight Sleepers of the 8-Section, 1-Drawing Room, 2-Compartment type.  They were named Centburne and Centsalva.  This was a fairly common heavyweight floorplan, and Pullman fielded a large fleet of them, many of them carrying single-word names that began with Cent-- and didn't necessarily have to make sense.  But these two were definitely owned by Soo in 1950, so you would be on safe ground using these names.  (In 1956, the 8-1-2 Sleeper was the Chicago-Ashland car, operating northbound three nights per week, and southbound the following nights.)
 
The Chicago-Duluth 10-Section, 3-Double Bedroom car was a rather unusual floorplan; most of the cars with this plan were owned in 1950 by the Kansas City Southern, but I did manage to locate two that were still in Pullman "pool" service-- their names were Excelsior Springs and Lock Springs.  Use of these names would have real plausibility.
 
The 1-Single Bedroom, 4-Double Bedroom, 12-Roomette floorplan was actually a rebuild from older cars, carried out by Pullman between July 1949 and January 1950.  There were twenty such cars.  A few representative (but actual) names were:  Oak Bay, Oak Glen, Oak Hills, Oak Lane, Oak Vale, etc.
 
In 1950, Pullman was still apparently in the process of divesting its car holdings to the railroads, and I have no idea which of these Oak-- series cars ended up with the Soo, but you'd at least be in the ballpark.
 
 
If you're still awake after all that, I meant to include in my earlier post that, however modest the Soo's passenger fleet was when compared to other, flashier Roads, they apparently regarded The Laker as their flagship.  In my Official Guide, the Soo Line section devotes a full-page ad to that train alone (designed to catch the travel-agent's eye, no doubt).  It was their "best foot forward" to the public, and offered with obvious pride.
 
 
Regards,
 
Norm


« Last Edit: Jun 9th, 2009, 11:16pm by Norm_Anderson » Logged
Capitollimited
Chaser
Posts: 94
Re: Soo Line - The Laker
 
« Reply #5 on: Jun 10th, 2009, 12:08am »
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Norm,
Thanks for the info and the website. With Walthers issuing cars with multiple decals, it sure is an invaluable site for the modeler.  
 
Thanks for all of your efforts here, I really appreciate your assistance as well as George's.
 
Glenn


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shopkit
TRAINing
Posts: 2
Re: Soo Line - The Laker
 
« Reply #6 on: Jun 18th, 2009, 5:46pm »
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Hi Glen,
I saw your interest in modeling the laker which I have already done alot of research. My father was an agent in the Sooline depot in the 50's and 60's, so I saw the laker at least once a week.  My mother worked at the np depot across the street. So here is what I know. head end cars: usually one or two 50' wooden reefer type in pullman green. The Soo leased these and never painted the CP tuscan, which was the proper color for the passenger cars starting in the early 50's. An RPO car, sooline type. Usually 2 coaches. This is the hard part. The Soo constantly remade their coaches from original cars purchased from Barney and Smith. They were all custom made from coaches bought early on. The coaches that walthers has aren't correct at all. Sorry. Over time all sorts of sleepers ran on the laker. Then again many were made from former cars, so there tough to model. My Laker is made up of a couple of soo 50' reefers that are available from walthers. They are dead on accurate. An RPO from the sooline historical society. Just google it and you will get all sorts of info. Dining club lounge car 2017 and 2013 which again the soo made from former cars. The Beaufort and the St. Louis which were 12-1 cars. Walthers has the Beaufort available. Its correct for the most part. The St Louis was never painted CP Tuscan, it stayed pullman green. They never got around to paint it that I could remember. Just buy an undec from walthers. They usually used a pacific till diesels came. Occasionally they would use a 4 8 2 which was always a big deal for people to watch. Just a pretty monster. I dont know if the Centburne and CentSlava were ever in Duluth, but certainly could have been. I thought the ran on the Mountianeer. I have the passenger car diagrams and schematics at home if you want more info. We would ride the laker from duluth to the superior depot just to eat dinner on the 2017 diner parlor car. They weren famous for their steaks.
in the mid 50's came the FP7's which replaced steam. Then the gp9's got added. You are modeling a challenge, but a fun one. I would spend about an hour as a young boy in the beautiful duluth soo depot waiting for my dad to get off work. I would wander threw the cars and hang out with the porters. Need more info? Just ask. I will check here on friday.


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shopkit
TRAINing
Posts: 2
Re: Soo Line - The Laker
 
« Reply #7 on: Jun 19th, 2009, 12:22pm »
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Hi Glen again,
more on the Laker:
 
Go to bethleham car company which makes road specific cars. They have the only streamlined car the soo owned I know of, a baggage car that ran between ashland and minneapolis. The soo had actually two of them. He has a very nice heavyweight baggage car that works for the laker too. Coaches: well the soo bought the south shore in about 64 and obtained four coaches the same as the walthers. I could never find out if they were placed in service.  
The sooline historical society offered some real nice brass coaches and the dining club lounge car plus rpo and baggage cars that are spot on. Walthers has a santa fe heavyweights that were similar to several of the soo coaches but the roofs are wrong. The intermountain soo fp7 is really nice for power, but the color is a bit off. They also used three gp9s towards the end of the lakers time. The proto 2000 gp9s with air tanks on the roof are pretty much right on. I have the sooline passenger roster if you need it too. Other soo passenger trains were: The Atlantic, The Dominion, the Mountaineer, and one very early one that went west.  I may have missed one, I will check. All the rest I think were numbered. Hope this helps.


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Capitollimited
Chaser
Posts: 94
Re: Soo Line - The Laker
 
« Reply #8 on: Jul 2nd, 2009, 4:36pm »
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Shopkit, I really appreciate your input. I am on a limited budget as far as brass goes, but I can work on the others. The info on the specific models will help greatly.
 
Thanks!!
 
Glenn
 
I would like to see the roster info on the engines and cars also, please contact me via e-mail.


« Last Edit: Jul 2nd, 2009, 4:38pm by Capitollimited » Logged
John_Beaulieu
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Posts: 14
Re: Soo Line - The Laker
 
« Reply #9 on: Nov 19th, 2009, 12:55pm »
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May I suggest that you contact the Soo Line Historical Society for more information on the Laker. Their website is here;
 
http://www.sooline.org/home.html
 
Their Magazine "The Soo" featured the history of the Laker in the Winter 2003 issue. Unfortunately that back issue is sold out.
 
They are a volunteer organization so be patient.
 
Also there is a yahoogroup dedicated to the Soo's history with many former employees as members;
 
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SooLineHistory/


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