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"Who Killed The SUPER CHIEF?"
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HwyHaulier
Historian
Posts: 3444
Re: "Who Killed The SUPER CHIEF?"
 
« Reply #20 on: Mar 12th, 2012, 12:39pm »
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"...From Steve Glischinski's, "SANTA FE RAILWAY".....
 
...caused by increased highway and air competition, much of it federally funded. In  1966, the railroad incurred a deficit of $31.9 million on passenger operations..."
 
SM -  
 
Nope! "I can't go for that! No can do!" (Hall & Oates). So, "...much of it..."? How much of it? It is all nonsense, as the competitors largely on "pay as you go" financing.  
The "government" here merely provided the "Lock Box" for the pass through. Whether it a prudent steward is another issue. (For the legal scholar readers, I'll submit we  
have a conclusion stated, and absent support of facts on the record!)
 
Noted statement of ATSF Pres. John Reed. He was right, but needed to get it together in an easily understood press release. He wisely avoided discussion of quarrels  
with the U S Post Office, it more of an Accounting issue (though vital to the Railroad)...
 
Surely, and note dates, Lou Menk at BURLINGTON had some vindication of his decisions to end its own ZEPHYR SYSTEM...
 
.........................Vern.....................


« Last Edit: Mar 12th, 2012, 12:50pm by HwyHaulier » Logged

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SILVER METEOR 158-58
Former Member
Re: "Who Killed The SUPER CHIEF?"
 
« Reply #21 on: Mar 12th, 2012, 12:50pm »
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Vern...
 
Thought the following might be of interest......
 
"SM"
 
http://people.hofstra.edu/geotrans/eng/ch9en/appl9en/ch9a1en.html


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HwyHaulier
Historian
Posts: 3444
Re: "Who Killed The SUPER CHIEF?"
 
« Reply #22 on: Mar 12th, 2012, 3:18pm »
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on Mar 12th, 2012, 12:50pm, SILVER METEOR 158-58 wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Vern...
 
Thought the following might be of interest......
 
"SM"
 
http://people.hofstra.edu/geotrans/eng/ch9en/appl9en/ch9a1en.html

SM -  
 
Yeah, yeah! "He knows! He knows!" (Airplane). You are only the Messenger! So, let me guess: Mickey Mouse is a Professor Emeritus  
at this school? Way too many unsupported conclusions from facts not in the record. Also, misses the point of evolving railroad stances  
with respect to various market segments (business units) in which and over time, the lines could not compete. To re-open the discussion  
of ROCK ISLAND LCL service in Kansas during the Depression Era? (In my Lecture Notes, filed in KNAUS TRUCK LINES of KS.)
 
The writer appears to miss the point of policy on purely agricultural (farm) traffic. Trucks exempt from economic regulation! Yes, yes! I am  
about the meanest Professor of Land Economics and Transportation who ever was! <G> Wannabe Scholars? Don't turn in crappy papers!
 
.......................Vern.....................
 
 


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SILVER METEOR 158-58
Former Member
Re: "Who Killed The SUPER CHIEF?"
 
« Reply #23 on: Mar 12th, 2012, 3:28pm »
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Vern......
 
So, I guess it is quite safe to say that you are regarded with both fear and awe in certain educational/acumenical/clerical circles?<G>
 
So, sir, what are your views on Vatican 2?
 
Seriously, I think so much can be summed up in a nutshell.....
 
For all the many fabled glories of rail transportation, highway and air travel both proved to be more economical and time-saving; however, far too much rail-wise was sacrificed in the late 60's, when the USPS removed most mail from the rails.
 
Nothing is forever in this world.....
 
"SM"


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SILVER METEOR 158-58
Former Member
Re: "Who Killed The SUPER CHIEF?"
 
« Reply #24 on: Mar 12th, 2012, 10:26pm »
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From Mike Schafer's "STREAMLINER MEMORIES".....
 
".........it is in this writer's humble opinion that the award for 'Best In Show' for streamliner operation goes to the Santa Fe. In terms of equipment maintainance, food quality, reliability, and just plain impeccable service, few railroads approached the level of the Santa Fe......."
 
".........for example, how many railroads went to the trouble of touching up the paint on the interior walls of their cars, every time a train laid over at a terminal endpoint? Santa Fe did......" (Doesn't AMTRAK do likewise?)<G>
 
"SM"


« Last Edit: Mar 12th, 2012, 10:28pm by NH_FL9_2017 » Logged
Norm_Anderson
Historian
Posts: 1726
Re: "Who Killed The SUPER CHIEF?"
 
« Reply #25 on: Mar 13th, 2012, 11:58pm »
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Gentlemen,
 
A most interesting thread, this, and filled with useful information.  
 
I wonder how many might agree with Mr. Latham's original assertion?  His charge is that the Super Chief was "killed," not for financial reasons or for operational reasons, but for philosophical reasons.  To put it bluntly, Amtrak might have made a successful run at continuing the Super, offering the same standards of service that had made Santa Fe synonymous with excellence, but refused to do so.  
 
Once upon a distant past, all-Pullman services like the Super Chief were intentionally marketed with a certain amount of "snob appeal."  It was part of the draw.  But, as Mr. Latham points out from personal experience, by the late 1970s Amtrak employees were allegedly prohibited from even uttering such terms as "First Class."  This was a government-run enterprise, after all, and the government could not be seen as "elitist," or "showing favoritism" in any way.
 
In short, the allegation is that Amtrak was hostile to the very idea of trains like the Super Chief.
 
 
Regards,
 
Norm


« Last Edit: Mar 14th, 2012, 12:00am by Norm_Anderson » Logged
SILVER METEOR 158-58
Former Member
Re: "Who Killed The SUPER CHIEF?"
 
« Reply #26 on: Mar 14th, 2012, 2:18am »
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Norm....
 
Consider, too, that, back in the 60's, "tourist" class on the airlines would very well be considered First Class by today's diminished standards!
 
In this day and age, over forty years after AMTRAK became the "name of the game", it is quite obvious that, for so many reasons (economics, demographics, changing travel patterns), stylish, smart, posh service as was offered on the SANTA FE could hardly be expected today, sad to say.
 
When it came to passenger trains, without a doubt, the SF was indeed in a league of its own......the road's stellar passenger operations today are the stuff of legends, leaving the younger generation of railbuffs and travelers to wonder:
 
"How in the heck did they do it?"
 
A grand way of life, to be sure, now forever relegated to the echoing corridors of time.....
 
"SM"


« Last Edit: Mar 14th, 2012, 2:20am by NH_FL9_2017 » Logged
SILVER METEOR 158-58
Former Member
Re: "Who Killed The SUPER CHIEF?"
 
« Reply #27 on: Mar 14th, 2012, 2:36am »
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From Steve Glischinski's "SANTA FE RAILWAY".....
 
"......few railroads in the United States had so firmly embraced the passenger train as did the Santa Fe. From the time the railroad was founded until 1971, when the federal government created a semi-private corporation known as Amtrak to assume the passenger train operations of most railroads, the Santa Fe was home to some of the most respected and famous trains in the country....."
 
No arguements here from yours truly!<G>


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HwyHaulier
Historian
Posts: 3444
Re: "Who Killed The SUPER CHIEF?"
 
« Reply #28 on: Mar 14th, 2012, 8:35am »
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Norm - All -  
 
Given you have the time, dig around and do some more research on AMTK. Some events come to mind:
 
That A T S F, in its SUPER CHIEF product catered to a Tiffany's, Nieman-Marcus, et. al. kind of marketplace. Rather a rolling,  
CGO - LAX subset of a Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills vendor. The railroad guys woke up one morning, and very few customers still  
came to the store! Easy game!
 
In AMTK documents and sworn testimony events, it has long declared a mission of some kind of egalitarian services. No "class  
warfare" here! So, in public statements, and in sworn testimony under oath, the goal a standard which something of equivalent of  
service at the public pension, or motor vehicle administration offices! No more, no less. All shall be treated fairly and equally! Yet,  
as expected, there are "Catch 22" paradoxes.
 
How to explain the Northeast "Expense Account Express" schedules, and its obvious display of wretched excess? To say this  
is a dilemma in motion understates all of it. (If it such a money machine, how is it GE - as example - hasn't bought it!)...
 
BAH! Give me the old BURLINGTON ZEPHYR "Everywhere West" System. It did just that, serving major cities, and myriad small
towns and communities, and did all of it most reliably...
 
.............................Vern........................


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photoman475
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Posts: 870
Re: "Who Killed The SUPER CHIEF?"
 
« Reply #29 on: Mar 14th, 2012, 9:50am »
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Vern:
 
You've made a good point mentioning "snob appeal" and who rode it.  I think today's business jargon abusers would call it "targeted marketing" or "segmented marketing".
 
How many times did the movie studios use the the Super Chief and 20th Century Limited as background props for their publicity shots showing Humphrey Bogart, etc., getting on/off these trains?  If nothing else, it reinforced the image of these trains as first class service.
 
Alan
 


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HwyHaulier
Historian
Posts: 3444
Re: "Who Killed The SUPER CHIEF?"
 
« Reply #30 on: Mar 14th, 2012, 10:15am »
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Alan -  
 
Thanks! I try! Fairly good, I guess, for an Old Coot, Emeritus?
 
Without doubt, the old A T S F wizards were masters of pop psychology. It was all about the movies! The railroad made it  
plain it was a supplier of choice to the Stars! So, any traveler could get a vicarious thrill of booking a room which may have  
been engaged by "Kate" Hepburn, Cary Grant, (OMG!) Jane Russell, and the beat goes on...
 
SUPER CHIEF a great case study of merchandising and marketing. The train ride incidental........
 
Another very crafty and sly provider in T W A, too...
 
............................Vern......................


« Last Edit: Mar 14th, 2012, 10:16am by HwyHaulier » Logged

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Norm_Anderson
Historian
Posts: 1726
Re: "Who Killed The SUPER CHIEF?"
 
« Reply #31 on: Mar 14th, 2012, 10:55am »
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Let's do a bit of blue-skying here . . .  suppose Amtrak did decide to re-create the Super Chief, and offer it to the public as a "premium service."  In order to break even on the venture, what would they need to charge?  I don't have access to the raw numbers that would be needed to plug into the equations, but it does, in the end, come down to merciless mathematics.
 
First, the train itself:  At the Super Chief's zenith under Santa Fe ownership ( 1951-1958 ), it carried three or four Sleepers of the 4 Compartment, 2 Drawing Room, 4 Double Bedroom variety; plus four Sleepers of the 10 Roomette, 6 Double Bedroom variety; plus a Pleasure Dome Lounge Car, a 36-seat Dining Car, and a mid-train Club Lounge Car; plus a 4 Drawing Room, 1 Double Bedroom Observation Lounge Car.  Total passenger capacity was either 168 or 190, depending on whether three or four 4-2-4 Sleepers were in the consist.
 
Amtrak could carry the same number of people using four Superliner Sleepers, plus a Superliner Dining Car and a Sightseer Lounge Car.  The train would be six cars long (plus locomotives and head-end cars), and could carry 176 passengers.
 
Now, what would it cost?  Here are the expenses to consider, and I may have left out a few . . .
 
Salaries
 
     *   Locomotive Crews
     *   Operating Crews  (conductors, brakemen)
     *   On-board Service Crews
                    -- Sleeping Car Attendants
                    -- Dining Car Personnel
                    -- Lounge Car Personnel
     *   The train's "fair share" of salaries for:
                    -- maintenance personnel
                    -- office personnel  (including station agents)
                    -- management
 
 
Equipment   (pro-rated per trip)
 
     *   Rolling Stock
     *   Locomotives
     *   Maintenance Equipment
 
 
Operating Expenses
 
     *   Fuel and Lubricants
     *   Food and Beverages
     *   Payments to BNSF
     *   Station and Facility Rents
 
 
Incidentals
 
     *   Liability
     *   Advertising
     *   Repair and Maintenance Costs
     *   Amortization Costs
     *   Purchase of New Equipment
 
 
All of these things could be calculated, and converted to a figure of how much it would cost, per trip, to operate this service.
 
Then, it's a simple matter of calculating how much you would need to charge each of the Roomette passengers (112 maximum), Bedroom passengers (40 maximum), Accessible Bedroom passengers (8 maximum) and Family Bedroom passengers (16 maximum, 8 of which would be children).  You would need to build in a "padding factor," for the reality that the train would not operate sold-out every trip.
 
In reality, not everyone would ride endpoint-to-endpoint, either-- so the most accurate way to calculate this would probably be per-mile, rather than per-trip.
 
 
So, how much would it cost?  And, could people be persuaded to pay it?
 
 
Regards,
 
Norm


« Last Edit: Mar 14th, 2012, 11:10am by Norm_Anderson » Logged
HwyHaulier
Historian
Posts: 3444
Re: "Who Killed The SUPER CHIEF?"
 
« Reply #32 on: Mar 14th, 2012, 11:51am »
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Norm -
 
Hate to rain on the parade, but... Besides, I am not a Railroad Cost Accountant, nor have I ever played one on TV...
 
You want that with the via Topeka - La Junta Heritage Route? That'll cost. (See current controversies.)
 
Why not the "Last Stand" Combined El Capitan/ Super Chief option? Market for Coach seats? Haul cars which  
can carry automobiles?
 
Where the heavy volumes of "...things that go bang in the night..." with the heavy Mail Trains, so as to spread costs?
Would Warren B. approve? Bill Gates said to like trains. Maybe grants from MS?
 
Over the decades, all of it evolved into such a mess, likely it can't be fixed!
 
SIGH! It is a wonderful day today outside, and I shouldn't be so gloomy! None of it can come back, sad to say...
 
.......................Vern....................


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Walt_C
Historian
Posts: 2934
Re: "Who Killed The SUPER CHIEF?"
 
« Reply #33 on: Mar 14th, 2012, 1:00pm »
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on Mar 14th, 2012, 11:51am, HwyHaulier wrote:       (Click here for original message)

 
SIGH! It is a wonderful day today outside, and I shouldn't be so gloomy! None of it can come back, sad to say...
 
.......................Vern....................

 
 This, I think, is the bottom line--- All of the cost accounting ( and history) aside, the basic fact is that in today's world, there simply are not enough people who are willing to take two or three days to make the "Super Chief" trip to support that kind of train, especially not daily service. In fact, it may be that the days of the truly LD train itself have passed--- people, generally, are simply not willing to take that much time to get from point A to Point B-- no matter what amenities are offered. This is probably the same dymamic that kiilled the Transatlantic ocean liners.


« Last Edit: Mar 14th, 2012, 1:04pm by Walt_C » Logged

Please move to the rear and speed your ride-Regards, Walt
ClydeDET
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Re: "Who Killed The SUPER CHIEF?"
 
« Reply #34 on: Mar 14th, 2012, 2:24pm »
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Well, thre liners are not completely dead - Queen Mary II still runs, at least part of the year.  NBut yeah, as a significant part of the world transportation system, it is irrelevant (though a cousin rode it and says it is a wonderful way to get from New York to Britain, especially on somebody else's nickel...).
 
Our own most recent train ride (other than Williams to the Grand Canyon) involved a combination of air and rail transport - just not enough time to catch a train in Tejas (car to Fort WOrth, train from there), ride it to Chicago, then come back west via Denver to the Bay Area.  Which, since we wanted to go through the Rockies and the Sierras, was the rail option going out.  
 
Coming back, we could have gone down to LA, then the Sunset/Eagle back to starting point. As I say - time didn't not permit. So - flew to Denver, train to Sacramento, did our PRK viisit, then plane from Sacramento to Houston starting point. Allowed more time in PRK, and was cheaper than th AMTRAK alternative.  
 
Sure wished could have used trains all the way, though.
 
By the way, despite the availability of a shower in Superliner sleepers, a Superliner Roomette (which is expected to sleep two) is tighter quarters and not as comfortable as a Roomette in a Pine-series 10-6...
 
Except for having windows on both sides (i.e. space goes all the way across the car) a Superliner Accessible bedroom is no more comfortable or spacious than a double bedroom in a Pine-series 10-6 or a Palm-series 11-br car of 1940s/1950s vintage. Beds are actually a bit tighter.


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SILVER METEOR 158-58
Former Member
Re: "Who Killed The SUPER CHIEF?"
 
« Reply #35 on: Mar 14th, 2012, 3:37pm »
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Friends:
 
Was indeed most fortunate to come across this stunning photo/history page dedicated to the SUPER CHIEF.
 
Even though these outstanding photos accurately represent "the way it was" so long ago, it's often quite difficult to belive that such an elegant, classy era of passenger railroading ever existed.
 
Man, what an experience a trip on "THE CHIEF" had to be, 50-60 years back!
 
Enjoy!
 
"SM"
 
"THE SUPER CHIEF: THE TRAIN OF THE STARS"
 
http://www.newyorksocialdiary.com/node/1903281/print


« Last Edit: Mar 14th, 2012, 3:38pm by NH_FL9_2017 » Logged
HwyHaulier
Historian
Posts: 3444
Re: "Who Killed The SUPER CHIEF?"
 
« Reply #36 on: Mar 14th, 2012, 4:08pm »
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on Mar 14th, 2012, 3:37pm, SILVER METEOR 158-58 wrote:       (Click here for original message)

"THE SUPER CHIEF: THE TRAIN OF THE STARS"
 
http://www.newyorksocialdiary.com/node/1903281/print
 

SM -  
 
Oh, Heavens! Yes! Under oath, I'll swear the account is completely true! It is fascinating to note the label of the website where you located it!
And, yes, it was always a bit (ummmm...) elitist!
 
The photo (in link) of SUPER CHIEF at Albuquerque likely reports the regular appearance of the train. From the figures (in the 'Net account)  
it should have required six sleepers. Add in the diners and lounges, and it wouldn't have been that heavy a consist.
 
Tickled by the comment (Statute Of Limitations tolled long ago) asserting the train could run 112 MPH. I thought we were all wired we were  
not to ever talk it up! But, yes, the equipment could do it!
 
Walt C.: SIGH! What is past is past! I still have memories of pleasant journeys on old B & O, #5 & #6. Yes, they could run a bit quick, too,  
West of the OH/ IN Line. Then, the tales of S A L and A C L...
 
......................Vern....................


« Last Edit: Mar 14th, 2012, 4:11pm by HwyHaulier » Logged

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SILVER METEOR 158-58
Former Member
Re: "Who Killed The SUPER CHIEF?"
 
« Reply #37 on: Mar 14th, 2012, 4:45pm »
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Vern.....
 
Told ya those pics were a real trip!<G>
 
Indeed, those photos serve as poignant reminders of a long-ago time when not only rail travel was stylish and posh, but also, remind us of another era when folks took pride in their appearances, especially when traveling!
 
I still recall boarding an AMTRAK train for Newark at South Station, back in 1997, and the conductor commenting that I was the first male passenger he'd seen that day attired in a suit!
 
Hey, when I rode the rails (even if were only the "tubes" or the subway) a suit, tie, and fedora were standard attire for this old school, veteran "Dashing Dan"!<G>
 
"SM"


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ClydeDET
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Re: "Who Killed The SUPER CHIEF?"
 
« Reply #38 on: Mar 14th, 2012, 7:09pm »
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Interesting piece. Wonder if the author knows he stole the title from Stan Repp's book chronicalling the Super?
 
I guess my one chance to ride the Super Chief (or the real Cal Zepher) was when I gopt home from Vietnam in 1969. Came in at Travis, and could have caught the CZ, though would have probaly have to have waited until the next day (an overnight in San Francisco wouldn't have been horrid,  I reckon, not then) IIRC arrival time correctly. So - CZ to Chicago ad then fly to Dalals or take the Texas Chief down. Would have burned some money, but I had plenty then - and some leave time, and i promise, my Mom wanted me HOME and wouldn't have been happy about my taking a round-about way to get there.
 
Alternate would have been to take one of the San Francisco-LA trains, have a layover for a few hours in LA, then the Super to Kansas City and change to the southbound Texas Chief. once again, burn a fair amount of leave time (probably three? - have to run some schedules) which would not have made Mom happy. bt if i had known what the future was going to bring...
 
in any case, i went to San Francisco, got a nice dinner, then out to the airport and a direct flight home (booked before i left RVN, once i had my date for leaving for sure) on Braniff.  That made Mom ahppier camper than any alternative, so was probably a better idea. Still - i look at the schedules and the trains and i think "maybe i should have...". What think you gentlemen? Did I, all things considered, do the right thing by taking the plane?


« Last Edit: Mar 14th, 2012, 11:42pm by ClydeDET » Logged
SILVER METEOR 158-58
Former Member
Re: "Who Killed The SUPER CHIEF?"
 
« Reply #39 on: Mar 14th, 2012, 10:13pm »
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"CARS OF THE 1953 SUPER CHIEF" (1953).....
 
http://www.atsfrr.com/resources/Hoffman/Super%20Chief.htm


« Last Edit: Mar 14th, 2012, 10:15pm by NH_FL9_2017 » Logged
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