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I model the ATSF in the 1948-1951 time frame and have 3 semi-accurate (compressed to fit on my layout) consists of the famous Chicago to Los Angeles streamlined trains of the era: The Chief, The Super Chief, and El Capitan.  I'd like to add The Grand Canyon to that list. The consist for the train was always a mix of whatever extra cars were available and over flow head end cars from #7/8, The Fast Mail Express. Passenger cars would be a mix of heavyweight and lightweight equipment, which will be a perfect use for my extra random ATSF passenger equipment. 

At this point in time the big 3 streamlined trains, The Chief, The Super Chief, and El Capitan, ran with round end observation cars at the rear of the train with the train's logo/name displayed on a drumhead mounted to the rear door. All the information I have in my ATSF books and searching on the internet never shows The Grand Canyon in this time frame operating with an observation car. The last car was usually a heavyweight or lightweight sleeper. There is a drumhead for The Grand Canyon however. My question is was this usually placed on the last car of the train? I have yet to find a photo of the last car of train #23/24 sporting a drumhead in the 1948-1951 timeframe. I'd like to know if it's more prototypical to leave the last car of the train blank or if I should install a Grand Canyon drumhead on the last sleeper? Any insight would be great.

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Lou, I used to watch the Grand Canyon make its station stop at Fullerton, fairly frequently, in 1956-1960, and then less frequently until it was discontinued.  The only thing I remember observing, hung on the scissor gate of the last car, was a non-oscillating red light.

Normally, the last car was a Valley series 6 section 6 roomette 4 bedroom Pullman.  Those were the smooth side Pullman Standard cars, painted two-tone grey, and later solid grey.

I rode the Grand Canyon in 1952, as a boy, and there was no observation car.  The last one assigned (heavyweight) was in the late 1940's.

I would suggest that you buy a CD of Fred Frailey's Santa Fe Passenger Train Consists from the Santa Fe Railway Historical and Modeling Society.  It is not expensive, and is a good reference for those who model Santa Fe. (Bold text not shouting, just thought it might get the attention of someone scanning the thread who might find the Society's books interesting and/or useful.)

Last edited by Number 90

Thanks. I had a feeling that The Grand Canyon didn't sport a drumhead on the last car in the consist, being that it wasn't a top tier train. I've seen photos of The Chief, The Super Chief, and El Capitan sporting drumheads on their last car even after they lost the round end observations cars, but those were first class trains.

I went looking for this issue of the Warbonnet myself.

Going all the way back to 1999, I could not find any article w/photos re the GC train.  Rather, I found an article about the Grand Canyon branch connection on the Santa Fe.  Perhaps that's what Tom was thinking of?

I also quickly scanned through what I considered possible books in my library for a relevant photo.  Found none.  What I DID find, however, was a photo of a lighted GC drumhead attached to a station platform bumper with the waiting train (sans its own drumhead) on the track in the background.

Sorry.  Best chance is to inquire of the historical society and patiently wait.  My experience for seeking this sort of 'haystack' photo is that it takes a while...months.  Perhaps they will publish your ISO question in a future issue of the Warbonnet to broaden help in the search.

OTOH, in my own little world of the hobby...I'd have a lighted drumhead hangin' on the scissor gate or railing of the tail car..............and respond to pickers-of-nit with a smile!  I have no rules on my branch of the Santa Fe.

KD

Last edited by dkdkrd

Sounds like I'll need to come up with some creative license and create a drumhead for the diminutive Hassayampa Chief (#42/#47) that came to Phoenix via Ash Fork until 1969.  I have a photo somewhere of one of the E8ms with a few cars at Phoenix Union Station which really surprised me when I found it as F7s or steam generator equipped GP9s usually got that assignment.  By the end it was as short as two cars long.  

@dkdkrd posted:

I went looking for this issue of the Warbonnet myself.

Going all the way back to 1999, I could not find any article w/photos re the GC train.  Rather, I found an article about the Grand Canyon branch connection on the Santa Fe.  Perhaps that's what Tom was thinking of?

I also quickly scanned through what I considered possible books in my library for a relevant photo.  Found none.  What I DID find, however, was a photo of a lighted GC drumhead attached to a station platform bumper with the waiting train (sans its own drumhead) on the track in the background.

Sorry.  Best chance is to inquire of the historical society and patiently wait.  My experience for seeking this sort of 'haystack' photo is that it takes a while...months.  Perhaps they will publish your ISO question in a future issue of the Warbonnet to broaden help in the search.

OTOH, in my own little world of the hobby...I'd have a lighted drumhead hangin' on the scissor gate or railing of the tail car..............and respond to pickers-of-nit with a smile!  I have no rules on my branch of the Santa Fe.

KD

I know I can get a drumhead to put on the last car but I'd like to be somewhat prototypical if I can. To be honest I'm trying to satisfy my curiosity before I go either way.

I've get plenty of pictures of The Super Chief, The Chief, The Texas Chief, The San Francisco Chief, and El Capitan from the late 50s-70s with drumheads on the last car of the train when ATSF stopped using round end observation cars in the mid 1950s. Most photos of The Grand Canyon are of the locomotives pulling the train, especially in the late 40s/early 50s when steam was being retired. I'm guessing there are few photos of the rear of The Grand Canyon because it lacked any sort of drumhead and just had a red light on the rear. 

@Lou1985 posted:

I know I can get a drumhead to put on the last car but I'd like to be somewhat prototypical if I can. To be honest I'm trying to satisfy my curiosity before I go either way.

I've get plenty of pictures of The Super Chief, The Chief, The Texas Chief, The San Francisco Chief, and El Capitan from the late 50s-70s with drumheads on the last car of the train when ATSF stopped using round end observation cars in the mid 1950s. Most photos of The Grand Canyon are of the locomotives pulling the train, especially in the late 40s/early 50s when steam was being retired. I'm guessing there are few photos of the rear of The Grand Canyon because it lacked any sort of drumhead and just had a red light on the rear.

Technically the ATSF did not stop using round end observations, but instead had them rebuilt into blunt end observations to make the cars more flexible in service so they did not always need to be at the end of the train. 

As to the topic, in some of my reference material, there appears to be an official ATSF drumhead style logo for the Grand Canyon.  The question still remains if that was placed on the rear of the train at one time or if it was just a graphic to advertise the train.  Interesting research to be sure. 

As I've started looking into secondary ATSF transcontinental passenger trains I've noticed that they continued to have heavyweight observation cars till sometime just after WWII (California Limited, The Scout) but I can't find any information on when ATSF dropped those heavyweight observation cars from secondary trains, or even drumheads from those trains. My guess is because The California Limited, The Scout, and The Grand Canyon weren't top of the line trains after WWII there are few photos of the rear of the train. Most photos I find are of the locomotive pulling the train, not the end of it.

At one time, the GC was a train that chaged its passenger and head end consists frequenly entoute because of through cars to and from other trains.  Possibility it had no drumhead.

I have seen a GC logo in books, but that does not mean it had a drumhead.

And be careful of FIRST CLASS.  The GC may not have been First Class in the Passenger Department, but could have been FIRST CLASS in terms to Train Timetable and Train Order in terms of operation. 

Corrections gladly accepted.

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