1950's era passenger cars

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by mikebalcos, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

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    I just want to ask if these passenger cars were used in the 1950's:

    ACF
    Budd Streamlined
    Heavyweight
    Pullman

    Also, did I forget to mention something?

    What are "Al Capone" coaches? Were they also used in the 1950's? I just found it in The Train Exchange website and I'm clueless. They are with the Rock Island roadname. Here's a pic provided by the site:
    [​IMG]

    I'm thinking of buying 2 or 3 of these Rock Island "Al Capone" coaches. Were Rock Island GP7s or GP9s used for passenger service? I'm planning to select an engine for the coaches from The Train Exchange. Could you give me suggestions? There are GP7/9s and F7's that have different paint schemes from the shop. Here's a link to their engines catalog: The Train Exchange - Locomotives
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    Someone else will have to tell you about what the Rock Island used specifically. All of the above mentioned passenger cars were used by the the class 1 railroads in the 1950's. Generally the "Flagship" trains of the various railroads would run the latest streamlined lightweight equipment. The older heavyweight cars would be used in commuter service or secondary passenger trains. On the Santa Fe for instance, the Chief, the Super Chief, and the El Capitan would all run the newest equipment, but the Grand Canyon would be a mix of lightweight and heavyweight equipment.
  3. ed acosta

    ed acosta Member

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    Mike, I ditto what Russ had to say about the 1950s passenger cars. I used to see a mix of pullman green heavyweights mixed with the chrome Santa Fe coaches; and in fact, I remember seeing the green heavyweights mixed in with the yellow Union Pacific streamliners as well. If you have a specific railroad you are interested in modeling, I am sure someone will tell you exactly what types of coaches were run in the '50s.

    As far as the engines go, I checked the link you sent and there are no prices provided. Many of these appear to be Athearn locos, so they should not cost too much and are usually easy to maintain. But, be careful of the purchase. You are thousands of miles away from the store and I would hate to see you wind up with something that isn't functioning and you are out lots of money. By the way, which railroad are you interested in modeling? If you can tell us what roadname and type of engine you are after, we might all be able to pitch in and find some good deals for you.
    -Ed
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    Mike: In the 50s railroads were running the gamut of passenger equipment types -- I think wooden coaches were gone, though. Some of the older stock might be stored most of the time and brought out for the heavier holidays.
    I'm not sure of the timing, but the Pullman Co. was forced to sell off its passenger operations (monopoly) and the railroads took them over. So by the 1950s I think the railroads were running the sleeping/dining service but still using the old Pullman cars.
  5. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

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    Thanks for the replies. :) Actually, I made a mistake. I was looking at the wrong website. I should have been looking at websites of hobby shops in Las Vegas since I was planning to ask a family friend in the city to buy some model railroad items. She will be visiting us here in April. But unfortunately, I think she won't be able to do the purchase this time. I'll wait for the next window of opportunity. :)

    About the roadname, I'm not strictly prototypical. I'd have someone buy what's available in a hobby shop. But of course, the cars and engines should be of the same roadname. I just want a short passenger train, perhaps with 3 cars(all coaches, or 1 baggage + 2 coaches, or 1 baggage/RPO + 2 coaches). As for the engine, I'd love a GP7 or GP9. I just want the equipment (engine and passenger cars) to belong to the 1950's era, perhaps the late 1950's when passenger service is dwindling.

    Btw, we're pretty nervous on purchasing items online. So we prefer asking someone to buy from hobby shops. Should we really be nervous when buying online?

    Oh, btw, I got a copy of the March 2006 Model Railroader that features pike-size passenger trains. There is a train with a Pullman baggage and streamlined coach. There is also one with 2 streamlined coaches. There are six short passenger trains in the issue. Though I don't think I'll get the exact equipment as stated in the magazine, I get some ideas for my fictional 1950's railroad. :)
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    I don't know what radius you are running. Just keep in mind that if you are running 18-22 inch radius, you will need to get "shorty" 72 foot models rather than the full length 85 foot models. If you want to run full length 85 foot models, you will need to run larger radius, probably at least 24-26 inches. If you are not going to try to back up your passenger trains, you can get them to operate on a smaller radius by using truck mounted couplers.
  7. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

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    Yes, I have 18" and 22" radii curves. I only have space for a 8'x4' layout. I have one full length Walthers coach that my parents bought from a sale. It went around nicely the curves. And yes, as of now I don't have plans to back up passenger trains. In fact, my layout consists of 3 independent tracks(2 outer ovals and a figure 8 in the middle). :)
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    The full length cars will work if you use truck mounted couplers with long shanks (like old Rivarossi).
  9. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

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    I guess I have to settle for the shorter ones, just to be sure. I'm looking for a short passenger train, perhaps with 2 coaches and a baggage/rpo combination. And I would like to have a GP7 or GP9 for them. Could you recommend a site where I can order these? :)
  10. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    The guys in the club here in So Cal have had very good luck with Train World on the East Coast of the U.S. Atlas and P2k have both made nice models of the Gp7 or 9, but I don't know if either model is still available. The Santa Fe used an a-b set of f-units to pull some of their short local passenger trains. The reason for the a-b set is that the Santa Fe only put steam generators in the b units, and the steam generators were essential for heating and cooling 1950's era passenger cars.
  11. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

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    Thanks for the recommendations. :) But how about the short passenger cars? Which brand would you recommend? The brand I'm familiar with short passenger cars is Athearn. Is there a better and/or more economical choice?
  12. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    I think Athearn is the best for the shorty cars. Con Cor also makes their passenger cars in both full length and shorty versions, but their cars are all stream liners I think. MDC also made shorty cars, but since they were bought by Horizon, I don't know how much of their old product line is still in production.
  13. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

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    I need your help again. I'm considering to make a short Santa Fe passenger train. The engine will be a Santa Fe F7A+B combination. I'm planning to get an Athearn baggage and 2 Athearn coaches. Do you think this setup is plausible when seen? Or do you have other suggestions? :)

    Btw, all of the passenger cars are streamlined.
  14. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    I think it is plausible. The Santa Fe would have had to use at least an a-b set of f units to pull any passenger train that used f units because the steam generators needed for heating and cooling in the cars would only be found in the b unit. I think in the Midwest around Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, the Santa Fe had a bunch of short passenger trains serving small cities and towns in the area. I think they also ran short passenger trains in California's central valley between Bakersfield and Oakland even after the Valley Flyer was dropped as a "name train." You should also get a railway post office car. An rpo would be part of the consist of every passenger train, I think.
  15. mikebalcos

    mikebalcos Member

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    I've discovered in the web that Santa Fe made a policy in the mid-1950s to stop using observation cars. I wonder why? Anyway, at least I have a car that I don't have to worry about. ;)
  16. wjstix

    wjstix Member

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    That appears to be an Athearn "round roof" heavyweight coach lettered as a Rock Island commuter coach as used in the Chicago area. The Athearn model is fairly close to the Rock Island car, it's a little short (72' instead of 80') and the windows are a little different. The current issue of "Remember the Rock" magazine has an article on kitbashing the Athearn cars into a more correct model. But as I said, it's fairly close "as is". I've thought about getting some of these - I'm a member of the Minnesota Transportation Museum, our organization runs several of these cars on our Osceola and St.Croix RR excursion / fantrip line.
  17. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    I think they may have used observation cars on the Super Chief until the end, but probably dropped them from other trains. I suspect it was a matter of flexibility. An observation car has to go at the back of the train. If you eliminate the observation car, then you can leave any car at the back of the train, and just lock the back door so no one could accidentally step out and fall off the train. As passenger business fell off, near the end of the 1950's and 1960's the Super Chief and El Capitan were combined into one train. A lot of Santa Fe's other trains had ridership fall off to the point that they were just 2 or 3 coaches, a baggage car, an rpo car, a dining car would only be included on a long distance train, and either a steam generator equipped Gp7 or 9 or an a-b set of passenger f-units or perhaps a single e-unit.
  18. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    Somewhere in the run-down of passenger service, a number of observation cars were rebuilt with square ends and diaphragms so that they could be used mid-train. Ends looked more like an RDC.