Monday, 4 March 2019

GC&SF passenger trains get a make-over.

For a long time now I've been running three passenger trains during our operating sessions on the GC&SF:
- Trains 5 and 6 - the Ranger
- Trains 11 and 12 - the Kansas Cityan and the Chicagoan respectively; and
- Trains 15 and 16 - the Texas Chief.
(You can find brief information about each train by clicking on the train name. The information about Trains 11 and 12 appears to be incomplete.)

In reality, I've been cheating, as Trains 5/6 and 11/12 didn't (as far as I can tell) operate through the area I model at the same time. From what I can gather from Loren Joplin's website, Trains 5 and 6 (the Ranger) operated between Kansas City and points in Texas (via connecting trains) until they were discontinued in late May of 1960. At that time, Trains 11 and 12 had their routes extended to cover the territory that was previously covered by the Ranger. I've never specified when in 1960 my layout is set, but if that date is prior to late May then I should have Trains 5/6 and 15/16. And if it is June or later then I should have Trains 11/12 and 15/16.

I also cheated in regard to the consists of my passenger trains, which never matched the consists of their namesake trains. I just built them up with the cars that I had available within the following guidelines:
- Trains 15/16 emphasised first class travel, with more sleeping cars than the other trains,
- Trains 11/12 were geared towards chair and coach travel, and
- Trains 5/6 mainly carried mail and express, and short-distance passenger travel.

Thanks to Kato and Con-Cor, models are now available for many types of ATSF passenger cars, so I decided to see how accurately I could represent those that I run on my layout. I started with the car lists shown on the previously mentioned website. The lists are a bit confusing as they show all the cars that operated in a train, but the actual make-up at any point along the route varied due to cars being added and/or removed as it progressed.

Goodbye to the Ranger ...

After narrowing the lists down to the cars that ran through Ardmore I found that:

Trains 15/16: I have suitable models of most of the cars and reasonable stand-ins for those that I am missing. However, at Ardmore the real train had 14 cars in its consist, so I would have to omit a few cars for it to operate on my layout.

Trains 11/12: I have models of some of the cars, and reasonable stand-ins for most of the rest. I still need a couple more baggage cars or 50' express box cars. I also need models of ATSF chair cars but RTR models of suitable cars have not been produced in N scale.

Trains 5/6: These trains were heavy on mail and express cars, and I need more baggage cars and 50' express box cars to represent them. Also, in 1960 these trains included a pair of heavy-weight chair cars, and I have nothing that I can use as a stand-in.

As I mentioned, Trains 5 and 6 were discontinued in May 1960, and I have decided to do the same thing. Consequently, my layout is now set sometime in the period June to December, 1960.

Here's how restructured Train 11 (the Kansas Cityan) looks as it rolls through Davis:

(Click here to view on Youtube.)

... and hello to Trains 337 and 338

This process has corrected some long-standing anomalies with my passenger trains, but left a couple of gaps in my operating timetable. But those gaps were quickly filled.  The real southbound Fast Freights 37 and 39 were so busy that they often had to be run in two sections. The Santa Fe eventually added two additional southbound freight trains - Trains 337 and 339, to handle the extra traffic. Following their lead, I have added Train 337 (southbound) and Train 338 (northbound) to replace Trains 5 and 6 in the timetable. Train 338 is actually not prototypically correct: I had to create it to fill the timetable gap left by deleting Train 6's northbound journey, and to get Train 337 back to north staging. These new trains have simply slotted into the former Train 5/6 positions on my timetable. They don't do any switching - they just run from staging to staging.

It took a bit of effort, but I think (hope, really) that I've correctly amended all the paperwork necessary to reflect these changes. We'll have to wait for the March operating session to see how that works out.

Regards to all,