The Super Chief (Nos. 17 and 18) was the first Diesel-powered, all-Pullman Sleeping Car Train in America, and it eclipsed "The Chief" as Santa Fe's Standard Bearer. The extra-fare ($10) Super Chief left Dearborn Station in Chicago for its first trip on 12 May 1936. Before starting scheduled service in May 1937, the lightweight version of The Super Chief ran 2,227 miles (3,584 km) from Los Angeles over recently-upgraded tracks in 36 hours and 49 minutes, averaging 60 mph (97 km/h) overall and reaching 100 mph (160 km/h).
With one set of equipment, the Train initially operated once a week from both Chicago and Los Angeles. After more Cars had been delivered, The Super Chief ran twice weekly, beginning in 1938, and daily, after 1948. Adding to the Train's mystique were its gourmet meals and Hollywood clientele.
Santa Fe RailRoad.
"The Super Chief".
1950s Passenger Trains in The USA.
Available on YouTube at
When Amtrak took over operation of the Nation's Passenger Service on 1 May 1971, the 35-year run of The Super Chief on The Santa Fe ended, though Amtrak used the name on the same route for three years. In 1974,The Santa Fe withdrew permission to use the name, due to a perceived decline in service, so Amtrak renamed it Southwest Limited. Following the delivery of new Superliner equipment, The Santa Fe allowed Amtrak to call it The Southwest Chief, in 1984.
STATION STOPS IN 1938.
Newton, Kansas (service only)
Dodge City, Kansas (service only)
La Junta, Colorado (service only)
Raton, New Mexico (service only)
Las Vegas, New Mexico (service only)
Albuquerque, New Mexico (service only)
Gallup, New Mexico (service only)
Winslow, Arizona (service only)
Seligman, Arizona (service only)
Needles, California (service only)
pulls into Track 10 at Los Angeles' Union Passenger Terminal.
Photo: 24 September 1966.
Source: From "Railfanning The Santa Fe in Southern California" —
copyright Surf Line Historical Society (2003),
free to distribute and/or use for any purpose.
Permission: PD-AUTHOR; Released into the public domain (by the author).