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  • Santa Fe's Red Combine a Baggage Waycar

    By Ed. E. Mercer

    ATSF No. 2773 (an EMD GP7) and combine No. 2623 make up the absolute minimum in mixed trains with just the combine and a single box car. The photo was taken at Shawnee, Oklahoma in the Summer of 1961. - Photo by Bruce W. Brown
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       The Santa Fe had a large number of combination passenger/baggage cars which they downgraded from mainline service for use on branch line locals. These cars were unusual from many points of view, the least of which was the unusual red color. They were operated without diaphragms; however, the top diaphragm mounting plate above the end doors on the vestibules was left in place on many of them. Most, if not all, were operated with the end doors removed. Caboose type curved handrails were installed on the sides and the standard handrails were left intact. All of the handrails and the front edges of the steps were painted white caboose-style. These were branch line cars and, therefore, were not afforded the luxury of such things as steam lines for car heat - stoves were used instead. Air conditioning was, of course, out of the question, and the cars retained their original 1920's vintage trucks. Speeds on branch lines were that of a snail with the numbers of stops about equal to the number of miles traveled.

       These cars provided the bare necessities for local travel and not much more. They were utilitarian in every respect, but they accomplished the job at hand for more than three decades.


    As in all Walthers car kits, the ends must be trimmed of flash. The bottom coupler pocket should be removed so that Kadee couplers can be installed (or others of your choice). Next, use either a No. 72 or No. 74 drill to make four holes in the ends for the end grab irons (see Figure 1). Remove, from the top of the ends, any remaining casting sprue stubs above the rounded contour. The end of the roof rests on this and the roof and end curvatures must match.


       Place the ends in position on the wood floor and clamp them with rubber bands or with modeling clamps. Lay the sides in place in order to check to be sure that the four corners of the car meet properly. If the corners do not match perfectly then trim or shim as needed until all four corners meet correctly. The ends must be square with the floor and flush against the car side edges. Then remove the sides and prepare them for drilling the holes as shown in Figure 2. A No. 74 drill will suit. The four vertical handrails have their top holes drilled at the center row of rivets and the bottom holes for the vertical hand rails are located at the upper of the two bottom rows of rivets. The curved or caboose-style handrails insert into the same top hole as those for the vertical end handrails. The lower hole for the curved handrail is located at the lowest of the two bottom rows of rivets and 3/8" away (toward the center of the car) from the door opening. After all 20 holes are drilled, the bottoms of all end doors must be removed. I used a Dremel tool fiber cutting disc for the job, but one could also use tin snips and a file.

       The door bottom is to be cut just outside of the stamped, curved indentation where the door begins and cut across the narrow strip at the top of the door. Figure 2 shows where this is to be done. Use extreme care in cutting these as the sides bend and crease easily. Two small blocks of wood, one on either side of the area to be cut away and clamped firmly will help to brace the side while cutting. When the doors are removed, file the ends smooth. Refer to Figure 2, letter "D" and remember that the upper portions of the sides over the doors are to remain in place.

       It is now time to install the handrails using 3/4" scale wire for the job. Allow them to extend 1/32" from the outside faces of the sides (use a 1/32" thick piece of styrene or wood as a spacer between the grab iron and the side of the car in order to maintain this dimension) and bend the ends of the grab irons protruding inside of the car flat and solder or cement them (using cyanoacrylate) to the back of the side of the car.


       The wood floor is next. Lay this flat and cut four rectangular pieces out at the four corners. These should be cut 1/4" x 3/8" as shown in Figure 3. Next, cement the cast metal ends to the floor with a good all-purpose cement and clamp them in place to allow them to dry. Pins provided in the Walthers kit can be used to help secure the ends firmly. Additional holes, however, will have to be drilled to accomodate them. Refer to the Walthers instruction sheet for guidance if you install these pins. At this point, if you want to install window material, here is an idea that will help improve the appearance of the finished car. Install very thin pieces of wood or styrene all along the tops and bottoms of the windows inside of the car. A piece .005" thick would be ideal. This will bring the window material .005" away from the inside of the car side and actually recess the window "glass" slightly so that from the outside of the car, the car appears more realistic.

       After the ends are installed securely in place on the floor and are throughly dry, lay the car body on its side and place the metal sides in position. If you have chosen to use baggage doors other than those supplied in the kit, you may now have to cut away some of the floor behind where the door will be located. (Note: The door in the kit is a flat metal stamping and is plain. By using a Wabash Valley door casting the appearance of the model will be significantly enhanced.) Cement a strip of .010" x 1/8" styrene inside of each end on both sides. This should extend from the top to the bottom of the cast end and flush with the out side of the ends. After this is secure, file down all four so that they extend back about 3/32" from the inside of the end. Now, cement the sides in place at the bottom where it will mate with the floor and allow the protrusions at the tops of the sides to lay on top of the styrene strips at the ends. Next, drill two holes in each styrene strip and apply the end handrails at the same height as the others on the sides. Insert and cement the baggage doors into place.

    Photos by the author.
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     Qty  Description
    1 each   AT&SF 75' Combine in HO by Walthers
    1 pair   Trucks, Central Valley No. T-21
    1 pkg   Passenger Car Steps, Wabash Valley No. 1016
    1 pkg   Mail Car Doors, Wabash Valley No. 1309
    1 pkg   Baggage Doors, Wabash Valley No. 1185
    1 pkg   Smoke Jack, Walthers No. 941-867
    1 pkg   Globe Roof Vents, Walthers No. 941-996
    1 pkg   3/4" Scale Wire, Detail Associates
    1 pkg   1 1/2" Scale Wire, Detail Associates
    1 pkg   1/32" x 1/8" Styrene Strips, Evergreen Scale Models
    1 each   .015" Thick Styrene Sheet, Evergreen Scale Models
    1 each   .005" Thick Styrene Sheet, Evergreen Scale Models
    1 each   .010" x 1/8" Styrene Strip, Evergreen Scale Models

    Underbody detail. - Photo by the author.
    Prototype Modeler - February 1980 - Page 24 width=


       The vestibule ends are next on the agenda. From styrene stock, cut and fit the flat vestibule ends at each end of the car. Cut an opening for the end door and fit it into place. Next, drill four holes in the vestibule end to accommodate the handrails. These should run from the car side to the vestibule door and at the same height as the other hand rails. Notch the vestibule ends at the corners as shown in Figure 5 to accommodate the roof. Cement the hand rails and vestibule end doors in place. Then, cement the entire assembly at the ends of the carbody. This will enclose the carbody leaving the end steps and platforms open as in the prototype.

       Now the steps can be cemented in place. Some filing may be required for an exact fit. Just remember that the outside of the steps should be even with the outside of the carbody. (Note: Walthers steps were not used on this model; they are oversize. The Wabash Valley steps are closer to scale.)


       In order to use the molded plastic roof supplied with the kit, the roof must first be thoroughly sanded and any imperfections corrected. When sanded, five holes centered in the top of the roof must be drilled to receive the roof vents. Next, drill the holes needed for the smoke jacks on the sloped areas of the roof. Most cars had two of these smoke jacks in the passenger section and one in the baggage section. Next, I added rain water run-off gutters to the car ends and over the baggage doors. I used 1-1/2" scale wire for the job. I drilled two holes in the ends approximately 3/32" from the bottom of the roof and 5/8" apart. The wire was bent and inserted as shown in the photos. The ends protruding inside the roof were then bent over and cemented in place. The same procedure applies for the gutters over the baggage doors except that in this case, the holes are to be 1-1/8" apart. For the roof gutters over the passenger doors, I drilled a hole and inserted wire and bent the end over inside the roof and cemented it as before. I fashioned roof handrails using 3/4" scale wire and inserted them into the holes drilled with a No. 74 drill as shown.

       Many of these cars had thin strips across the upper roof at both ends. I don't know what their purpose was but added them to the model anyway. I used some pressure-sensitive labels to make them by cutting strips 1/32" wide using care to make them all alike and straight. This worked rather well as the adhesive on the back of the strips held securely even during the process of painting.


       The underbody is next. Basically, the Walthers instruction sheet will suffice. The only problem encountered was that the battery box casting provided is too high and should have about 1/8" filed from the top. The cars as generally pictured had some type of outside braces added to the boxes. These may be simulated by using some 1/32" square wood or plastic. The footrails under the baggage section doors were made from 1-1/2" scale wire and soldered together (they could be cemented by using cyanoacrylate as well). Holes were drilled under the baggage doors and the footrails installed, cementing on the bottom side of the car.

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    The completed car. - Model and photo by the author.
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       A note of caution: the Walthers kit is a replica of the car when it was used in first class service by the Santa Fe. The cast steam traps included with the kit should be discarded as these cars were operated without steam lines.


       Add the four end grab irons to the ends using the holes provided as shown in Figure 1.

       Add small grab irons inside the cast ends as shown in Figure 1.

       Add gridwork tail gates inside both cast ends.

       Cement a piece of 1/32" x 1/8" stripwood 5/8" long on the outside of each end above the door opening. This simulates the diaphragm mounting plates left on many of the cars after the diaphragms were removed.

       Add trucks and couplers. Incidentally, if Central Valley trucks are used, they must be mounted through the holes closest to the car center. This allows most of the overhang on curves to be compensated for at the ends of the car rather than at the center. This is necessary for the large baggage steps which tend to foul the trucks.


       The entire roof is black; Floquil No. RR-13 Grimy Black is fine.

       The balance of the car can be painted either Santa Fe Red or Santa Fe Green; the latter because many of the cars were never repainted. The Santa Fe Red may be mixed by using three parts of Caboose Red with two parts Tuscan Red and one part Yellow.

       All handrails below the roof, including the end grab irons, and the front edges of the steps were white.


       All red-painted cars had white lettering. If the car is to represent the post-1960 or 1961 period, the white Santa Fe heralds can be added along the bottom of the car side. Cars painted Santa Fe Green should have DuLux Gold lettering. Numbering of the cars were randomly in the 2300 to 2600 series and many of the numbers in the series were never used.

    Article Details

    • Original Author Ed E. Mercer
    • Source Prototype Modeler
    • Publication Date February 1980

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