Walter Lee Simms, of Kansas branch-line fame, informs me that on the eve of Amtrak Santa Fe was examining options for staying in the passenger business by stealing an idea from Union Pacific's playbook. He tells me that Santa Fe had gone as far as filing a formal petition with the ICC and posting notice of such in the various passenger stations. The plan was that Nos. 23 & 24 and the Tulsan would be axed with all the Chiefs combined into one train out of Chicago. The "Super-Duper Chief" (my own appellation) would leave Chicago once a day as one enormous train operating combined as far as Newton, Kansas. There it would split into three sections: The San Francisco Chief section would head south for Wichita and then west via Waynoka, Amarillo and Belen while the Texas Chief section would continue south for Oklahoma City, Fort Worth and Houston. Meanwhile the Super Chief/El Capitan section would travel west on the passenger main through Raton for Albuquerque, where it would rejoin with the San Francisco Chief. The California sections, combined, would proceed west to Barstow where they would split again with the Super Chief/El Capitan terminating in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Chief proceeding north up the valley to Richmond and the Bay Area.

From the pages of the Official Guide, April 1971

Santa Fe Railway herald

The San Francisco Chief

Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Ry.
March, 1971

1 Train Number 2
Daily Miles Services Daily
10 00A Dp 0.0 Chicago, IL (Dearborn Station) (CT) C R Ar 8 00P
10 50A 37.5 Joliet, IL C R 7 05P
RF11 35A 89.5 Streator, IL C 6 15P
12 10P 129.8 Chillicothe, IL C R 5 35P
12 55P 177.2 Galesburg, IL C R 4 50P
2 00P 232.4 Ft. Madison, IA C 3 55P
3 12P 311.1 La Plata, MO C 2 35P
3 50P 345.6 Marceline, MO C 1 58P
RF 4 25P 384.7 Carrollton, MO C DF
5 50P Ar 449.4 Kansas City, MO C R Dp 12 15P
211 Connecting Train Number 212
6 05P Dp 0.0 Kansas City, MO C R Ar 12 10P
11 00P Ar 255.9 Tulsa, OK (CT) C Dp 7 15A
6 20P Dp 449.4 Kansas City, MO C R Ar 11 45A
7 00P 489.1 Lawrence, KS C 10 45A
7 35P 515.2 Topeka, KS C R 10 15A
8 50P 576.6 Emporia, KS C 9 00A
9 50P Ar 649.6 Newton, KS C R 7 50A
10 05P Dp
11 00P 676.8 Wichita, KS C 7 05A
11 45P Ar 710.9 Wellington, KS C Dp 6 10A
11 50P Dp Ar 6 05A
F12 22A 745.8 Harper, KS C F 5 31A
F 757.6 Attica, KS C F
12 57A 778.9 Kiowa, KS C 4 56A
1 20A 796.7 Alva, OK C 4 35A
1 45A Ar 817.5 Waynoka, OK C Dp 4 10A
1 55A Dp Ar 4 00A
F 2 19A 842.3 Mooreland, OK F 3 34A
2 32A 852.6 Woodward, OK C 3 24A
F 2 48A 868.1 Fargo, OK F 3 05A
F 2 57A 876.5 Gage, OK F 2 57A
3 08A 884.2 Shattuck, OK C 2 50A
F 3 24A 898.4 Higgins, TX C F 2 33A
3 52A 924.8 Canadian, TX C 2 06A
F 4 13A 946.6 Miami, TX C F 1 42A
4 35A 968.5 Pampa, TX C 1 22A
F 4 49A 982.5 White Deer, TX C F 1 05A
F 5 01A 995.7 Panhandle, TX C F12 53A
5 30A Ar 1022.7 Amarillo, TX (Lubbock via Motor Coach) C Dp 12 25A
5 50A Dp Ar 12 05A
F 6 10A 1040.1 Canyon, TX C F11 43P
6 43A 1069.2 Hereford, TX C 11 15P
F 7 06A 1091.5 Friona, TX C F10 51P
F 7 17A 1103.8 Bovina, TX C F10 39P
F 7 30A 1117.1 Farwell-Texico, TX (CT) F10 26P
6 45A Ar 1126.4 Clovis, NM (MT) (Carlsbad via Motor Coach) C Dp 9 15P
7 00A Dp Ar 9 00P
F 7 25A 1150.5 Melrose, NM F
1172.5 Taiban, NM F
F 8 01A 1186.5 Fort Sumner, NM C F
1213.6 Yeso, NM F
9 20A 1257.2 Vaughn, NM C 6 20P
1273.5 Encino, NM F
F10 35A 1325.4 Mountainair, NM C F 5 01P
11 40A Ar 1367.1 Belen, NM (Albuquerque via Motor Coach) C Dp 4 05P
11 59A Dp Ar 3 45P
F 1 21P 1448.9 Grants, NM C F 2 23P
2 20P Ar 1511.1 Gallup, NM C Dp 1 20P
2 25P Dp Ar 1 15P
DF 3 36P 1606.0 Holbrook, AZ C RF11 55A
4 10P Ar 1638.3 Winslow, AZ C Dp 11 25A
4 25P Dp Ar 11 05A
F 5 35P 1696.8 Flagstaff, AZ (Phoenix, Grand Canyon via bus) F 9 55A
7 15P Ar 1780.8 Seligman, AZ C Dp 8 15A
7 20P Dp Ar 8 10A
F 8 47P 1868.4 Kingman, AZ (MT) C F 6 31A
8 50P Ar 1929.5 Needles, CA (PT) C Dp 4 20A
8 55P Dp Ar 4 15A
11 35P Ar 2097.1 Barstow, CA C Dp 1 45A
Through Sleeper Chicago-Los Angeles (via Amarillo and Belen)
23 Connecting Train Number 24
1 00A Dp 2097.1 Barstow, CA C Ar 1 10A
3 20A Ar 2178.0 San Bernardino, CA C Dp 11 10P
5 20A Ar 2228.4 Pasadena, CA C Dp 9 40P
6 00A Ar 2237.5 Los Angeles, CA (Union Psgr. Tml.) (PT) C Dp 9 00P
11 55P Dp 2097.1 Barstow, CA C Ar 1 30A
F 1 10A 2165.9 Mojave, CA C 12 15A
3 30A Ar 2235.3 Bakersfield, CA C Dp 10 05P
3 40A Dp Ar 9 55P
F 4 05A 2253.0 Shafter, CA C F 9 33P
F 4 15A 2260.6 Wasco, CA C F 9 25P
4 45A 2298.5 Corcoran, CA C F 8 56P
5 10A 2315.5 Hanford, CA C 8 40P
5 45A 2345.7 Fresno, CA C 8 05P
6 50A 2403.7 Merced, CA 7 05P
7 27A 2443.2 Riverbank, CA C F 6 24P
8 00A 2469.0 Stockton, CA C 6 00P
F 8 45A 2503.4 Pittsburg, CA C 5 16P
F 9 35A 2526.1 Pinole, CA C F 4 42P
10 00A Ar 2537.2 Richmond, CA (PT) C Dp 4 30P
Connecting Bus Service
10 05A Dp 2537.2 Richmond, CA C Ar 4 25P
10 30A Ar 2545.2 Berkeley, CA Dp 4 00P
10 45A Ar 2548.2 Oakland, CA Dp 3 45P
10 45A Ar 2557.2 San Francisco, CA (PT) C Dp 3 45P

Train 1 (Chicago-San Francisco): 64 stops; 50:45; 50.4 MPHTrain 2 (San Francisco-Chicago): 61 stops; 50:15; 50.9 MPH

NOTE: There is a discrepancy of 0.3 miles between Table 6 and Table 8 in the distance shown between Topeka and Barstow via Amarillo. The Table 8 distance is used here.

Santa Fe

San Francisco Chief - Sleeping Car and Chair Car
service Chicago, Kansas City and California


EQUIPMENT—Completely Air-Conditioned.
No. 1—Daily. (San Francisco Chief.)
Lightweight Streamlined Train.
    All chair car seats reserved between Chicago and Richmond or Los Angeles. Seat reservation required. $3.00 service charge between Chicago and Richmond with proportionate charge between intermediate points. (No reduction for children.)

Hi-Level Chair Cars...Chicago to Richmond. (Cars 307, 302, 301 and 300).

Big Dome Lounge Car...Chicago to Richmond.

Dining Car...Chicago to Richmond.

Sleeping Cars...Chicago to Los Angeles—10 Roomettes, 3 Double Bedrooms, 2 Compartments. (Car 10.) On Train 23 Barstow to Los Angeles. (Can be occupied until 8:00 a.m. in Los Angeles.)

Chicago to Richmond—10 Roomettes, 6 Double Bedrooms. (Car 14.)

Chicago to Richmond—4 Bedrooms, 4 Compartments, 2 Drawing-rooms. (Car 17.)

Chicago to Richmond—10 Roomettes, 6 Double Bedrooms. (Car 18.)

San Francisco Chief - Sleeping Car and Chair Car
service California, Kansas City and Chicago


EQUIPMENT—Completely Air-Conditioned.
No. 2—Daily. (San Francisco Chief.)
Lightweight Streamlined Train.
    All chair car seats reserved. Seat Reservation required. $3.00 service charge between Richmond and Chicago with proportionate charge between intermediate points. (No reduction for children.)

Hi-Level Chair Cars...Richmond to Chicago. (Cars 407, 402, 401 and 400.)

Big Dome Lounge Car...Richmond to Chicago.

Chair Cars...Richmond to Chicago.

Dining Car...Richmond to Chicago.

Sleeping Cars...Richmond to Chicago—10 Roomettes, 6 Double Bedrooms. (Car 24.)

Los Angeles to Chicago—10 Roomettes, 3 Double Bedrooms, 2 Compartments. (Car 20.) Los Angeles to Barstow (on Train 24). Barstow to Chicago (on Train 2).

Richmond to Chicago—4 Bedrooms, 4 Compartments, 2 Drawing-rooms. (Car 27.)

Richmond to Chicago—10 Roomettes, 6 Bedrooms. (Car 28.)

Santa Fe passenger trains, westbound, operate into Richmond Station, thence by motor coach to the Santa Fe Passenger Terminal (425 Mission Street) San Francisco. Eastbound, service is via motor coach San Francisco to Richmond, thence train. Stop is made at Berkeley Station (University Avenue and West Street) and Oakland (2040 Telegraph Avenue) both westbound and eastbound..

Unfortunately for fans of private passenger rail, Santa Fe's petition was rejected by the ICC. If they wanted to stay in the passenger business they would be forced to continue operating all of their trains separately, including the ex-Grand Canyon. Walter is of the opinion that Amtrak and its government masters had their eye on Santa Fe's treasure trove of superbly maintained modern rolling stock...which indeed would form much of the core of Amtrak's initial fleet. Whatever the machinations going on in the background may have been, once Santa Fe's last-ditch plan was nixed they decided to throw in the towel and join Amtrak.

Amtrak would discontinue the San Francisco Chief effective with its takeover of passenger service on May 1, 1971, leaving only the Super Chief/El Capitan, Texas Chief, and San Diegans operating over Santa Fe trackage. There is a persistent rumor in railfan circles that then-Santa Fe president John S. Reed had commented to the effect that, even without the "Super-Duper" combination, if the ICC had let them drop everything other than the trains Amtrak actually kept he would have gone to the Board and would probably have received the green light to keep operating them. If only, if only....