Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Building a WWII ATSF Fleet-V,Locomotive Assignments and Tonnage Ratings

            The Santa Fe assigned its locomotives to the various divisions around the system and tracked their performance.  As much as we rail fans loved steam, the data collected by the operating and mechanical forces showed that the diesel was an economically superior machine.  Periodically, this data would be assembled into a form that the directors and stockholders could understand and use as a basis for making informed decisions about future expenditure plans for the railroad.  I am not sure of the precise purpose of the Equipment Survey assembled in 1939, nor the update of 1944, but the data included is sufficient to justify significant expenditures for new cars and locomotives.  The copies of these two documents preserved in the California State Railroad Museum have the unintended legacy as a gold mine, no, make that a platinum mine of information for the Santa Fe modeler of that era. 

            Today’s post will touch on some of the line and locomotive data found in the Equipment Survey.  The Survey contains statements describing the operating lines of the Santa Fe, the equipment typically assigned and it’s capacity on each line segment.  The document covers the whole of Santa Fe’s main line system, with main lines defined as principal freight and passenger routes.  It lists the classes of locomotives principally assigned to freight and passenger service on each segment and shows their capacities over that segment.  Of particular interest to me is the Barstow-Oakland line.  The Arizona Division controlled the Barstow-Bakersfield segment prior to 1949.  The Valley Division controlled that segment after 1949 and the rest of the line.  Freight and Passenger operations are presented separately in the document and the format of Eastbound and Westbound ratings is reversed in the two sections of the original.  I did not notice this initially, and had the headers wrong on the first version of the transcription.  I offer this aside as a caution to any who may extract further information from the originals.  I have transcribed the tonnage ratings and car capacities from the original for the Barstow-Oakland line as shown for 1944.  The data is also there for 1939 and would make an interesting comparison, but I have yet to do that work.  For simplicity sake, I will refer to the Barstow-Bakersfield segment as the Arizona Division and the rest of the route to Oakland line as the Valley Division.

            The Valley Division was pretty flat with a small grade on the west end with a summit in the tunnel just west of Glen Frazer.  The Arizona Division was a mountain and desert railroad with a significant grade east of Bakersfield with a summit at Tehachapi with Barstow about 2000 feet higher than Bakersfield.  As such, equipment assigned, capacities and schedules differed significantly between these two territories.  The Arizona division employed 3700 class Mountains in passenger service to carry the northern sections of the Scout, trains 1/2, and Grand Canyon, trains 23/24 over the Tehachapis.  They used either 3800 class 2-10-2s or four unit FT diesels to get the freight over the hill.  The FTs had significantly greater hauling capacity on Tehachapi’s mountain grades than the 3800s.  Both classes were able to haul trains limited by siding lengths down hill.  The Valley division was the province of the Pacific, not just the ocean to which the district ran, but the Whyte classification locomotive.  Where the 2-10-4 Texas, 2-10-2 Santa Fe, and 2-8-2 Mikado handled most of the freight duties on the rest of the Santa Fe, on the Valley, the Pacific did it all.  Aside from the diesels 5, 8, & 9 assigned to the Golden Gate trains 60/61/62/63, five 3400 class Pacifics handled the Scout, Grand Canyon and extra sections.  Several 3500 class Pacifics backstopped the 3400s and handled the extra wartime traffic.  1226, 1309 and 3500 class Pacifics were the regularly assigned freight power moving traffic to the San Francisco Port of Embarkation, Bay area industries, and to the inside gateway interchange with the WP at Stockton for points in Washington and Oregon. 

            The differences between the FT and steam on Tehachapi were profound with the FTs able to carry an additional thousand tons with the same number of helpers.  This and their lack of water consumption proved their worth in the deserts and mountains.  On the Valley, the differences between the various steam classes were not profound, and the various Pacific classes had similar ratings through the flatter territory.  You can see and down load the PDF transcription of the Barstow-Oakland Tonnage Ratings here: 

John Barry
Cameron Park, CA

4 June 2014

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