Saturday, June 14, 2014

Colors & Markings of the 2014 Shake & Take Santa Fe Cars

Santa Fe re-built its Bx-2 class double sheathed USRA box cars into steal sheathed versions resembling the 1937 AAR box car during 1938-42.  Small differences in the rebuilt cars as different lots were converted over time resulted in the Bx-28, 31, 32, 33, and 36 classes depending on the year rebuilt.  Physically, Bx-28 and 31 were shorter cars with 10’ Inside Height and Running Boards at 14’8.  The Bx-32, 33 and 36 were slightly larger cars with 10’4 IH and Running Boards at 14’11.  The 2014 Shake & Take parts are for the shorter cars.  One subtle difference between the otherwise identical Bx-28 and 31 is the shape of the underframe extensions.  The 28 had triangular brackets while the 31 and later cars had trapezoidal brackets. The other major difference is the Bx-28 got new ASF Cast Steel trucks which raised its capacity to 100000 pounds where the Bx-31 retained its original Andrews trucks and remained an 80000 pound car. 

As delivered all the rebuilds would have come out of the Topeka Shops with overall mineral brown finish, including the wood running boards and a black anti-slip roof.  The Bx-28 rebuilt from USRA Bx-2s in 1937 would have had 9 inch A.T.&S.F. reporting marks, 7 inch numbers in series 138500-138699, and a 3 foot cross and circle herald.  Cars remained in this plain paint until repainted with one of the Slogan schemes.  The Bx-31, rebuilt in 1939 in number series 148000-148199, would have been delivered in the same plain scheme but with A.T.S.F. reporting marks.  Not the subject of S&T 2014, but the forthcoming parts for the taller rebuilds would have been delivered with versions of the Slogan/Map scheme.  Colors remained the same, reporting marks continued with no & but periods, A.T.S.F. for the rest of the USRA rebuilds.  Bx-32 and early Bx-33 rebuild got the Style 2 curved line map.  Later Bx-33s had the early version of the straight line map without the word “Ship”.  Bx-36s had the later straight line map with the word “Ship.”  The map cars had the original slogans: The Grand Canyon Line, The Scout for Economy Travel West, The Chief Famous Daily Streamliner West, The Super Chief to California, and El Capitan Coach Streamliner West.

Slogan assignments as delivered:

148200-249 Scout
148250-349, Grand Canyon
148350-399, Scout. 

145000-099, El Capitan
145100-199, Super Chief
145200-299, Chief
145300-399, Grand Canyon
145400-499, Scout

148400-549, Scout
148550-699, El Capitan
148700-849, Super Chief
148850-999, Chief
149000-149. Grand Canyon

Repaints:  The first was probably the addition of “Buy War Bonds” to 368 of the Bx-36s over the existing paint in 1942-43.  Bx-36 was only Santa Fe box car to receive this additional War Slogan.  After 1944, the periods were removed from the reporting marks, yielding ATSF when repainted after that date.  Some Bx-28 and 31 may have received the straight line map and slogan if repainted prior to 1947 as Bx-31 37004 did with a Grand Canyon slogan and map when fitted out for Chrysler rear axle loading in 1946.  25 cars, 37000-37024 were so equipped.  Their marked capacity was reduced to 75000 and they had the short white rectangle with circle indicating parts racks.  37004 had a black route card board below that marking on its door and ATSF on the second rib and 37004 on the third rib of the top group of five on the B end.  Eight years later, when refitted for Chrysler-De Soto rear axles, 37001 received a Ship and Travel scheme.  Its capacity was lowered to 73000 and the end marks were in the spaces with ATSF above and 37001 below the two ribs in the end extension.  In 1959, Santa Fe discontinued the train slogans and adopted a large Circle and Cross Herald to the left of the door with Ship and travel to the right on both sides of the mineral brown cars.  Surviving cars repainted after that date received that very modern scheme.

Roof color changed from black car cement to mineral brown with anti-slip granules added in the mid-50s.  Richard Hendrickson stated that the black continued to be used by many shops till their supply was exhausted.  So its conceivable that you might find a large circle cross with a black roof but it would have been unusual.  

A note on data blocks.  On the pre-map cars the data was arranged vertically above the Class designator just to the left of the end ladder on the right side of the car.  When using a map or slogan, the data was divided into three blocks starting at the left side of each of the three middle panels on the right side of the car.  Repack data appeared on the right side of the center panel, Class designator appeared on the end panel or slightly overlapped the seam to the second panel from the end.  None of the photos in the CSRM collection that I have seen so far have the build date for any of the USRA rebuilds.  A photo of a Bx-13 steel rebuild does have its original 5-31 BLT date.  Not sure why, but this BLT date is consistently missing in the photos I’ve seen of Bx-28, 31-33 & 36.

No photos today as I don't have permission to publish the CSRM photos.  But details are available of the brackets on the Bx-28 and 31 as well as a number of builder's photos from the Topeka Shops.  

References:  R. Hendrickson, Santa Fe Railway Painting & Lettering Guide, Vol 1. Rolling Stock, SFMO, 1990.

Sunshine kit data Bx-32-33, 36 reissue.

Sunshine kit data Bx-28, 31

California State Railroad Museum Collection, Bx-28, 31, 32, 33, 36 Photos

John Barry
Cameron Park, CA
Flag Day
14 June 2014


  1. John,

    Do you know of any online photos of these cars that those of us who want to do the SnT build can reference?