The 1937 Super Chief

"The Train of the Stars"

Widely respected as the most luxurious train of the streamlined era, the cars of Santa Fe's 1937 Super Chief were virtually hand built. Each sleeping compartment was individually decorated with unique wood paneling and trim, a feature no other streamline train could boast.

The eight cars of the consist (a mail-express car would have made nine, but it was never used) were built by the Edward G Budd company, of Red Lion Road, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This caused a controversy in the case of the five sleeping cars. Most railroads, including Santa Fe, contracted with the Pullman Company to provide services aboard the sleeping cars in their trains. Pullman was reluctant to provide those services on cars not built by it's affiliated Pullman Car and Manufacturing Co. Eventually, Pullman and Santa Fe agreed that Pullman would staff the Super Chief, but any subsequent sleepers would be built by PC&M.

The Super Chief made it's 2200 mile trip in 39h 45m, compared to the time of it's predecessor, the steam powered "Chief", which took 63 hours to cover the same distance. The Super quickly became the favorite train of celebrities traveling from New York to Los Angeles. Those special passengers earned it the nickname "Train of the Stars"

To download the cars and complete consists of the 1937 Super Chief, just go to the bottom of this section.



TypeBaggage Car
Road Number3430
Notes This car was only assigned to the Super Chief for about one year. After that, it was replaced by a baggage - barber shop - lounge car.

TypeDining Car
Road Number1474
Notes Though of lightweight construction, Cochiti had many features reminicent of heavyweight diners, such as a coal fired stove. Cochiti's dining room could seat 36 passengers.


TypeLounge / Dormatory
Road Number1370
NotesThis car contained a 29 seat lounge and 12 bunks for the dining car crew.

TypeSleeping Car
Accommodation6DB - 2Cpt - 2DR
NamesOrabi, Taos

TypeSleeping Car
Accommodation8Sec - 2Cpt - 1DR
NamesLaguna, Isleta

TypeLounge - Observation - Sleeping Car
Accommodation3Cpt - 2DB - 2DR
Notes In addition to sleeping space, Navajo had a 14 seat observation lounge in the rounded rear of the car. This shape of car-end was unique to early Budd observation cars, and was seen on only a few.

This car still exists in nearly as-built condition. It's the property of the Intermountain Chapter, NRHS and is on display at their museum in Golden, Colorado.

Notes on sleeping car accommodations:

During the heavyweight era, there were three popular types of sleeping car spaces available to passengers. The most basic was the section (Sec), which could sleep 2 to 4 people, in a minimal space. Sections were configured as open space during the day, with two pairs of facing seats. At night, the seats formed the lower berth, and an upper berth dropped from the ceiling. The '37 Super Chief had a total of 16 sections.

A compartment (Cpt) slept two, in an enclosed space. Unlike sections, compartments took up the full usable with of the car (not including the aisle) because they included a washstand and toilet, in the space. There were 11 compartents available on the "Super".

The most luxurious accommodation available was the drawing room (DR) which could carry three passengers. Here, the toilet was moved into a separate annex. In the heavyweight era, the annex was located along the outside wall of the car. The cars of the Super Chief used this same design, and the annexes are identifiable by the small frosted windows in the car side. Later streamlined equipment placed the near the aisle of the car, giving the drawing room passengers a better view. The Super had eight drawing rooms.

The fourth type of space available on the Super Chief was the double bedroom (DB). These were a relativly new development. Bedrooms were smaller than compartments, without some of their facilities, but could carry two passengers, day or night. Double bedrooms would become one of the most popular types of accommodation in the lightweight era. The Super Chief had 14 double bedrooms.


Complete Trains

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Download the 1937 Super Chief winzip icon

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