I’ve wanted to make a Santa Fe heavyweight passenger train for some time so I’ve been slowly acquiring cars, parts and research material. I decided to model the California Limited as it was in 1939 arriving/departing Los Angeles. Once a “name train,” it was relegated to lower status by the famous Super Chief.

1938 California Limited. Detail of Santa Fe photo from the William K. Barham Collection, courtesy of the Pacific Railroad Society. Published on Pp. 22-23 of Dining and Beverage Service Cars of the Santa Fe, SFRH&MS.


The consists of the Chicago-Los Angeles train varied as cars were dropped and added at various points. The train was so popular that it often ran with multiple sections so it is entirely possible that a train with just about any car similar to those listed on the June 11, 1939 consist list 1-Z, shown above, would be correct. Click on the image to make it large enough to read. The red lines indicate cars not going to/from Los Angeles.

See the Santa Fe California Limited brochure, dated Dec. 15, 1939 here.

At the top of the page are links to the various cars in the consist. These show my reference information and progress in model building. As you can see there are still questions and blank spaces. If you can help with corrections, information or reference material, please add a comment. As I discover information and work on the models this information changes without notice to reflect the latest developments.


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Filed under 1939 Santa Fe California Limited

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