Gold Leaf lettering for Santa Fe Passenger cars - 1918-1950
Santa Fe’s vast fleet of Pullman-built 70’ steel passenger cars are dificult to track due to the many conversions from coach to baggage and RPO cars, to smoker partitioned cars and combines. The rst order of 165 cars were delivered in 1913 and were divided up as follows: Coach: 965-999; Chair: 1245-1293; Smoker: 2970-1293; Coach: 3300-3334; Partitioned Coach: 829-844. Many were converted more than once and lasted in revenue service into the early 1960’s. The final order of these cars were delivered from Pullman in 1930 as Series 2950-2969. To understand this class of cars the modeler will need to be aided by referencing John McCall’s Santa Fe Passenger Car Reference Series - Volume Two, published by the Santa Fe Historical & Modeling Society
Lettering: Between 1918 and 1950, the Santa Fe lettered all heavyweight head-end and passenger car’s letterboard with 5” tall extended Roman lettering in gold leaf. After 1950 and until 1971, lettering was in Dulux (imitation) gold. (note: between 1910 and 1918, the lettering was the same except 5“ car numbers were placed near each end of the side with 2” A.T&S.F. railroad initials placed below car numbers - this was eliminated in the early 1920’s) In 1929, the newly formed Railway Express Agency 5” lettering replaced the ‘Wells Fargo & Company’ and EXPRESS’ on baggage cars. For head-end cars with express messenger facilities (a seat and toilet facilities) on board, a 6” tall five-pointed star was placed above the word BAGGAGE. For horse express cars, “BAGGAGE EXPRESS AGENCY” and “HORSE EXPRESS’ were in standard Railroad Roman 2” lettering. Note: the WATCH YOUR STEP signage should be placed on the car‘s third step at eye level of a passenger on the pavement.
Spacing: Letterboard 5’ stretched letters had specific spacing. 8” between letters in SANTA; 14-7/8” between SANTA and FE (except when doors are present); and 8-3/8” between F and E. In all cases it is best to refer to prototype as-delivered and/or in-service photographs to properly place the lettering. Reference to Richard Hendrickson‘s comprehensive Santa Fe Railway Painting and Lettering Guide, Volume 1, is highly recommended
Paint: Santa Fe employed a Coach Green paint to sides, ends, steps and battery box covers: a match for this would be TCP-255. This was somewhat
lighter in shade than the standard Pullman green.
Sides were coated with a final finish of clear varnish over paint and lettering. This was no longer applied after early 1950’s except for business cars.
Trucks and underbody were painted Santa Fe Truck Brown (a semi-gloss dark olive drab - weathering to matt dark brownish gray)
Center Sills, air tanks, brake cylinders and water tanks painted a semi-gloss black when new - but quickly weathered to a matt dark gray after having gathered road dirt and grime.
Roofs painted painted a matt black - weathering over time to a dark matt gray
Decal set designed and created at Protocraft Decals
Printed by Microscale Industries
Background color shown above is not included in decal sheet