Santa Fe Fuel Foilers

Doug A. Jan 14, 2002

  1. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    I am trying to find information about Santa Fe's "10-Pack" (or 6 or 5-Pack) Fuel Foiler articulated TOFC cars. Specifically, I want to model them in their later years, as from what I recall they went through many iterations.

    I "think" that I saw a set around 1995 that had been reconfigured to a 5 unit set and the big yellow Fuel Foiler decals were absent and only ATSF reporting marks identified them. They were of course dirty and grungy so it could have been another type of car for all I know. Anyway, I was just wondering what became of them and how long they were in service. (or still?)

    I have a four-car Con-Cor N-scale set that I want to "modernize" a bit so I would appreciate any photo links or information you would have. Thanks! :cool:
     
  2. Martyn Read

    Martyn Read TrainBoard Supporter

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    I'm working on a set in HO using Athearn "Impack" cars, here's what I've found out....

    My sources are:

    Model Railroading Dec 97 article called:
    "Spine cars part 2: single purpose minority owners" - Author Doug Geiger, MMR.

    Book, "Santa Fe Heriatage" by Steven & Cynthia priest, chapter on these cars, plus lots of (mostly publicity) photo's.

    Text from the magazine article:-

    Santa Fe (ATSF) Owner

    These were the first succsessful articulated spine cars that rode on conventional trucksm although in captive ATSF service, these cars proved the way for many of the later spine car designs. The first car was an experimental car built by ATSF shop forces in Topeka KS. It could haul six 40' or 45' trailers, five faced the B-end of the car and one faced the A end. The trailers had to be lifted on & off each platform (well Duh!, my paraphrase!!!) unlike the circus-style loading required of many vans in intermodal service at that time. The hitches were Pullman Standard non retractibles. In summer & fall of 1977 this "six pack" car made a splash with the railroad industry if the amount of magazine coverage is any judge. Painted white, the car had a very large air-supply reservoir plus a triple valve and brake reservoir on both the A and B units, and ran quite low to the ground, it carried the nuber 298999, class ft92.

    I'll skip the rest of the article & fill in the details from between the publications, from the pics in the Priest's book, this prototype unit had massive platforms at the ends (reduced in the production design), and loads of very complicated brake rodding/rigging/piping/tanks (dropped from the production design), it didn't carry a "six pack" designation in the same style as the "10 Packs", it had cushioned coupler pockets (dropped from the production design) It also had a vertical brake housing, (angled on later production cars to stop loaders swinging trailers into them).

    The first production run of 10 packs was numbered 298988-298998, built 4/78, coded FT-93, the second was 298946-298987, built 3/80 - 7/80, coded FT-101. The prototype 298999 was rebuilt into a 10-pack in 1981, but kept many of the odd features (upright brakewheel, large platforms) although the brakes were apparently simplified to match the other cars. The cars only had a brakewheel on the B platform. Paint was white (duh again!) and the hitches were highly visible black.

    Some modifications happenned over time, with the arrival of 102" wide trailers, extensions were added to the platforms, (little triangular bits jutting out) from the pics neither build had them from new, and I can only confirm 298965 without them in '84 and 298981 with them in '89.
    298965 was rebuilt to haul standard (2x20' or 40' or 45') or A-Stack containers on all the intermediate units (but trailers on the ends) the A stack containers could even be double stacked on this car. This was recoded an FT-103 flat.
    298998 was rebuilt to a COFC only car, set up for 2x20'/1x40'/1x45' on each car. It stayed coded as an FT-93.
    Both of those cars had a second brakewheel added at the A end of the car when modified.

    When repainted most cars lost the "railroad roman" font & got sans-serif Helvetica to match the ATSF practise of the day.
    298981 got painted in mineral brown with circle crosses in white. The magazine article also says some cars got the Q logo, but there's no photo's of that.

    The article says that as of Feb 92 all TOFC cars were in service, by Feb 96 only 21 remained, and by fall '97 they were all out of use.

    There's no mention of them being rejigged in later life, however in '82 ATSF sold the design to Itel, who slightly modified it & started selling it to other railroads in other formats, including:
    5 & 10 unit sets to BN
    4 & 8 unit sets to SSW
    and I'm told others too.

    Hope that helps, if you want me to try & work out what fittings are on each segment I can try & do that (I've got it written down here somewhere.)
     
  3. Martyn Read

    Martyn Read TrainBoard Supporter

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    In just re-reading your original posting, it sounds like it would have been a repainted white 10-Pack, the photo's show the simplified lettering without the yellow logo's and the later font. And from the sounds of it there were still quite a few kicking around as of '95.

    BTW the Microscale decal pack is quite good and includes lots of info plus both types of numbers, I don't know wether it's available in N or not, but it might be worth a look.

    I didn't mention as well that all of the above ride on 28" wheelsets.
     
  4. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    WOW! Thanks Martyn for the info! I'll definitely try to pick up the Model Railroading back-issue (a local shop has stacks and stacks so I can probably find it there) I was especially interested to learn about the "mineral brown" painted versions. Might be something to look into when Alan releases his N-Scale Fuel Foilers. The Con-Cor's that I have are ok and are painted in the original FF "Ten Pack" scheme. My plan was to just take off the yellow FF Logo and stencil the Helv ATSF lettering and then weather the crap out of them, which is basically how I remember them. The "triangle" mods would be a neat kitbash, though.

    Since I am trying to focus my layout around 1997 give or take a few years, I would obviously be modeling one of the last of the 'Foilers so maybe I can narrow it down to what was left at that point. I know that when I saw the set in '95 (+/-) there was (I think) a nationwide intermodal equipment shortage and (BN)SF was throwing trailers and containers on anything that had wheels, so I'm quite sure anything I did would be conceivable, if not prototypical, which is good enough for me really. ;)

    So, if anyone has photos in the mid '90's time frame please let me know. And thanks again, Martyn....hopefully I can return the favor sometime.

    Oh, and if anyone has an extra "intermediate" unit from an old Con-Cor N-Scale set they don't need let me know. :D Thanks,
     
  5. Alan

    Alan Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Martyn, thanks for the comprehensive answer! I can remember how excited I was to pick up a Con-Cor set at a Train Show in Derby several years ago. But I was soon dissapointed with it, especially the running qualities (or lack of). This was the spur to the production of my first kit, a five unit all-purpose spine car. I may be willing to part with my Con-Cor car [​IMG]

    We are working on the masters for the 10-pack Fuel Foiler, also later Impack cars, and they will be ready in the not too distant future.
     
  6. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    Alan, I agree that they may not be the best runners. I was hoping I could make some modifications to get them to run better, although maybe they'll just set empty on a rip track somewhere who knows.

    I do, however, have one of your spine cars, too. :D In fact, I was drilling the mounting holes in the kit last night and I started thinking about those Con-Cor cars and then I recalled the grungy ones I saw and thought it might be an interesting model. I am always looking for ways to break the monotony of TTX Yellow all the way through a train.

    I do anxiously await your 'Foilers (and more importantly your well cars!!!) so maybe this will just be a beta test paint and weathering job for some of your cars when they come out! ;)
     
  7. yankinoz

    yankinoz TrainBoard Member

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    September 1982 Model Railroader has scale drawings and an HO scratchbuiding article on the 10 pack fuel foiler - today I would not scratch build but start with the Athearn kit in HO.

    Railmodel Journal ran a how to improve the reliability of the con-for n-scale model. I don't remember the issue.

    I am almost finished with an HO TTX 6 unit Impack car. The plumming on mine matches the Fuel Foiler - not 100% accurate for TTX but is fairly close - and captures the 'feel' of the prototype. Just waiting for the hitches I ordered... I'll post pictures when it's done (don't hold yer breath)
     
  8. yankinoz

    yankinoz TrainBoard Member

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    Almost forgot - I think it was that Model Railroading article Martyn mentioned - much of the brake gear was removed later in the fuel foiler life span. Be sure to put the holes in the spine for the gear - the see through effect is quite cool.
     
  9. Martyn Read

    Martyn Read TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yay! I've got a cool flag.....
    Sorry. Back to topic. [​IMG]

    Yes, I did miss out the bit about simplified braking systems, as I wasn't sure what it meant, the prototype had a really complicated brake system with tanks/levers/pipes hung all over the place, most of this had gone on the production builds from new, and were apparently changed on the prototype when it was (or by the time it was) altered to a 10.

    But looking at the magazine pics I can see what you mean, there's holes for pipes/brake rigging in the sides on late pics of production cars that nothing goes through anymore.

    It's not a problem for me as I'm doing a brand new '78 version, heheh!
    I'm using the Athearn cars as well, they are very close to the production ones as far as I can tell.

    On the original production cars, (from memory) the A & B units, plus a couple of the inner cars had brake cylinders, was this removed from all the inner cars?
     

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