"The Big Brass." ATSF Officers, Mr, Maish, Chairman; Mr. Reed, President; official of Essex Wire; Mr. Caiazza, VP-Traffic; Mr, Shelton, VP-Operations, inaugural of Super C train Corwith Yard on Jan. 17, 1968. Photo by Roger Puta
"There she goes!" ATSF 100 and 102 FP45s with SUPER C passing through Corwith Yard, Chicago, IL its first run on January 17, 1968. Test car 5015 is still in service as BNSF 83. Photo by Roger Puta.
ATSF 100 and 102, both FP45s, with the SUPER C in Corwith Yard, Chicago, IL before its inaugural run on January 17, 1968. Photo by Roger Puta
Super C Freight Train
The Super C was an intermodal freight train on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway from 1968 to 1976. Dubbed the "World's Fastest Freight Train," the all-TOFC (trailer-on-flatcar, or "piggyback") and container train ran about 2,200 miles between Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California on a 40-hour schedule.
The brainchild of company president John Shedd Reed, the Super C (led by a pair of EMD FP45s) made its first run on January 17, 1968, covering the distance in a record-breaking 37½ hours averaging 58.2 miles-per-hour (93,6 km/h). The second test train did the ride even faster in 34½ hours averaging 63.7 miles-per-hour (108.4 km/h). For an added fee of $1,400 per trailer shippers were guaranteed fast delivery.
Santa Fe tried high-speed freight operations on its Illinois Division in late 1966. By year's end, passenger-geared GE U28CG locomotives took 19 piggyback cars from L.A.'s Hobart Yard to Chicago in 61 hours. On June 8, 1967 a joint run using New York Central's Flexi-Van container cars traveled from New York City to Los Angeles in 54 hours, 21 minutes. The Super C carried high-priority items such as auto parts and electronic components; the United States Post Office soon became a consistent customer. It was allowed 79 mph.
Train length varied from one to 15 or 20 cars. In the end, too few shippers chose to pay for 40-hour delivery, especially considering that a standard TOFC load arrived in 15 hours more. The final blow came in 1976 when the Santa Fe lost its mail contract to a joint venture of the Chicago and North Western Railway and the Union Pacific Railroad that could deliver at lower cost on a 50-hour schedule.
The Super C completed its last trip on May 20, 1976.
ATSF FP45 100 brand new heading the Super C before its inaugural run, Corwith Yard, Chicago, IL on January 17, 1968. A Roger Puta photograph
Classic Streamliners - TRAINCYCLOPEDIA
"Here she comes!" ATSF 100 and 102 with the SUPER C, starting inaugural run, Corwith Yard, Chicago, IL on January 17, 1968. A Roger Puta photograph
"Breaking through!" ATSF FP45 100 heading the Super C through sign on inaugural run, Corwith Yard, Chicago, IL on January 17, 1968. A Roger Puta photograph
Text: wikipedia.org. Images: Public Domain; http://www.commons.wikimedia.org (unless otherwise specified) and 17 U.S. Code § 107 fair use. References: Lewis, Robert G. The Handbook of American Railroads. New York: Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation, 1951, 2nd Edition 1956. Site Map Contact webmaster HERE.
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