About the Santa Fe Historical Society

Livestock Operations on Model Railroads

with an emphasis on the ATSF

February 12, 2012

Drover Cars

Through the years Santa Fe had 71 drover cars.

D918 currently resides at the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, CA. It was built in 1929 at Topeka from scrap materials. It operated into the 60s and was donated to OERM in 1969. Click for more photos.

D932 is now preserved at the Mojave River Valley Museum in Barstow, CA. This 40' steel car was built by ATSF in 1931 and operated through the 60s. Click for more photos. It's sister, D938, was converted to a coach, baggage & caboose 2312 in 1942. Several of its class were then redesignated as drover cars. The D938 now resides at the Great Plains Transportation Museum in Wichita, KS. D932 and D938 were modeled (inaccurately) by Hallmark in brass.

Old coaches and waycars were also converted to drover work.

Lee Berglund wrote an excellent article on these "Cowboy Pullmans" in Frank Ellington's Caboose Cars of the Santa Fe Railway. He reported that the drover car was placed directly behind the locomotive and just in front of the stock cars. This placement made for a smoother ride and allowed them to stay in front of their odiferous cargo. These cars had bunks for the cowboys, but they were encouraged to sleep with their feet toward the engine in case of an emergency stop.

After the end of stock movements by rail, some drover cars ended up as cabooses. Drovers cars were used as waycars (not in stock service) on the mine run between Hurley and Santa Rita NM. From in service photos they appeared unmodified from their drovers configuration. They served behind the little 2-10-2s as well as RSD4/5 2100 class diesels. They would pass through the rotary car dumper at Hurley where a cupola caboose would not. (John Moore)

A number of the steel drover cars were rebuilt into combines for use on branch lines. One of these has been preserved at in Wichita, KS, and another was in a farmer's field near Americus, KS. (2012)

See Ellington's book for drawings, photos, and rosters. Another excellent source is John McCall's Coach, Cabbage and Caboose.

Hallmark produced two cars in brass, the drover version and the coach, baggage, caboose version. W & R Enterprises in 1988 offered three versions, the two above plus MOW car 190201 as pictured in Ellington, p. 71. Key Imports did a model of the D918 that is located in Perris, CA.

In researching to paint a pair of Hallmark models of the Steel Drover cars for 1950-53, the following were discovered:

Reference works listed below are:
Berglund, Lee. Red Combines and Cowboy Pullmans. Railroad Modeler, July, 1976, p. 32-39, 74-75
Ellington, Frank M. Caboose Cars of the Santa Fe Railway. Panora, Iowa: Railroad Car Press, 1998.
McCall, John B. Coach, Cabbage & Caboose... Dallas: Kachina Press, 1979.
McCall, John B. The Doodlebugs. Derby, KS: Santa Fe Railway Historical and Modeling Society, 2002.
McMillan, Joe. Wheat Lines and Super Freights. Santa Fe in Color Series, Volume 2. Woodridge, IL: McMillan Publications, 1992.
Stagner, Lloyd E. ATSF Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment. Edison, NJ: Morning Sun Books, 1995.
Wayner, Robert J. Santa Fe Diesels and Cars. New York: Wayner Publications, 1974.

Metal Drover

Windows pattern: <o oooo OOOOOO>& <o OOOOOOoooo>. By way of correction, both Hallmark cars have a misplaced window on one side. The correct place for the end small window is opposite the side where the stove would have been. If you have a window under a smokejack, it is at the wrong end of the car.

For the sake of photo identification, the A side will have the sleeping area (large windows) on the right, the B side will have them on the left.
Elevation drawing shown in Ellington p38
Interior layout shown in Ellington p38
Interior photos shown in Ellington p69

Cars in service 1950-53:
  • D930, built with a short stack but receiving a tall stack at a later date, at Ft. Worth, 1970 (B Ellington p68, CC&C p164,165, Wayner p64).
  • D931, no photos available.
  • D932 with heavy screens and black roof, with short stacks, seen at Leavenworth, KS, 1964, LaJunta, CO in 1967. 1964 with black roof and white handrails. Preserved at Mojave River Valley Museum, Barstow, CA. (A Ellington p109, McMillan color p14) (B Stagner color p111, Berglund p39)
  • D934 with short stack, at Great Bend, KS (A Ellington p69)
  • D947 with tall stack, in Dallas 1947 (B CC&C p167)

The Hallmark model, with tall stack, needs to have the side window corrected and it can be numbered for D930 or D947. Since I have not seen a photo of D931, I can not give an opinion on that. See this page for a corrected model.

Brian Banks built a 1.5" scale model for the Comanche and Indian Gap. See details here.

Coach, Baggage & Caboose conversion:

There are two window versions, some with tool box, some without. The toolbox was on side A:
3 window <o ooo ( ) > & <o ( ) ooo>
4 windows <o oooo ( )> & <o ( ) oooo
For the sake of photo identification, the A side will have the baggage area (large windows) on the right, the B side will have it on the left. The same statement above about the w/c window applies to the Hallmark model of this car also.
Elevation drawing shown on Ellington p40
Interior layout shown in Ellington p39.

Cars in service 1950-53:

  • 2309 - 3 window with box centered between window and door, tall stacks (A Ellington p122) (B Ellington p71, Burglund p37) Ex. D942
  • 2310 - 4 window, short stacks (B Ellington p122) on the web. Used on Rice-Ripley branch until 1958.
  • 2311 - 4 window, no photos available
  • 2312 - 4 window, no box, short stacks, painted Santa Fe coach green with Santa Fe text, used on Alma branch, At Topeka, KS 1951. Renkumbered D938. Preserved at Great Plains Transportation Museum, Wichita, KS. (A Ellington p40, Doodlebugs p221) (B Ellington p70, Wayner p65)
  • 2313 - 4 window, no photos available
  • 2314 - 4 window with box centered under window 4, short stacks, red roof, in LaJunta in 1968 donated to a museum (A CC&C as D936 p165, Stagner color as D936 p111)(B Ellington color as D936 p17)
  • 2315 - 3 window, no photos available
  • 2316 - 3 window, no box, tall stacks, w heavy screens around 1950, in use in Cushing, OK 1948, San Jacinto branch (CA) in 1949, south Texas in 1950, and Amarillo in 1953 (A Ellington 70, 71, CC&C p. 120)
  • 2317 - 3 window with box centered between window and door, tall stacks, w heavy screens, at Salina, KS 1954, NM 1959, 1966, Emporia, KS 1966 (in green paint), destroyed Superior, NB, 1967. (A Ellington p71, McCall p166) (B Ellington p12)
  • 2318 - 3 window, no box, tall stacks, (A Ellington p70, Burglund p38)
  • 2319 - 3 window, no photos available
  • 2320 - 3 window with box Black roof, underbody box, tall stacks, used on Superior branch in 1968. Used on the San Jacinto (CA) branch in 1952. The baggage room chimney was relocated at some point. (B Burglund p36)

The Hallmark model is an incorrect 4 window car, with W/C window wrong on the A side. It is a 4 window version with underbody box centered on the last panel before the baggage door. The underbody details are crude.

It can be corrected for 2312 or 2314 by changing the window, creating a short stack, and removing or relocating the underbody box. I have not found photo evidence for 2310, 2311, or 2313, which are the other 4 window cars. See this page for a corrected model.

Compiled by J. Stephen Sandifer


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