Transformer controlled forward, neutral, and reverse operation
TrainSounds sound system with diesel engine revving, diesel horn, bell, squealing brakes, and operator-controlled, multi-part crew dialog
Front operating coupler
40” x 60” oval of Fastrack
The classic FT diesel locomotive, equipped with realistic sounds from the TrainSounds sound system, hurtles down the “Route of the Warbonnets.” Three streamlined passenger cars—two illuminated coaches and an illuminated observation car—follow the westbound locomotive. With the CW-80 Transformer and a loop of FasTrack track, you are ready to run one of the Santa Fe’s best known passenger trains.
SET INCLUDES: • FT locomotive • Two coaches • Observation car • CW-80 Transformer with accessory wire • Three straight FasTrack track sections • Eight curved FasTrack track sections • One straight FasTrack terminal track section • Replacement traction tire • Owner’s Manual • Service Center list • Instruction DVD • Lionel RailRoader Club flyer
El Capitan was one of the named passenger trains of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. It was the only coach, or chair car (non-Pullman sleeper) train to operate the Santa Fe main line from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California on the same fast schedule as the road's premier Pullman Super Chief.
This all-coach, streamlined train (assigned Nos. 21 & 22) began operations in February 1938. Not unlike the Pennsylvania Railroad's Trail Blazer, it offered "low-cost passage with high-speed convenience." Originally conceived as the Economy Chief, the name El Capitan was ultimately chosen to honor the Spanish conquistadors and their influence on Southwestern culture, though it didn't hurt that the name seemed to outrank the Union Pacific's Challenger all-chair train, with which it was designed to compete. Unique in charging an extra-fare despite being a coach train, it pioneered such features as "RideMaster" seating optimized for sleeping. The original consists were two new Budd Company-built trains of five cars each made of lightweight stainless steel. Each of the two luxury trains were capable of accommodating 188 passengers for a mere $5.00 upcharge over the price of a ticket on the road's all-chair Scout.
El Capitan was the first of Santa Fe's trains to utilize the "Big Dome"-Lounge cars, though these were soon given to the Chief in favor of new double-decker "Hi-Level" coaches developed by Budd and the railroad in 1955. These experimental units featured a quieter ride, increased seating capacities, and boasted better views of the Southwestern terrain El Cap passed through and made this train unique and revolutionary. Amtrak's Superliner equipment, which was placed in service along many of Amtrak's long distance routes, were based on the Santa Fe Hi-Level design. The Superliners were designed to be operated along with older Hi-Level cars.
Eventually the train was combined with the Super Chief and operated under train numbers 17 and 18 through the end of Santa Fe passenger operations. Today the route formerly covered by El Capitan is served by Amtrak's Southwest Chief. Many of Amtrak's trains (especially those in California) consist of a combination of refurbished former Santa Fe Hi-Level cars along with newer Superliner railcar designs. In recent years, four "mothballed" El Capitan lounge cars were removed from storage, refurbished, and placed into service on Amtrak's Coast Starlight as "Pacific Parlour" first-class lounge cars. These refurbished cars feature a service bar, booths, and chairs on the upper level, and a theater on the lower level.
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