Walthers HO Scale El Capitan
Introduced in 1938, El Capitan quickly became one of Santa Fe’s most popular trains. As ridership grew in the 1950s, Santa Fe turned to Budd for new coaches inspired by double-deck commuter cars and dome cars. The new “Hi-Levels” were an instant success, and by 1956, Santa Fe had enough for five complete El Capitan consists. Standard baggage, Railway Post Office and baggage-dorm cars handled headend chores, but because of the height difference, baggage-dorms were fitted with rooftop shrouds for a smooth transition. After 1958, El Capitan and Super Chief were combined in off-peak periods, with the lower-priced Hi-Levels up front and the luxury cars at the rear. Santa Fe reluctantly joined Amtrak in 1971, and its Hi-Levels continued on the Super Chief/El Capitan through 1974, when the train was renamed the Southwest Limited. As of 2011, several Hi-Level coaches are privately owned and five of the lounges serve as “Pacific Parlour Cars” on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight.