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Nostalgia & History > What is this ATSF Contraption?


Date: 04/08/21 08:52
What is this ATSF Contraption?
Author: Hou74-76

I have a nagging research question which I think, in the interest of my study, allows me to refer to this photo. I do not know to whom credit belongs nor where I downloaded this image of Santa Fe passenger trains at the Clovis, NM depot. But in a close up snippet from this photo, under the yellow drawn line you can see a tall contraption that looks like it can fit on the end of a coach.  I believe this is a giant vacuum cleaner that was used to pull out debris from coaches. 

I have vague memories of reading in a Santa Fe employee magazine around 1966 that something like this was used to make coach cleaning faster and easier.  As I recall reading, it was positioned on an end of a coach, the big fan turned on and all the debris was sucked right out...theoretically.   I seem to also remember that a coach cleaner was still used to free up lodged debris and help it along the path out of the car. Can anyone verify this machine, when it was used, did it work well and if Santa Fe was the only road that employed it.

Many thanks!







Date: 04/08/21 10:44
Re: What is this ATSF Contraption?
Author: miralomarail

We used those at the Amtrak Yards and Car shops  in LA, CA when preforming P. M. ( Preventable Maint ) .  Inside a car the ceiling panels are lowered and the Coach seats are turned and the machine is placed by One open door and turned on to suck every bit of trash out as a Coach Cleaner goes through and dislodges whats left by using Air.  It's very loud when running .

Tom Hirsch (  Retired Amtrak 22 Yrs )
Cherry Valley, Ca



Date: 04/08/21 15:16
Re: What is this ATSF Contraption?
Author: Westbound

On the SP at Oakland, there was a similar device in Amtrak service in the 1970s. Never saw it in operation. From its size it appeared it would attach at the car’s end.



Date: 04/08/21 15:39
Re: What is this ATSF Contraption?
Author: 41

FWIW, the two-car train is the Carlsbad 'doodlebug' (w/o the M-190, which most likely was bad-ordered)



Date: 04/08/21 17:20
Re: What is this ATSF Contraption?
Author: mundo

Two car train may have replaced the RDC car also.



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