Current Restoration Project
Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Railway
The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Motorcar M.177 was jointly constructed by the General Motors, Electro-Motive Division and the Pullman Car and Manufacturing Company, in Chicago, Illinois – completed in September 1929.
Motorcars, nicknamed “Doodlebugs,” combined three functions of railroading into one vehicle: motive power, passenger seating, and baggage/mail/express compartment. This functional consolidation efficiently served branch lines by saving the railroads the cost of operating an entire train, with locomotive and half-filled cars. The baggage compartment of the M.177 served not only as baggage and Express compartment, but also as a Railway Post Office. “Doodlebugs,” like the M.177, were the life-blood along some of the smaller veins of the Santa Fe system – serving small rural communities in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas from the Depression years through the Korean War period. As sister car, M.181, worked Santa Fe’s local Los Angeles to San Bernardino route for many years.
The M.177 last operated on a line between Pampa, Texas, and Clinton, Oklahoma, in October 1953. The car was retired to Topeka, Kansas, where it remained until its donation to the Travel Town Museum. Mechanically, M.177 is a unique survivor of its class, being the only Santa Fe motorcar to retain its original Winton gasoline engine – while other motorcars in the fleet were changed over to Diesel.
The Santa Fe M.177 is currently undergoing a complete operational restoration for use on the Museum’s demonstration railway, the Crystal Springs and Caheunga Valley Railroad.
BUILT: 1929 BY PULLMAN CAR CO. & ELECTRO-MOTIVE CORP.
WEIGHT: 70 TONS
DONATED: 1957 BY SANTA FE RAILWAY