Motorcar M.177

Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway

Gasoline-Electric Motorcar

Built by:

Pullman & ElectroMotive Corp. – 1929


400 Horsepower Winton 8-cylinder


70 Tons

Donated by:

Santa Fe Railway – 1953




currently undergoing restoration

June 1, 1945 celebration at El Dorado, Kansas welcomes the first day of M.177 service on the Santa Fe line between Emporia and Winfield. Photo courtesy Butler County Hist. Soc.

Motorcar M.177 was completed in September 1929 as a joint project of the General Motors, Electro-Motive Division and the Pullman Car and Manufacturing Company.

Nicknamed “Doodlebugs,” a railroad motorcar combined three functions into one vehicle: motive power, passenger seating, and baggage/mail/express space.  This consolidation was efficient for lightly-used branch lines and saved the railroad the expense 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 served small rural communities along the Santa Fe lines in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas, from the Depression years through the Korean War period.  A sister car, M.181, ran here in southern California on Santa Fe’s local service between Los Angeles and San Bernardino.

The M.177 last operated on the line between Pampa, Texas, and Clinton, Oklahoma, in October 1953 and was donated to the Travel Town Museum shortly thereafter.

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Consider making a donation to help our museum volunteers restore the trains and improve your  Travel Town experience!

More Interesting Information:

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 engines.

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.