ATSF 326L (F7A) with Train No. 12, The Chicagoan at Union Station Wichita, KS. A Big Dome and a cafeteria-diner are added here. The Kansas City Chief looked very much like this at the time. A Roger Puta Photograph. 27 March 1967. Click to enlarge. (Roger Puta, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)



The Kansas City Chief was a named streamlined passenger train of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe. It was the overnight version of the Chicagoan/Kansas Cityan, leaving Kansas City at 10 pm and arriving in Chicago at 7:30 am. The train was inaugurated on April 2, 1950, and ended service on April 18, 1968.



In the beginning, the consist included two coaches, four sleepers, and a heavyweight diner-lounge car painted to look streamlined. Some time in the mid-1950s the Santa Fe added a coach, a sleeper, and a full diner and also a lounge car. Typically, eight baggage-express cars were added to transport the U.S. mail.

A Budd-built streamlined lounge car replaced the heavyweight lounge in 1955. When Santa Fe replaced the El Capitan's Big Dome cars with Hi-Level cars in July of 1956, two of the Big Domes were used as lounge cars on the Kansas City Chief, even though one could scarcely do much sightseeing in the dark of night.

In 1959, the AT&SF had sped-up the Chief's schedule from Kansas City to Chicago to the point where it was practically identical to that of the northbound Kansas City Chief, train number 10. Thusly, the Santa Fe discontinued train No. 10 on March 28, 1958, but continued to run train No. 9 from Chicago to Kansas City.

When the U.S. Postal Service ended most railroad mail contracts in 1966, the passenger section of the Kansas City Chief consisted of only two coaches, a sleeper, the lounge, and a diner. Henceforth, the AT&SF discontinued train No. 9 on April 18, 1968.

Unfortunately, the train ran mainly during the dark hours and there are very few if any photos of it on the Internet.