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Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe miniature passenger train in Topeka, Kansas - Page

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This is a panoramic photograph showing (left to right) Jim Donnelly and Merle A. Benson with Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway's miniature train at the Topeka shops. Benson drove the little parade train for 37 years before retiring on December 31, 1963. Benson traveled thousands of miles to participate in parades, expositions, celebrations, and other events. The original miniature freight train, which was headed by an engine designed after the old steam locomotives, was built in 1926 at the Topeka shops. In 1927, a miniature passenger train was built as a companion. The power source for both trains was Model-T Ford motors and transmissions. In 1937, the steam locomotive design was replaced by a diesel-type jacket over the same power source. Use of the passenger train was discontinued in 1942 and it was finally scrapped in 1951. Before the passenger train was retired, it consisted of three Pullman cars, a buffet-library car and a dining car. The freight train consisted of the locomotive plus a coal car, refrigerator car, boxcar, stock car, tank car and caboose. During the off-season, Benson would provide maintenance on the miniature trains and get them ready for the next season. Benson was born in Greeley, Kansas in 1896, and he moved to Topeka in 1923. He started to work in the Santa Fe shops as a car man helper and in 1924, he became a machinist.

Creator: Harrison, Paul
Date: Between 1927 and 1930

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Item Number: 309617
Call Number: FK2.S5 T.74 ATSF *265
KSHS Identifier: DaRT ID: 309617

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