Below are retyped and slightly edited copies of three messages found in the Richard E. Scholz Archives. A close reading indicates that these are only very brief representations of the totality of the information once available. We are indeed fortunate that Richard managed to find and preserve these messages. They provide a good indication of timeline, some information on roof and under car paint treatment, and a reasonably complete list of those cars actually receiving the shadow-line treatment and later conversion to two tone gray.

The first message is from 1949 and evidently was written while the shadow-lining program was still ongoing. It gives strong evidence to the original painting of heavyweight roofs using aluminum paint. The message clearly indicates a post June 1949 change to black. This heading of this specific message was directed to treatment of Dining Cars but a short note found attached to it clearly indicates that the change was meant to apply to all heavy weight cars.

Newton, June 24, 1949

For your information and guidance I am quoting below Mr. J. P. Morris's letter of June 21st to Mr. M. R. Buck, relative to shadow-line painting of heavyweight passenger cars.

"In connection with heavyweight passenger cars some of which have been given shadow-line treatment on the exterior account those cars being used from time to time in trains composed almost entirely of lightweight stainless steel equipment, it has been the practice to paint roofs on those cars aluminum.

The old heavyweight cars so treated cannot be satisfactorily handled through our mechanical car washers due to obstructions on the roof. Result is they become very grimy, dirty and objectionable from an appearance standpoint.

It has been decided that where we apply shadow-line treatment to these heavyweight cars that roofs be painted black."

I am giving Shop and Mechanical Superintendents as well as Mr. Swan a copy of this letter so they will be governed accordingly.

W. A. Birch"


The next message from 1952 indicates that the replacement of shadow-line paint with two-tone gray paint had been instituted as early as January 1950.

Shadow Line Painting of Passenger Cars 116
Newton, March 19, 1952
Mr. E. B. Nail

Previous correspondence, above subject and file. Now have the following from Mr. Wolfe, his letter of February 20, 1952:

"Please refer to our instruction letter of January 11, 1950, above file, in regard to use of two-tone gray paint treatment on passenger cars, previously given shadow-line paint treatment."

In the third paragraph of the above-mentioned letter, it was indicated that the under car equipment be painted black and trucks aluminum. Will you please arrange to paint the exposed surfaces of the under car equipment and the trucks on our two-tone gray cars with DuPont Dulux 88-8235 Dark Gray. This change applies only to the two-tone gray treatment on old heavyweight cars and will not apply to any sleeping cars or cars of Corten steel construction. All concerned are being furnished a copy of this letter as information and should arrange to correct their file and instructions for painting of the heavyweight cars accordingly.

Please report the cars as they are given the above paint treatment on your monthly 2536 form.

W. A. Birch"


The next message from June 1952 gives a good indication of cars as of that date which had been repainted and those few remaining yet to be repainted from shadow-line to two tone gray. I have added the car description after each name and number. It would be interesting to know how long diner 1451 lasted in her shadow-line scheme.

"Topeka, June 18, 1952

Listed below are the remaining passenger cars which are still shadow-lined and are to be repainted to two-tone gray enamel.

Remaining Cars Shadow-Lined:

  • 1368: bar lounge
  • 1451, 1453: diner
  • 1531, 1537: bar lounge dorm
  • Cimarron Valley, Pecos Valley, Rio Grande Valley, Surprise Valley, Tesuque Valley, Verde Valley: 6-6-4-sleeper

In connection with the above, car 1451 will not be repainted as this car had protection coating of DuPont Dulux Exterior Clear RAK-404 for clear coating and was to remain painted shadow-line as called for in our letter April 24.

Below are cars which have had two-tone gray enamel applied:

  • 71, 73, 75: 60 RPO
  • 1100: LW pendulum chair car
  • 1300 - 1305: bag bar lounge dorm
  • 1354 - 1355, 1360 - 1366: bar lounge dorm
  • 1400 - 1418, 1442, 1444, 1445, 1448 - 1450, 1452, 1455-1473; diner
  • 1509, 1513, 1515: café lounge observation open platform
  • 1516: café lounge
  • 1522: coach snack diner
  • 1523: snack diner lounge
  • 1524, 1525: coach snack diner?
  • 1526 - 1530: bar lounge dorm
  • 1820, 1823 - 1826, 1829: bag mail storage express
  • 3064: 48 seat coach
  • 3071: LW chair car
  • Antelope Valley, Blue Valley, Chama Valley, Cottonwood Valley, Eagle Nest Valley, Hidden Valley, Kaw Valley, Mescalero Valley, Monument Valley, Paradise Valley, Pleasant Valley, Red River Valley, Red Rock Valley, Redondo Valley, Salt River Valley, San Miguel Valley, Sunshine Valley, Sweetwater Valley, Taos Valley, White Water Valley: 6-6-4 sleeper

(Ed. note: above arranged by editor for easy identification.)

The above information is given you in order to avoid any possibility of error in painting cars not authorized.

H. B. Wolfe"

While this is not meant to be a definitive list, it is interesting to note from the above the extensive variety of equipment the Santa Fe operated for a short time in the shadow-line scheme, later to be repainted to two tone gray. Two chair cars, both experimental and unique, 3071 and 1100 are of note. Also of interest are the open platform cafe observation cars; a photo of one in service in train would be of interest.

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