Doodlebug to the Cavern?

The ATSF ran regular service through Roswell up until 1967.  The service ran from Carlsbad to Clovis by way of Roswell.  The service was sometimes nick-named “The Cavern City” though I do not believe the service had an official name.  The consist was normally a passenger car and the engine.  The engine was typically a “doodlebug” which was built by the Brill Motorcar Company as a gas-electric 535 HP.  The usual unit was M.160 (or M.190) which had major rebuilds in 1948 and 1952, when it was fitted with a diesel engine and components from Santa Fe’s first E-1 passenger locomotive.  The passenger car was often the “Cavern” (coach #3197) towards the end.

When one of the motorcars was unavailable (not unusual in their final years), an E8 or a PA was the substitute motive power, and a baggage car was carried along with the coach-observation.

By the way, the M.160 and 3197 now live at the Museum of the American Railroad in Frisco, Texas and have been restored and are operational.


ATSF M160 (without the “Cavern”) in Clovis, NM on November 18, 1967

ATSF M160 Dallas TX Apr 1 2006

Restored M-160 in Dallas, TX 2006.

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