Santa Fe inaugurated the streamlined Kansas City Chief on April 2, 1950. The overnight version of the Chicagoan/Kansas Cityan, the Kansas City Chief left Kansas City at 10 pm and arrived in Chicago at 7:30 am; the return schedule was nearly the same but took 15 minutes longer.
Since the train ran mainly in the dark, there are few if any photos of it on the Internet. Initially, the train’s consist included two coaches, four sleepers, and a heavyweight diner-lounge car that had been painted to look like a streamlined car. By the mid-1950s, the train was popular enough that Santa Fe added a coach, a sleeper, and a full diner in addition to a lounge car. The train also typically carried eight baggage/express cars for U.S. mail.
By 1955, Santa Fe had replaced the heavyweight lounge car with a Budd-built streamlined lounge car. When the Big Domes of the El Capitan were replaced by hi-level cars in July of 1956, Santa Fe used two of the leftover Big Domes as Kansas City Chief lounge cars even though there wasn’t much to see in the dark.
By 1959, Santa Fe had speeded up the Chief to the point that its schedule from Kansas City to Chicago was almost identical to the train number 10, the northbound Kansas City Chief. As a result, the railway discontinued train 10 on March 28, 1958, but continued to run train 9, from Chicago to Kansas City.
Business remained healthy until the mid-1960s. Then, in 1966, the Postal Service cancelled most railroad mail contracts. By that time, the passenger portion of the train often consisted of just two coaches and a sleeper plus the lounge and diner. As a result, Santa Fe discontinued train 9 on April 18, 1968. It is apparently just a coincidence that Kansas City’s NFL football team was named the Chiefs in 1963.