Some Santa Fe Bunk Houses

Last revised: November 24, 2000
Maintained by Evan Werkema.

Bunk houses were built to house the section gangs that maintained sections of Santa Fe's track. The standard Santa Fe bunk house was U-shaped, and contained up to 12 individual rooms, with each member of the section gang assigned one room. The rooms typically lacked plumbing and all but the most rudimentary furnishings. Bunk houses were generally built in close proximity to the section foreman's house (see section houses).

Plans for Santa Fe standard bunkhouses appear on pages 198-210 of Kachina Press' Santa Fe System Standards, Vol. 3. The plans are dated July 1936, by which time nearly every line that Santa Fe was going to build had been built. Most surviving bunkhouses were built to earlier, slightly different plans. The largest concentration of survivors is on the Coast Lines, and most are abandoned or privately owned. A few examples are shown below. If you have pictures or information to add, drop us a line.

Ingalls, KS

This concrete bunkhouse was still in fairly good shape when photographed in 1990. Opposite corners are shown for the benefit of modelers. Note that there are no separate roof gables over the end rooms, unlike the 1936 standard plans.

Woodward, OK

The bunk house at Woodward, OK was still being used by the railroad's maintenance of way forces in 1995, but as a tool shed and garage as opposed to living quarters. Whether the center portion of the structure was built as a garage or modified at a later date is not known. A section tool house was located next door, as shown in the lower photo. This bunk house has since been demolished.

Felt, NM

A relic of Santa Fe's ill-fated Colmor Cutoff, this concrete block bunk house at Felt, NM was holding up fairly well 50 years after the Santa Fe moved out. The bunk house was probably constructed in 1925.

Seligman, AZ

The bunk house at Seligman, AZ was in sorry shape when it was photographed in 1996. The poured concrete walls were virtually indestructable, but unfortunately, the same could not be said for the roof.

Nelson, AZ

In 1998, the collection of company buildings at Nelson, AZ still included the bunk house and nearby section house.

Allenfarm, TX

R.J. McKay sends along this image of the bunkhouse at Allenfarm, TX. Whether the structure was built this way or was cut down from a full sized, U-shaped bunkhouse is not known.

Thanks to W. W. Childers for information regarding bunk houses and their function.

Other bunkhouses believed to still exist:

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