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Santa Fe – In The Day

March 22, 2013

In the interest of staying true to my stated mission of looking at contemporary and vintage railroading, let’s step back in time and look at some images of the Santa Fe from back in the day.

Right at 40 years ago,  ATSF RSD15 9814 leads a manifest in Winslow, AZ in April of 1973. Alco road power on the Santa Fe was in its very last days of mainline service by this time. They would be re-assigned to yard service where they served out their last few years before being retired by the Santa Fe. Most Santa Fe RSD15’s were scrapped by the mid-70’s, but a handful were sold to the LS&I and UTAH railroads, where they worked for another decade or so.  Unfortunately, the 9814 was not one of those. By 6/74 it was stored in San Bernardino, CA pending disposition. It was sold for scrap to Precision National Corp. in 3/75.

ATSF RSD 15 9814 at Winslow AZ in April 1973

Going back 3 years and 462 miles west, we find Santa Fe SD45 1813 leading 4 other EMD’s as they approach Cajon Summit in January of 1970 with an eastbound manifest. This stretch of track was relocated in 1972 as part of a massive realignment of the Santa Fe right-of-way that eliminated the sharpest curves and reduced the grades in the Summit area. EMD’s SD45 had a long and successful tenure on the Santa Fe. ATSF 1813 was built in June of 1966, working 25 years before being retired in 1991.

ATSF SD45 1813at Summit CA in January 1970

Right at 45 years ago, we’re at another iconic Southern California location, where Santa Fe GP35 1359 is blasting uphill with an eastbound at the Tehachapi Loop, aka Walong,  in April of 1968. EMD’s GP35 had a longer and even more successful tenure on the Santa Fe than the SD45.

A May 1965 product of La Grange, the 1359 was re-manufactured by the Santa Fe in 1984. It became BNSF 2559 in 2000, working until 2009, when the BNSF had the unit re-built to GP39-3 specs. With its new number of BNSF 2653, this locomotive soldiers on today, oblivious of its advanced age.

ATSF GP35 1359 Walong (Tehachapi Loop) in  April 1968

Our last stop in time is 63 years ago. The only information on the slide mount of this next image  is San Joaquin Valley in 1950. Nevertheless it’s my favorite image of this post, by far.

You’ve got the best seat in the house for this meet as a warbonnet powered Santa Fe passenger train blows by a zebra-striped GP7 powered manifest waiting in a siding.

ATSF-meet-1950-San-Joaquin

With that, it’s back to the present. Admittedly, 2013 doesn’t seem as interesting as any of the 4 years we’ve visited in this post.

But the present is all we have. We really should make the best of it.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 4, 2013 6:50 pm

    YOU SURE GOT THAT RIGHT, ROBERT – – – – I’m head’n for the big-90 in 1/14 & more enjoyment from ‘ TIME-W/-YOU ‘ ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

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