Santa Fe 3751


The Santa Fe Railroad’s first 4-8-4 Northern type locomotive was the 3751.  Built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1927.  Steam powered with a tractive effort of 71,719 lbf, she ran on standard gauge track.  In 1936 the locomotive was converted to burn fuel oil and then in 1938 was given a larger tender that held 20,000 gallons of water and 7,107 gallons of fuel oil.


On May 7, 1939 3751 was present at the grand opening of the new Los Angeles Union Station.  3751 pulled the first passenger train into the station from Chicago.  In 1941 the locomotive, along with others, was given more upgrades that included new 80 inch driving wheels.  3751 continued in service reliably until retirement in 1953.  The locomotive was stored until 1957 when it was officially removed from the railroad’s roster.   In 1958 it was put on display in San Bernardino, CA where it stayed for almost 30 years.

Santa Fe 3751

The San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society was formed in 1981 and they had ideas of restoring 3751.  Four years later 3751 was sold to them with the condition that they restore the locomotive and operate it.  In 1986 the locomotive was moved from display and began restoration.  The project was completed in 1991 after $1.5 million dollars had been spent.  3751 ran for the first time in 38 years by pulling 16 passenger cars on a four-day trip from Los Angeles to Bakersfield.  The locomotive has done regular trips on and off since then.  3751 is taken to many special events including Railroad Days at the Fullerton Train station every year.  At this point, Santa Fe 3751 is the oldest surviving 4-8-4 in the world.


Posted in Steam | Leave a comment

The Gov. Stanford


Central Pacific Locomotive #1 was the “Gov. Stanford” name after the first President of the Central Pacific Railroad, Leland Stanford.   The locomotive was built in 1862 by Norris Locomotive Works, Philadelphia, PA.  It was an American 4-4-0 locomotive that ran on standard gauge rails.   Weighing in at 50,000 pounds it had tractive effort of 7,791 lbf.   The Gov. Stanford was a wood burning locomotive.


After completion it was disassembled and shipped to the west coast on 10/6/1863 and arrived in Sacramento on 11/6/1863.   The locomotive was reassembled and began service on 11/9/1863.  The Gov. Stanford has the distinction of pulling the very first excursion train, the first revenue freight train and the first scheduled passenger trains for the Central Pacific Railroad.

The locomotive was rebuilt in 1878 with increased boiler pressure to increase tractive effort and in 1891 was renumbered to 1174.   The locomotive was retired on July 20, 1895 and later donated to Stanford University.  In the 1960s the locomotive was loaned to the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society.  It was restored to its 1899 appearance and is now on permanent display at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.


(The Gov. Stanford entering the Stanford Museum 1916)
Posted in Steam | Leave a comment

EMD SD40-2


(Picture taken at Western America Railroad Museum in Barstow, CA 4-21-16)

The EMD SD40-2 is a 3,000-horsepower C-C diesel-electric locomotive built by EMD from 1972 to 1989.

The SD40-2 was introduced in January 1972, competing against the GE U30C and the ALCO Century 630. Although higher-horsepower locomotives were available, the reliability and versatility of the 3,000-horsepower SD40-2 made it the best-selling model in EMD’s history and the standard of the industry for several decades after its introduction..

Peak production of the SD40-2 was in the mid-1970s. Sales of the SD40-2 began to diminish after 1981 due to the oil crisis, increased competition from GE’s Dash-7 series and the introduction of the EMD SD50. The last SD40-2 delivered to a United States railroad was built in July 1984, with production continuing for railroads in Canada until 1988, Mexico until February 1986, and Brazil until October 1989. As of 2013, nearly all built still remain in service.


The SD40-2 has seen service in Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Guinea. To suit export country specifications, General Motors designed the JT26CW-SS (British Rail Class 59) for Great Britain, the GT26CW-2 for Yugoslavia, South Korea, Iran, Morocco, Peru and Pakistan, while the GT26CU-2 went to Zimbabwe and Brazil. Various customizations led Algeria to receive their version of a SD40-2, known as GT26HCW-2.

SD40-2s are still quite usable nearly fifty years after the first SD40 was made. Most SD40-2s which remain in service have by now been rebuilt “in-kind” for another 30 to 40 years of service, although a few have been rebuilt to incorporate a 12-cylinder EFI-equipped 710G engine.

Posted in Diesel | Leave a comment

The AC4400CW


The GE AC4400CW is a 4,400 horsepower, diesel-electric, locomotive that was built by GE Transportation Systems between 1993 and 2004. Almost 2,600 of these locomotives were produced for North American railroads. As a result of stronger emission requirements that came into effect in the United States on January 1, 2005, the AC4400CW has been replaced by newer models with lower emissions.
As of 2005, every Class I railroad with the exceptions of Norfolk Southern and Canadian National owns at least one AC4400CW. These units quickly gained a reputation as powerful freight haulers, especially in heavy-haul applications. The AC4400CW was the first GE locomotive to offer an optional self-steering truck design, intended to increase adhesion and reduce wear on the railhead.


CSX ordered many of its AC4400CW locomotives with 20,000 lb. extra weight to increase tractive effort. These same units were also modified in 2006-2007 with a “high tractive effort” software upgrade. Union Pacific ordered many of their AC4400CW’s with Computerized Tractive Effort software.  This software was carried on from their AC4400s and is now standard on Union PacificES44AC’s.

AC4400CW Owners:

Railroad Qty Notes
Union Pacific 1338 A handful patched from Southern Pacific and Chicago and North Western, unpatched SP’s include 309, 319, 335, 343, and 352.
CSX Transportation 615 CSX designation CW44AC, or CW44AH with HTE software
BNSF 121 5600-5717, 5838-5840, 40 units leased to Metrolink and converted to PTC.
Canadian Pacific 438
Cartier Railway 17
Cerrejon 5 10010-10014
Ferromex 75
Ferrosur 38
Kansas City Southern 175
Quebec, North Shore and Labrador 12 Numbered 415 to 426
Metrolink 40 Units leased from BNSF Railway. Will be used to temporarily replace Rotem cab cars while they are being investigated following the 2015 Oxnard train derailment.

Original Article Information can be found


Posted in Diesel | Leave a comment

Santa Fe Super Chief

The Santa Fe Super Chief was launched on May 12, 1936 and boasted one of the fastest travel times between Chicago and Los Angeles, 39 3/4 hours to make the trip.   It easily beat the nearest competition.  These were gleaming new trains that caught everyone’s eye as they went flying by the railroad crossings.   The Super Chief would leave Los Angeles and make stops at Pasadena, San Bernardino, Barstow, CA, Needles, CA, Seligman, AZ, Winslow, AZ, Gallup, NM, Albuquerque, NM, Las Vegas, NM, La Junta, CO, Dodge City, KS, Kansas City, MO and Chicago, IL.   It would turn around and go back the same route to Los Angeles the next day.

Santa Fe EB Chief at Highland Park, CA a

PHOTO:   (The Super Chief crossing the Arroyo Seco Parkway in Highland Park, CA on its way to Pasadena.)

The Super Chief had unparalleled elegance inside and out.   The service was superb, the train was always on-time and the travelers were treated like royalty.  Santa Fe operated the Super Chief from 1936 until the spring of 1971 when Amtrak took over.   As the service level dropped, Santa Fe requested that Amtrak drop the Super Chief name in 1974.  Amtrak renamed the service Southwest.   Then in 1984 Amtrak renamed the line the Southwest Chief.   It still runs between Los Angeles and Chicago.  Gone are the colorful Santa Fe “Warbonnet” trains that caught our eye and made many of us fans of train travel.

Posted in Diesel | 2 Comments

Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad

The Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad is a historic 3 ft Narrow gauge railroad located near the entrance to Yosemite National Park.  It has been in operation since 1961 and follows a grade carved out of the mountain by the Madera Sugar Pine Lumber Company in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  They have two operating steam locomotives, Shay #10 and Shay #15.


Number 10 was built by Lima Locomotive Works in 1928 for the Pickering Lumber Company.   It weighs in at 81 tons and holds 1,200 gallons of fuel oil and 3,400 gallons of water.   It is reportedly the largest, narrow gauge, Shay ever constructed.  No. 10 was acquired by YMSRR in 1961.


Number 15 was built by Lima Locomotive Works in 1913 for the Sierra Nevada Wood & Lumber Co. near Truckee, CA.  It weighs in at 60 tons and holds 1,000 gallons of fuel oil and 2,000 gallons of water.   No. 15 was acquired by the YMSRR in 1986.


Shay Locomotives are named for their creator Ephraim Shay.  He came up with the idea of geared steam locomotives and was granted patents by the US Patent Office.  Lima Locomotive Works built the first Shay prototype in 1880.  Shay locomotives had regular boilers offset to the left to provide space for, and counterbalance the weight of, a two or three cylinder “motor,” mounted vertically on the right with longitudinal drive shafts extending fore and aft from the crankshaft at wheel axle height. These shafts had universal joints and square sliding prismatic joints to accommodate the swiveling trucks. Each axle was driven by a separate bevel gear, with no side rods.


The strength of these engines is that all wheels, including, in some engines, those under the tender, are driven so that all the weight develops tractive effort. A high ratio of piston strokes to wheel revolutions allowed them to run at partial slip, where a conventional rod engine would spin its drive wheels and burn rails, losing all traction.

Shay locomotives were often known as sidewinders or stemwinders for their side-mounted drive shafts. The Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad operates daily during the summer months.  

Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad

Posted in Shay, Steam | Leave a comment

Railroad Days 2016

For the 16th year the Southern California Railway Plaza Association is putting on Railroad Days on April 30th and May 1st.   Admission is free and both days are open 9am to 5pm at the Fullerton Train Station located at 120 E. Santa Fe Ave., Fullerton, CA 92832.



Posted in Commuter, Diesel, Model Railroad, Steam | Leave a comment