News & Reviews News Wire BNSF donates locomotive to Railroading Heritage of Midwest America

BNSF donates locomotive to Railroading Heritage of Midwest America

By Steve Glischinski | June 14, 2023

Former Santa Fe B40-8W will be based in Silvis, Ill.

Email Newsletter

Get the newest photos, videos, stories, and more from brands. Sign-up for email today!

Side view of BNSF locomotive
BNSF Railway has donated B40-8W No. 537, built as part of Santa Fe’s “Super Fleet” of Warbonnet-painted diesels, to Railroading Heritage of Midwest America. RRHMA

SILVIS, Ill. — BNSF Railway has donated former Santa Fe B40-8W No. 537 to the non-profit Railroading Heritage of Midwest America (RRHMA). The unit was delivered to the RRHMA shop in Silvis this week.

No. 537 was constructed by General Electric for Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe in October 1990 as part of its “Super Fleet” of new EMD and GE diesels painted in Santa Fe’s famous Warbonnet passenger diesel paint scheme revived by Mike Haverty, the railroad’s then-president. AT&SF was the only railroad to order the B40-8W. No. 537 is the first of the type to be preserved, although the model is still operated by four short lines in addition to BNSF.

No. 537 was put into service hauling high speed intermodal trains on Santa Fe’s Transcon main line between Chicago and California. The unit was later downgraded to local service, and then stored pending disposition. BNSF’s corporate communications team approved the donation, and was assisted by now-retired BNSF Director of Fleet Planning Richard Knutson.

Dusty cab interior of diesel locomotive
The interior of No. 537. The locomotive is in good condition and can be returned to operation with minimal work. RRHMA

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the return to service of RRHMA’s first steam locomotive, Milwaukee Road 4-8-4 No. 261. “Over the last 30 years we’ve dealt with many railroads, but we have always had a special relationship with BNSF,” said Steve Sandberg, president and chief operating officer of RRHMA. “They have always been supportive of our organization, and allowed us to operate 261 throughout the Midwest. In 1998 they trusted us to use 261 to pull their Employee Appreciation Special for over 5,200 miles.”

Sandberg said BNSF continues to support community outreach efforts and special events. “Each year BNSF is a sponsor of the North Pole Express at Union Depot in St. Paul using No. 261, and supports Train Days at the depot each June by moving equipment in and out. BNSF recognizes the importance of having good relationships with communities and the public, and we are grateful for their continuing support.”

An inspection by National Railway Equipment (NRE) which shares the Silvis shop with RRHMA, indicates the unit is in good condition and can be returned to service with minimal work. Sandberg said the organization is considering a variety of uses for No. 537. It might be used as a PTC host engine to operate behind No. 261 on main line trips. However, its primary function will be at Silvis for use in community outreach, education, and safety programs at the Silvis complex. With Silvis’ location in Illinois, and Santa Fe being based in the state, Sandberg said it’s an appropriate addition to the RRHMA collection. In the long term, the group is considering returning the unit to the famous Warbonnet red-and-silver colors it wore when built.

For more information go to the RRHMA website.

8 thoughts on “BNSF donates locomotive to Railroading Heritage of Midwest America

  1. UP just wanted to clean up Cheyenne of equipment they will never invest to restore. UP is also not very friendly when it comes to museum’s use of their tracks. They consider museums a liability and possibility of slowing down their progress. Unless UP is getting a major revenue from any investment, sadly it is not worth it to them.

  2. The Dash 8-40BW, or B40-8W, is a four-axle diesel locomotive built by GE Transportation Systems for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (ATSF) in the late 1980s and the early 1990s. It is part of the GE Dash 8 Series of freight locomotives.
    The locomotive model designation is interpreted as follows: B (B type truck arrangement, 2 axles per truck) 40 (4000 horsepower) -8 (the generation when it was designed, in this case meaning the late 1980s) W (Widecab).
    All of ATSF’s B40-8Ws were passed on to BNSF Railway, with some later sold to other railroads.
    While originally built for high-speed intermodal service, by the mid-2000s the B40-8Ws had been bumped to local service.

    Dr. Güntürk Üstün

  3. The GE Dash 8-40B (or B40-8) is a 4-axle diesel-electric locomotive built by GE Transportation Systems between 1988 and 1989. It is part of the GE Dash 8 Series of freight locomotives.
    A total of 151 examples of this locomotive were built for North American railroads.
    The GE Dash 8-40BW (B40-8W) is a variant fitted with a full-width cab. Another variant is the GE Dash 8-40BP, more commonly known as the Genesis series. The locomotives in the Genesis series are the P40DC, the P42DC, and the P32AC-DM.

    Dr. Güntürk Üstün

  4. Funny, UP gives them 4-6-6-4 Challenger #3985, one of the last 2-10-2’s #5511 in existence, a running DDA40X Centennial #6936, a Chicago ans Northwestern E9B passenger locomotive #966B as well as 4 coaches, a diner, two business cars, a baggage car and a caboose from their heritage fleet, millions of dollars of historical locomotives and passenger and freight cars and their spare parts to boot and the RRHMA extols the special relationship they have had over the years with BNSF because they gave them a worn out B40-8W GE. Nothing like kicking a gift horse (UP) in the mouth. Maybe they should have asked UP for cash and a locomotive to be named later….

  5. Perhaps not my favorite class of GE locomotives, but yes, I can remember when these locomotives were new on the Santa Fe back in 1990/1991.

    Makes me feel old !!

You must login to submit a comment