News & Reviews News Wire Santa Fe 93: Historic diesel locomotive needs extreme makeover

Santa Fe 93: Historic diesel locomotive needs extreme makeover

By | September 25, 2023

Wichita museum announces restoration project

Email Newsletter

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

Santa Fe 93

red and silver Santa Fe train
Santa Fe FP45 No. 93 at Barstow, Calif., in the early 1990s. Mike Martin, courtesy of GPTM

man smiling at camera
Family Ties Actor Michael Gross

WICHITA, Kan. — Today is the day. Great Plains Transportation Museum (Wichita) has begun a fundraiser to support the restoration of Santa Fe locomotive No. 93. Michael Gross, Family Ties actor, is the face of this campaign.

Just a bit of background: No. 93 was built by EMD in late 1967. It was donated to the museum by Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway in June 1999. This diesel pulled the Santa Fe’s top passenger train, the Super Chief, between Chicago and California and other passenger trains to Texas (1967 to 1971), as well as freight trains for Santa Fe and successor Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway from 1971 to 1998.

“I am delighted to be involved with the restoration of such an iconic Santa Fe locomotive,” said Michael Gross in a press release. “My paternal grandfather, Chester Gross, worked at Santa Fe’s Fort Madison, Iowa, car and locomotive shops his entire career. Many children grew up running Lionel trains adorned with Santa Fe’s familiar red and silver livery circling Christmas trees in the 1950s and 1960s. Hence, my interest in this project to restore locomotive [No.] 93 to its proud Santa Fe heritage is very high, and personal.”

Fundraiser goal: $193,000. The money will be used to cover:

  • Mechanical work needed for the locomotive to make a round trip from Wichita to Kansas City.
  • Transportation costs.
  • Restoration work that will include staircases so visitors can access the display after it returns to Wichita.

According to the museum’s press release, Watco’s Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad team will donate the mechanical inspection to identify any required work to ensure the locomotive’s safe transit to and from Kansas City. The locomotive’s livery — the red and silver Santa Fe Super Fleet scheme that it has worn since 1989 — will be restored. Michael R. Haverty, Santa Fe president, approved an updated version of the well-known and historic scheme used on passenger train locomotives from 1937 to 1971. Amtrak assumed passenger train operations in 1971.

John Deck, GPTM president says the goal is to have funding by mid-2024, with restoration work beginning later in the year.  “Just as our prominent Santa Fe steam locomotive No. 3768 serves as a very visible historic icon of the region’s rich railroad heritage proudly sitting atop the Douglas Avenue overpass in Wichita’s Old Town district, [No.] 93 will be a fitting, aesthetically pleasant and historically significant ambassador for Wichita’s downtown.”

If you would like to support this effort, please visit GPTM’s website.

worn down looking Santa Fe locomotive
Current state of the Santa Fe No. 93 at GPTM. GPTM

8 thoughts on “Santa Fe 93: Historic diesel locomotive needs extreme makeover

  1. Article says the cowl units ran on the Super Chief in the years leading to Amtrak. After Amtrak started (and some trains were dropped, notably the San Francisco Chief) Amtrak trains ran with the classic F units. Thus the early Amtrak Super Chief/ El Capitan trains were more “pure” Santa Fe than before Amtrak.

    I never rode the Santa Fe as a private railroad, but my 1972 and 1973 trips on Amtrak El Capitan to Lamy (near Santa Fe) and Pasadena were all 100% Santa Fe equipment nose to tail, and Santa Fe crews and commissary.

    Colorado’s Royal Gorge tourist train has three full-length Santa Fe domes (I believe from the San Francisco Chief) but our seats were in a MIlwaukee Road full-length dome. Fitting I guess as we live in three miles from the CPKC main (ex-MILW) in Wisconsin. If memory serves, Amtrak never ran the Santa Fe full-length domes, which were sold to the original private-sector Auto-Train.

    There’s probably no tourist train anywhere that can match the Royal Gorge for incredible pre-Amtrak mainline equipment. As a huge Santa Fe fan, I was in heaven.

    1. Your reference to a trip on the Santa Fe just after Amtrak reminds me of the trip I took eastbound on this train a few years after 1973. The train was still very much “Santa Fe” in equipment and service. It was a truly memorable trip. I rode the sleeper section (rear of train) with our own lounge and dining car. The food was superb, including one of the best steaks I’ve ever had.

      The second night out we did a late evening fast run across Kansas. I rode the dome on our low-level sleeper section. Great memories of passing through the farm towns at 90 MPH on a moonlit night, with air horn sounds echoing off the elevator silos and other buildings.

  2. Will they restore it as freight unit 93 or passenger unit 103? The FP45’s have had many numbers but I think this unit was delivered as ATSF 103.

  3. The EMD SDP45 was a good passenger locomotive, but to the ATSF Railway it did not look the part. EMD therefore designed a lightweight “cowl” body to cover the locomotive, though it did not, as in earlier cab units, provide any structural strength, which remained in the frame. The cowl provided sleeker looks, better aerodynamics at speed, and allowed the crew to enter the engine compartment en route for diagnostics and maintenance.

    Dr. Güntürk Üstün

  4. The EMD FP45 is a cowl unit type of C-C diesel locomotive produced in the United States by General Motors Electro-Motive Division. It was produced beginning in 1967 at the request of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, which did not want its prestigious Super Chief/El Capitan and other passenger trains pulled by freight style hood unit locomotives, which have external walkways.

    Dr. Güntürk Üstün

You must login to submit a comment