Santa Fe Steam The Last Decade 1949-1959 by Lloyd E Stagner Soft Cover
Santa Fe Steam The Last Decade 1949-1959 by Lloyd E Stagner Soft Cover
Santa Fe Steam The Last Decade 1949-1959 by Lloyd E Stagner Soft Cover
Santa Fe Steam The Last Decade 1949-1959 by Lloyd E Stagner Soft Cover

Santa Fe Steam The Last Decade 1949-1959 by Lloyd E Stagner Soft Cover

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Santa Fe Steam The Last Decade 1949-1959 by Lloyd E Stagner Soft Cover
Santa Fe Steam: The Last Decade 1949-1959 by Lloyd E Stagner
Soft Cover
72 pages
Copyright 1995
1949 - How Many Diesels? How Soon? 5
1950 - A Recession and Another War11
1951 - Heavy Traffic and High Water   17
1952 - Steam Power Keeps Busy21
1953 - Steam's Last Big Show25
1954 - Limited Use31
1955 - The Recall 33
1956-1957 - Steam Omega39
1958-1959 - Storage and Retirement    41
Steam Locomotive Types 1949-195942
AT&SF Steam Locomotives On Display   65
Locomotive Rosters    66
It is necessary to put the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway into the context of the American railroad system. In 1952, at 13,072 road miles, it was the longest railroad system. It was fourth,with $590 million, in operating revenues and third in net railway operating income at $69 million. In the category of equipment, AT&SF was fourth in locomotives (1,996 units), fifth in freight cars (84,918) and fourth in passenger cars (1,396). In terms of operations, its train mileage of 54.8 million was third, and in ton-miles of freight handled, at 32.5 billion, it ranked fifth. In 1948, Fortune magazine had the temerity to state that the Santa Fe was the "best" railroad in the U.S.A.
Santa Fe was, in the 20th century, also somewhat of a maverick in locomotive power policy. Although it was an early user of diesels in passenger service and was the first to use them in mainline freight work in 1941, it continued to buy new steam power through 1944. However, the 25 5011 class 2-10-4s may not have been purchased if sufficient freight diesels had been available. The purchase of 4-8-4s was made at the company's option as management, throughout the war, felt these engines could compete with diesels on costs in passenger service, and also be used in fast freight service on moderate grade territory. Plus, the 30 2900 class 4-8-4s would have been bought regardless of the availability of diesel power.
Shopping of the 4-8-4s and 2-10-4s was continued after the road was temporarily fully dieselized in early 1954. The author knows of no other U.S. railroad that continued heavy repair of steam power when no steam was in service. This continued to reflect the view of some Santa Fe management people that there would be a need for this power in peak traffic periods for an indefinite length of time. The stated AT&SF policy of keeping the 101 4-8-4s and 2-10-4s was further indication of the good performance of this power.
Economic conditions that affected traffic levels brought about the premature storage of this power in 1954. The reserve fleet was invaluable in the 1955 peak season, but the purchase of 80 diesel units in 1956 that had been originally planned for 1954, and a lower level of business in 1956, brought only limited use that year and in 1957. The lease of Santa Fe 2-104s to the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1956 brought more railfan photographers to trackside than these engines ever did during their 1944-1957 career back home.
The Bureau of Locomotive Inspection did not usually grant flue removal extensions beyond six years and with most engines flue time expiring in 19581959, new high horsepower diesels were acquired and the steam fleet retired in April 1959. It is worthy of note that, when the fire was put out in the last AT&SF steam locomotive on Aug. 27, 1957, only 10 other U.S. railroads, out of about 110 Class One carriers, were still using steam power in revenue, standard-gauge operation.
I hope that I have recorded some new facts on the last decade of Santa Fe steam power operation. Perhaps this book will help encourage others to do more on this fascinating era, when steam and diesel power shared the load.

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