Santa Fe 3751

Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe 3751 is a class 3751 4-8-4 "Northern" type steam locomotive built in 1927 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Eddystone (Philadelphia), Pennsylvania for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway (ATSF). Built as the first 'Northern' type steam locomotive for the Santa Fe, No. 3751 served in passenger duties until being retired in 1957.

Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe 3751
ATSF 3751 19920000 IL Streator.jpg
ATSF No. 3751 leads an employee special train westbound through Streator, Illinois in 1992
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
BuilderBaldwin Locomotive Works
Serial number60004
Model16-54 1/4 E
Build dateMay 1927
 • Whyte4-8-4
Gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Driver dia.80 in (2,032 mm)
Axle load73,000 lb (33,100 kg) (Originally 70,500 lb (32,000 kg))
Adhesive weight287,000 lb (130,000 kg) (Originally 270,000 lb (122,000 kg)
Loco weight478,100 lb (216,900 kg)
Tender weight396,246 lb (179,730 kg)
Total weight874,346 lb (396,600 kg)
Fuel typeCoal (1927-1936), later converted to oil
Fuel capacity7,101 US gal (26,880 l; 5,913 imp gal)
Water cap20,000 US gal (76,000 l; 17,000 imp gal)
Boiler pressure230 lbf/in2 (1.59 MPa)
Originally 210 lbf/in2 (1.45 MPa)
Cylinder size30 in × 30 in (762 mm × 762 mm)
Performance figures
Maximum speedOver 100 mph (160 km/h)
Power outputAs built: 3,220 hp (2,400 kW)
Tractive effort65,981 lbf (293.50 kN)
Factor of adh.4.35
OperatorsSanta Fe (1927 to 1957)→(1991 to 1995)→BNSF (1995-present)
San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society
  • ATSF 3751
Last run1953 (revenue service)
Retired1957 (revenue service)
Preserved1958 (revenue preservation)
RestoredAugust 13, 1991 (1st restoration)
Current ownerSan Bernardino Railroad Historical Society
DispositionUndergoing 15 year boiler inspection/overhaul based at Redondo Junction, California
Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Steam Locomotive No. 3751
Santa Fe 3751 is located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area
Santa Fe 3751
Santa Fe 3751 is located in California
Santa Fe 3751
Santa Fe 3751 is located in the United States
Santa Fe 3751
Location2435 E. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles
Coordinates34°1′2″N 118°13′31″W / 34.01722°N 118.22528°W / 34.01722; -118.22528Coordinates: 34°1′2″N 118°13′31″W / 34.01722°N 118.22528°W / 34.01722; -118.22528
ArchitectAtchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway; Baldwin Locomotive Works
NRHP reference No.00001178[1]
Added to NRHPOctober 4, 2000

The locomotive was then placed on display in San Bernardino until it was restored to operating condition in 1991. It is currently located in the Central City East neighborhood of Los Angeles and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It holds the distinction of being the oldest surviving 4-8-4 type steam locomotive in the world.

The locomotive is currently owned and operated by the San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society, which uses the locomotive to haul occasional mainline excursion trains. However, a federally-mandated 15-year inspection put it out of service for three to four years. 3751's current overhaul is estimated to be completed in 2021.


Built in 1927 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works, 3751 was Baldwin's and the Santa Fe Railway's first 4-8-4. Tests showed that 3751 was 20% more efficient and powerful than the Santa Fe's 3700 class 4-8-2 "Mountain" type steamers, which at the time were Santa Fe's most advanced steam locomotives.

In 1936, the engine was converted to burn oil. Two years later, the locomotive was given a larger tender able to hold 20,000 US gallons (76,000 l; 17,000 imp gal) of water and 7,107 US gallons (26,900 l; 5,918 imp gal) of fuel oil. 3751 was also present at the grand opening of Union Passenger Terminal in Los Angeles on May 7, 1939, pulling the Scout, one of Santa Fe's crack passenger trains as it arrived from Chicago. It was the first steam locomotive to bring a passenger train into Union Station.

In 1941, along with other 4-8-4s, 3751 received major upgrades including: 80-inch (2.0 m) drive wheels, a new frame, roller bearings all around, and more. It is speculated that 3751's (as well as most, if not all, engines of the 3751 class) LM-191 whistle was swapped out for the shorter, much higher pitched LM-192 whistle—either during the rebuild or soon thereafter. (More on that below, in the ‘Mainline Excursion Career’ section)

That same year, it achieved its highest recorded speed at 103 miles per hour (166 km/h). It continued to be a very reliable working locomotive until 1953, when it pulled the last regularly scheduled steam-powered passenger train on the Santa Fe to run between Los Angeles and San Diego on August 25; this was its last run in revenue service. After that, it was stored at the Redondo Junction roundhouse in Los Angeles for four years before it was officially retired from the roster by the railroad in 1957. In 1958, it was placed on display in San Bernardino.


In 1981, the San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society was formed with intentions of restoring and operating 3751. Four years later, it achieved its goal when 3751 was sold to it for one cent with the condition that the SBRHS must restore and operate the locomotive. In 1986, 3751 was moved from its display to California Steel Industries, where it was restored at a cost of $1.50.[2] On August 13, 1991, it moved under its own steam for the first time in 38 years. It made its first excursion run on December 27, 1991, running with two Santa Fe EMD FP45s and 16 passenger cars on a four-day trip from Los Angeles to Bakersfield. Since then, it has been utilized for a large number of excursions and special trips, and for display at many events.[3] Ever since it was restored in 1991, the 3751 is now one of the most well-known steam locomotives in North America that still operates to this day.

Mainline Excursion careerEdit

The locomotive is currently owned by the San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society, the same organization that performed the initial 1986 restoration.

In August 1992, the 3751 was found on its largest assignment so far, as the engine ran the entire route of Santa Fe's Transcon route between Los Angeles and Chicago with three (and later two) Santa Fe GE Dash 8-40CWs. The engine spent 18 days traveling over 2,300 miles (3,700 km) in both directions. This run would include travelling to Topeka, Kansas to attend that year's Topeka Railroad days, where the locomotive was briefly displayed near Union Pacific 4-6-6-4 No. 3985.[4][5]

ATSF 3751, on its first trip after restoration, leads a train eastbound through Cajon Pass.

On April 22–23, 1995, 3751 was displayed in the Riverside Sunkist Orange Blossom Festival in Riverside. On September 22, 1995 when Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe merged with Burlington Northern Railroad to form Burlington Northern Santa Fe, the locomotive retained the same number. The excursion was operated again on April 20–21, 1996.

Also on April 22, 1995, the engine's 5-chime freight whistle (the aforementioned LM-192, made by the Locomotive Finished Material Company—or LFM—of Atchison, KS) was replaced with a new long-bell Santa Fe 6-chime whistle (the LM-540, also made by LFM). This particular whistle design was intended to be the standard whistle on all late Santa Fe steam power from about mid-1931 on — including the 3400 class 4-6-2s, all 4-6-4s, the 3765, 3776, and 2900 class 4-8-4s, and all 2-10-4s, as well as many others. However, most if not all of the original 3751 class (14 locomotives in all), retained their 5-chime whistles due to apparent height-clearance issues in some passenger train terminals: chiefly the Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal, or LAUPT. Since restoration, the big 6-chime (believed to have come off of a 2900 class 4-8-4) has been the mainstay on 3751.

In June 1999, the locomotive participated in Railfair 99. On the way to the fair, 3751 ran with a BNSF GE Dash 9-44CW and a passenger train mixed with a boxcar train.

In October 2000, 3751 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[1]

A second locomotive of the same class has also been preserved, Santa Fe 3759 in Kingman, Arizona. It too is listed on the NRHP.

The locomotive has been displayed at Fullerton Railroad Days in Fullerton, California a number of times.

In August 2002, the 3751 ran an Amtrak excursion from Los Angeles to Williams, Arizona to participate in the 2002 National Railway Historical Society Convention. The excursion ran over Metrolink, BNSF Railway, and Arizona and California Railroad tracks. The engine also ran on the Grand Canyon Railway for an excursion on the former Santa Fe's Grand Canyon line. The event including double and tripleheading with the Grand Canyon Railway's own steam engines, ex-Chicago Burlington & Quincy 2-8-2 4960 and ex-Lake Superior & Ishpeming 2-8-0 18. There was a night photo session that took place which featured the three locomotives side-by-side.[6]

In 2008, 3751 ran on the Surfline route for two excursions from Los Angeles to San Diego. The first, on June 1, was a public excursion which left 30 minutes late due to a delayed Metrolink train and arrived in San Diego two hours behind schedule, mostly caused by the single-track railroad south of Mission Viejo station. The excursion made the locomotive the first steam locomotive to run on the Surf Line since the 1976 American Freedom Train, it was also the first steam powered passenger train to make the run between Los Angeles and San Diego since 3751 last traveled the line in 1953. The train was turned at Miramar Wye, 15 miles north of San Diego station. The second excursion was a private-car special on September 21. However, a trespasser was struck near Mission Viejo, delaying all trains up to 3 hours. The excursion passed the cleared location at around 9:00 pm.

In May 2010, the locomotive returned to the Surf Line for a third excursion from Los Angeles to San Diego, pulling eight Amtrak cars and a few dome cars, attracting large crowds. In order to alleviate issues with turning the train, the excursion was split over two days: south to San Diego on May 1, and north to Los Angeles the following day. This proved successful, as 3751 was on time into San Diego the first day and sustained only normal delays northbound, thus proving the excursion to be the most successful yet.[7] The weekend after the trip to San Diego saw the engine in San Bernardino for National Train Day and the 2010 San Bernardino Railroad Days festival. It has made annual runs to San Bernardino for the Railroad Days Festival in April or May since the initial trip.[8][9][10][11][12]

No. 3751 with Grand Canyon Railway 4960 and a GE P42, 2012

In May 2012, 3751 powered a six-day excursion from Los Angeles to Williams, Arizona to celebrate the state's Centennial. As part of the excursion, another special round-trip doubleheader to the Grand Canyon and back was run with 3751 and GCRY 4960. The train also operated over the Arizona & California Railroad on the way to Williams and on the return trip to Los Angeles. Three weeks before the trip to Arizona, the engine also made the trip east to attend the San Bernardino Railroad Days Festival for the third year in a row.

In May 2013, 3751 ran on a fourth trip to the San Bernardino Railroad Days Festival.

In May 2015, 3751 made an appearance at Fullerton Railroad Days 2015 in Fullerton, California, making it the first time since 2008 to appear at this event. From April 31 - May 1, 2016, the loco was on display again and left Fullerton 2 hours late due to traffic. From May 6–7, 2017, she was on display yet again for the last time for a few years as she went into a 3-4 year restoration. She was on display at Union Station's Summer Train Fest on July 15, 2017 before being overhauled. 3751's overhaul was estimated to be completed in 2021, and on August 10 of that same year, No. 3751 was test fired right before the 30th anniversary of the locomotives' first return to steam, as well as the 40th anniversary of the SBRHS.[13] No. 3751 will run on the mainline again after some additional work proceeds as planned.

Surviving sister enginesEdit

    1. 3759 is displayed at Locomotive Park in Kingman, Arizona.
    2. 3768 is displayed at Great Plains Transportation Museum in Wichita, Kansas.
    3. 2903 is displayed at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois.
    4. 2912 is displayed at the Pueblo Railway Museum in Pueblo, Colorado.
    5. 2913 is displayed at Riverview Park in Fort Madison, Iowa.
    6. 2921 is now displayed at the Modesto Amtrak Station in Modesto, California. The locomotive is no longer on display at Beard Brook Park.
    7. 2925 is displayed at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, California.
    8. 2926 moved from Coronado Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1999 to the New Mexico Steam Locomotive and Railroad Historical Society; then moved again for restoration to operating condition, which was completed in 2021.

In popular cultureEdit

3751 was also featured in the There Goes a... episode "There Goes a Train" footage used in "Route of the Chief".

Santa Fe 3751 can also be briefly viewed—with its 5-chime (LM-192) whistle heard—near the end of the 1952 film Boots Malone, starring William Holden and Harry Morgan.

3751 was also featured in the 1950 Clark Gable-starring film Key to the City and the 2001 film Pearl Harbor.

Historic designationsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. April 15, 2008.
  2. ^ Santa Fe Behemoth Moved Pacific RailNews issue 274 September 1986 page 14
  3. ^ Boerio, Larry; Gary Page; Dennis White. "Santa Fe No. 3751 and Fullerton: Interesting Facts" (PDF). Fullerton Model Railroad Historical Society. Retrieved June 19, 2009.
  4. ^ "ATSF 3751 History". SoCalTrains. Retrieved August 22, 2021.
  5. ^ "Topeka Railroad Days Memories". Discussion. Retrieved August 22, 2021.
  6. ^ "RailPictures.Net Photo: ATSF 3751 Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe (ATSF) Steam 4-8-4 at Williams, Arizona by Michael Biehn". Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  7. ^ Gold, Scott (April 30, 2010). "Cadillac of steam' to ride the rails again". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
  8. ^ Wall, Stephen (May 8, 2010). "Hundreds pack station to see vintage steam locomotive roll into San Bernardino". San Bernardino Sun.
  9. ^ Weeks, John (April 8, 2011). "All aboard for a trip back in time". San Bernardino Sun. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  10. ^ Buck, Fielding (April 12, 2012). "Take a steam train to LA or back". The Press Enterprise. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  11. ^ Nolan, Michel (April 23, 2013). "San Bernardino to celebrate historic train culture at Railroad Days". San Bernardino Sun. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  12. ^ Nolan, Michel (April 10, 2014). "San Bernardino to celebrate Railroad Days". San Bernardino Sun. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  13. ^ "San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society Overhauls Santa Fe 3751". Railfan & Railroad Magazine. August 10, 2021. Retrieved August 12, 2021.

External linksEdit