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Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe 3751 is a 4-8-4 "Northern" type steam locomotive built in 1927 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Built as the first Northern type steam locomotive for the Santa Fe, the 3751 served in passenger duties until being retired in 1953.

Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe 3751
ATSF 3751 19920000 IL Streator.jpg
Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe 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
Fuel typeCoal (1927-1936), later converted to oil
Performance figures
Tractive effort71,719 lbf (319.02 kN)
Factor of adh.4.00
OperatorsSanta Fe (1927 to 1957)→(1991 to 1995)→BNSF (1995-present)
Current ownerSan Bernardino Railroad Historical Society
DispositionUndergoing a 15-year expiration overhaul
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 #00001178[1]
Added to NRHPOctober 4, 2000

The locomotive was then placed on display in San Bernardino, California until it was restored to operating condition in 1991. The 3751 is currently located in the Central City East neighborhood of Los Angeles and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, Santa Fe 3751 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 who use the locomotive to haul occasional mainline excursion trains. However, a 15-year inspection was expected to put it out of service for three to four years.


Built in 1927 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works, 3751 was Baldwin's and the Santa Fe railway's first 4-8-4. It had a Santa Fe 5-chime freight whistle mounted on it. Tests showed that 3751 was 20% more efficient and powerful than the Santa Fe's 3700 class 4-8-2 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 gallons of water and 7,107 gallons of fuel oil. 3751 was also present at the grand opening of Union Station 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 LAUPT. In 1941, along with other 4-8-4s, 3751 received major upgrades including: 80-inch drive wheels, a new frame, roller bearings all around, and more. That same year, it achieved its highest recorded speed at 103 mph. 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, California roundhouse in Los Angeles for four years before it was officially retired from the roster by the railroad in 1957, and 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, they achieved their goal when 3751 was sold to them for $1 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 $1.5 million. In 1991, it operated for the first time in 38 years, running with two Santa Fe 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 as well as being on display at many events.[2] Ever since it was restored in 1991, the 3751 is now one of the most well-known steam locomotives in North America (apparently common for United States and Canada) that still operates to this day.

Surviving sister enginesEdit

  • #3759 is displayed at Locomotive Park in Kingman, Arizona.
  • #3768 is displayed at Great Plains Transportation Museum in Wichita, Kansas.
  • #2903 is displayed at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois.
  • #2912 is displayed at the Pueblo Railway Museum in Pueblo, Colorado.
  • #2913 is displayed at Riverview Park in Fort Madison, Iowa.
  • #2921 is now displayed at the Modesto Amtrak Station in Modesto, California. The locomotive is longer on display at Beard Brook Park.
  • #2925 is displayed at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, California.
  • #2926 moved out from Coronado Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1999 to the New Mexico Steam Locomotive and Railroad Historical Society, then moved out for restoration.

Mainline Excursion careerEdit

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

On 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 C40-8Ws. The engine spent 18 days traveling over 2,300 miles (3,700 km) in both directions.

In April 22–23, 1995, 3751 was displayed in the Riverside Sunkist Orange Blossom Festival in Riverside, CA. On September 22 1995 when Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe merged with Burlington Northern Railroad to form Burlington Northern Santa Fe with the same number. The excursion happened again in April 20–21, 1996. The engine's original Santa Fe 5-chime Freight Whistle was replaced with a new Santa Fe 6-Chime Passenger Whistle on April 22, 1995, which have been used to this day ever since.

On June 1999, the locomotive participated in Railfair 99. On the way to the fair, 3751 ran with a BNSF C44-9W 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 Grand Canyon Railway's own steam engines.

In 2008, 3751 ran on the Surfliner 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 2 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 in 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.[3] The weekend after the trip to San Diego had the engine in San Bernardino for "National Train Day" as well as the 2010 San Bernardino Railroad Days festival. It made an annual run to San Bernardino for the Railroad Days Festival in April or May since the initial trip.[4][5][6][7][8]

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 a special roundtrip doubleheader to the Grand Canyon and back was run with 3751 and Grand Canyon Railway's former Chicago Burlington and Quincy 2-8-2 Mikado 4960. The train also operated over the Arizona and 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.

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

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 will be going into a 3-4 year restoration. She will be on display at Union Station's Summer Train Fest on July 15, 2017 before being restored however.

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 near the end of the 1952 film Boots Malone starring William Holden, and Harry Morgan.

3751 was also featured in the 1950 Clark Gable-starred 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. ^ Boerio, Larry; Gary Page; Dennis White. "Santa Fe No. 3751 and Fullerton: Interesting Facts" (PDF). Fullerton Model Railroad Historical Society. Retrieved June 19, 2009.
  3. ^ Gold, Scott (April 30, 2010). "Cadillac of steam' to ride the rails again". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
  4. ^ Wall, Stephen (May 8, 2010). "Hundreds pack station to see vintage steam locomotive roll into San Bernardino". San Bernardino Sun.
  5. ^ Weeks, John (April 8, 2011). "All aboard for a trip back in time". San Bernardino Sun. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  6. ^ Buck, Fielding (April 12, 2012). "Take a steam train to LA or back". The Press Enterprise. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  7. ^ Nolan, Michel (April 23, 2013). "San Bernardino to celebrate historic train culture at Railroad Days". San Bernardino Sun. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  8. ^ Nolan, Michel (April 10, 2014). "San Bernardino to celebrate Railroad Days". San Bernardino Sun. Retrieved December 28, 2014.

External linksEdit