Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Steam Locomotive



Western Trips visits one of the most famous steam locomotives of the 1900's. The Santa Fe 5000 steam locomotive was one of the most unique and powerful railroad engines ever built. The Santa Fe 5000, also referred to as the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad 5000, was built in 1930. The entire reason for it's design and construction was to build a heavy freight locomotive with the traction power to pull extremely heavy loads and to pull them in the topography of the western U.S.

santa fe 5000 steam locomotive
Santa Fe 5000
On Display in Amarillo Texas

Today, this famous locomotive is on static display at the Santa Fe Park just outside downtown Amarillo Texas.

Fortunately for railroad buffs and the general public, this particular steam locomotive was given to the city of Amarillo Texas in 1957 after it had been taken out of service in 1953. This locomotive served the At & SF Railroad for some twenty-three years. During that time, the AT & SF 5000 traveled over 1,750,000 miles. The locomotive cost about $135,000 to build in 1930 dollars. It's thought that there were nine of these 5000 Series locomotives which were saved from scrapping. All of the steam locomotives operating on the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad were removed from operation during the 1950's after the diesels were perfected.

The Santa Fe steam locomotive on display in Amarillo Texas is on the National Register of Historic Places.


atchison topeka and santa fe steam locomotive
AT & SF Railroad 5000 locomotive
AT & SF Railroad Number 5000 Steam Locomotive Specs

Following are specifications of this particular Santa Fe 5000 engine which was nicknamed the " Madam Queen".

  • The Santa Fe 5000 was configured as a 2-10-4 Texas Class. This was the only engine of this particular class.
  • Driving wheel diameter of 69 inches.
  • Cylinders measuring30 inch bore and 34 inch stroke.
  • Boiler pressure of 300 psi.
  • 93,000 lbs tractive force.
  • Burned coal from 1930-1940 and fuel oil from 1940 to the present time.
  • Locomotive weight of 502,600 lbs with the tender weighing 396,306 lbs. Total weight of 898,906 lbs.
  • Length of 108 feet, 5 1/4 inches.
  • Average speed of 60 MPH.

steam locomotive interior
Santa Fe 5000 cab controls
The History of the 5000 Series Steam Locomotives

The Santa Fe 5000, while being built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works, was designed by people working for the AT & SF Railroad. No alterations were made during the production of this steam locomotive without the consent of the design group.

Railroad buffs will remember that the first steam locomotives were named after railroad board members and/or owners. A good example of this is with the "Governor Stanford",  the first locomotive ordered by the Central Pacific Railroad in California. The Governor Stanford is on permanent display at the California State Railroad Museum in Old Town Sacramento. Eventually, the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe along with other railroads adopted a number system to identify their locomotives. Generally, the higher the number, the more advanced the locomotive.

During the production of the 5000 Series steam locomotives through the 1930's, some modifications were made  after the original was built. Modifications were made to this original model as well. The most significant change seen in the 500 series locomotives, aside from being converted to fuel oil power, was in the driving wheel diameter.  Eventually the 2-10-4 configurations of the 5000 Series had a 72 inch wheel diameter. Other changes had to do with a larger square tender car which required the locomotive cab roof to be modified.

The 5000 series steam locomotive proved to be a success for a variety of reasons. It was documented during testing to be able to carry 15 percent more weight in nine percent less time. The locomotive also burned less coal per ton.

The Santa Fe 5000 featured in this article was built during the start of the Great Depression. The result was that other 2-10-4 configurations weren't built and put into service until 1938. This was even though the concept of the 2-10-4 was considered as far back as 1919. Thirty-five of the 5000 steam locomotives were ordered by the AT & SF starting in 1938. Had it not been for the financial depression more of these designs would certainly have been built prior to 1938.

See our Western Trips related photo articles on the Donner Pass Locomotive...the Fred Harvey Cochiti AT & SF Dining Car...and the Doodlebug Locomotive.

2-10-4 steam locomotive
2-10-4 steam locomotive
Restoration of the Santa Fe 5000 Steam Locomotive

For years after the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad gave this steam locomotive to the city of Amarillo it sat as it sat unattended. Finally, in 1992 restoration work was undertaken by volunteers. In 2002, the group was formed into the Railroad Artifact Preservation Society, a Texas non-profit organization. The Santa Fe 5000 was relocated to it's present site in 2005 at which time the group began work on cosmetic restoration. That restoration project itself took three years to complete. As a result of their dedication, expense and hard work, today, the old AT & SF 5000 is a marvelous display of one of the, if not THE, most powerful steam locomotive to run on America's freight railroad routes.


See the Santa Fe 5000

One of the first impressions you'll get when viewing the Santa Fe 5000 close up is it's seemingly enormous size. If you're in the Texas Panhandle area, a stop to see this locomotive is a fine addition to any road trip planner. The Santa Fe 5000 Steam Locomotive is located at Santa Fe Park in Amarillo Texas. The park is located at S. Buchanan Street at 2nd Avenue SE.

(Photos from author's private collection)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you...went to see it today! Fabulous!

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