ATSF 4-8-4 3751

Engine 3751 was Santa Fe's first 4-8-4, built only a few months after the wheel arrangement debuted on the Northern Pacific. The engine was built by Baldwin in May 1927, and was their first 4-8-4 as well. The 3751 was extensively tested on the most difficult segment of the Santa Fe, the 348 miles from Albuquerque, NM to La Junta, CO via Raton and Glorieta Passes. It performance was satisfactory, and Santa Fe ordered 13 near-copies in 1928 and 1929 to fill out the 3751-class. The engine was rebuilt and modified several times over the course of its 36 year service life. Originally a coal burner, it was converted to oil in December 1936. In 1937, a new 20,000 gallon "square" tender replaced the old 15,000 gallon and little if any of the original locomotive survives in the present version. The engine last saw service in 1953, and spent several years in storage at the Santa Fe roundhouse at Redondo Junction in Los Angeles, CA before it was retired and donated to the City of San Bernardino in 1957. The engine was placed on display in Viaduct Park, just west of the Santa Fe passenger station, where it was photographed by Gene McKinley in 1977 (above).

In 1985, after three decades of outdoor display, the 3751 was sold to the San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society. The following year, the society moved the engine to a building at the California Steel Industries facility in Fontana, CA for restoration.

In August 1991, Santa Fe 3751 was steamed up for the first time since 1953. It pulled a round-trip excursion from Los Angeles to Bakersfield over Cajon and Tehachapi Passes in December 1991, and pulled a Santa Fe Employee Recognition Special from Los Angeles to Chicago and back in August and September 1992. The engine was also displayed under steam at the Sunkist Orange Blossom Festival in Riverside, CA in 1995.

When not on the road, 3751 called San Bernardino home in the early 1990's. It was stored inside the Santa Fe's closed San Bernardino Shops until that facility was demolished in 1995 for an expanded intermodal facility. The 3751 was then moved to an outdoor location between the A and B yards in San Bernardino. On January 12, 1999, 3751 moved under its own power to the Redondo Junction roundhouse in Los Angeles, where it had been stored following its withdrawl from service years before. The roundhouse, by then owned by Amtrak, provided covered storage for 3751 for about 18 months before it, in turn, was demolished. The 3751 and its tender were moved to the former garden tracks, with the engine often covered by a tarp. In the above photo, the 3751 was out in the open and steamed up for an Amtrak open house when photographed on May 1, 1999.
In its first long-distance outing since 1992, the 3751 ran under its own power (with diesel assistance) from Los Angeles to Sacramento, CA and back in June, 1999 to participate in Railfair 99 at the California State Railroad Museum. The engine is shown on UP trackage at Stockton during the inbound trip on June 15, 1999. The engine mounted a 6-chime Santa Fe passenger whistle on this trip, instead of the 5-chime freight whistle it had during the 1991 and 1992 trips.

For more information on ATSF 3751, please visit the SBRHS web site at Freight whistle sound sample courtesy Jim Evans.

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