ATSF FP45 90

History

Class engine #90 was built in December 1967 as Santa Fe 100. Right out of the box, the 100 and sister 102 had the honor of leading the record-breaking inaugural run of the westbound Super C, a high-priority, 79 mile-per-hour freight train from Chicago to Los Angeles in January 1968. Following this grand entrance, the 100 settled down to pulling Santa Fe's finest passenger trains. In March of 1968, John Lucas caught 100 and 101 powering No.18, the eastbound combined Super Chief/El Capitan at Gallup, NM. Four month old 100 was already sporting some silver overspray on its nose as a result of the frequent, quick touch-ups Santa Fe made to the the pilot, steps, and trucks so they would look fresh.
The 100 was renumbered into the 5940-series along with the rest of the FP45's in March 1970, as part of the 1969/70 general renumbering. Keith Ardinger photographed 5940 at Barstow, CA in November 1970. By this date, the unit had traded the 3-chime Leslie S-3L airhorn seen in the previous photo for Santa Fe's more typical 5-chime passenger horn, the S-5T. Photos also exist that show 5940 sporting a Nathan M5 for a brief period in the early 70's.
With the coming of Amtrak in 1971, the FP45's were reassigned to freight duties, and some time in late 1971 or early 1972, the 5940 shed its flashy red and silver warbonnet for Santa Fe's more mundane blue and yellow freight scheme. The 5940 only wore this scheme for about a year before it was repainted again into the blue and yellow warbonnet scheme in 1973. Keith Ardinger provided this photo by Bill Phillips showing 5940 at Cleburne, TX on October 19, 1975.
In September 1982, the 5940 emerged from rebuilding at the Santa Fe shops in San Bernardino, CA as ATSF 5990. Four years later, Richard Clark caught the unit leading a train on Cajon Pass in California. The unit still has the smoke deflectors that were added at the time of the rebuild in an effort to keep exhaust gasses out of the air intakes. The deflectors were later removed.
In 1986, the 5990 was repainted into the short-lived red and yellow SPSF merger scheme. After the merger denial, several of the FP45's were repainted back to blue and yellow, but it is not known if 5990 was repainted before another scheme was selected for the FP45's.
In July 1989, the railroad began repainting the FP45's in a variation of the old red and silver warbonnet scheme as a part of their Superfleet marketing campaign. The units were also renumbered back to the 100-class, but not in their original sequence. In fact, 5990 was the only FP45 to return to its original 100-class number when it rolled out of the paint shop on August 3, 1989 as the 100. The first three units, 101, 102, and 100, emerged with their amber beacons intact, while all subsequent repaints emerged without them. The 100 was also the only Superfleet FP45 whose airhorn had not yet been relocated from the cab roof back to near the dynamic brake fans.
For a little less than a year, from the time of their repainting until new Superfleet-painted locomotives arrived on the property, the FP45's were the stars of the system, powering high-priority freights and passenger specials. Jeff Doty caught the class unit and three sisters making track speed through Augusta, KS in late 1989. A few months later, Ted Ellis photographed the unit leading a shippers special at Williams, AZ on April 4, 1990.
In May 1990, the 100 was briefly renumbered back to 5990 to make room for the new 100-class GP60M's then being delivered. The newly renumbered unit was westbound at the Summit of Cajon Pass in California on May 13, 1990 in the first two shots by Paul Fryer.

Gary Kluge photographed the same train later in the day at Colton, CA in the bottom photo.

Within a matter of weeks, 5990 was renumbered again to just ATSF 90. Ted Ellis was on hand once again to photograph the unit at Williams, AZ on September 29, 1990.
By the mid 1990's, the FP45's had been relegated to general freight service, usually as trailing units. One by one, the big cowls were retired due to mechanical failures.
The 90 was laid up-bad order at Argentine (Kansas City, KS) in January 1999. By the end of 1999, BNSF had donated or sold every other FP45 except the 90, which remained in storage for another year. Nate Muhlethaler found it in a dead line at Topeka, KS in the fall of 2000 wearing a set of black trucks presumably from a BN unit.
In December 2000, the historic unit was finally donated to the Oklahoma Railroad Museum in Oklahoma City, OK. Eric Dilbeck recorded this view in February 2015.

References

1. EuDaly, Kevin, Santa Fe 1992 Annual, Denver: Hyrail Productions, 1992.
2. McMillan, Joe, Santa Fe's Diesel Fleet, Chatham Publishing Co, 1975.
3. McMillan, Joe, Santa Fe Motive Power, McMillan Publications, 1985.
4. Shine, Joseph, Santa Fe 1987 Motive Power Review, Four Ways West Publishing, 1988.
Special thanks to Keith Ardinger, Richard Clark, Eric Dilbeck, Ted Ellis, Paul Fryer, Gary Kluge, John Lucas, and Nate Muhlethaler for the use of their photos.

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