ATSF FP45 92


Santa Fe FP45 92 was built as Santa Fe 102 in December 1967. In the upper photo by John Lucas, 102 and another FP45 power Train 1-18, the eastbound Super Chief, at Lamy, NM in July 1968. The green flags and classification lights indicate that the second section of Train 18, the eastbound El Capitan, is about 15 minutes behind.

In the lower view by Cliff Kuhl, 102 leads second 17, the westbound El Capitan, at Fort Wayne Junction in Chicago, IL just minutes out of Dearborn Station on Easter Sunday, 1968. A portion of Santa Fe's facilities at 21st St. can be seen in the right background.

In addition to leading Santa Fe's finest passenger trains, brand new FP45's 100 and 102 had the honor of leading the record-breaking inaugural run of the westbound Super C from Chicago to Los Angeles in January 1968.

The 102 was renumbered to 5942 in March 1970 as part of the 1969/70 general renumbering. Later that year, Joe Blackwell caught three FP45's, fully one-third of the fleet, with 5942 on the point leading the eastbound Super C on Cajon Pass in California. The Super C, a 79 mph, extra tariff freight handling mostly trailers of parcel post, regularly drew passenger locomotives, but three FP45's was a real rarity. One wonders if perhaps a quick power swap was made at Barstow so the Super Chief wouldn't go wanting.
After the creation of Amtrak in 1971, the FP45's were reassigned to freight duties. The 5942 was one of two FP45's repainted directly from the red and silver warbonnet passenger scheme into the new blue and yellow warbonnet freight scheme (the others got the older blue with yellow details scheme first, and only later received the yellowbonnet). John Sjolander caught the freshly painted 5942 kicking up dust with three pinstriped F45's and the Super C in November 1972 in the upper view, while Bob Finan rostered the unit at Barstow, CA the following month in the lower photo. Early applications of the yellowbonnet scheme such as this had several noticeable differences from the version later adopted: the blue stepwells would eventually be painted yellow, and black trucks would give way to silver.
The 5942's passenger career wasn't over quite yet, though. As the leased F-units powering Amtrak's version of the Super Chief became increasingly unreliable in early 1973, Santa Fe leased the 5942, 5944, and several F45's to the passenger carrier. The cowls were used until Amtrak's first order of SDP40F's showed up in the summer of 1973. In this view by Gerry Putz, the 5942 leads a brand new SDP40F eastbound into Flagstaff, AZ with Train 4 on July 4, 1973.
The FP45's retained their high speed gearing after they were reassigned to freight duties, and continued to show up on the Super C until that train's cancellation in 1976. The 5942 poses on the point of a Super C power set at Barstow in this Bob Finan shot. Note the unit's blue stepwells, and the bicentennial-painted SD45-2 at the other end of the set!
The other use of the FP45's high speed gearing in the 70's and early 80's was on the occasional director's special. Steve Kibort photographed 5942, 5945, and 5943 powering a 1977 special northward along Palmer Lake in Colorado in 1977. The train had run from Topeka to Colorado Springs the day before, and was now on its way to Denver.
The 5942 glistens in the sun at Belen, NM in May, 1982. Even at this late date, the locomotive retains its gyralight package between the numberboards, a leftover from its days as a passenger unit. The unit also sports an air conditioner on the cab roof, a feature most FP45's only received after rebuilding. The FP45 rebuild program was already underway when this picture was taken; in fact, the first three rebuilds were leading a director's special through Belen the same day. In five months, 5942 would enter the rebuild program at the Santa Fe shops in San Bernardino, CA, emerging as the 5992. It would lose its gyralight in the process and gain a set of smoke deflectors, which were also subsequently removed.
The 5992 was one of seven FP45's repainted in the SPSF red and yellow warbonnet scheme in anticipation of a merger with Southern Pacific in 1986. The ICC rejected the merger application in July 1986, and Santa Fe slowly began repainting locomotives back into the old blue and yellow warbonnet scheme. The 5992 was still in red and yellow in May, 1988, however, and was probably not repainted before Santa Fe decided to use the FP45's to reintroduce the red and silver warbonnet scheme as part of their Superfleet marketing plan.
The 5992 and 5998 were the first two units repainted, emerging as 101 and 102 in July 1989. Mike Devlin captured the glistening units in front of the San Bernardino, CA station just after they were released from the shops on Indepedence Day 1989 (top left). Gary Kluge caught the pair the following day at Sullivan's Curve as the units posed for publicity photos (middle left). Later the same month, the units had already acquired some red earth road grime as Bob Finan caught them in regular service leading B39-8 7402 and GP60 4007 on the Q-NYLA at Keenbrook, CA on Cajon Pass.
Less than a year after the 101 acquired its Superfleet paint job, the impending arrival of the 100-class GP60M's in May 1990 caused most of the FP45's to be returned to their old 5990-class numbers briefly, then renumbered into the 90-class. The 101 was one of two FP45's renumbered directly into the 90-class, becoming the 92. The 103 was the other unit, renumbered to 96. FP45's 92 and 96 accompanied the first two GP60M's, 100 and 101, on their inaugural trip west on May 20, 1990. The upper photo by Gary Kluge shows the 92 at San Bernardino on February 23, 1991; the lower view by Robert Seale was taken just shy of a month later, March 17, 1991, at Stephenville, TX.
By August 1995, the FP45's were generally only used as trailing units because of their poor rearward visibility and various other complaints. The 92 helps out a trio of blue and yellow EMD units on a Q-train just west of Franklin Canyon near Collier, CA.
A closer view of 92. When renumbered to the 90-class, a patch of yellow was painted over the 100-class number, the new number was masked off, and a patch of red paint was applied. The 92's red patch weathered very poorly, as the photo attests.
The 92 was retired in January 1997, and became the first of several FP45's to be donated to museums when it went to the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, IL along with BN executive F-units BN-1 and BN-2, and E-unit BN-3. Dan Dawdy photographed the unit in a siding near Aurora, IL on May 24, 1997 as it awaited shipment to the museum. The FP45 was inoperable when donated, and the museum has no immediate plans for a mechanical restoration.


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 Joe Blackwell, Dan Dawdy, Mike Devlin, Bob Finan, Steve Kibort, Gary Kluge, Cliff Kuhl, John Lucas, Gerry Putz, Robert Seale, and John Sjolander for the use of their photos

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