ATSF FP45 95


Santa Fe FP45 95 began life in December 1967 as Santa Fe 105. Unlike the contemporary GE passenger units, which tended to be assigned to secondary trains, the FP45's were regular power on Santa Fe's premier Los Angeles - Chicago streamliners. The 105 was handling just such an assignment when John Lucas caught it on the point of No.18, the eastbound Super Chief/El Capitan, at Glorieta, NM in September 1968. The 105 was one of the first FP45's to receive Santa Fe's standard passenger airhorn, the 5-chime Leslie S-5T seen in this photo. A frequently-reproduced publicity photo of half a dozen brand new FP45's at San Bernardino clearly shows the 105 with an S-5T while her sisters all carried 3-chime S-3L's.
The 105 was renumbered 5945 in March 1970 as part of the 1969/70 general renumbering. The coming of Amtrak in May 1971 saw the FP45's reassigned to freight duties full-time, and 5945 traded its red and silver paintjob for the blue and yellow pinstripe freight scheme in late 1971 or early 1972. E.D. Motis photographed it wearing this attractive scheme at Barstow, CA in May 1972.
Within a few years, it was repainted into the blue and yellow warbonnet scheme. Keith Ardinger caught a sparkling clean 5945 leading a manifest near Flagstaff, AZ on March 14, 1974.
In 1978, 5945 was damaged in a wreck and extensively overhauled at the Santa Fe shops in San Bernardino, CA in the fall of that year. The gyralight between the numberboards, a relic from the locomotive's days as a passenger engine, was removed, and the fixed headlight was relocated from the nose door to the former gyralight location. This left the nose door blank, a trait 5945 would share with the 5943 after the latter was rebuilt in April 1980. On all other rebuilt FP45's, the fixed headlight remained in the nose door when the gyralight was removed.
In August 1981, 5945 was rebuilt again at San Bernardino, and in early 1982 it was renumbered into the 5990-series - the new number series for the rebuilt FP45's. The pictures at left depict 5995 as it appeared in May 1982, trailing FP45's 5996 and 5993 on a directors special. The upper photo, taken by Lance Garrels at Topeka, KS on May 8, 1982 as the power was backing onto the special, illustrates the unusual placement of the fixed headlight above the cab windows. FP45's were the regular power for these specials throughout the 1970's and 80's. These three FP45's were the only ones that had been rebuilt by May 1982, which perhaps explains their selection for the special. The rest of the class would be put through the rebuild program and assigned 5990-series numbers before the year was out.
The 5995 was something of a maverick when it came to paint schemes. It was the only FP45 not repainted into SPSF red and yellow during the Southern Pacific-Santa Fe merger attempt in 1985-86, and it was the last unit to be repainted in Superfleet red and silver, emerging from the paint booth as Santa Fe 107 in February 1990. The unit's fixed headlight was lowered back to the nose door to match the rest of the class (as was 5993's when it was repainted red and silver). The 107 was tapped to power a photo special in March 1990 for contractor Morrison Knudsen, who had just finished notching the tunnels in Franklin Canyon so double stack trains could reach the Santa Fe's facilities at Richmond, CA. Blair Kooistra photographed the train east of Glen Frazer, CA.
After a scant three months as ATSF 107, the unit was renumbered back to 5995 in May 1990 to avoid conflicting with the new 100-class GP60M's. A few weeks later, the unit was renumbered again to ATSF 95, and managed to hang on to that designation for the remainder of its career.
With a few exceptions, the arrival of the GP60M's spelled the end of the FP45s' service on special trains, though 95 did participate in a couple of special trips. Most notably, it was one of the two FP45's that assisted ATSF 4-8-4 3751 on its California Limited excursion over Cajon and Tehachapi Passes in December 1991 (97 was the other participant). Both units were liberally coated with soot on the third day when the steamer lost its footing in the tunnels on Tehachapi. A few months earlier, in July 1991, Steven Kakoczki caught the 95 and another FP45 departing Chicago Union Station with a much less heralded 4-car business special.
Cowl units rarely served on the point of trains in the 1990's due to their limited rearward visibility and various other complaints. It was a real treat, then, when ATSF 95 showed up on the point of an eastbound intermodal train out of Belen, NM in late December 1994. The picture at left shows the train exiting the east end of Abo Canyon at Scholle, NM. Note SDP40F (SDF40-2) 5255 behind the 95. Though similar in appearance to the FP45's, the 5250-class SDP40F's never received the red and silver Superfleet paint scheme.
This was the more frequent role of the FP45's in their final years on the Santa Fe and BNSF - as trailing units on lower priority trains. The 95 plays second fiddle to green machine 7301 on train M-BARI (manifest, Barstow to Richmond, CA) in October 1996.
ATSF 95 may well have been the last FP45 to power a regularly scheduled passenger train. Santa Fe and BNSF frequently provided locomotives to Amtrak on short notice when the passenger carrier's power failed on the road. In October 1995, unit 95 was in the right place at the right time and was tapped to help out an ailing Amtrak San Joaquin train on the Bakersfield-Oakland, CA corridor. The unit made a round-trip on the San Joaquin, as Amtrak generally returned freight units to their point of origin after the ailing Amtrak unit was replaced with a functional one.

In late 1997, as the ranks of the FP45's were beginning to thin, the 95 developed turbocharger trouble and was taken out of service. Speculation at the time was that 95 would be donated to the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, CA. However, the BNSF's need for power resulted in 95 being repaired and placed back in service in December 1997. FP45 98 went to Orange Empire instead in early 1998.

Alas, 95's reprieve was short-lived. In July 1998, the unit suffered a cracked engine block and was sidelined for good. It sat for several months at the locomotive facility in Barstow, CA before being donated to the Western America Railroad Museum in Barstow. The unit was moved to a spur near the old Santa Fe depot and Harvey House on January 17, 1999, where it is displayed along with some Santa Fe and UP cabooses, a Santa Fe horse express car, and some ex-VIA passenger cars. The museum hopes to restore the locomotive to operating condition.


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.
Thanks also to Hank Graham of the Western America Railroad Museum
Special thanks to Keith Ardinger, Lance Garrels, Steven Kakoczki, Blair Kooistra, John Lucas, and E.D. Motis for the use of their photos.

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