Back from the dead

Thought to have been retired and sold years ago, Santa Fe GP7 2154 reappeared on BNSF in late 2005 as a non-powered "remote control platform." An RCP is an unpowered locomotive or car whose only function is to receive radio commands from a remote control beltpack and pass them on to a non-RCL locomotive coupled to it. The idea is somewhat akin to Santa Fe's old RCE cars of the 70's, except that remote beltpack operation is restricted to switching far.

National Railway Equipment performed the conversion of 2154 into an RCP, but oddly enough, didn't add any BNSF markings. John Mallory found 2154 at Cherokee Yard in Tulsa, OK in January 2006 minus air conditioner and with remote control warning stickers and a set of strobe lights, but otherwise still looking for all the world like a Santa Fe locomotive.

About those tanks on the roof, ATSF 2154 is the former 2848, one of six "torpedo boat" GP7's rostered by Santa Fe (2650-2654, 2848). As built, the units had steam generators in the short hood and two 600 gallon water tanks on either side of an 1100 gallon fuel tank. To make more room between the trucks for the tanks, the air reservoirs were placed on the roof. ATSF 2154 in the above photo is missing its water tanks, but close examination shows the fuel tank is still down there, and of course, the air reservoirs remain on the roof.

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