September 2022 Chapter Visit to the Santa Fe 2926

Photo of Jim Zabilski at 2926 open house

The  BMW CCA New Mexico Chapter visited the annual New Mexico Steam Locomotive & Railroad Historical Society Open House on Saturday, September 24, 2022. Attendees gathered in the parking lot beforehand to kick tires and have the inevitable BMW talk. We then proceeded as a group to the Open House to see the Santa Fe 2926, a former Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (ATSF) class 2900 4-8-4 type steam locomotive. Built by Baldwin in 1944, the locomotive is one of the largest in its class and with its tender, weighs 974,850 lbs! With 4,590 hp and 80″ driver wheels, the locomotive could do in excess of 100 mph and was used in both fast freight and passenger service.

Chapter members got to climb up into the cab and view the myriad controls and dials of a large steam engine. We also got to see the modern modifications installed in order to meet stringent Amtrak requirements, including a modern brake system, Positive Train Control and Multiple-Unit train control, which allows the steam engineer to control any attached diesel locomotives. There were plenty of NMSL&RHS volunteers there to answer our questions, at least every question except one – When will excursions begin? “It’s complicated.” In the meantime, they are working on finding a permanent home for the locomotive at the Rail Yards in Albuquerque.

In addition to the locomotive and tender, we got to tour the tool car, which will travel with the locomotive. It too has to be brought up to modern Amtrak standards and is currently the focus of their efforts and funding requests. There were model train displays, historic military vehicles, live music by the Territorial Brass Band and complementary hot dogs and drinks!

Read “Atchison, Topeka, Santa Fe 2926 almost ready to ride” in the Albuquerque Journal.