Technical Specifications

An image of ATSF 3463 as delivered to Topeka in 1956. Click to enlarge.

Santa Fe 3463 is a member of the 3460-class of locomotives, of which numbers 3460-3465 were manufactured by the Baldwin Locomotive Works to ATSF specifications in 1937. The following are comparative technical specifications of 3463 as compared to other restored steam locomotives.

CATEGORY ATSF 3415 CP 2816 ATSF 3463 NKP 765 MILW 261 ATSF 3751
General Classification 4-6-2 4-6-4 4-6-4 2-8-4 4-8-4 4-8-4
Service Passenger Passenger Passenger Fast Freight Dual Service Passenger
Fuel (Current) Oil Oil Oil Coal Coal Oil
Builder Baldwin MLW Baldwin Lima ALCO Baldwin
Year Built (Rebuilt) 1919 (1936) 1929 1937 1944 1944 1927 (1941)
Tractive Force, lbs. 41,424 45,254 49,300 64,135 62,120 65,981
Weight in Working Order, lbs. 338,900 351,200 412,380 428,500 460,000 478,100
Length, Wheelbase, locomotive & tender, ft.-in. 83-10 80-6 88-8 87-9 95-6 94-10
Boiler Pressure, lbs. (Designed) 220 275 300 (310) 245 250 230
Firebox Grate Area, sq. ft. 67 80 99 90 96 108
Engine (Bore x Stroke), in. 25 x 28 22x30 23.5 x 29.5 25 x 34 26 x 32 30 x 30
Driving-wheel Tread Diameter, in. 79 75 84 69 74 80


ATSF 3415 - Operated by the Abilene and Smoky Valley Railroad
CPR 2816 - Owned and operated by Canadian Pacific Railway, Ltd.
NKP 765 - Owned and operated by the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
MILW 261 - Owned and operated by the Friends of the 261
ATSF 3751 - Owned and operated by the San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society

History of ATSF 3463

On July 6, 1948, locomotive 3463 stands ready to haul its next train out of Dearborn station in Chicago. Already the locomotive has been modified by the ATSF: the boiler check valves have been moved to the top of the boiler and the whistle has been moved to the front of the locomotive. Image from the collection of Warren M. Scholl, photographer unknown.

Locomotive 3463 was delivered to the ATSF by the Baldwin Locomotive Works on October 30, 1937, and it promptly went through a set of testing and trials. Initially all six 3460-class locomotive were assigned to the route between Chicago, Illinois, and La Junta, Colorado, hauling lightweight passenger trains such as the Chief. Given their prodigious power, however, management at the ATSF quickly reassigned the locomotives to heavier trains on the Chicago – La Junta run. 

After its initial break-in period, locomotive 3463 was assigned to the Chicago-Kansas City passenger pool in November 1937. By the end of January 1938, locomotive 3463 and its fellow locomotives were assigned to the aforementioned Chicago-LaJunta pool, and was often responsible for hauling Trains 7-8, the Fast Mail Express. This assignment lasted through WWII until dieselization of Trains 7-8 in late 1946.

Locomotive 3463 remained assigned to service on the Illinois Division, though it was transferred to the Chicago – Newton, Kansas, passenger pool in 1947. Continual influx of additional diesel-electric locomotives through the late 1940’s resulted in engine 3463 being assigned to the Pecos Division, operating passenger trains between Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Newton, Kansas, in January of 1950. By April of that year, locomotive 3463 was transferred to the Eastern Division, which stretched from Oklahoma City to Kansas City via Newton. While on this division, locomotive 3463 handled trains such as the Oil Flyer (Kansas City – Oklahoma City) and The Scout, which operated between Kansas City and Belen, New Mexico (via Albuquerque, New Mexico). 

The last regular passenger service locomotive 3463 was assigned to was ATSF Trains 27-28, the Antelope, which operated between Kansas City and Oklahoma City. This route was dieselized on March 18, 1953, causing 3463 to be bumped from regular passenger service. 

The locomotive was then held at Newton, Kansas, for emergency protection. It hauled a variety of special assignments between March 1953, and December 1953, when it was last placed into the roundhouse at Emporia. The locomotive was kept in steam until March 25, 1954, at which point its fire was dropped. Records indicate locomotive 3463 was kept filled with warm water, in case it needed to be fired up, until November 15, 1954, when it was placed in Group 6 – Locomotives Held Out of Service

Thanks to the detailed research of Larry Brasher, as outlined in his book Santa Fe Locomotive Development, we have a detailed account of the maintenance records of engine 3463 in its last decade of operation. He states:

Number 3463 had received her last Class 3 general overhaul at Albuquerque October 18, 1951, after making 378,909 miles since her previous Class 3. Cost of the overhaul was $27,248. She received a Class 5-H (heavy) overhaul at Albuquerque in November 1952 at 99,793 miles. She had accumulated a total of 122,493 miles since her last Class 3 when “laid up good” at Emporia on December 3, 1953. The total mileage of 3463 when she was retired was 1,850,476.

Brasher also provides exquisite detail as to the monthly mileage in operation of locomotive 3463 during that same timeline. It is interesting to note that, even toward the end of steam, the locomotive had a peak monthly mileage of 13,404 in May 1952, while assigned to operating the Oil Flyer between Kansas City and Tulsa, Oklahoma. Given that length of haul, that would mean the locomotive would have hauled approximately 56 one-way journeys between the two cities in one month, or approximately 28 days’ worth of round trips.

By November 1955, all remaining 3460-class locomotives had been designated as Form 531-A Special, Locomotives Held for Disposition, or for Sale or Scrap.

On February 9, 1956, a group of Topeka civic leaders and businessmen incorporated a not for profit corporation known as the Topeka Children and Santa Fe Railroad (TCSFR) to assist in acquisition of a locomotive from the ATSF and to place it in a park. By May 19 of that year, the ATSF ordered crews to paint locomotive 3463 and prepare it for donation to the City of Topeka.

As of June 30, 1956, locomotive 3463 had been repainted, the ATSF had stripped off all automatic train control equipment (most likely for use as spare equipment on a diesel-electric locomotive), and main rods had been placed onto the running board so that the engine could be towed from Emporia to Topeka. 

Blocking the road for only 90 minutes the ATSF shoved locomotive 3463 into the Kansas Free Fair grounds using an idler flat car (visible in front of the steam engine) and a diesel-electric switch engine. Image courtesy of Kalmbach Publishing Co.

On August 9, 1956, a section crew from the ATSF laid temporary tracks across Topeka Avenue on which locomotive 3463 could be pushed from a nearby branch line. The main thoroughfare through Topeka was blocked from 10:00 to 11:30 AM on that Thursday morning as a switch engine shoved the locomotive tender first into the park. The Santa Fe crews who performed the move did the work voluntarily.

The locomotive was placed onto a steel and concrete base that was paid for by the TCSFR. Quickly after 3463 was placed into the park, however, it encountered damage.  According to the local paper: 

Because of several incidents of vandalism, the locomotive is now protected by a high wire fence. However, it is open for children and adults to inspect on special occasions. They may obtain keys upon request from the Fair Grounds office, the police department, park department, and several other sources.

On November 3, 1956, J.N. Landreth, General Manager of the Santa Fe Railway’s eastern lines, presented a bill of sale for the locomotive to Frank Rice, a representative of Mayor George Schnellbacher. The Topeka Daily Capital describes the ceremony in great detail, noting:

The engine was given to the City of Topeka by the Santa Fe Railway. Representatives of several civic and business organizations, incorporating as the Topeka Children and Santa Fe Railway [sic],  was in charge of collecting funds to mount the locomotive on a concrete base at the Fair Grounds.

Locomotive 3463 has rested in the same park since it was placed there by the Santa Fe, but CSR is developing a plan to move the locomotive from its uncovered location to a secure facility in Topeka. Details about this plan, and ways you can get involved, may be found here.

Santa Fe 3463 Move Preparation

CSR sent a work crew to Topeka, Kansas, in June 2013, to prepare steam locomotive 3463 for its first substantial move in 57 years.  The locomotive was placed in the park with a dedication ceremony on November 3, 1956.  It sat parallel to Topeka Avenue until the mid 1980’s when, as the Kansas Expocentre was being constructed, the locomotive was moved roughly 500 feet downhill and away from the main road.

As CSR prepares to move the locomotive out of the park, it is critical to ensure that when the locomotive rolls, it does not damage itself.  Because there has been little-to-no maintenance to the roller bearings since the locomotive was placed in the park, including no work to roller bearing axles and side rods, CSR needed to perform a detailed inspection and re-lubrication of those core components.  To accomplish that, CSR: 1) drained, inspected and refilled all of the roller bearings on the locomotive’s axles; 2) pulled off the main rods and prepared the remaining rods to be cleaned and greased just-prior to the locomotive’s move and 3) disconnected the main rods from each crosshead, placing them on each respective running board, thereby isolating the piston from reciprocal movement during the upcoming move.


Like many mainline steam locomotives manufactured after 1930, locomotive 3463 was designed and manufactured with low-resistance roller bearings on each of its axles.  Designed by ATSF and the Baldwin Locomotive Works mechanical engineering staff, the 3460-class of locomotives were some of the most powerful and modern high-speed passenger steam locomotives of their type ever designed.  Unlike most other roller bearing-equipped steam locomotives of the era which featured Timken Tapered Roller Bearings, the designers decided to equip all 3460-class locomotives with SKF Spherical Roller Bearings on all lead, main, trailing and tender axles (26 bearings in total).  

Invented by Swedish company SKF, the spherical roller bearing has many similar attributes to those of the tapered roller bearing, but features greater resilience in the face of misalignment and flexing of axles under stress. According to the company: 

Spherical roller bearings have two rows of rollers, a common sphered outer ring raceway and two inner ring raceways inclined at an angle to the bearing axis. The bearings are self-aligning and insensitive to misalignment of the shaft relative to the housing, which can be caused, for example, by shaft deflection. Spherical roller bearings are designed to accommodate heavy radial loads, as well as heavy axial loads in both directions.

CSR contacted SKF regarding the bearings on its locomotive, including inspection protocol and lubrication standards prior to performing work on the engine.  SKF indicated that the roller bearings should be drained completely, inspected visually via boroscope and refilled with appropriate, yellow-metal-safe lubricant.

Beginning with easy-to-access trailing truck bearings, CSR began draining the half-century old bearing oil, which flowed out of the drain plug with little difficulty.  Once flow waned to a trickle, the CSR crew unbolted the cast bearing covers and removed them.  Unsure what to expect, CSR discovered bearings in shockingly good condition considering the total lack of maintenance.  Seeing no visible pitting on any of the bearings and little contaminant in the oil, the CSR crew went about draining the remainder of the axles of their oil.

Draining lead truck and main axle bearing oil proved an acrobatic exercise.  Despite having 84” driving wheels and bearing box centers half-as-high, the design of the locomotive’s brake rigging made accessing the drain plugs without an inspection pit an exercise in contortionism [see below].  Working in pairs of two, one CSR crew member would clip all safety wires on the plugs, allowing them to rotate freely, while another member would lug along a drain pan, 15” wrench, rags and mats to begin the process of draining between three and seven quarts of oil from each of the bearing boxes, dependent upon the bearing box design. Again, as draining and inspection continued, CSR was pleased at the condition of each of the bearings. 

Once all bearings had been drained, CSR began the process of refilling each with fresh oil.  The lead and trailing truck bearings could be easily filled with a standard funnel and pitcher, but the driving axle boxes, which had traditionally been filled via oil pump, could not be easily replenished with bucket and funnel.  As an improvisation, CSR attached 10 feet of flexible tubing to the end of the funnel, snaking one end between driving wheel center openings and the frame and into the fill plug opening while pouring oil into the funnel from the outside of the locomotive. 


The power of a steam locomotive is transmitted from pistons to a series of side rods that connect the driving wheels.  In locomotive 3463’s case, each of two pistons theoretically generates up-to 130,120 lbs of force, the effective force is often much lower due to internal inefficiencies in the steam circuit common to the 3460-class, something CSR will address in its rebuild.  A main rod connects the piston rod to the main driving pin, and coupling rods transmit that driving force to the remaining driving wheels.  The combination of driving wheel diameter, piston stroke and diameter, boiler pressure and weight on drivers all factor into the steam locomotive’s pulling power, known as “tractive effort.”

To prevent damage to the piston and cylinder lining during its upcoming move, CSR needed to disconnect the piston rod from the main rod on each side of the locomotive, and to remove the latter prior to shipment to Minneapolis.  This work entailed removing the union link, driving out the wrist pin, removing the eccentric rod and crank and positioning the crosshead in such a manner that the main rod could be removed without torsion about its brass bearing.

The first (and easiest) step was removal of the union links [1] from the wrist pins [2] [numbers correspond to diagram above].  CSR was then able to access the wrist pin [2] itself.  Designed to transmit the full force of each piston, the wrist pins2 are tapered and keyed, meaning they will not rotate or loosen during high-speed operation. Using a custom-made tool to protect the threads on the pin, CSR employed a persuasive 10 lb sledge hammer to loosen the wrist pins. [2]  Once the pins began to move, CSR used blocking and nylon straps to prevent the rods from binding on the wrist pins.

The crew then turned its attention to the eccentric rods3 (another easy-to-remove item) and the eccentric cranks4 (not-so-easy-to-remove).  With eccentric rods [3] removed, CSR needed to remove two, 18”-long tapered pins, spread the end of the eccentric crank [4] with a wedge and carefully coerce the crank off of the end of the main axle.  The eccentric crank [4] has one tapered pin that is aligned directly through the center of the main crank pin and one pin just offset, proving cinching force through the forks of the crank.

With large wrenches and persuasion of that sledge hammer, the crew had the eccentric cranks [4] removed in little time, revealing rod brasses on the locomotive that were in outstanding condition.

Folk lore always seems to indicate that the locomotive given to such-and-such city was rebuilt just-prior to being stuck into whatever park it currently sits.  Though often apocryphal, in the case of locomotive 3463, it appears that is almost the case.  The ATSF maintained inspection tags and stamped parts installed on each of its steam locomotives when work was performed to maintain a detailed record of work undertaken.  The near-new rod bearings exposed when crews removed the eccentric crank read: AQ 2 20 53. This is code for work performed at the shop in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with brasses cast on February 20, 1953, meaning the bearings have very few revenue miles of operation on them.

Once both eccentric cranks [4] were removed, CSR then had to move the locomotive for the first time in 24 years to align holes in the number one driving wheel with the back side of each wrist pin [2] for removal.  The length of the pin is longer than the distance between the back of the crosshead and the driving wheel, meaning an opening in the wheel center has to be lined up with the wrist pin [2] opening to allow it to be removed.

With a 20 ton jack and a bit of leverage, locomotive 3463 lurched forward with ease, rolling on newly-lubricated roller bearings.  Crews moved the engine backwards and forwards, lining up the wrist pins [2] with the correct wheel opening and driving each pin the remainder of the way into the hands of waiting workers.

The main rods [5] still blocked and securely chained, the crossheads [6] needed to be pushed far enough forward to allow the rod to rotate freely and, subsequently, be removed.  Using pry bars and jacks, the CSR crew moved each crosshead [6] to clearance, freeing the main rod to be removed from the mechanism.  Once the steel safety straps were unbolted, CSR used a large forklift and straps to support the weight of the rod, and then removed chains and blocking, slid the rod off of each pin and hoisted them up onto the running boards. 

When all brasses had been removed and stored, the revealed crank pins appeared to be in very good condition.  The Alemite grease applied 57 years ago by the Santa Fe had not worn off, protecting the pins and preventing excessive corrosion.

Once the main rods were placed on the running boards, the engine and tender were separated.  Of interest, the six-axle, 174,000 lb tender rolled with a simple push of two people; a tribute to the bearing construction.

Cosmetic Stabilization of ATSF 3463

In May 2012, a crew of CSR volunteers headed to Topeka to cosmetically stabilize the locomotive. It was crucial to CSR that further corrosion of the locomotive be halted and that the engine be put back into attractive cosmetic shape so that it could serve again as an asset to the community of Topeka prior to its move to the Twin Cities for reconstruction. The first course of action for the volunteers was to clean up the enclosure of the many piles of junk wood, steel pieces and debris. Many pieces of piping, nuts and bolts were found strewn across the ground. They were picked up, placed into buckets and moved to a secure storage location.
Once the site was clean and grass mowed, the crew went about preparing the locomotive for painting. This included wire wheeling and needle scaling loose rust from the wheels, cab, sand dome and lead / trailing trucks. After loose rust was removed, the entire locomotive was power washed twice.

CSR was able to secure donation of twelve gallons of sustainable, industrial, rust-abating paint from Forest Paint Company, ten gallons of black, one gallon of grey and one gallon of safety red.
With a spray gun in hand, the very first pass of paint went on to the fireman’s side of the trailing truck, and it was an inspirational sight to see!

The crew made efficient work of painting the locomotive black. Once the main coat of black was done, work transitioned to painting the smokebox front gray. Detail painting work was led by Warren Scholl, who insisted repeatedly that, although the locomotive was delivered to the ATSF with white tires on all of the wheels, the railroad promptly painted them black. The crew relented, and the engine was returned to as-operated cosmetic appearance.

Final touches included stenciling “AT&SF” and “3463” on the locomotive using laser-cut custom stencils and a detail airbrush. The finished piece was an incredible transformation. All told, the CSR crew spent a week on-site, moved tens-of-thousands of pounds of materials into secure storage, cleaned and painted the 50-foot-long locomotive and transformed the engine 3463 into an attractive, cultural asset. 

Glamour Girl 3461


By David Morgan

One of my favorite “glamour girls,” unlike her stage and screen sisters, appears in few films and never haunts a movie production. She has looks and plenty of curves, but hardly of the sort seen in Carole Landis. No, the 3461 is a husky Santa Fe passenger locomotive-the type that makes speed history and performance records. Her legs, drivers I mean, are rather high-seven feet in diameter-and she rolls along on six of these giants discs. They in turn support a form, her boiler, that boasts genuinely good lines to any railroad man. This boiler, heated by a tremendous firebox, produces a pressure of 300 pounds per square inch. Yes, she is fast-a regular hot mama! Railroaders will tell you that combination is pure and simple concentrated TNT.

3461 comes of a family of six identical sisters. One, 3460, youngest of the lot, boasts a blue and silver sweater, otherwise known as streamlining, and this garb rates her somewhat more attention than her equally curvesome sisters. What has this pin-up of mine done, you ask? Where can you see her beautiful contours? 3461 works in no studio, but can be seen racing across Illinois and Kansas at eighty miles an hour-that’s her “stage.” She pulls the “Chief,”
overnight Pullman hauls, and troop trains. Yes, 3461 is a wartime “glamour girl,” doing more than her share for the boys overseas.

Originally Published: Louisville Male High School Literary Magazine The Spectator,
November, 1944

Louisville Male High School Alumnus - CHARLES CASTNER