Historical Preservation

How to Operate a Steam Locomotive, with Santa Fe 3464!

Ever wonder how the Santa Fe trained its crews to operate steam locomotives? CSR worked with the Kansas Historical Society to have this Santa Fe Railway training video re-scanned at 1080p resolution from the original 16MM film. We then edited the piece together, complete with narration and some "period" music. It also provides some video evidence of the high speed running these locomotives provided - 90+ MPH!

More information to the "sister" locomotive to that which "starred" in this video can be found on the CSR webpage dedicated to 3463

Lawsuit Regarding Santa Fe Steam Locomotive Settled, CSR Rightful Owner of ATSF 3463

On July 6, 1948, Santa Fe steam locomotive No. 3463 rests between runs at Dearborn Station. Photographer unknown, from the collection of Warren Scholl, colorized by Jared Enos in 2015.

T O P E K A, K A N S A S | January 23, 2018 –  The ownership dispute over former Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway steam locomotive number 3463 (ATSF 3463) has been settled by an agreement of four parties, with ownership finally vested in favor of the Coalition for Sustainable Rail (CSR). An agreement between CSR, the City of Topeka, the Attorney General of Kansas, and the Great Overland Station ratified last week clarifies that the 1937-built steam engine is the property of CSR. The Minnesota-based not-for-profit also announced this week that it will be shifting its goals with the locomotive from research to preservation.

“We are thankful to the hard work and dedication of the City of Topeka, the Kansas Attorney General, the Great Overland Station and, certainly, the outstanding team at Frieden, Unrein, and Forbes, LLP, that handled this unique and challenging case,” said CSR President Davidson Ward. “We look forward to continuing our work in Topeka, especially as we announced today our shift in plans for the one-of-a-kind locomotive from solid biofuel testbed to preserved artifact.”

When CSR initially announced its biofuel and steam technology project in mid-2012, it had sought to use ATSF 3463 as a centerpiece of the research and as a showpiece of the technology. This plan was put abruptly on hold in 2013 due to an ownership dispute over the steam engine, and CSR leadership pursued other avenues to keep the research progressing despite the delay.

“Instead of hoping and waiting for the lawsuit to be resolved in our favor, we decided to continue our pursuit of solid biofuel, steam locomotive, and advanced steam technologies,” said CSR Senior Mechanical Engineer Wolf Fengler. “Now that those initiatives are well underway, vetting the theories we had hoped to prove with the Santa Fe locomotive, we have opted to table our plans to modify the engine as a testbed. Instead, CSR will work with collaborators in Topeka to ensure the locomotive is moved, preserved, and, if practical, restored to operation.”

CSR will work with collaborators in Topeka to ensure the locomotive is moved, preserved, and, if practical, restored to operation.

CSR is launching a program today to ensure that ATSF 3463 is properly preserved. The goal is to raise funding to move the locomotive from the Kansas Expocentre grounds to a location in Topeka where it can be preserved, develop a covered home base for the locomotive in Topeka, and determine whether there is a viable case for returning the locomotive to steam as a preserved artifact. Depending on the outcome of the "go / no go" decision regarding operational restoration, CSR will either pursue overhauling the locomotive to operation, or perform a cosmetic restoration to return it to its appearance when donated to the City in 1956.

“The ultimate goal is to ensure the locomotive has a future where it is properly preserved, be that as an operational locomotive or as a static display,” explained CSR Board Member and Santa Fe Railway Historian Warren Scholl. “Now that the ownership of the artifact has been clarified, we look forward to working with all partners, local and national, to ensure the safe future of ATSF 3463.”

Everett Railroad Fundraising Gaining Steam!

CSR has made significant headway towards its goal of raising $20,000 in support of biofuel testing at the Everett Railroad. We closed out 2017 with raising just under $15,000 towards that goal, and work is still underway preparing for those tests later this year.

We recently released this video on Facebook supporting our fundraising efforts. We want YOU to ride along with us on these upcoming tests. Donors to CSR are invited to ride along! Details are found on our Everett Railroad page, or you may give online here.

Steam Train Lawsuit Receives Clarity, CSR Position Regarding ATSF 3463 Validated

T O P E K A,  K A N S A S | April 11, 2017 –  Shawnee County District Court has ruled in favor of Sustainable Rail International d/b/a Coalition for Sustainable Rail (CSR) in its case concerning quiet title of the former Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway (ATSF) steam locomotive No. 3463. District Court Judge, the Honorable Larry D. Hendricks, released a detailed decision concerning the case Wednesday, March 29, 2017, in which he finds that defendant Topeka Children and Santa Fe Railroad, Inc. (TCSFR) has no standing to remain in the lawsuit.  This decision paves the way for CSR to enter negotiations with the City of Topeka concerning the locomotive.

“Now that the court has determined that TCSFR does not have sufficient standing to remain in the lawsuit, we look forward to working with the City of Topeka to resolve the matter,” said CSR President Davidson Ward. “Of specific importance to CSR is outlining a realistic path forward that provides for the preservation of No. 3463 and a secure facility in Topeka for it to call home.”

CSR’s ownership of No. 3463 was first challenged by the TCSFR in April 2013 who, at that time, claimed absolute ownership of the locomotive. Following months of unsuccessful attempts to meet with TCSFR about its claims, CSR filed suit in May 2014 requesting a legal determination as to ownership of No. 3463. Shortly after filing suit, TCSFR reversed its position of outright ownership, claiming instead that they were trustees of a trust to protect the locomotive, and that the City of Topeka was the rightful owner, thus drawing the City into the suit as a Party Defendant.

“Through his decision, Judge Hendricks plainly sets forth why each of TCSFR’s arguments fails as a matter of law. While we were confident in our position, the decision clearly supports CSR and the filing of this litigation,” said outside counsel to CSR Matthew Bergmann, of Topeka-based Frieden, Unrein and Forbes, LLP.  “We are extremely pleased with Judge Hendricks ruling.”

Of specific importance to CSR is outlining a realistic path forward that provides for the preservation of No. 3463 and a secure facility in Topeka for it to call home.
— Davidson Ward | CSR

Though the project with No. 3463 has been on hold since 2013, CSR has worked diligently to refine its focus in both the preservation field and the steam and biofuel arenas in response to changing market conditions. Not only has the organization been retained to assist railroads in Germany and the U.S. with matters concerning steam locomotive preservation, but it has also been working with research collaborators at the University of Minnesota to further advance fuel and boiler technologies. 

How it Works - Phoenix Log Hauler

A typical"tech tuesday" video post has received a great deal of attention in the past week. Posted Tuesday, July 12, on CSR's Facebook Page, the video [embedded below] of Wabeno's Phoenix Log Hauler has received, as of Friday, more than 170,000 views in three days. The unique vehicle, largely unknown to those outside of rural northern Wisconsin, is most likely why the video has been so popular.

That uniqueness is also what attracted CSR President Davidson Ward to visit Wabeno and attend its annual "Steam Up Days" festival the weekend prior.

"I had run across the Phoenix Log Hauler parked and under cover when driving through the town on a road trip two years prior," explained Ward. "When the opportunity arose to visit friends in the region and see the 'Phoenix' in action, I couldn't say no."

The Phoenix Manufacturing Company of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, manufactured the unique piece of steam history in the early 1900's for use by the G.W. Jones Lumber Company at its mill from 1909 to 1935.

The machine is a unique mixture of steam locomotive, steam tractor, and treaded-excavator that was used to haul long sleds of logs from the forests to the lumber mill in Wabeno, Wisconsin. It was used in both summer and winter, with two skis attached in place of the wheels for winter operations. Interestingly enough, the device burns hardwood scraps and uses water picked up along the way (or from snow), and it could thereby be an example of "old school sustainability." Click on the diagram below to get an enlarged view of the machine.

The "Phoenix" was donated to the Town of Wabeno in 1944 by the lumber company, and a group of citizens restored it to operation in 1965. The unique machine is one of only a few similar to it operating today, with the majority of other surviving machines having been made by Lombard in Maine (Lombard licensed components of its invention to Phoenix for the manufacture of this and about 200 other units made by the company).

Each year on the weekend after the Fourth of July, Wabeno hosts a "Steam Up Days" to show off its unique, operating piece of history and host a bunch of other lumberjack-related equipment. It is a good time and an event not to be missed!

Be sure to follow CSR to stay up-to-date on interesting innovation and preservation news:

Modifications in Mainline Steam - The Red Devil

[Click to Enlarge]

South African Railways (SAR) Class 26 number 3450 (nicknamed the "Red Devil"), is the product of mechanical engineer David Wardale’s 1981 rebuilding of a Class 25NC 4-8-4 steam locomotive.  The rebuilding, performed at the Salt River Works in Cape Town, South Africa, was based on the works of the Argentinian mechanical engineer L.D. Porta, with whom Wardale corresponded during the modification.

The SAR Class 25 and 25NC 4-8-4’s were a group of 140 locomotive purchased by the South African Railways, delivered between 1953 and 1955 by Henschel and Sohn as well as the North British Locomotive Company. These locomotives featured all the then-contemporary American improvements: one piece cast steel frame with integral cylinders, roller bearings on all axles and motion, as well as mechanical and pressure lubrication.  The last built Class 25NC, number 3450, entered service in 1953 built by Henschel and Sohn, construction No.28697.

Even though SAR management had already decided to replace all steam traction with electric and diesel-electric power, Wardale was determined to show that the efficiency of steam locomotives could be greatly increased.  With the help of Argentinian mechanical engineer L.D. Porta, Wardale set about on a major modification program including the installation of the Gas Producer Combustion System (GPCS) to improve combustion efficiency and the Lempor exhaust system to improve the power output of the cylinders.

At the end of 1979, the rebuilding of number 3450 to Class 26 began.  Several SAR mechanical facilities were involved in producing new parts of modifying existing parts, including: Salt River in Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Beaconsfield in Kimberley, Koedoespoort in Pretoria and Pietermaritzburg.  The modification work had three main goals: 1) improve the combustion efficiency and increase the steam production, 2) reduce smoke emissions and 3) eliminate clinker problems in the firebox.

Following is a list of the principle modifications to the locomotive:

  • Double Lempor Exhaust;
  • Closed Type Feedwater Heater;
  • Enlarged Steam Chests;
  • Enlarged Branch Pipes;
  • Larger Superheater and Front-End Throttle (From a SAR Class GMAM Garratt);
  • Superheat Booster;
  • New Design Piston Valves;
  • Articulated Valve Spindles;
  • Cooled Valve Liners;
  • Diesel-type Piston Rings;
  • Improved Steam Ports;
  • New Design Cylinder Liners;
  • New Design Pistons;
  • Modified Valve Gear;
  • Tender Coal Capacity Increased by 2 Tons;
  • Lengthened Smokebox;
  • Air Sanding;
  • Self-Cleaning Smokebox;
  • New Design Valve and Piston Rod Packings;
  • Cutoff Proportional Lubrication;
  • Modified Insulation;
  • Exhaust Deflectors and
  • Bright Red Paint.

During testing, the locomotive proved capable of achieving nearly 5,000 DBHP, believed to be the highest output attained by any locomotive on Cape Gauge (3'-6").  In comparison, the Red Devil was capable of the following improvements against a standard Class 25NC:

  • 28% Reduction in Coal Consumption;
  • 30% Savings in Water Consumption and
  • 52% Increase in Drawbar Horsepower.

Equally impressive is that the locomotive ended up being cheaper to maintain and operate than diesel-electric locomotives on the railroad, due in large part to its modern construction, the low cost of fuel, and the application of advanced water treatment.

The following table provides a comparison between the Red Devil and other locomotives in operation today.

CATEGORY Southern 4501
As Rebuilt by
TVRM in 2014
SAR Class
SAR Class 26
No. 3450
"Red Devil"
ATSF 3751
As Rebuilt by
ATSF in 1941
General Classification 2-8-2 4-8-4 4-8-4 4-8-4
Cylinders, in. 26.625 x 30 24 x 28 24 x 28 30 x 30
Drivers, in. 63 60 60 80
Boiler Pressure, lbs. 205 225 225 230
Grate area, Sq. ft. 54 70 70 108
Engine weight, lbs. 272,940 214,400 222,400 478,100
Heating surface, Sq. ft. 3,231 3,390 3,104 5,634
Superheater, Sq. ft. 600 630 1,014 800
Drawbar horsepower, hp. 2,150 2,091 4,023 3,600
Power/Weight (dbhp/ton) 15.8 19.5 36.2 15.3
Tractive effort, lbs. 53,900 45,360 52,000 71,719
Builder Baldwin Henschel +
North British
Henschel Baldwin
Date (Rebuit) 1911 (2014) 1953-1955 1953 (1981) 1927 (1941)

It was announced earlier in 2016 that the Red Devil was moved from storage at Monument Station in Capetown to a restoration facility for restoration to operation. The locomotive is set to be used in conjunction with the Ceres Rail Company excursion operation, hauling trains on the mainline between Cape Town and Wolseley. It is unclear whether the locomotive, which had been significantly de-modified, will be rebuilt as a Class 25NC or converted back into a Class 26.