Santa Fe 3463

Warren Scholl Remembered

Warren M. Scholl, one of the founding board members of the Coalition for Sustainable Rail and a lifelong student of railroad history, passed away on July 28, 2019. Friend of CSR, Kevin Keefe, wrote a meaningful remembrance of Warren, which was published on the Classic Trains magazine website. You can read the original article here. Keefe has graciously permitted CSR to reprint it here.


Remembering Warren Scholl

Kevin P. Keefe

Scholl and CSR’s President Davidson Ward beside the 84 inch drivers of ATSF 3463 in Topeka, Kansas.

Scholl and CSR’s President Davidson Ward beside the 84 inch drivers of ATSF 3463 in Topeka, Kansas.

If you go to railroad events often enough you already know that trains aren’t the real priority — it’s the people. My schedule is fairly full of these kinds of things, and to be honest I don’t always remember the speeches I heard, the PowerPoint presentations I endured, or the images I saw up on the screen. But I definitely recall seeing old friends. One of my favorites has always been Warren Scholl.

Alas, I got the terribly sad news a couple of weeks ago while on a two-week trip through England: Warren died July 28 at home in Lenexa, Kans., after a battle with cancer. He was 77. I understand from people who were there that his August 8 funeral was standing-room only. I wasn’t surprised. Anyone who ever met Warren instantly bonded with him.

The basic details of Warren’s life are this: born in Chicago in 1942, he graduated from Lane Tech in 1960, served in an Army artillery battery in Germany for two years, went into the hobby shop business for a while, then hired out as a switchman at Santa Fe’s Corwith Yard in Chicago in 1978. He had a successful career on the railroad, with a variety of assignments before retiring from BNSF in 2011. He was a mainstay on the crews of Frisco 4-8-2 No. 1522 and Santa Fe 4-8-4 No. 3751. Along the way he married his wife Susan and had two sons, all of whom survive him. By all accounts, it was a full life.

The thing I’ll remember about Warren is that he was always glad to see you, and he’d say so in the most enthusiastic terms. Seeing Warren on a steam trip, or at a Lexington Group meeting, or at the Center for Railroad Photography & Art’s

“Conversations” conference in Lake Forest, always brought a smile. He loved railroading, to be sure, but I think most of all he loved the friendships.

That extended to the way he worked on the railroad. After his death, I read a social media post in which another BNSF railroader, a manager, praised Scholl’s efforts for the work he did years ago as a union rep in the Chicago area. Warren had a reputation for trying to reach solutions rather than fall back on the old confrontational stance so common to the business.

One of Scholl’s pals from Chicago remembers him fondly. Mike Croy got his start on the Santa Fe at Corwith Yard, which is where he encountered Warren early in their careers. Croy retired in 2003 as terminal superintendent in San Bernardino.

“Warren and I go back many, many years to Corwith,” recalls Croy. “I was the third-trick yardmaster and Warren was a newly hired yard switchman. Whenever his crew would go to beans, Warren would wander up to the tower to watch and learn the overall operation.”

In Scholl, Croy found a kindred spirit. “I was impressed by his thirst for learning. It was during those visits that we shared our love of railroading, and especially the Santa Fe. And this was at a time when being a railfan was not cool.”

That love of the Santa Fe was a huge theme in Warren’s life. Another person who saw that firsthand is Mike Martin, a former AT&SF public relations manager who went on to senior p.r. positions in the food and agribusiness sectors. Mike got to know Warren as he transitioned from locomotive engineer to training instructor in the Kansas City area.

“I am firmly convinced Warren Scholl's blood matched the hue of Santa Fe passenger and Super Fleet locomotive paint,” says Martin. “Warren could work effectively with anyone at the railroad, and everyone liked working with him. He was well respected for his knowledge and insights related to safe train operations, and he was interested in all things Santa Fe. Warren would often engage in lengthy casual discussions on just about any railroad topic.”

Martin recalls that Warren was a go-to option in 1997 when he and Jim Schwinkendorf in the Operating Department were tasked with finding people to oversee the railroad’s first Employee Appreciation Special (EAS), a train that became a tradition on BNSF. “Warren was an obvious choice and he became a fixture on these annual trips, his last being in 2018,” says Martin. “Warren achieved his childhood dream of being a locomotive engineer and working for Santa Fe.”

Those EAS trains provided a special bond between Warren and another BNSF engineer and 1522 veteran, Jeff Schmid.

“We worked together literally 14 to 16 hours a day on the Employee Appreciation Special,” Schmid remembers. “Our duties overlapped, and eventually we always knew where the other would be and what they would be doing. Dressed the same, with orange vest, radio belt, and EAS ball cap, people regarded us as almost interchangeable. Frequently we were addressed with the other’s name.”

Schmid says Warren was someone you could always count on. “He was the same reliable person at 0730 crew breakfast as he was at the next morning's 0730 breakfast, even though he had been up all night nursing a sick locomotive.”

I met Warren in 1988 when I headed down to St. Louis to do a cover story for Trains on the resurrection of the 1522. Over the years I had several encounters with the 1522 — one of my favorite steam locomotives — and Warren was usually around, including for a couple of memorable cab rides in Wisconsin and Missouri. I saw a lot of him in 2001 when the 1522 hauled the EAS train through Missouri and Oklahoma.

One of the great things about the 1522 crew was how positive they all were — about their engine, of course, but also about each other, as well as the crews on other mainline steam locomotives. There was none of the bad-mouthing I’ve encountered on some other engines.

Instead, the overriding vibe on the 1522 was, “Gee, aren’t we lucky to be alive and doing this!” And no one personified that as much as Warren Scholl, who always had a smile on his face. I’m really going to miss him.

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.”

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. 

White Paper: Mechanical Balancing of Steam Locomotives

CSR is pleased to provide this second part of a two-part series on locomotive balancing.  This white paper provides an in-depth, yet approachable explanation of steam locomotive rail wheel dynamics.  From defining dynamic augment to explaining how a Franklin Radial Buffer helps alleviate the need for overbalance, the Mechanical Balancing of Steam Locomotives white paper provides the fundamentals of steam locomotive balancing.

This paper attempts to distill important concepts into more understandable verbiage. Beginning with defining key terms, CSR presents equations relevant to the rail wheel dynamics of steam locomotives, takes a closer look at the techniques and technology introduced to facilitate high speed operation and concludes with a discussion of how advances in materials science, physics, computing, and machine design over the last 50 years provide additional tools for the modern locomotive design engineer – tools which may just help CSR relegate dynamic augment to the history books.

Proof is in the Picture

These shots before and after CSR's cosmetic restoration and stabilization of locomotive 3463 communicate the importance of properly maintaining rail equipment, both from the perspective of preserving the rolling stock to improving the value it has in the community. To CSR, the cosmetic restoration will ensure no further degradation occurs to the locomotive prior to its move to Minneapolis for reconstruction.