The tale of a locomotive

Background

In the late spring of 2003, I moved from Massachusetts to Plano Texas, to start a new job.

About a block from my new office is a cement plant, belonging to the Lattimore Materials Corporation. It's located next to the Kansas City Southern's former Cotton Belt line, running northeast from Dallas. This plant gets "aggregate" (gravel) delivered in UP 100-ton 4-bay hopper cars (H100-14, and -19 series), possibly from LMC's rail accessible gravel pit, in Stringtown OK.

Lattimore uses it's own locomotive to switch the unloading track in Plano. This locomotive is a chop-nosed GP-9, obviously rebuilt by Santa Fe. The clues include the "Topeka Cab" and four-stack exhaust.

I did a little research and came up with a history of this locomotive (current road number LMC 2001), and I've drawn the "evolution" of this neighborhood diesel here.

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As Delivered

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The locomotive that would come to live in Plano was built in 1957, as AT&SF 732. At that time, Santa Fe numbered their road diesels below 2000, and switchers above. It's interesting to note that the GP-9s got a road number series, while the previous GP-7s were numbered in the 2650 series, as transfer (heavy switcher) units.

When delivered, 732 and Santa Fe's other 51 GP-9s were painted in the standard Santa Fe roadswitchers scheme of black with silver safety stripes. This was known as the "zebra stripe" scheme.

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New Paint Scheme

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In 1960, Santa Fe changed its roadswitcher paint scheme to one more like the scheme used on their freight F-units units. The body became blue, and the safety stripes were replaced by solid yellow areas. This was known as variously as the "bookend", "yellow trim", or "pinstripe" scheme.

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Renumbered

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In 1969, Santa Fe undertook a general re-numbering of its locomotives. They no longer had to worry about diesel and steam number series overlapping. The GP-9s were re-numbered into the 2900 series.

The GP-9s retained their order when re-numbered, so 732 became 2932.

Interestingly, this re-numbering put the GP-9s in the same 2900 series as Santa Fe's last class of 4-8-4 passenger steam locomotives.

The numbering is most likely not an homage to Santa Fe's big steamers though. More likely the choice was made to put the GP-9s after the GP-7s, the last of which was numbered 2893.

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Another New Scheme

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In 1972, Santa Fe had been out of the passenger train business for over a year. They had painted several of their passenger F-units with a blue version of the "warbonet" scheme, and assigned them to freight service. This led to a decision to create a warbonet scheme for all freight locomotives.

2932 was re-painted sometime in 1974.

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Rebuilt

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By the late '70s, Santa Fe's first generation diesels were showing their age. Years earlier, the railroad had started the CF-7 program, to rebuild their F-unit fleet. When those rebuilds were complete, they began a similar, but less radical, program to rebuild the early geeps as well. Changes included removal of dynamic brakes, lowering the short hood, replacement of the cab (the new one features a rooftop air conditioner), and installation of a new exhaust manifold, with four stacks instead of the original two.

Each locomotive was assigned a new number after it was rebuilt, and 2932 became 2275 when it emerged from the shops at Cleburne, TX in late 1979.

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New Owner

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After another fifteen years of service, Santa Fe began to retire its rebuilt geeps. Some were scrapped, but others were sold to small railroads and industrial operators.

The former Santa Fe 2275 passed through several owners, finally coming to Lattimore Materials Corporation, which still operates it as a switcher, at their cement plant in Plano, TX


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