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Santa Fe Locomotive Development

by Larry E. Brasher


Loco Devel jacket

The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe began furnishing its own specifications for locomotives to builders in 1880. In succeeding years, design of steam locomotives became increasingly complete on the part of the railroad. The culmination of this process was the "Supreme Steam" of the 1930s, exemplified in the magnificent accomplishment of the 3460 Class of 4-6-4s, the 3765 Class of 4-8-4s, and the 5001 Class of 2-10-4s.

Also in the 1930s, the Santa Fe played a pioneering role in the development of Diesel locomotives for road service, beginning with the well-known "One-Spot Twins" and continuing with passenger E1 and E3 models, and the FT freight model, from Electro-Motive. Very extensive road testing and usage under Santa Fe's demanding conditions led to many changes and improvements in these pioneer Diesels.

This volume explores all these topics, and brings together the men behind these events, particularly John Purcell, with the complexities of design, construction, testing, and service of these locomotives, from generations of advancing steam design, to the culmination by 1941 of both Supreme Steam and the Diesel pioneers.

Author Larry E. Brasher, whose father was one of the original Santa Fe Diesel Maintainers, has drawn on many company documents and photos, along with his father's memoirs and recollections, to tell this story in a way few others could have done. Its 291 photos (19 in color) richly document the detailed text.

The book is a fascinating account of the progress of steam locomotive design, the early days of Diesel service, and above all, the powerful role played by Santa Fe men in these developments. It is sure to be enjoyed by anyone interested in locomotives, and of course by any fan of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe.


Particulars: Santa Fe Locomotive Development, by Larry E. Brasher
Price: $65, hard covers     Size: 304 pages, 8.5" x 11"; 291 photographs (19 color), graphics, index, bibliography
ISBN: 978-1-930013-20-9     Publication date: November 15, 2006