By Justin Franz
A Kansas museum is teaming up with actor and railroad enthusiast Michael Gross to raise money to cosmetically restore a Santa Fe FP45.
The Great Plains Transportation Museum of Wichita, Kan., wants to raise $193,000 to do some mechanical upgrades to make Santa Fe 93 roadworthy and send it to Mid-America Car of Kansas City, Mo., for repainting. Gross, who starred in the 1980s sitcom Family Ties, will be a spokesperson and advocate for the effort.
“I am delighted to be involved with the restoration of such an iconic Santa Fe locomotive,” Gross said. “My paternal grandfather, Chester Gross, worked at Santa Fe’s Fort Madison, Iowa, car and locomotive shops his entire career. Many children grew up running Lionel trains adorned with Santa Fe’s familiar red and silver livery circling Christmas trees in the 1950s and 1960s. Hence, my interest in this project to restore locomotive 93 to its proud Santa Fe heritage is very high and personal.”
Locomotive 93 was built by EMD in 1967 and used in passenger service until 1971. It was then used in freight service on the Santa Fe and later BNSF Railway until 1998 when it was retired and donated to the Witchita museum.
Watco’s Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad has agreed to donate the time to conduct a mechanical inspection to identify work that will need to be done before it can be sent to Kansas City. In Kansas City, it will be restored to the iconic red and silver warbonnet scheme. The scheme was by ATSF in the mid-20th century and then revived under President Michael R. Haverty in 1989.
“Bringing back the historic, world-renowned, red and silver passenger locomotive ‘Warbonnet’ paint scheme in a modernized freight version was intended to improve employee morale and boldly declare to our intermodal customers that Santa Fe was the top intermodal carrier in the United States,” Haverty said in a press release. “We designated the locomotives as the ‘Super Fleet’ to acknowledge recognition of the former world-class Super Chief passenger train and assigned them to primarily handle high-speed intermodal trains on the transcontinental main line between Chicago and the West Coast. Santa Fe Railway received amazing attention when the first ‘Super Fleet’ freight locomotive emerged from our San Bernardino shops just prior to Independence Day in 1989. The company’s image also got a huge boost when the Super Fleet locomotives garnered worldwide coverage. Reviving the historic red and silver Warbonnet paint scheme was a game changer for our railroad.”
The goal is to have the funds raised to restore the locomotive by the middle of next year and work could begin soon afterwards.
For more information and to learn how you can donate, visit santafe93.com.