In 2000, the Museum embarked on an ambitious plan to recreate the iconic diesel-electric locomotive that once adorned Santa Fe’s great fleet of Chief streamliners. While the railroad used several different models of locomotives to pull these trains, the General Motors Electro-Motive-Division F-7s were the most popular and successful versions.
Santa Fe’s Texas Chief of 1948 to 1971 was no exception when it came to the dominant form of motive power being EMD’s model F-7. Along with the rest of Santa Fe’s famous Chief streamliners, the Chicago-Houston Texas Chief could be found with up to six of the locomotives on the head end in cab or booster form. The iconic Warbonnet paint scheme just seemed to lay naturally on the curved features and stainless steel flanks of the F-7.
After several months of searching for a good candidate for acquisition and restoration, Canadian National F-9A #9167 was located at National Railway Equipment Co. (NREX) of Dixmoor, Illinois. No original F-units survive from Santa Fe’s passenger service with the exception of a cab and booster unit now on display at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento. CN #9167, originally built as an F-7, was an ideal candidate, having the same carbody features as the Santa Fe versions.
Following purchase from NREX, the locomotive was shipped to Texas on its own wheels via Chicago and St. Louis. Funding for acquisition was made possible by a lead gift from the Hillcrest Foundation, which enthusiastically supported preservation and restoration of the unit.
The locomotive was painstakingly restored, with extensive body work and painting completed in 2005. The scope of work called for the unit to be cosmetically restored back to the 1952 appearance of an F-7. This required only modest changes to the exterior, which had been remanufactured to F-9 specifications in the early 1970s. Work included the application of stainless steel panels to the exterior of the locomotive’s carbody at the location of those on original Santa Fe passenger units. Paint and graphics were applied using DuPont’s Imron Polyurethane Enamel. Restoration of the locomotive was made possible by a lead gift from the Muckleroy Foundation.
The locomotive received mechanical repairs including extensive work on its 16 cylinder 567C 1,750 hp diesel engine, and replacement of the four D-77 traction motors that had been removed by NREX. The F-9 mechanical upgrades, performed by GM of Canada, were left intact. Restoration was completed in 2006. The unit is now in serviceable condition and operates periodically at the Museum and at special events offsite.
We wish to thank the following organizations and individuals for making Project F-7 possible:
Hillcrest Foundation – Founded by Mrs. W. W. Caruth, Sr. (Lead Gift)
Eugene McDermott Foundation
Mr. E. Lee DeGolyer
Bill & Angela Barrett
Mr. & Mrs. Otto Wetzel
Robert & Tracey Willis
Mr. Elton Vaughan
Jerry R. & Nancy Stricklin Willis
Jerry C. Willis & Family
David & Lisa Gilmore
John L. & Mary Radovich
Mr. Joe Huffman
Mr. Robert LaPrelle
Stanley & Yvonne Smith
Scott & Cathy Luedke
Mr. & Mrs. Joel Price
Mr. Paul Kurilicz
Mr. Bud Weatherson
Union Pacific Railroad
Dallas, Garland & Northeastern Railroad
Dani Muckleroy – in Honor of Dr. Robert Muckleroy (Lead Gift)
Metal-Rehab, Arlington Texas
Mr. Gerald Cochran, NRE, Chicago
Mr. Mark Williams, Kansas City Southern Railroad
Mr. Barry Bledsoe, Bledsoe Brace Systems
Mr. Bob Lavry – Fort Worth & Western Railroad
Mr. Bruce Meyer
Dr. John B. McCall
Mr. Stan Kistler
Mr. Walter Gray, State of California Parks Service/California State Railroad Museum
Mr. Doyle McCormack
Dale & Richard Brand – Brand Sheetmetal
Mr. Dave Eyerman
Mr. Doug Nichols
Mr. Ron Chamberlain
Mr. Jeff Phelps
Mr. Ted Phelps
Mr. Roger Meyer
Mr. Richard Wainscott – CMO, Museum of the American Railroad
Robert H. “Bob” LaPrelle, CEO, Museum of the American Railroad
Robert A. Willis, Trustee, Museum of the American Railroad