Trains magazine has awarded its $10,000 2016 Preservation Award to the Museum of the American Railroad for the restoration of the last surviving Santa Fe-painted Alco PA diesel locomotive.
The award was announced at the Association of Tourist Railroads & Railway Museums annual meeting in Savannah, Ga., on Nov. 12.
The grant will sponsor the transferring of engineering documents of the carbody, nose, and cab contours to a scalable, digital, three-dimensional format so replacement parts can be fabricated quickly and accurately for Santa Fe No. 59L at Frisco, Texas.
The work will focus on the cab area, speeding the day when the famous Santa Fe silver, red, and yellow Warbonnet paint scheme can be reapplied to this historic locomotive.
The award was made from more than 50 applicants in this, the 17th year, for the Trains $10,000 grant. “We had an avalanche of great applicants with strong projects, good plans, and organizations behind them ready and capable of making their goals a reality, and we wish we could fund them all,” said Editor Jim Wrinn. “Our choice for the PA is a salute to one of the most popular passenger locomotives ever built, a tribute to Alco, and a nod to the emerging Museum of the American Railroad, which is developing its Frisco campus.”
“We are proud and honored to receive the 2016 Trains Preservation Award,” said Robert Willis, project manager. “TRAINS’ funding and endorsement of the Santa Fe Alco PA Project enables us to make significant progress towards reconstruction of the locomotive. While we are fortunate to be the stewards of this historic and iconic engine, we view this as a gift to its enthusiasts worldwide and look forward to seeing the PA grace the rails once again.”
Alco built Santa Fe No. 59L in 1948 at its plant in Schenectady, N.Y. Santa Fe sold the locomotive to Delaware & Hudson in 1967 as No. 16. The unit became property of the national railway system of Mexico in 1978, and it was wrecked and heavily damaged in 1981. The Smithsonian Institution repatriated the PA in 2000, and it was donated to the Museum of the American Railroad in 2010. Nearly 300 of the units were built in the late 1940s and early 1950s for use in the United States. Only four of these remain, one in Portland, Ore., in private ownership and painted Nickel Plate Road, and two in museums in Mexico
The award was made 70 years after Alco brought out the first PA, which, incidentally, was the builder’s 75,000th locomotive, and just happened to be made for the Santa Fe.
(At Left) The future is bright for Santa Fe Locomotive 59L, the only Santa Fe Alco PA-1 locomotive to be exhibited anywhere. The engine will be resplendent in its original paint scheme seen here in San Diego circa 1954. (At Right) Santa Fe Alco PA-1 locomotive #59L offers a glimpse of its future, sporting a new nose door painted in the famous Santa Fe Railway "Warbonnet" livery. Acquired from the Smithsonian in 2010, the engine poses in Frisco