Photo of ATSF 1, Santa Fe's new diesel locomotive for the Super Chief. September 20, 1935. Click to enlarge.

(Acme News Service-published by Mexia Weekly Herald, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)



Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway No. 1 was a twin-unit set built by St. Louis Car Company in August 1935 to haul the Santa Fe's new train, the Super Chief, for its first year of operation from May 12, 1936 until May 18 of the following year.

The Santa Fe Railway was an ideal railroad to be a dieselization pioneer; its long desert runs in the Southwest made the provision of water supplies for steam locomotives problematic. Santa Fe saw the potential for rapid dieselization of its southwestern passenger service so the railroad asked for two locomotives like the EMC demonstrators as proof of concept, letting the railroad gain some experience with diesel operation before production model diesel locomotives and the lightweight, streamlined trains they would haul were ready. The 2226.6 mile route that these units were intended to run, covering mountain and desert, was completely unprecedented, and exposed weaknesses in the design. Their working up period extended for about eight months before they were introduced into service, during which time modifications were continually made to them.

Santa Fe asked for some cosmetic "dressing up" of the locomotives, since they would be hauling a prestige passenger train, and EMC obliged with a treatment by Sterling McDonald's GM styling department, which included large hooded air intakes at the front of the units and a striking paint scheme: Olive Green with Cobalt Blue and Sarasota Blue stripes separated by pinstripes of Crimson and Tuscan Red. This livery reduced the box look of the locomotives and gave them more of a look of speed.

The units were delivered with shrouding around their trucks, which was soon removed because the bearings on the trucks tended to run hot. Engine cooling was another problem that needed to be addressed during the testing period. The second unit in particular had trouble getting enough air to cool the radiators; likely the stylish hood over the air intake contributed to this problem. A number of vents were added to the roofs in their first year of existence. Both units required larger steam generators, and a greater fuel and water supply.

Because they were always run coupled together, Santa Fe employees nicknamed the two units the "One Spot Twins" and "Amos & Andy" (after the popular radio situation comedy). Both units shared a common road number and the operating department considered them a single locomotive. The mechanical department referred to them as Unit A (lead unit) and Unit B (trailing unit). While the pair substituted for a Super Chief E1 set with burned-out traction motors in 1937, the company leased EMC demonstrator No. 512 as a third unit called Unit C.

After new EMC E1s replaced the proof-of-concept No. 1 in 1937, the Santa Fe began to further modify the two locomotive units. The two units were rebuilt as single-ended locomotives in 1938 with a "bulldog" front end — a very high, raised cab above a rounded snub nose. The locomotives were painted in the Warbonnet paint scheme similar to the E1s. The trucks were replaced with three axle drop-equalizer trucks of unusual AAR wheel arrangement 1B configuration; the lead axle was unpowered, while the two rear axles were powered. The three-axle trucks were more stable at speed and lighter on the track with a lower axle loading. Roller bearings on the new trucks alleviated the overheating problem. Unit A retained road number 1 and Unit B was renumbered number 10, since it was now regarded as a separate locomotive. The revamped locomotives pulled the new Chicagoan (ATSF train) and Kansas Cityan named trainsets between Chicago and Wichita, KS, with the run soon extended to Oklahoma City.

In 1941, No. 10 had its cab removed, and became a booster unit numbered 1A. In 1948, AT&SF rebuilt unit 1A into freight transfer locomotive No. 2611 running on EMD Blomberg B trucks; locomotive 1 remained unmodified from its 1938 rebuild as a passenger unit.

Both 1 and 2611 went to Electro-Motive Division as trade-ins on EMD E8 locomotives in 1953. Both emerged as booster units, numbered 83A and 84A, respectively.


Postcard photo of Santa Fe's No. 1 engine after it was rebuilt post-1937. The locomotive is shown at the Fort Madison, Iowa, depot, pulling a seven-car consist. After serving as a paired set of boxcab locomotives hauling the Super Chief during 1937, the locomotive units 1a and 1b were separated, re-designated as Nos. 1 and 10, and rebuilt identically. Their twin cabs were replaced with one elevated cab at their head ends and the B trucks were modified with the addition of unpowered drop-equalizer axles (1-B). They gained the "war bonnet" paint scheme in use on Santa Fe's newest passenger locomotives. They both served with the Chicagoan and Kansas Cityan day trains from 1938 to 1941. In 1941, No. 10 was rebuilt as a booster unit and rejoined with No. 1 to haul a larger consist. The pair served in that configuration until 1948, when No. 10 was removed and rebuilt as a freight transfer locomotive. Click to enlarge. (L. C. Cook, Milwaukee, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)



Type and origin
Power type: Diesel-electric
Builder: St. Louis Car Company (EMC design)
Serial number: 535–536
Build date: August 1935
Total produced: 2
Operators: Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
Road Numbers: 1
Official name: 1800 hp B-B
Nicknames: Amos and Andy
Locale: North America
Disposition: Scrapped 1953