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Santa Fe 3751 San Diego Steam Special 6/1/2008

by Chris Guenzler

The Santa Fe 4-8-4 3751 was the last Santa Fe steam locomotive to pull the last steam passenger train between Los Angeles and San Diego in August 23rd, 1953. In 1926 the Santa Fe Railway in cooperation with Baldwin Locomotive Works, designed Santa Fe's first 4-8-4 3751 as a coal burner. In May 1927 the 3751 emerges from the erecting hall as the Santa Fe's and Baldwin's first 4-8-4, builder's number 60004. In 1936 the 3751 was converted to burn oil at the San Bernardino Shops. On May 7th, 1939 the 3751 hauls the first named passenger train "The Scout" into the new Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal on opening day. In 1957 the Santa Fe 3751 was officially retired from the Santa Fe Locomotive roster and donated to the city of San Bernardino. The Santa Fe 3751 was placed into Viaduct Park, San Bernardino as a static display May 14, 1958. In 1976 steam returned to the Surf Line when the Southern Pacific 4-8-4 4449 pulled the American Freedom Train with its first stop on the line at Anaheim Stadium.

I photographed the Southern Pacific 4449 resting at night with the Big A standing guard behind on January 9th, 1976. The train left Anaheim the night of January 13th, 1976 for display in San Diego. The Freedom Train then went back north up the Surf Line to San Juan Capistrano on the night of January 18th, 1976. After display at San Juan Capistrano the American Freedom Train then headed north to Orange and a run up the Olive District to Atwood then east to Colton and the Southern Pacific on the night of January 21, 1976.

Santa Fe 3751 restored to Operating Condition.

I first saw the Santa Fe 3751, a 4-8-4 locomotive, sitting on display in Viaduct Park in San Bernardino. Little did I know at that time that one day in the future I would see it run under its own steam. My fondest memory was after one major rain storm, I saw 3751 standing surrounded by rain water that had flooded the park. The San Bernardino Historical Society was formed to restore the 3751. The group started it's restoration in June 1981 with an initial evaluation. Over the next few years minor work was done in the park. In 1986 the engine was removed from Viaduct Park and was taken to California Steel Industries in Fontana where the engine was rebuilt to be returned to service.

On August 13, 1991, the engine moved under its own power since August 25, 1953. Here is my first picture of Santa Fe 3751 under steam at Fontana.

The California Limited from Los Angeles to Bakersfield and return. Here is the California Limited first public excursion passing through Fullerton on December 27, 1991. I rode Barstow to Bakersfield for a trip around the Tehachapi Loop.

The 1992 Santa Fe 3751 Employee Recognition Special Los Angeles to Chicago and return was the next trip for the Santa Fe 3751. Here it is westbound through Lavic on September 16, 1992.

Santa Fe 3751 was next displayed at the Riverside Orange Blossom Festival April 23, 1995.

The Santa Fe 3751 Railfair 1999 Trip passed through the Horseshoe Curve in Santa Ana Canyon on June 16, 1999.

Santa Fe 3751 next trip was to the Canyon Rails NRHS Convention 2002 at Williams, Arizona. The 3751 made a two day trip Los Angeles to Williams to get to the convention. Once there on August 24, 2002 after pulling an excursion to the Grand Canyon, three steam engines where posed in front of the Grand Canyon Station.

A Photo Runby was performed by both the Grand Canyon 4960 and Santa Fe 3751 on the return trip to Williams.

Santa Fe 3751 West down the Peavine and Arizona California August 25, 2002. A triple Photo Runby was held at MP 100 just east of Parker, Arizona in the 117 degree heat. The two day trip back to Los Angeles was fantastic.

The 3751 steamed through El Monte on Saturday June 12th, 2004 on its way to the restored San Bernardino Station Celebration.

San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society Community Outreach Program Train at San Pedro on October 30, 2004.

The Santa Fe 3751 was on display on June 23rd, 2005 at Los Angeles Union Station on Track 12.

The Santa Fe 3751 has visited Fullerton Railroad Days several times. Its latest visit was in 2008.

Planning to the Trip

On it was announced on a post that the Santa Fe 3751 would be pulling a trip from Los Angeles to San Diego on June 1, 2008 and that tickets would be available in a few days. On Sunday morning March 16th I saw another post and went to the Central Coast Railway Club web site and bought my ticket. I then got the word out to my friends to get tickets ASAP. Tom Anderson rode down to San Diego with me and once there we got his ticket once we got to the Santa Fe Station. Chris Parker bought a ticket and Winston Walker did as well. Joe Harper, that wonderful videographer, wanting to video the trip asked me for locations and someone to ride with him. That person became Bob Riskie. Joe had an extra ticket which I offered to Jeff Hartmann. With that done we all lived the days until the trip happened.

Joe Harper Rides the Surfline for the First Time 5/31/2008

I thought before Joe chased the Santa Fe 3751 to and from San Diego that he should ride the line to get acquainted with it and I could point out good photo locations to him. We met in Fullerton and took Pacific Surfliner 564 to San Diego and the train would be in about the same lighting as the steam train would be tomorrow heading south. The train ran on-time and Joe got a feel for the line.

After laying over, we returned north to Los Angeles on Surfliner 571. This then gave Joe the entire route that the Santa Fe 3751 would run over. The Santa Fe 3751 being polished before we arrived into Los Angeles Union Station. At Los Angeles, I took Joe over the Philippe's for lunch so he could experience that unique restaurant. We returned to Fullerton aboard Surfliner 578.

Passing the Santa Fe 3751 on the return trip to Fullerton it was now steamed up for the trip tomorrow. We detrained at Fullerton and I told Joe that I would see him on the platform at Los Angeles Union Station in the morning before we drove home for the rest of the day.

6/1/2008 We returned to Fullerton aboard Surfliner 578. Passing the Santa Fe 3751 on the return trip to Fullerton it was now steamed up for the trip tomorrow. We detrained at Fullerton and I told Joe that I would see him on the platform at Los Angeles Union Station in the morning before we drove home for the rest of the day.

The Santa Fe 3751 backing into Los Angeles Union Station.

Three more views of the Santa Fe 3751. I then walked the train to record the consist.

Pacific Surfliner 798 waiting to depart for San Luis Obispo.

Cab Car 90208 in the newest Amtrak paint scheme.

Due to a group of 300 on Surfliner 798 that booked over four months ago, the Great Dome was put on that train instead of our steam special. The Cafe car from that set was used on our steam special today.

Santa Fe 3751 San Diego Steam Special 6/1/2008

Winston, Tom and I boarded Car 1 and were assigned ocean side seats for the southbound trip to San Diego. The train consisted of the Santa Fe 4-8-4 3751, P42DC 117, Amfleet Coaches 82540, 82500, 82620, 82580, Horizon Cafe 58107, 82710, 82630, 82560, 82720 and the California Zephyr Silver Lariat 800190. I walked back through the train to see who was else on the train and bought a trip T shirt. Departure came and went. The Santa Fe 3751 left Los Angeles late at 8:15 AM. This was because the track bulletin for the trip left out the special instructions for to the trip of the Santa Fe 3751 to San Diego and back. The Amtrak RFE and Conductor worked as fast as they could to get that track bulletin corrected. Once it was corrected they had to get it from the office to the train. Our first delay of the trip was not the fault of Amtrak or Santa Fe 3751. The train slowly pulled out of Los Angeles Union Station with a helicopter hovering out by the Los Angeles River. As the train made the first turn I could see the Santa Fe 3751 working and later as we neared Mission Tower we got a longer view of Santa Fe 3751 curving along the Los Angeles River. At the Caesar Chavez Overpass I spotted Bob and Joe getting their first pictures of the day. The Santa Fe 3751 then steamed south along the Los Angeles River by the MTA Subway Shop and on to the Amtrak Yard where crew members and workers were out to salute us. The Santa Fe 3751 next climbed the flyover across the Alameda Corridor and Los Angeles River. Once off of the flyover, the Santa Fe 3751 entered the BNSF San Bernardino Sub at CP Soto. The 3751 steamed by Hobart Tower and then along the south side of Hobart Yard. The train passed the BNSF Commerce Engine Facility and then crossed the Santa Ana Freeway. There were people all over the place taking pictures of the Santa Fe 3751 making its first public excursion to San Diego. We steamed through the industries before crossing the Rio Honda. We passed through Pico Rivera then crossed the San Gabriel River. The 3751 ran through Los Neitos and then Santa Fe Springs. We ran through the Metrolink Norwalk Station as we turned southeast through La Mirada. Soon we entered Orange County crossing Coyote Creek then ran through the Buena Park Metrolink Station. Minutes later we met the Southwest Chief as we ran by the Fullerton Airport to Basta before turning east to our first stop for passengers at Fullerton. The Santa Fe 3751 was met with a large crowd and Amtrak passengers who were mistakenly trying to board our train. The Santa Fe 3751 left Fullerton at 9:02 AM and entered the Metrolink San Diego Sub at Fullerton Jct. At Orangethorpe Avenue I spotted Bob and Joe again getting more pictures of the Santa Fe 3751. The train passed beneath the CA 91 Freeway and entered Anaheim putting on a fantastic show using its whistle at the many grade crossings in that city. At CP College we crossed the former Southern Pacific Tustin Branch then ran by Anaheim Stadium then under the 57 Freeway and crossed the Santa Ana River into the City of Orange. At CP Maple we turned south and headed by the Orange Metrolink Station and minutes later went under the 22 Freeway and across Santiago Creek into Santa Ana. Along Lincoln Ave the public was out in force and Ruth Keller, one of our Special Ed Teachers at McFadden was spotted as the Santa Fe 3751 rolled through my neighborhood. The Santa Fe 3751 then steamed over Interstate 5 and through the Santa Ana Amtrak Station with my morning agent out enjoying our train. The Santa Fe 3751 took the two curves and steamed southeast out of Santa Ana. We passed under the 55 Freeway and into Tustin. At Red Hill Ave I spotted Tony Espinosa, a wonderful 8th Grade Math Teacher at McFadden and Maureen Angle with her husband watching our train steam by. Maureen was that fantastic Science Teacher at McFadden that did an experiment that ended up leading me to get sober. So here on my Day 4883 of my Sobriety I aboard the 3751 steam train heading to San Diego. As we headed towards the Tustin Metrolink Station we spotted a van with the side door open and someone filming the train as we passed the Blimp Hangers. The Santa Fe 3751 steamed through Irvine and took the shoo fly at Jeffrey Road. At Sand Canyon Road I spotted Joe and Bob again. The Santa Fe 3751 passed beneath Interstate 5 and on into the Irvine Amtrak Station our last passenger stop of the morning. While we were there, southbound Surfliner 566 came in on Track 1 and left. The Santa Fe 3751 left Irvine at 9:42 AM but went only as far as CP Bake where we came to a stop. A few minutes later Metrolink 654 passed by us then crossed over and ran in front of us to CP Capistrano where we would ran around him through the siding. Bob and Joe were spotted again on the Bake Parkway bridge as we took off again. Mr. Covey, another McFadden 8th Grade Math Teacher also saw the train there. Being in Car 1 I enjoyed the barking of the Santa Fe 3751 as it climbed the rest of El Toro Hill. Once over the top, the train started the long descent towards San Juan Creek. The Santa Fe 3751 passed beneath Interstate 5 again and headed south through Laguna Niguel. A crowd was at the Laguna Niguel Metrolink Station before we ran beneath the Toll Road. The Santa Fe 3751 passed through the last Orange Grove along our route before crossing Trabuco Creek into San Juan Capistrano. We ran through the station there before we crossed San Juan Creek and ran around Metrolink 654 at CP Capistrano. The Santa Fe 3751 then steamed its way to CP Serra and turned south crossing Coast Highway to start our surf running.

The train steamed by Doheny State Beach and beneath the bluffs as we made our way to North Beach.

There the Santa Fe 3751 started its beach running passing by the San Clemente Pier and onto San Clemente State Beach.

We were being filmed by this helicopter.

We were being filmed by this helicopter. The Santa Fe 3751 passed County Line then crossed San Matoe Creek at Trestles. Then a few minutes later crossed San Onofre Creek then curved onto the San Onofre Bluff passing the San Onofre Nuclear Power Station then by San Onofre State Beach. At CP San Onofre we waited just a few minutes for Surfliner 571 to head north as a CHP motorcycle officer stopped the public from stopping along the freeway. Taking off again, we spotted a motorcyclist filming as he drove along. The Santa Fe 3751 steamed under Interstate 5 with Bob and Joe at the viewpoint just south of there. The Santa Fe 3751 continued to cross Camp Pendleton with a large group of chasers at Las Pulgas Road. The train crossed Las Pulgas Creek and we got to watch the chasers on Interstate 5.

That CHP motorcycle officer keeping everyone in line.

Many interesting chasers were spotted.

Video chasers. The Santa Fe 3751 steamed through Stuart Mesa passing the Coaster Facility. The Santa Fe 3751 steamed slowly across the Santa Margarita River Bridge as the traffic slowed along with us.

The video chasers were once again as we ran by Fallbrook Jct and passed a parked Metrolink train. The Santa Fe 3751 crossed the San Luis Rey River and headed into Oceanside running through the Amtrak Station there. There we no Sprinters spotted as we steamed through Escondido Jct. The Santa Fe 3751 crossed the small Loma Lagoon and creek before the neighborhoods of homes and the crossing the Buena Vista Lagoon before rolling through Carlsbad with the Santa Fe station still standing. The Santa Fe 3751 crossed the Agua Herronda Lagoon before running to CP Farr where we took the east main to the Carlsbad Poinsettia Station where we stopped for a water stop and a photo runby at 11:12 AM. We would be here for about an hour and those passengers who wanted to get off could. I did and was glad I did.

Santa Fe 3751 at Poinsettia.

Santa Fe 3751 and train at Poinsettia.

Surfliner 571 passed the 3751 heading north and later Surfliner 768 went south.

The Santa Fe 3751 taking water.

The Photo Line. Bob and Joe were in our photo line.

The train did the back up move.

The train did the Photo Runby.

The Santa Fe 3751 then backed to the station platform to pick us all up. The Santa Fe 3751 left Poinsettia at 12:16 PM and passed by Ponto before we crossed the Batiquitos Lagoon with Bob and Joe along with maybe another hundred photographers. The Santa Fe 3751 steamed south through Lecaudia, Encinitas and Cardiff by the Sea. The Santa Fe 3751 crossed the San Eilijo Lagoon and then steamed through the Solana Beach Station trench to reach the crossing of the San Dieguritos River and by the world's famous Del Mar Race Track before it passed the old Del Mar Station. The Santa Fe 3751 crossed Coast Highway and ran along the edge of the bluffs with the homes to the east and a cliff to the west. We curved under the Coast Highway and started running up the Sorrento Valley crossing the wetlands first. The Santa Fe 3751 ran by Sorrento siding then started the climb twisting and turning up the grade of Miramar Hill. We ducked under Interstate 5, started our way up the grade and looking out the window you could see the Santa Fe 3751 on the numerous curves working and barking hard. It is a short but steep 2.2 percent grade as the tracks climb steadily away from the creek below. We rounded the last curve then went under Miramar Road and at CP Cumbres passed the wye where the Santa Fe 3751 would be turned and started down Rose Canyon. The canyon was still wild in places but home projects have closed in on it. The Santa Fe 3751 took the straight tracks of the canyon until the curves and the end of the double track at Elvira. We twisted our way down the rest of the canyon until it opened up and San Diego was down the hill before us. The Santa Fe 3751 took the straight tracks with Mission Bay off to the west before we crossed the San Diego River. The Santa Fe 3751 gained double track again at Old Town before ducking underneath Interstate 5 one last time, passing the old Consolidated Aircraft plant and then ran to the east of San Diego International Airport before arriving at the Santa Fe Depot built in 1915 in a Mission Revival Style at 1:14 PM. We all detrained but were told to be back on the train by 3:30 PM for a 3:45 PM Departure.

Santa Fe 3751 at rest at San Diego.

Another view of the Santa Fe 3751 at San Diego.

Fans surrounded the Santa Fe 3751. Winston, Jeff, Bob McMillian and I then took the San Diego Trolley to E Street in Chula Vista. There we went to the Black Angus for lunch.

After lunch we took the trolley back to the Santa Fe Station getting there at 3:35 PM and found no engines for our train at the station. So much for a 3:45 PM departure. The Santa Fe 3751 was up at the Miramar Wye and got caught up in traffic passing of 578 and 785 which left San Diego at 4:00 PM. Surfliner 578 arrived into the station and by that time they let us on to the train. I enjoyed an ice cream then visited with the crew members as we waited for the Santa Fe 3751 to return.

The Santa Fe Station in San Diego. The Santa Fe 3751 finally returned to San Diego and then Surfliner 580 arrived into San Diego. We all wondered when we would be leaving San Diego for points north. An Amtrak car men finally gave me a thumb up and soon we heard over the radio that Santa Fe 3751 wanted the line up out of San Diego.

At 6:05 PM the Santa Fe 3751 high balled out of San Diego. The reason for the late return time was that Amtrak gave their crew a 4 hour break at San Diego so they would not go dead on the law {hours of service} on the trip back to Los Angeles. Leaving San Diego behind as the Santa Fe 3751 steamed out of San Diego.

We left Surfliner 591 behind as the Santa Fe 3751 steamed north through Old Town and across the San Diego River. The grade started with the Santa Fe 3751 climbing at a good speed. The Santa Fe 3751 twisted and turned up to Elivara before climbing Rose Canyon. At CP Cumbres we stopped briefly to wait for Surfliner 582. On the move again, the Santa Fe 3751 really barked as it pulled the train over the summit of Miramar Hill. The train descended down the hill with the Santa Fe 3751 holding the train back with no problem. At the bottom of the hill, the Santa Fe 3751 started to increase speed and soon we were crossing the wetlands and then went under Coast Highway. Along the Del Mar Bluffs many photographers were out in force and all the passengers enjoyed the view of the Pacific Ocean. The train then ran through Del Mar before heading through the trench at Solana Beach. The Santa Fe 3751 steamed north through Cardiff by the Sea and Encinitas. At CP Ponto we took east main in order to meet Surfliner 784 which ran late so the Santa Fe 3751 paused at CP Farr. Once on the move again, the Santa Fe 3751 steamed north through Carlsbad and on through Oceanside. At the San Luis Rey River bridge I saw Bob and Joe again as the Santa Fe 3751 steamed north through Fallbrook Jct. The Santa Fe 3751 slowed for the crossing of the Santa Margarita River before we stopped for water at Stuart Mesa Coaster Facility at 7:27 PM. Again we were watered by a hose from a fire truck and Surfliner 591 headed north by us. The Santa Fe 3751 left Stuart Mesa at 7:55 PM and at the Rest Area I spotted Bob and Joe for the last time today. The Santa Fe 3571 then suddenly went into emergency but it was only a slight air problem. The crew made fast work of it and the Santa Fe 3751 was on the move again at 8:09 PM. I was on the rear platform with Ron Hyatt of Amtrak as we slowed we had a southbound BNSF freight pass by us during that last delay. I forgot how much I liked riding the rear platform of the Amfleet cars. We lost the last light of day before we passed the San Onofre Power Plant and started our beach running. Ron cracked the side door and it was neat to hear the Santa Fe 3751 engine sounds bouncing off of the bluff. At CP Serra we met Surfliner 590 and I joined Ron down on the floor. As soon as the Santa Fe 3751 crossed the San Juan Creek, it started climbing El Toro Hill. We sat there just listening to the Santa Fe 3751 barking up the grade with great echoing effects. The Santa Fe 3751 made easy work of El Toro Hill and once up into Mission Viejo we wondered what the home owners thought as the Santa Fe 3751 finished the climb up El Toro Hill. The train descended through El Toro to a smooth stop at Irvine. The Santa Fe 3751 departed Irvine at 9:07 PM and headed through Irvine before running through Tustin and on through Santa Ana. Along Lincoln Ave the locals were out in force to watch the Santa Fe 3751 steam through north Santa Ana. The Santa Fe 3751 made quick time of Orange and rolled on through Anaheim. I said my good byes to my friends before we detrained at Fullerton ending a fantastic trip aboard the Santa Fe 3751. The train left Fullerton at 9:46 PM before tying up at Los Angeles Union Station at 10:33 PM. Steve Grande of met us to drive Winston and I back to our cars at the Santa Ana Train Station. I drove home one tired but satisfied train rider after a fantastic trip aboard the Santa Fe 3751.