We had the privilege this weekend to visit the New Mexico Steam Locomotive & Railroad Historical Society’s workshop near Old Town Albuquerque, to tour the ongoing restoration efforts on the immense 1944 Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Steam Locomotive (#2926). This monumental effort has been going on since the locomotive was acquired from the City of Albuquerque in 2000 for $1.00.
The 2926 operated between 1944 and 1956, logging more than one million miles of service before retiring to Albuquerque’s Coronado City Park. Sadly, time, vandalism, and the elements were not kind to the locomotive over the 44 years it sat in the park.
Thankfully, the love, hard work, and dedication of the society’s members has brought this magnificent machine back to life – to the point were it was briefly operated under its own power for the first time in 65 years last summer (July 2021). The society “hopes” to eventually run limited excursions using the locomotive, if they can successfully negotiate the sea of red tape and hurdles that it takes to do so.
Here are a few fascinating facts about this muscular engineering marvel and the effort to restore it:
- Weight = 510,150 pounds and with its tender fully loaded = 974,850 pounds
- Length of locomotive and tender = 121 feet
- Started service: May 9, 1944
- Primary service was from Los Angeles through Raton Pass and into SW Kansas
- Built by: Baldwin Locomotive Works
- More than 209,000 volunteer hours have been spent restoring the 2926 as of 2020
- $3.7 million in contributions towards the restoration which is 95+% complete
- Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007
If you are interested in contributing to this impressive restoration effort, here is the contact information for the New Mexico Steam Locomotive & Railroad Historical Society:
Address: NMSLRHS; P.O. Box 27270; Albuquerque, NM 87125-7270
Phone: (505) 246-2926 (Wed. & Sat. 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM Mountain Time)
Hopefully, the dedication and countless volunteer hours will help lead to the 2926 becoming a preeminent tourist attraction in Albuquerque and New Mexico for many years to come. It is truly a magnificent engineering marvel and an important part of New Mexico’s transportation history!