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 Post subject: Arizona State RR Museum Saves Unique SF30C Rebuild
PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2022 1:34 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 11531
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
The Arizona State Railroad Museum Foundation in Williams, Arizona has announced the acquisition of a unique survivor of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, Cleburne Shops rebuild SF30C 9501, the last American survivor of this unique Santa Fe rebuild model.

The locomotive began life as a U36C built by General Electric in March 1973 as construction number 38890 and AT&SF 8728. It was rebuilt at the railroad's Cleburne, Texas shops in September 1985, the first “production” SF30C rebuild after prototype 9500 was completed five months earlier. The rebuilds featured overhauled 7FDL prime movers downrated to 3100 hp, upgraded Dash Seven electrical systems, muffled exhausts, and C30-7 style hoods and air-conditioned cabs, with a Dash-8 style boxy short nose. The SF30C fleet, eventually numbering 70 examples, was initially primarily used on the ATSF's early intermodal trains for service throughout the desert plains of Arizona and New Mexico, but were eventually also used on other revenue freights systemwide. Although reliable and successful at first, they began to experience problems with rebuilt units similar to what their predecessors originally experienced. Numerous improvements were made which resulted in a long-term success. The SF30Cs were eventually displaced and retired by AT&SF by 1995 in favor of succeeding types of GE and EMD locomotives such as the C40-8W and AC6000CW.

Among the first of the fleet to be retired, 9501 was sold in August 1995 to National Railway Equipment Co., which resold many of the SF30Cs to Ferromex and overseas operators. 9501 was, however, instead resold in 1996 in operating condition to the Minnesota Commercial Railway, home to an eclectic fleet of older MLW/Alco and GE power. It remained on the roster there until its recent acquisition by the ASRM Foundation. The Foundation hopes to relocate it by mid-2022 to possible storage on the Grand Canyon Railway at Williams, Arizona along with other collected ASRM rolling stock. The ASRM Foundation had considered allowing its use by the Grand Canyon Railway for free as work train or back-up power, but the C-C wheelsets would prohibit its use on the sharpest curves in Coconino Canyon. Plans are to restore it to its ATSF blue-and-yellow livery; unfortunately, this specific loco never sported the “Kodachrome” red and yellow of the aborted planned merger with Southern Pacific, or it would have been restored to that scheme!

The ASRMF continues to work towards construction of its Arizona Railroad Heritage Park facilities in Williams, with groundbreaking hoped for later in 2022.

RailPictures.net Feb. 1992 shot (thirty years old this month!) of 9501 in action by Bill Hough:
https://www.railpictures.net/photo/58072/
Flickr shot of Minnesota Commercial 50 in 2011: https://www.flickr.com/photos/23711298@ ... /pool-mnnr


Last edited by Alexander D. Mitchell IV on Sun Feb 06, 2022 7:11 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Arizona State RR Museum Saves Unique SF30C Rebuild
PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2022 1:20 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:49 pm
Posts: 300
Location: Los Altos, CA
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
The ASRM continues to work towards construction of its museum facilities in Williams, with groundbreaking hoped for later in 2022.


Does anyone have an update on this? They have been talking about a museum at Williams forever.

Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
RailPictures.net Feb. 1992 shot (thirty years old this month!) of 9501 in action by Bill Hough:
https://www.railpictures.net/photo/58072/


The photographer will be 60 years old this year and feels it.


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 Post subject: Re: Arizona State RR Museum Saves Unique SF30C Rebuild
PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2022 2:43 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 11531
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
psa188 wrote:
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
The ASRM continues to work towards construction of its museum facilities in Williams, with groundbreaking hoped for later in 2022.


Does anyone have an update on this? They have been talking about a museum at Williams forever.


The problem has long been that every "available" location that works (right size, decent public and rail access, etc.) has some environmental problem that negates it in the eyes of bureaucracy. Oddly enough, typically the problem is being located in a "flood plain," specifically an area where flash floods would rip through the property after an ill-timed, ill-placed monsoon.

As hard as it seems to believe, most of Arizona is susceptible to dangerous flash flooding. Last August, a "water balloon" monsoon hit a wildfire scar just to the north of Flagstaff (just east of Williams), resulting in cars being washed down the roads and very bad localized flooding:
https://www.weather.gov/fgz/FlagstaffAugust2021

Most of the spots I have seen proposed for the ASRM campus, either as "brainstorming" or official plans, would have been sitting in washes where "historic" levels of flooding (now no longer so historic) would have done catastrophic damage, on the scale that destroyed the Magee Transportation Museum in 1972. There exist ways to ameliorate such hazards, but then you butt heads with environmental agencies, local zoning, and--in this case--the Army Corps of Engineers. You can't just throw up a "dam" that diverts flash flooding into residential neighborhoods, after all.

I have been told that once final site approval is granted by all agencies, money is on hand to erect a functional museum within a year.


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 Post subject: Re: Arizona State RR Museum Saves Unique SF30C Rebuild
PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2024 11:23 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 11531
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
It's being reported to me that this loco, temporarily assigned reporting marks ARZX 50, is currently en route from Winslow, Arizona to Flagstaff as I type, to be picked up by another local to be transferred to Bellemont (between Flagstaff and Williams) before storage in a secure facility sometime this weekend pending further arrangements in Williams.


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 Post subject: Re: Arizona State RR Museum Saves Unique SF30C Rebuild
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2024 1:50 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:55 pm
Posts: 993
Location: Warren, PA
A couple fun facts...at least for me.

If you've never Google Earth'd Bellemont, you'll find track everywhere with no apparent explanation, way out in the weeds. That was the original site during WWII of the Navajo Arsenal (think that's the right name) and that was all rail accessible with concrete ammunition bunkers scattered over acres and acres.
I'm not a native so I don't know how much track is still out there and how much is military, but yeah, you could hide a lot in there where nobody could find it for a while.

Second, I think just about everybody faces the realization that the 'new stuff' they remember is now found in a museum. This is it for me. My most memorable cross-country rail trip was '72, over ATSF. I even had 50 shares of Santa Fe, which got the the Annual Report, and the 1972 Annual Report cover featured 3 U36C's pulling the Seatrain container run. Very first factory yellowbonnets. And two years later I got to tour GE when they were still building those. So yeah, it's hard to believe...not only rebuilt, retired, but endangered species. 50 years, nuts.....


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 Post subject: Re: Arizona State RR Museum Saves Unique SF30C Rebuild
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2024 5:31 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 10:21 pm
Posts: 169
Randy Gustafson wrote:
If you've never Google Earth'd Bellemont, you'll find track everywhere with no apparent explanation, way out in the weeds. That was the original site during WWII of the Navajo Arsenal (think that's the right name) and that was all rail accessible with concrete ammunition bunkers scattered over acres and acres.
I'm not a native so I don't know how much track is still out there and how much is military, but yeah, you could hide a lot in there where nobody could find it for a while.


I've been told that there is approximately 25 miles of track at Camp Navajo. I'm not sure how much of it is actually operational today, but I would guess around half that at least. There is still an active RR that interchanges with BNSF and uses several center cab switchers to move a few cars around the camp. I think they ship a few carloads of weapons material in and out each year.

Camp Navajo is now pretty much run by the Az. National Guard, and the railroaders are civilians. My former wife did an internship out there one summer with Az. Game and Fish to study bats, and I was able to accompany her on her research a few times. Fascinating place, and much larger than you would think. If it's ever decommissioned, I would hope it is preserved as a state park.


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