The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, often abbreviated as Santa Fe, was one of the nation’s largest railways. It was one of the three large mainline railroads that served Southern California, along with competitors Union Pacific and Southern Pacific. Originally chartered in 1859, the railroad reached Southern California in 1883 when its subsidiary California Southern Railroad began construction of a line between Barstow and San Diego, challenging Southern Pacific’s monopoly on rail access. The Museum’s main line and the restored Perris depot are located on the right-of-way of this original California Southern Railroad line.
The Santa Fe was perhaps most famous for its long-distance passenger trains. The railroad’s famed Super Chief streamliner between Chicago and Los Angeles was known as “The Train of the Stars”. The Museum preserves the last passenger locomotive purchased by the Santa Fe, FP-45 locomotive 98. Built in 1963, it wore the railroad’s famed Warbonnet paint scheme, perhaps the most famous railroad paint scheme of all time. The Santa Fe railroad was ultimately merged into the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad in 1995.
Other Santa Fe pieces in the collection include some 25 passenger and freight cars from the railroad’s heyday, including an 1875 wooden passenger coach that once operated on the old Cal Southern mainline that passed through Perris, as well as Railway Post Office Car 60, built in 1924.