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     Officially added to the locomotive roster February 4, 1935, ALCO demonstrator 1 became AT&SF switcher #2300. The high hooded, 600 horsepower (hence HH600) McIntosh & Seymour 531 six cylinder four-cycle engine had everyone's scruitinizing eye upon it as it was the first diesel engine to grace the property. Could it outperform the iron horses or would it just be a "passing phase"? Put to work in Chicago, Illinois, the little ALCO soon proved it could easily handle switching tasks. This led to the question, how will diesels perform on the main-line? That question would be later answered by Amos and Andy (1A and 1B).

     The original diesel lcomotives were "boxcabs" which resembled boxcars with control stands on both ends to enable the crew to operate in both forward and reverse moves. Crews had to stop and change ends in order to perform switching tasks and see other crew members. The prime mover was enclosed inside the "box" where workers had to climb into a hot, cramped space for maintenance. In 1934, industrial designer Otto Kuhler restyled the "boxcab" creating a tapered feather-edge as two curved planes. The now narrow hood enabled crews to see both directions as well as crew members riding foot boards and required only one control stand. Crews also had an easier time getting on and off the locomotives using platforms and step wells rather than dropping to the ground from a ladder as with the earlier "boxcabs". The cab end was considered to be the rear of the unit and the long hood the front. Roof access rungs were mounted on the front of the hood and extended visor edges on the front of the cab. This successful locomotive design became a precedent for subsequently built diesel switchers.

     The 12 1/2" bore by 13" stroke model 531 primer mover was centrally located on the reinforced underframe for balance. In an effort to keep the arrangement as similar to the steam locomotive as possible, the generator end faded away from the cab and the accessory end was positioned closest to the cab. This arrangement kept the exhaust stack as far as possible from the cab and allowed for short runs of water piping between the radiator and the cab heaters. Unfortunately, this arrangement also required the electrical cables from the generator end to run by the diesel engine to the control stands in the cab subjecting them to oil, dirt and water damage. (This generator forward design was eventually dropped with the S1 and S2 models). Shopping the engine was simplified by having the machinery inside a hood with a row of doors on the outside for easy access. The original electrical system was supplied by General Electric but sisters #2301 and #2302 (delivered three years later in the summer of 1937), were equipped with Westinghouse electrical components. (The first #2301 was not an ALCO engine but an Electro-Motive 600 horsepower SC model. It was later renumberd to the #2150 when ALCO's #2301 and #2302 arrived).

     The units were delivered in black and the Santa Fe quickly applied the AT&SF under the cab. Later, the units had the square herald applied in the center of the long hood along with a silver stripe along the top of the hood and on the platform. The AT&SF was stenciled on the long hood and the unit number placed under the cab. Several photographs taken throughout their lives show the AT&SF on the hood spaced with no "&" or periods, with "&" and periods or ATSF with periods and no "&" and periods or ATSF with periods and no "&". Eventually, chevrons, commonly called zebra stripes, were added. Rumor has it that the #2301 sported orange stripes, commonly called tiger stripes, temporarily during December 1946.

     After proving its ability in Chicago, Illinois, class unit #2300 worked in Southern California and was later joined by her sisters. The #2300 finished her ATSF service in August, 1959 and a few months later in February 1960, unit #2302 was retired. In October 1964, #2301 was retired.

-Written by Dr. Cinthia Priest The Santa Fe Diesel: Volume One pp 4-5. Please note: This is book is out of print.

Manufacturer: #2300 - ALCO/GE
#2301 - ALCO/Westinghouse
Engine: McIntosh & Seymore 531
Horsepower: 600
Cylinders: 6
Number Owned: 3
Years Built: 1934 & 1937
Number Series: #2300 - Ex-ALCO demo built 1934
#2301 & #2302 - built 1937

     After being retired from active Santa Fe service in October 1964, #2301 was sold to Palo Duro Grain. By 1970, #2301 was working for Tulia Grain at Tulia, TX, located north of Plainview, TX on the ATSF line from Lubbock to Amarillo, TX.

The locomotive was still in use in 1970, and was still painted in its zebra stripe paint scheme, however all AT&SF markings were painted out. The engine was a favorite of the plant foreman who knew the unit was a good runner. [ topper]

     By 1992, the locomotive was in sad repair, and was pushed out to rust away in the weeds of the Texas prarie; her duties taken over by an EMD switcher.

     All was not lost for #2301. The good folks at the Railroad & Pioneer Museum rescued the little locomotive and cosmetically restored her to full ATSF paint. The Museum had originally planned to make her operational, however the undertaking proved cost-prohibitive.

     Today, Santa Fe HH600, #2301 is the oldest known surviving ATSF diesel in existance, and is a near duplicate of Santa Fe's very first diesel locomotive, #2300. [ Evan_Werkema].

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Outside the Temple,TX depot with #2301 just delivered on a flatcar. Photo courtesy of ArgyleEagle
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A few weeks later, #2301 was on the rails with window boarded up. Photo courtesy of ArgyleEagle
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Another view after offloading from the flatcar, with windows still boarded. Photo courtesy of ArgyleEagle

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