The New Mexico Steam Locomotive & Railroad Historical Society has been recognized by the Albuquerque Historical Society with an Albuquerque History Accolade for their efforts to enrich public knowledge of Albuquerque’s history through the restoration of the Santa Fe 2926 steam locomotive. The 2926 holds immense historical value, having served the residents of Albuquerque during its active years and being a part of the city’s railway heritage. Moreover, the involvement of the Albuquerque Rail Yards’ workers in maintaining this piece of history adds another layer of community connection and dedication to preserving local heritage. This recognition helps highlight the importance of preserving historical artifacts and educating the public about the significant role that the railroad played in shaping Albuquerque’s history and development.
This Accolade honors the Society as a whole, its members, and especially the volunteer workers. Over a 22-year period, refurbishment of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway 2926 Locomotive was accomplished to a level of restoration that enabled the once-deteriorating locomotive to fire up its boiler on August 20, 2018 for the first time in 65 years. Then, on July 24, 2021, it ran on its own power. This signaled the exciting eventual four-block run on May 9, 2023 from the shop to Tractor Brewing Company at Wells Park. Then on September 30th and October 1st, 2023, the Historic Santa Fe steam engine No. 2926 traversed the ex-ATSF Transcontinental main line under steam for the first time since 1953 to attend New Mexico Railroad Days at the old Rail Yards in downtown Albuquerque.
The Society put in over 166,000 hours of labor and spent over $2.8 million on the project. AT&SF 2926 was one of the last Class 2900 4-8-4 steam locomotives built by the famous Baldwin Locomotive Works. The 2926 was among the largest and heaviest American locomotives ever made and was approved for speeds up to 110 miles per hour. It ran from 1944 until 1953 and was retired after an amazing million miles of service. Originally placed in Albuquerque’s Coronado Park in 1956 for the city’s 250th anniversary, it now promises to enjoy a second life entertaining and educating the public on excursions. Congratulations!
Watch The Award Presentation on January, 21,2024
From left to right, John Roberts, NMSL&RHS President; Rick Kirby, Chief Mechanical Officer; John Taylor, Board Member and Gail Kirby, former Board Secretary. Video provided by AHS Board Member Chuck Larrabee.