Here is the story of a truly momentous undertaking involving a truly historic steam locomotive. Built in 1927, locomotive 3751 was the first 4-8-4 for the Santa Fe and the first ever for Baldwin Locomotive Works. She was the first of Santa Fe’s passenger trains to arrive at the new LAUPT in 1939, and she served in passenger service faithfully for 27 years before she was retired in 1953. In 1957, she was donated to the City of San Bernardino where she sat on display, exposed over the years to the elements and vandalism until a dedicated band of supporters formed the San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society in 1981 with the intent to protect her and possibly restore her. It wasn’t until 1985 that a suitable location was found where the 3751 could be housed and rebuilt from the inside out. Skeptics said it couldn’t be done; she was too deteriorated. Yet after 10 years and thousands of hours of concerted effort, 3751 was returned to the rails in elegant splendor.
This show will take you along that monumental journey, from the move to new quarters to the work that took place during the intervening years, ending with the 3751’s break-in freight run from San Bernardino to Los Angeles in 1991. You’ll meet the volunteers who cleaned, welded, fabricated, and refurbished the engine to its original design. They will explain the many challenges they faced. You’ll see rivets and bolt caps, boiler tubing and piping, firebricks and side sheeting being replaced. You’ll learn how pumps and compressors, rods and piston rings, miles of copper tubing, and other elements were restored or created, including the cab’s numerous valves and interior construction, as well as the tender’s repairs. Take this trip with us and see how a determined team accomplished what others said couldn’t be done, which was to give a bright new future to a magnificent icon of American railroading lore.