Modeling the Santa Fe SD45-2 Model Review of the Athearn GENESIS Santa Fe SD45-2
Review and Model Photos by Ralph Back
Above - Athearn has released all five ATSF SD45-2s in the "Bicentennial" scheme, 5700-5704. Pictured here is ATSF 5702 in the red/white/blue "Bicentennial" scheme from Athearn's second Santa Fe "Bicentennial" SD45-2 release in December 2007.
Review of the Athearn GENESIS Santa Fe SD45-2 in HO Scale Santa Fe's SD45-2 Fleet
The Santa Fe was the first and largest purchaser of EMD's SD45-2 acquiring ninety 20-cylinder turbo-charged 645-E3 3600-hp engined SD45-2s in three orders between May 1972 and May 1974. Introduced with the other EMD 'Dash 2' models in 1972, the SD45-2 had improved electrical systems, higher capacity D77 traction motors, 4000 gallon fuel tank, and a redesigned HT-C truck.
The SD45-2 addressed the radiator problem of the SD45 by replacing the three section angular mounting with a longer radiator area, almost four feet longer than the SD45, divided into two sections with three widely-spaced fans.
The SD45-2 was mounted on the same frame (68' 10") as the SD40-2 with the cab centered over the middle axle but lacked the long end platform.
Santa Fe's SD45-2s were assigned to the 5625 Class, and the first Santa Fe order arrived in the then standard blue/yellow stripe scheme - all repainted later in the blue/yellow Warbonnet scheme. The second and third orders arrived in the blue/yellow Warbonnet scheme, and ATSF 5687 was the very first EMD-painted yellowbonnet delivered to the Santa Fe.
All of Santa Fe's SD45-2s were delivered with EMD-style "Santa Fe" billboard lettering, front snowplow, a Prime Strato-Lite rotary beacon mounted on cab roof slope on Conductor/Fireman's side, a Leslie three-chime airhorn centered on cab roof above headlight and nose classification lights.
All SD45-2s in the second and third orders were delivered with cab roof mounted A/C but only six units in the first order were so equipped.
The SD45-2s were initially assigned to the Chicago/Kansas City/West Coast freight pool running on some of Santa Fe's hottest trains on the mainline.
SD45-2s 5687-5704 from the second order were high-speed locomotives (59:18 gearing - 90 mph maximum speed) purchased for use on the high-priority premium service COFC/TOFC trains 198/891 Super C.
The most notable SD45-2s were the "Bicentennial" units 5700-5704 painted red/white/blue between 1975 and 1978, with five-foot U.S. Presidential seals bolted-on, to honor the Nation's 200th Birthday.
The Santa Fe went all out for the "Bicentennial" doing the most repainting of any Class I road with these five consecutively numbered SD45-2s,
and assigned them to the Super C where one could usually be found on the point position leading this premium service freight during this time until Super C service was discontinued in May 1976. After that date they could be found in mainline service system wide.
Along the Santa Fe Way... Left - ATSF "Bicentennial" SD45-2 5702, ATSF 5693, and two other SD45-2s lead the eastbound 891 Train Super C on the North Track approaching Summit on the Santa Fe's Los Angeles Division First District on December 13, 1975. Click the image or this link for larger image and to read my photo article In Search of the Super C and a "Bicentennial" (the story behind how I got this shot) on RailPictures.Net. - Kodachrome by Ralph Back.
The five "Bicentennial" SD45-2s were painted at the Santa Fe's San Bernardino shops in this order: 5700 2-21-75, 5701 3-5-75, 5703 4-18-75, 5702 5-12-75, and 5704 1-13-76. The 5700-5703 were all repainted back into the blue/Yellow Warbonnet scheme during 1977 and the 5704 followed about a year later in 1978.
ATSF 5625-5704 were remanufactured during 1986-1988. Sixty-nine were remanufactured as SD45-2u and renumbered into the 5800 Class. The first thirty were painted in the red/yellow/black SPSF "Kodachrome" paint scheme and numbered 7200-7229 before being renumbered into the 5800 Class after the SPSF merger was denied on July 24, 1986. Eight units were diverted from the SD45-2u program and remanufactured into SD45-2Bs and renumbered into the 5510 Class. ATSF 5705-5714 were acquired on lease, and retired in August 1992 and returned to lessor (9 units minus 5706 - retired from wreck damage in August 1980).
Santa Fe EMD SD45-2 Details
ATSF 5625 Class Model SD45-2 Roster - 90 Units
7391-1 to 37
72642-1 to 18, 72642-19 to 43
74603-1 to 10
1 Delivered in this order. 5687-5704 geared for high-speed - assigned to the Super C.
2 5706,5707,5712-5714 delivered with EMD's experimental inertial radiator fan air intake grilles.
Santa Fe's SD45-2s were delivered in three orders during the years 1972, 1973 and 1974. Each order had a different style front anti-climber.
The anti-climber style dictated which SD45-2s received coupler lift bars with loop on the locomotive front pilot and which SD45-2s were capable of being retrofitted.
This table identifies and summarizes Santa Fe's SD45-2 front anti-climber, coupler lift bar, radio antenna, nose classification lights, head light position, step tread edge color, the "Santa Fe" billboard lettering style, and truck side frame color details for Santa Fe's as delivered SD45-2s and those units later re-painted. Remanufacturing details are not identified.
Santa Fe began painting the SD45-2 truck side frames silver beginning in mid-1974. Coupler lift bars with loop were retrofitted to all of Santa Fe's SD45-2s from the first and second SD45-2 order beginning in the mid-1970s. Both front and rear on SD45-2s in the first order and rear only on SD45-2s in the second order because the second order SD45-2s had the full-width front anti-climber that would not permit operation of a coupler lift bar with a loop.
Replacement of the can-type antenna with a Sinclair antenna was also begun about this time on the Santa Fe first and second SD45-2 orders.
When units were repainted the step tread edges and the top of rear drop-steps were painted yellow. On ATSF 5662-5714, the front face of the anti-climbers were painted yellow. On ATSF 5625-5661 the top of the front drop-steps were painted yellow. The "Santa Fe" billboard lettering style on the long hood was painted using the Cooper Black font, the "Santa Fe"-style, compared to the as-delivered EMD-style. The difference is most noticeable in the letters "a" in "Santa" and the "e" in "Fe". EMD-style lettering "a"s had a "puzzle piece" while "Santa Fe"-style "a"s had a "boot" in the upper left portion of the letter. EMD-style "e"s appeared "squashed" while "Santa Fe"-style "e"s were circular in shape. The "Santa Fe" lettering on the Athearn GENESIS Santa Fe SD45-2s is the correct as-delivered EMD-style.
Santa Fe SD45-2 Details As Delivered
ATSF Road Numbers
ATSF SD45-2 Order
Coupler Lift Bars
Nose Class Lights
Step Tread Edges
Billboard Lettering Style
Truck Side Frames
Santa Fe SD45-2 Details Changed from As Delivered
5676,5679, 5682,5694, 5699
1 5712-5714 delivered with silver painted truck side frames.
2 Straight bar on front, loop on rear.
3 From Santa Fe's second SD45-2 order.
4 From Santa Fe's third SD45-2 order.
5 Only the "home-road" SF initials.
All ATSF SD45-2s delivered with the following details:
bell mounted under frame in front of fuel tank on Conductor/Fireman's side
Leslie three-chime airhorn located centered on cab roof above headlight
vertical front headlight located between number boards
rear-hood and nose classification-lights
Prime Strato-Lite rotary beacon mounted on cab roof slope on Conductor/Fireman's side
single rear-view mirror mounted in front of cab side windows
no rear-hood number boards
wire-screen radiator grilles (ATSF 5706, 5707, 5712-5714 were delivered with experimental built-out EMD inertial radiator fan air intake grilles)
horizontal headlight on long hood end
single MU receptacle on rear walkway on Engineer's side
ratchet-style hand brake recessed into short hood on Conductor/Fireman's side
drop-step on rear walkway
step tread edges painted blue
EMD-style "Santa Fe" billboard lettering
ATSF SD45-2 Prototype Photos
from Santa Fe's second SD45-2 order, at Chicago, IL on September 1, 1973, displays its as delivered appearance with EMD-style "Santa Fe" billboard lettering, black truck side frames, and blue step tread edges and front anti-climber face. - Kodachrome by Joe McMillan.
from Santa Fe's second SD45-2 order, at Kansas City, KS on September 4, 1978, displays its appearance after repainting with "Santa Fe"-style "Santa Fe" billboard lettering, silver painted truck side frames, and yellow step tread edges and front anti-climber face. Note that in addition to the Prime Strato-Lite rotary beacon, the 5677 also has a cab roof mounted Xenon strobe light. - Kodachrome Ralph Back collection.
from Santa Fe's second SD45-2 order, at Phoenix, AZ on November 5, 1986, displays its appearance after repainting into the red/yellow/black SPSF "Kodachrome" scheme (PTD. 3/86). The 5679 was one of five Santa Fe SD45-2s from Santa Fe's second SD45-2 order painted in this scheme before being remanufactured. Note that in addition to the Prime Strato-Lite rotary beacon, the 5679 also has a cab roof mounted Xenon strobe light. - Kodachrome Ralph Back collection.
was Santa Fe's last SD45-2 from the third SD45-2 order, at Chicago, IL on June 1, 1974, displays its just delivered appearance with EMD-style "Santa Fe" billboard lettering, silver painted truck side frames, and blue step tread edges and front anti-climber face. The 5714 was one of five SD45-2s from the third SD45-2 order delivered with EMD's experimental inertial radiator fan air intake grilles. - Kodachrome by Joe McMillan.
See my article "Santa Fe's SD45-2 Fleet" in the Second Quarter 2007 issue of theWarbonnet for more prototype photos and in-depth information on Santa Fe's SD45-2s including Santa Fe's SD45-2 remanufacturing programs and BNSF renumbering. An updated version of the "Santa Fe's SD45-2 Fleet" Warbonnet article, in PDF format, can be found in the On-Line Resources pages Material Provided by Ralph Back.
Above and Below - Pictured here are the ATSF 5692 in the blue/yellow Warbonnet scheme and ATSF 5701 in the red/white/blue "Bicentennial" scheme. Both models represent SD45-2s from Santa Fe's second SD45-2 order.
Above - Pictured here are front views of ATSF 5692 in the blue/yellow Warbonnet scheme and ATSF 5701 in the red/white/blue "Bicentennial" scheme. You can see the front anti-climbers and coupler lift bars with loop on both units which are incorrect for Santa Fe's second SD45-2 order.
Modeling the Santa Fe's SD45-2 in HO scale is made easy with the recent releases of the Athearn GENESIS SD45-2. Athearn has released the Santa Fe SD45-2 with road numbers in all three Santa Fe SD45-2 orders, and all four Santa Fe SD45-2 paint schemes are represented.
From the first order are ATSF 5631, 5648, and 5650 all w/o A/C painted in the standard Santa Fe blue/yellow pin-stripe freight scheme with yellow ends and small square Santa Fe blue/yellow circle-cross emblem centered on the end of short hood, small tapered front anti-climber with drop-step, black truck side frames, fuel tank, end sheets and snowplow.
From the second order are ATSF 5679, 5682, 5692, 5698, and 5699. The 5692, 5698, and 5699 (from Athearn's October 2006 release) are painted in the blue/yellow Warbonnet scheme with dark blue Santa Fe cigar-band herald centered on the end of short hood, silver painted truck side frames, all yellow hand railings and stanchions, blue anti-climber end-sheets and snowplow, and black fuel tank.
The 5679 and 5682 (from Athearn's August 2007 release) are painted in the SPSF "Kodachrome" scheme. These have the Sinclair radio antenna which replaced the can-type antenna.
Also from the Santa Fe's 2nd SD45-2 order are the five ATSF SD45-2s 5700-5704 painted in the red/white/blue "Bicentennial" scheme with the United States Presidential seals mounted on the hand rails behind the cab on both sides of the model, and equipped with Xenon strobe-lights on both sides of the cab roof.
From the third order are the 5707, 5709, 5712 and 5713 with the medium-width front anti-climber which is correct for Santa Fe's third SD45-2 order. The three Santa Fe road numbers 5707, 5712 and 5713 (from the February 2008 release) are three of the five Santa Fe SD45-2s equipped with the EMD experimental radiator fan air intake grilles. The 5709 (from the August 2007 release) is painted in the SPSF "Kodachrome" scheme. It has the standard wire-screen radiator fan air intake grilles.
Athearn has released these models both with and without DCC & sound - only models without DCC & sound are described here. The models are equipped with cab roof details cab sunshades, Leslie three-chime horn (low mounted), rotary beacon mounted on platform on the cab roof on Conductor's side (only the beacon platform on the "Bicentennial" painted models), and air conditioners if so equipped. Front details included vertical mounted headlight between the number boards, nose classification lights, snowplow, and single MU receptacle. Front and rear detail includes yellow painted grab irons, MU hoses, and coupler lift bars.
Models of Santa Fe's first two SD45-2 orders have the correct can-type radio antenna mounted on radio platform. The models of Santa Fe's third SD45-2 order also have the can-type radio antenna but should have the Sinclair type. The SPSF "Kodachrome" painted models have the Sinclair radio antenna.
Rear detail includes a horizontal mounted headlight, number board outlines (which Santa Fe's SD45-2s did not have), low-mounted classification lights (only the first SD45-2 order had these), outlines for upper classification lights, single walkway mounted MU receptacle, and drop-step.
The Athearn SD45-2 rear radiator area and widely spaced radiator fans nicely reproduce this SD45-2 distinguishing feature.
The Athearn models of ATSF 5707, 5712 and 5713 from Santa Fe's third SD45-2 order have a good representation of EMD's experimental inertial radiator fan air intake grilles but they should have had a more built-out effect than what is modeled.
The painting and lettering is very good. EMD-style "Santa Fe" billboard lettering is on the long hood except for the "Bicentennial" and SPSF "Kodachrome" painted units which did not have the billboard lettering.
The Athearn model of Santa Fe's 2nd SD45-2 order has the small air vent mounted vertically on cab side below the front of cab window on Engineer's side which caused the unit number to be noticeably off center just like the prototype.
The blue/yellow Warbonnet and SPSF "Kodachrome" painted models also come with silver painted truck side frames - Santa Fe started to repaint the original black truck side frames on its first and second order SD45-2s in 1974.
The painting and lettering are excellent on the "Bicentennial" model. The red/white/blue colors look exactly right
with white stars placed in the proper locations, and correct number. Silver painted truck side frames, fuel tank, under frame details, front and rear end-sheets, MU-cables and snowplow. White handhold railings and stanchions, and grab irons.
Dark blue walkways, steps and anti-climber. White Santa Fe cigar band herald on end of short hood.
The road number is painted white on the red cab sides, and a small white road number is painted on the blue rear high-hood centered above the headlight.
The "Bicentennial" models have the Xenon strobe lights on both sides of the cab roof and the rotary beacon has been removed but the platform is still present just like on the
prototype. Gear ratio 59:18 (these were high-speed units) stenciled on the side frame behind the 'F' front designation letter.
The five-foot Presidential seals are present on both sides on the hand rails behind the cab. The Presidential seals are not quite accurate as the symbol components that make up the seals are too close together and not colored correctly compared to the prototype seals. The only discrepancy with the paint scheme is that the white cigar-band stripe does not wrap into the hand-brake recessed area and cover the top of the hand-brake housing on the Conductor/Fireman's side of the low nose. The Athearn Santa Fe SD45-2 blue/yellow Warbonnet painting is correct as the blue cigar band stripe stopped at the recessed hand-brake area and did not cover the top of the hand-brake housing.
This is also true for the SPSF "Kodachrome" painted models with the red nose band with three side stripes and the truncated SPSF road name with just the "home road" yellow SF initials.
The painting and lettering are excellent on the SPSF "Kodachrome" painted models. The red/yellow/black colors look exactly right with the "home road" yellow SF initials correctly placed on the long hood and front red nose band. These models also have yellow painted step tread edges. The road number is red on the yellow cab sides, and a small red road number is painted on the yellow rear high-hood centered above the headlight. The front anti-climber face is black on the 5679 and 5682 just like the prototype but should be yellow on the 5709.
The Athearn Santa Fe SD45-2 models are not perfect as a few details are incorrect for the as delivered Santa Fe SD45-2 prototypes.
All the Athearn Santa Fe SD45-2 releases have number board gaskets on the rear hood. None of Santa Fe's SD45-2 orders had these.
The Athearn models of Santa Fe's first SD45-2 order come with all blue hand hold railings and stanchions along the sides of the long hood, along the sides on the short hood, and on the front and rear walkways. The hand hold railings were yellow and stanchions blue as delivered on this group. The full-width handholds on the front and rear end-sheets are painted black when they should be yellow. The model also does not have the louvers on the cab wall in front of the Engineer.
Photos of these units are on the Athearn Web site.
Athearn GENESIS ATSF "Bicentennial" SD45-2 5702. Note the correct straight coupler lift bars. Athearn released the Santa Fe "Bicentennial" SD45-2s 5702-5704 in December 2007 with the correct straight coupler lift bar, but they still have the incorrect front anti-climber.
The Athearn blue/yellow Warbonnet, "Bicentennial" and SPSF "Kodachrome" painted models of Santa Fe's second order SD45-2s have a number of details that are not correct.
All the models have the medium-width front anti-climber - they should have the full-width front anti-climber that extends the full width of the front end-sheet. The coupler lift bars have the loop (front and rear) rather than the straight bar - Santa Fe's second SD45-2 order never had coupler lift bars with the loop on the front of the unit as the full-width anti-climber would not allow for their operation. The front and rear coupler lift bars with loop are incorrect for the Santa Fe "Bicentennial" models released in November 2006 (5700-5701), but were corrected to the straight bar type with the December 2007 (5702-5704) release.
Louvers are present on the side of the nose in front of the cab door on the Conductor/Fireman's side - only Santa Fe's first order had these louvers.
The Athearn blue/yellow Warbonnet models from both Santa Fe's second and third SD45-2 orders come with yellow-painted step tread edges on the front and rear steps - as delivered, the step tread edges were blue.
The rear of the unit has the low mounted classification lights which were only present on the Santa Fe's first SD45-2 order.
Above - Athearn has released the ATSF SD45-2 from Santa Fe's third SD45-2 order with EMD's experimental inertial radiator fan air intake grilles. Pictured here is ATSF 5712 from Athearn's release in February 2008.
The Athearn models of ATSF SD45-2s 5707, 5712 and 5713 from Santa Fe's third SD45-2 order have several incorrect details. They should have a Sinclair type radio antenna and coupler lift bars with loop on both ends of the locomotive (as delivered) not a can-type radio antenna and straight coupler lift bars.
In addition, the small vertical air vent on the engineer's cab side is incorrectly placed forward on the cab side instead of towards the rear of the cab. What Athearn did was move this air vent forward on the cab side (relative to its location on the Athearn models of Santa Fe's second SD45-2 order) so the road number would be centered on the engineer's cab side like it should be.
The Athearn model of ATSF SD45-2 5709 in the SPSF "Kodachrome" scheme should not have nose classification lights.
All of the Athearn models of Santa Fe's third SD45-2 order have the correct medium-width front anti-climber but not the newer contour front and rear step vertical handholds or correctly placed engineer's cab side vertical air vent.
Athearn released the Santa Fe SD45-2 in the GENESIS series painted in the SPSF "Kodachrome" scheme for un-rebuilt SD45-2s road numbers 5679 and 5682 from the second Santa Fe SD45-2 order, and the 5709 from the third Santa Fe SD45-2 order.
If you want to apply your own road number to a Santa Fe SD45-2 from the second or third SD45-2 order, Athearn has the answer. During a prior production run of the Santa Fe yellow Warbonnet SD45-2, the Athearn factory made a mistake, and produced the wire-screen radiator grille version with Santa Fe's third order road numbers 5706, 5707, 5712-5714 that should have the EMD's experimental inertial radiator fan air intake grilles. Athearn has released (August 2008) these incorrectly numbered versions with specially created Microscale decals, so you can create any road number from Santa Fe's second (5662-5704) or third (5705, 5708-5711) SD45-2 locomotive delivery with the wire-screen radiator grille.
Factory printed cab numbers, number boards and rear numbers are easily covered by the Microscale decals that are provided. The decals have the correct body color behind the road number for each application, so there is no need to paint anything. ATSF 5705, 5708-5711 had the medium-width front anti-climber and the wire-screen radiator grilles so by choosing one of these road numbers you can create a SD45-2 model that is accurate for that group of road numbers by applying the appropriate road number decals.
Athearn GENESIS ATSF SD45-2 with No#. Microscale decals are included, so you can create any road number from Santa Fe's second (5662-5704) or third (5705, 5708-5711) SD45-2 locomotive delivery with the wire-screen radiator grille. This artwork shows the correct as delivered EMD-style "Santa Fe" billboard lettering. - Athearn Artwork
Summary of the Athearn GENESIS Santa Fe SD45-2 Releases
Model Detail Notes¹
Small tapered front anti-climber w/drop-step Black truck side frames
Incorrect front anti-climber Incorrect yellow step tread edges
Incorrect front anti-climber Incorrect coupler lift bars with loop
Red/yellow SPSF "Kodachrome"
Incorrect front anti-climber
Red/yellow SPSF "Kodachrome"
Medium-width front anti-climber Incorrect nose classification lights
Straight coupler lift bars Incorrect front anti-climber
EMD experimental inertial radiator grilles Medium-width front anti-climber
contour of step handholds
yellow step tread edges
can-type radio antenna
straight coupler lift bars
engineer's side cab air vent
n/# Released incorrectly numbered. Must apply decals to correct number.
Second or Third
Wire-screen radiator grille Medium-width front anti-climber Microscale decals included to change road number²
Incorrect yellow step tread edges
¹ All Athearn GENESIS Santa Fe SD45-2 models have incorrect rear hood number board gaskets.
² Apply decals to create any road number from Santa Fe's second (5662-5704) or third (5705, 5708-5711) SD45-2 locomotive delivery with the wire-screen radiator grille.