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Warbonnet Prints Aid FP45 Paint Restoration

By Eric Berger

The red-nosed Warbonnet paint scheme created by General Motors artist Leland Knickerbocker for the first Santa Fe passenger diesel remains among the most iconic paint schemes of all time and thanks to renowned railroad artist John Winfield, fans have the opportunity to help fund the reapplication of those colors to one of the last locomotives to wear them on the ATSF.

Poised with Santa Fe 4-8-4 3768 on the tracks over the Douglas Street overpass, ATSF 93 has been a familiar sight for Wichita drivers since BNSF delivered the engine to the Great Plains Transportation Museum in 1999, but a quarter-century outside has left it faded and peeling. To help raise $183,000 for its cosmetic restoration, the Fort Worth-based artist painted the engine as it appeared in 1993, after Santa Fe President Mike Haverty revived the Warbonnet colors for the new “Super Fleet” freight service.

Warbonnet Prints Aid FP45 Paint Restoration

Railroad artist John Winfield with his new painting depicting the Santa Fe FP45s. Photo Courtesy of Great Plains Transportation Museum.

Titled “Warbonnet Renaissance,” the painting features the newly repainted EMD FP45 and sister engine ATSF 97 on the point of a Super Fleet container train snaking through the Flint Hills of Kansas. Art print versions have been created at pricing levels for nearly every budget.

“The Santa Fe 93 painting will help and purchase of prints may be tax deductible because our museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit education and preservation organization,” said GPTM President Heather Gatton, who expressed gratitude to Winfield for his contribution.

Going trackside with his father from the age of three, Winfield has counted Santa Fe among his favorite railroads since moving from Texas to California shortly after World War II. There he saw the Warbonnet scheme applied to successive generations of Santa Fe passenger engines. His first commercial art sale came in 1992, when Santa Fe bought his painting depicting a lineup of modern and classic Warbonnet units, War Horses. Since then he has produced 342 railroad paintings, mainly on commission. They have appeared in a wide range of media, including greeting cards, calendars and book jackets.

Standard (18-inch high, 24-inch wide) unsigned prints are available for $50 plus tax, shipping included; while John Winfield signed and numbered prints with the same dimensions are limited to 97 pieces and sell for $100 plus tax, shipping included. Canvas giclee prints limited to no more than 24 pieces are priced at $800 plus tax, shipping included. Signed and numbered prints include 1-93 plus 93A, 93B, 93C and 93L, the final four being in reference to how Santa Fe numbered four-locomotive sets for passenger service. Signed and numbered print No.1 is being retained by GPTM and signed and numbered print No.93 will be sold at auction.

Prints can be purchased at the museum or online at www.santafe93.com.

Work on ATSF 93 began last October after Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad conducted an airbrake test and moved it to its Wichita shops to be prepared for its trip to Mid-America Car in Kansas City, where it will be painted.

Six of the nine Santa Fe FP45s are preserved, with others at Oklahoma Railway Museum, Museum of the American Railroad, Illinois Railway Museum, Western American Railroad Museum and the Southern California Railroad Museum.