Railroad Artifact Preservation Society

is creating the Santa Fe Locomotive Development Museum
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About Railroad Artifact Preservation Society

The goals and projects set forth in this Patreon page represent big dreams which will require you to do more reading than usually associated with this type of page. However, I believe that you will be excited to become a member of this fantastic project, so keep reading and give us a chance to explain what we intend to accomplish with you by our side. Visit rapstrains.com for more information.

The Railroad Artifact Preservation Society and AT&SF Steam Locomotive 5000:
The Railroad Artifact Preservation Society is the leading authority and knowledge base for AT&SF Steam Locomotive Number 5000. To learn more and see our list of items in our archives regarding 5000 history click on link. AT&SF 5000

My name is Sam D. Teague, and I am the Founder and President of the Railroad Artifact Preservation Society, Inc. which became a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation in 2003. Our corporate headquarters in located in Amarillo, TX because we were first organized for the purpose of preserving AT&SF Steam Locomotive Number 5000 for future generations. That goal was accomplished in 2008, and part of that effort was documented by the History Channel's Mega Mover TV series and was aired in May of 2005. After completing the cosmetic restoration of Locomotive 5000, know affectionately as the "Madame Queen," we returned the care and maintenance of the beautifully restored locomotive back to its owner, the City of Amarillo, and began to think about another project. 

Santa Fe Locomotive Development, by Larry E. Brasher: 
In 2006, Larry E. Brasher, published the first book ever written about locomotive development on the Santa Fe Railway. This book titled -Santa Fe Locomotive Development - SFLD was published by Signature Press in late 2006. Larry became a member of our board of directors and it became clear that the Society should use Larry's book as the theme for our future museum. The original idea was to collect actual AT&SF steam locomotives scattered across the U.S. and place them in the museum and fully restore them.  Further investigation revealed that this idea was virtually impossible due to the distances involved and the costs of transporting such massive equipment to the museum location. Another very difficult problem to overcome would be to construct a building large enough to house these massive engines indoors. We needed to find another way to preserve the unique history of these locomotives and make them available to the general public in a beautiful air-conditioned facility.

Second Volume by Larry E. Brasher, published by RAPS in 2015

Model Railroad Equipment Donation Becomes Foundation for a Future Museum:
In 2016, the Society received a large model railroad collection from the Judge Donald Maxwell Dean family. The late Judge Dean was a Santa Fe Railway enthusiast and historian whose contribution made it possible to create a large model railroad layout in our planed museum.. His collection was perfectly suited to represent AT&SF Steam Locomotive history in HO scale. The Judge was very knowledgeable about AT&SF history and knew exactly what type of locomotives must be acquired in order to faithfully represent the Santa Fe Railway locomotive heritage. He not only acquired the necessary HO scale locomotives needed, he acquired them in beautiful custom made brass. Most model railroad locomotives are made of plastic, but the Judge invested in brass because he knew that they had superior detail as they were hand built to the original blueprints and specifications drawn by the AT&SF Mechanical Engineering Department. 

The donation from the Judge Donald Maxwell Dean family fit perfectly into the Societies plans to create their future -  Santa Fe Locomotive Development Museum. With the Dean Collection in hand the Society had the model railroad equipment and supplies necessary to develop a large model railroad display inside the museum. The brass locomotives in the collection could be used to represent the custom designed steam locomotives developed by the Santa Fe. Larry's book would be used to guide the displays and ensure the accurate historical theme of the museum. 

Santa Fe's Raton Pass Model Railroad, Test-bed layout for the SFLDM:
The RAPS Board of Directors decided that it would be wise to build a small version of the SFLDM model railroad before attempting to build the huge 5,000 SF layout planned for the museum. The test-bed layout is called Santa Fe's Raton Pass Model Railroad (SFRPMR) and was completed and became operational in late 2018. The SFRPMR gives us a place to practice our model railroading skills and tryout ideas. It also provides a layout to test the Dean Collection brass locomotives. 

The Significance of Brass Trains:

The Dean Collection contains 49 pieces of brass model trains. Fourteen brass steam locomotives, two Doodlebug motorcars, four cabooses, five passenger cars, five MoW cars, two covered hoppers, three stock cars, five box cars, three gondolas, two tank cars, one ice box car and three stand alone water tanks. In 2019 the Society purchased a brass model of AT&SF Dynamometer Car #29, added to a brass model of AT&SF Steam Locomotive 5000 acquired by the Society in 2010, brings the total brass collection owned by the Society to fifty-one. Why is this important, and what is the significance of brass trains?

The Rarity of Brass Trains:
To answer that question, we need to look closer at how brass trains are designed and manufactured. First, anything that is rare or limited in production is generally thought of as valuable. Brass models have extremely limited production runs compared to plastic models. For instance, some brass models have less than twenty-five produced, while even the largest runs are generally limited to a few hundred. This is due to the fact the brass model is a handmade, meticulously designed, highly accurate scaled down version of the prototype. Hundreds of man-hours are involved in the production of a single model, researching the prototype’s design, development and historical significance before a model can be built. 

No Compromises:
In the production of a plastic model, compromises are generally made to allow the model to perform better on a model railroad. For instance, driving wheels on plastic steam locomotive models may be made slightly smaller or axle spacing may be adjusted larger in order to make the model run better on the tight curves of model railroads. This is not so with brass models. Brass model manufacturers keep the scaling accurate to the prototype. Sometimes this gives brass locomotives and cars tight clearances and may cause operational problems on a model railroad. For example, the Coach Yard model of AT&SF Steam Locomotive #5000 is extremely accurate to the prototype and the clearance under the pilot (cow catcher) is very close and can cause electrical shorts on some section of the model railroad when the pilot touches the top of the rails.
However, newer plastic models have improved significantly, and it can be hard to distinguish them from brass models when visually inspected. Therefore, the Society will utilize high quality plastic models on Santa Fe’s Raton Pass Model Railroad to represent models that are not available in brass.

Hand Craftsmanship:
After the research has been done on the model, highly skilled craftsmen begin to make the brass parts of the model by hand all the while maintaining the accuracy of the prototype drawings. If prototype drawings are not available, they must be produced by hand. Today, drawings for brass models are generally produced using CAD software, but still very time consuming to make a drawing of the thousands of parts needed for a new model. 
While the model is in research and production stages, it is advertised in trade magazines alerting collectors of the upcoming release of the model. This is the time to order the model if you want it. Generally, you will only be able to acquire the model if you reserve it before it is released. By the time the model is complete, most if not all the production will have been sold or reserved. At this point the only way to acquire the model after production is to get lucky enough to find a used one for sale. Therefore, the Society is very grateful to the Dean Family for the donation of Judge Dean’s brass collection.

Fine Art Collectible:
The fact that the models are hand crafted also means that they are a work of art. Although not thought of as fine art so much in the past, today many agree that brass trains are indeed fine art. 

Representing History:
The Railroad Artifact Preservation Society considers another very valuable asset of brass trains to be very important – the history they represent. Since brass models are highly detailed scaled down replicas of the prototype, they naturally represent the historical significance of the prototype. Brass model replicas are so finely detailed that the Society plans to use the Dean Collection of brass models to bring the history of the original prototype to life in HO scale on Santa Fe’s Raton Pass Model Railroad. The Brass models will be used to educate the public about the historical significance of Santa Fe Locomotive Development and the men and women who designed and manufactured the Santa Fe’s motive power during the steam era and eventually, early pioneer diesel development.

Technical Improvements:
Today with miniature electronics, brass model trains can be taken to a new level. Brass model trains have always been “eye candy” for trains enthusiast, but today operational performance, sound and lighting can be added. By using Digital Command Control (DCC) sound decoders operational performance of brass locomotives can match the prototypes performance exactly.

Long Term Value Retention:
Labor and material costs to upgrade brass locomotives can be expensive, but the rarity of available brass model trains and the quality of construction and highly accurate detail causes the value of brass trains to sustain. Not only sustain but increase in value if the model is properly cared for and high-quality improvements are executed.
The Society needs more brass trains to complete their collection. If you have brass model trains you would like to donate, please contact the Society at 806-674-0472.

Current Status:
Most of the brass models owned by the Society were received unpainted and were never run. The Society is slowly going through its entire collection and painting each model according to Santa Fe Railway specifications. Once the painting is complete, steam locomotives receive DCC sound decoders which brings the model to life. Operating headlights are installed, and speakers placed inside the models to bring prototypical sounds to the operating brass model. The prototypical operating possibilities of today’s DCC (Digital Command Control) decoders is incredibly realistic and will help the Society educate and demonstrate the exact operating characteristics of Santa Fe prototype locomotives from the past.

We have completed about half of the Dean Collection brass steam locomotives and they are fully operational. We need to start working on the second half, but we have run out of funds to continue. That is why Goal #1 is to raise $8,500.00 to get the rest of the brass locomotives painted and DCC sound equipped.

Your participation and support is vital to this project and as a member you will get first hand behind the scenes updates according to the Tier Level you choose as progress moves forward on all goals. Check out the Tier Levels of Membership for more information about member benefits, then chose the Tier Level you like.

Join the 50 Hundred Team by choosing the Engineer Tier Level:
Originally, 50 Hundred Team Members were the restoration and preservation crew members that took care of AT&SF 5000 for the 2008 cosmetic restoration and afterward until the Society returned the care of the locomotive back to the City of Amarillo, the engines owner. Today the 50 Hundred Team Members are involved in all the Society’s restoration and history preservation efforts such Santa Fe’s Raton Pass Model Railroad and SFLD Museum.

Other Goals:
  1. Goal # 2 - Painting and detailing of the Dean Collection brass rail cars. 
  2. Goal #3 - This fund will be used to acquire more brass or highly detailed plastic locomotives that will be needed to complete the Santa Fe Locomotive Development story. 
While the goals listed above are being attained, the RAPS Board of Directors will be in the process of finding a location for the museum. This may involve acquiring land for a building site, or could involve finding an existing facility that can be purchased or leased. Once the location for the Santa Fe Locomotive Development Museum has been located, the board of directors will begin the acquisition process. We will keep our members on this site updated first!

$29 of $400 per month
Goal #2
Painting and detailing of the Dean Collection brass rail cars.
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