Is there a name? 1972 ATSF Freight Scheme

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Is there a name? 1972 ATSF Freight Scheme
Posted by YoHo1975 on Friday, March 30, 2018 11:33 AM

So, this came up in the trains locomotive forum, and I've had the discussion many times before, figured maybe someone here knows an answer.

I know the following ATSF scheme names

Cat Whiskers (fan name?)


Tiger Stripe

Bookend/Freight (Bookend is a fan name?)

Yellowbonnet and Bluebonnet



But what is the name for the Yellow and Blue bonnet scheme introduced in 1972? I've had people tell me that Texas ATSF crews called it Cub Scout, but that's not a universal name. I've had people call it yellow or blue bonnet, but those names refer to specific F-unit schemes. Did ATSF have a name for it? 

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Posted by Miningman on Friday, March 30, 2018 12:21 PM

Good question. I cannot find any referance to a specific 'name' ...I've read "a very attractive blue and yellow scheme" and numerous referances calling it the Bluebonnet or Yellowbonnet, which you correctly identify as being specific to F Units. 

Here is one article you may or may not have seen.


Diesels used as switchers between 1935 and 1960 were painted black, with just a thin white or silver horizontal accent stripe (the sills were painted similarly). The letters "A.T.& S.F." were applied in a small font centered on the sides of the unit, as was the standard blue and white "Santa Fe" box logo. After World War II, diagonal white or silver stripes were added to the ends and cab sides to increase the visibility at grade crossings (typically referred to as the Zebra Stripe scheme). "A.T.& S.F." was now placed along the sides of the unit just above the accent stripe, with the blue and white "Santa Fe" box logo below.

Due to the lack of abundant water sources in the American desert, the Santa Fe Railway was among the first railroads to receive large numbers of streamlined diesel locomotives for use in freight service, in the form of the EMD FT. For the first group of FTs, delivered between December, 1940 and March, 1943 (#100–#119), the railroad selected a color scheme consisting of dark blue accented by a pale yellow stripe up the nose, and pale yellow highlights around the cab and along the mesh and framing of openings in the sides of the engine compartment; a thin, red stripe separated the blue areas from the yellow.

Because of a labor dispute with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, who insisted that every cab in a diesel-electric locomotive consist must be manned, FT sets #101-#105 were delivered in A-B-B-B sets, instead of A-B-B-A sets used by the rest of Santa Fe's FT's. Santa Fe quickly prevailed in this labor dispute, and FT sets from #106-onward were delivered as A-B-B-A sets.

49026wlThe words SANTA FE were applied in yellow in a 5"–high extended font, and centered on the nose was the "Santa Fe" box logo (initially consisting of a blue cross, circle, and square painted on a solid bronze sheet, but subsequently changed to baked steel sheets painted bronze with the blue identifying elements applied on top). Three thin, pale yellow stripes (known as Cat Whiskers) extended from the nose logo around the cab sides. 


In January, 1951, Santa Fe revised the scheme to consist of three yellow stripes running up the nose, with the addition of a blue and yellow Cigar Band (similar in size and shape to that applied to passenger units); the blue background and elongated yellow "SANTA FE" lettering were retained.

49320wlThe years 1960 to 1972 saw non-streamlined freight locomotives sporting the "Billboard" color scheme (sometimes referred to as the "Bookends" or "Pinstripe" scheme), wherein the units were predominantly dark blue with yellow ends and trim, with a single yellow accent pinstripe. The words "Santa Fe" were applied in yellow in a large serif Cooper Black font (logotype) to the sides of the locomotive below the accent stripe (save for yardswitchers which displayed the "SANTA FE" in small yellow letters above the accent stripe, somewhat akin to the Zebra Stripe arrangement).

49021 05awFrom 1972 to 1996, and even on into the BNSF era, the company adopted a paint scheme often known among railfans as the "Yellowbonnet", which placed more yellow on the locomotives (reminiscent of the company's retired Warbonnet scheme); the goal again was to ensure higher visibility at grade crossings. The truck assemblies, previously colored black, now received silver paint.


In 1989, Santa Fe resurrected the "Warbonnet" scheme and applied the scheme in a modified fashion to two FP45 units, #5992 and #5998 (displaying "Santa Fe" in billboard-style red letters across the side). The units were re-designated as #101 and #102 and reentered service on July 4, 1989 as part of the new "Super Fleet" campaign (the first Santa Fe units to be so decorated for freight service). The six remaining FP45 units were thereafter similarly repainted and renumbered. From that point forward, most new locomotives wore red and silver, and many retained this scheme after the Burlington Northern Santa Fe merger, some with "BNSF" displayed across their sides.

For the initial deliveries of factory-new "Super Fleet" equipment, Santa Fe took delivery of the EMD GP60M, GP60B and General Electric B40-8W, which made Santa Fe the only US Class I railroad to operate new 4-axle (B-B) freight locomotives equipped with the North American Safety Cab. These units were intended for high-speed intermodal service, but toward the final days of the railroad, could be found working local trains and branchline assignments.

Several experimental and commemorative paint schemes emerged during Santa Fe's diesel era. One combination was developed and partially implemented in anticipation of a merger between the parent companies of the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific (SP) railroads in 1984. The red, yellow, and black paint scheme (with large yellow block letters "SF" on the sides and ends of the units; space was left preceding the SF to complete the planned combined SPSF) of the proposed Southern Pacific Santa Fe Railroad (SPSF) has come to be somewhat derisively known among railfans as the Kodachrome livery, due to the similarity in colors to the boxes containing slide film sold by the Eastman Kodak Company under the same name. A joke among railfans is that "SPSF" really stands for "Shouldn't Paint So Fast."

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, March 30, 2018 1:11 PM

Since you have access to ATSF paint-shop information that documents the "Super Fleet" name: exactly what is the orthography (capitalization and spacing) of the word 'Superfleet' as they use it?  That would then be the thing to standardize all discussions of "Cooper Black-lettered 'Warbonnet' paint" around.

Still grateful to have the Grinstein-green/Executive scheme ambiguity properly resolved.  (I had been on the 'wrong side' of that usage for years -- curse you, slipshod railfans!)

For some reason the term "freight bonnet" comes to mind looking at the blue as well as yellow schemes, but that would almost certainly be a railfan-derived name.  Is there not something on the respective paint diagrams for them that is used to denote this, or is the only real thing 'different' the choice of paint between yellow or blue without formally defining the two schemes as different?

Please post the link here that you put in the other post, as it's valuable.


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