While the Western Pacific
rostered a relatively small fleet of GP9's at 8 units, neighboring
road Southern Pacific rostered 340 of the rugged road switcher.
SP 2873 was originally built in December 1956 as SP Subsidiary Texas
& New Orleans 443.
In December 1983, both Southern
Pacific and Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe railroad attempted a merger,
creating the "Santa
Fe Southern Pacific Corporation" as a holding company to
manage the newly combined railroad. However, in July 1986, the
Interstate Commerce Commission denied the merger due to opposition
by the US Department of Justice. In June 1987, the ICC denied
the appeal by the SFSP, thus ending merger proceedings.
Both railroads were
confident enough that the merger would be approved that they began
repainting locomotives into a new unified paint scheme, including
the letters SP or SF and an adjacent empty space for the other two
(as SPSF, the reverse order of the holding company). At the
time of merger denial, approximately 306 ATSF locomotives, 4 ATSF
cabooses, 10 ATSF slugs, 96 SP locomotives, and 1 SP caboose had
been painted in this fashion. The two railroads made an effort
to repaint locomotives in their standard paint schemes after the
merger was denied. Santa Fe repainted all Kodachromes still on
roster by 1990, though some engines were sold in this scheme.
Southern Pacific's less numerous Kodachromes were repainted much
more slowly. Our 2873 was repainted sometime in late 1985 or
early 1986 making it one of the first 4 axle locomotives to be
repainted in the new paint scheme. Nicknamed "Kodachromes" by
railroad enthusiasts, the yellow and red scheme was chosen from
ATSF's yellow secondary locomotive color and SP's red secondary
locomotive color. Some engines received "SPSF" lettering,
leading some enthusiasts to nickname the merger "Shouldn't Paint
SP 2873 came to the Portola
Railroad Museum (Western Pacific Railroad Museum) in 1992 after
members found it in a scrap yard in Richmond,
California. The FRRS purchased the locomotive
and today the engine is used frequently at the WPRM as a yard
Caboose Train Service, and is a
popular locomotive in the museums "Run
A Locomotive" program where our visitors are invited to
operate the 2873 under the guidance of a qualified instructor.
SP 2873 taking
a short break at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum in Portola,
California in 2009.
SP 2873 is waiting for you to
take her for a spin! See our Run A Locomotive page for