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Madam Queen-Brief Information

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ATSF 5000

The steam engine designated as ATSF 5000 was designed by the Santa Fe Railroad’s Mechanical Department engineers to answer the railroad’s need for stronger, faster freight locomotives.  The Santa Fe received No. 5000 from famed locomotive builder Baldwin Locomotive Works in December, 1930 and it was placed into regular freight service at Clovis, operating on the Pecos Division, initially between Clovis and Belen, New Mexico, and eventually seeing service all-over the Pecos Division.  This locomotive was manufactured at a cost of $133,902.

Although by the time No. 5000 was placed into service locomotives were no longer given names, one of the first engineers that operated the No. 5000 gave it the name “Madam Queen” after a character on the popular “Amos and Andy” radio show.

When originally built, the tender for the Madam Queen carried 20,000 gallons of water and 27 tons of coal.  In 1940 the Madam Queen was converted to burn oil; the tender was replaced with a larger tender which still carried 20,000 gallons of water and included a tank which held 7,107 gallons of fuel oil.  The locomotive and tender weighed 662,500 pounds (per historical marker by the Madam Queen), produced 93.000 lbs of tractive force and had a boiler pressure of 300 pounds per square inch.  During its career on the Santa Fe, the Madam Queen ran for more than 1,750,000 miles.  The Madam Queen was retired from service in November, 1953 and donated to the City of Amarillo on April 17, 1957.


Historical Significance:

ATSF 5000 was the prototype locomotive on the Santa Fe designed with the 2-10-4 wheel arrangement.  As the prototype locomotive, it proved the success of the design concept.  The historical marker by the Madam Queen notes the Madam Queen was the only locomotive in its Class.  The reason for this statement was because the depression prevented the Santa Fe from buying more locomotives of the same type for a number of years, but in 1936 Santa Fe purchased a set of 10 additional 2-10-4 locomotives numbered from 5001 to 5010; these locomotives received a number of improvements over the Madam Queen and thus were designated the 5001 Class of locomotive.


Additional Historical Information on Santa Fe Railway’s 2-10-4 Steam Engines:

Of the 10 locomotives in the 5001 class that Santa Fe ordered in 1936, 5 of those locomotives were delivered as coal burners, and 5 of them as oil burners.  In 1943, Santa Fe was desperate for additional locomotives to move the wartime traffic and while they would have preferred to order several of the newer diesel-electric FT locomotives, the government dictated the Santa Fe buy new steam engines instead.  Thus Santa Fe ordered 25 additional 2-10-4 steam engines, again with a few improvements over the locomotives in the 5001 Class and this last group of locomotives was identified as the 5011 Class.   All of these steam engines were retired during the 1950’s.

A total of only 5 of Santa Fe’s 2-10-4 steam locomotives were saved from scrapping.  No. 5000, the “Madam Queen” is on display here in Amarillo; No. 5011 is at the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis, Missouri; No. 5017 was donated to and is preserved at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin; No. 5021 is stored at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, California; and No. 5030 is on display at Salvador Perez Park in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Interest of the Amarillo Railroad Museum (ARM) in the Madam Queen:

In April, 2016, the members of the Amarillo Railroad Museum were surprised when we received a Request For Proposals (RFP) from the City of Amarillo for “City of Amarillo Train Santa Fe 5000.”  The RFP included the following items in a scope of work to include, but not be limited to the following:

  1. Use of the train to preserve its history.

  2. Demonstrate how you are able to financially maintain and preserve the “Madame Queen.”

  3. Demonstrate how you are going to move the train from its current static display to a new home and a timeline for moving the train.

  4. Demonstrate how you plan to educate the public on the history of the “Madame Queen.”

  5. Include any additional information about your team or group.

  6. Description of plans to keep the “Madame Queen” safe and maintain in as good or better condition as its current state of cosmetic repair and general appearance.

  7. Description of plans to repair or restore the “Madame Queen.”

The RFP raised a number of questions among the membership, but a decision was made to submit a proposal to the City in response to the RFP and ARM Director Jerry Michels compiled the information and drafted the proposal.  A few weeks later we received a letter from the City indicating the RFP had been cancelled.

In a nutshell, the proposal submitted by the ARM included relocation of the “Madam Queen” from its current location downtown to the grounds of the ARM where it could be kept inside of an expanded Museum building structure where it would be protected from the effects of the weather, but this move was proposed on an extended timeline.

In July, 2016, the ARM received a revised Request For Proposals.  We made a side-by-side comparison between the original RFP and the revised RFP and noticed there were 2 specific changes; under the “Scope of Work” an 8th item was added stating “Purchase price to be paid to the City.” Also, under the “Evaluation Criteria” on the line for Pricing, the following statement was added “(Amount to be paid to the City for the Train).”  During the “bid period” allotted for this second RFP an article was published in the Amarillo Globe-News on Saturday, July 23, which related that only one bid had been submitted in response to an earlier RFP and that it had been determined by the City Purchasing Department as being “nonresponsive,” and for this reason the bidding process was opened up again.

We, the membership of the ARM gave considerable thought about submitting a new proposal in response to the revised RFP, but ultimately decided NOT to submit a proposal out of the concerns we might have to drop our efforts on all current projects just to tackle this one project to acquire and move the “Madam Queen.”  We had hoped that no one would submit a bid the second time around so that we could ask for a public discussion concerning the ultimate fate of the “Madam Queen,” but there was an article published in the Amarillo Globe-News on Saturday, August 6, which stated that 2 bids had been received in response to the RFP; one bid was from the Choctaw County Historical Society Frisco Depot Museum in Hugo, Oklahoma, and the second bid came from the Illinois Railroad Museum.

On Tuesday, August 9, ARM President Bob Roth addressed the Amarillo City Council during the public comment section of their weekly meeting and made a request that if legally possible, the RFP be cancelled and that a public forum or discussion be held concerning the “Madam Queen.”  He prefaced that request with a brief introduction of the Museum to the members of the City Council and ended with an invitation for members of the City Council to visit the Museum to see it for themselves. 

Whether the locomotive ultimately goes to the ARM or stays in its current location downtown does not matter so much to the ARM; our specific desire for this historically significant steam engine to stay in Amarillo.  This is an ongoing matter and further news will be posted as it develops.


Information Update:

ARM President Bob Roth has continued to keep-up with the City concerning the Madam Queen.  Contrary to blogs on the internet, the Madam Queen was not sold; the City cancelled the Request For Proposals (RFP) and is currently looking at an idea for preservation of the locomotive.


Relative to a number of posts observed on Facebook recently concerning the Madam Queen and a plan to convert the Santa Fe Depot into a museum with funds derived under Bond Proposal #3, these are just stories and rumors.  The City’s stated intent for the Depot is to restore it and use it as a transportation center to replace the existing transit hub located downtown; there is no plan to convert the Depot into a railroad museum.

In December of 2018 members of the ARM attending the Oklahoma City Train Show were informed that the Choctaw County Historical Society Frisco Museum Depot never submitted and RFP, had no intentions of submitting and RFP, and could not accept the Madam Queen under any circumstances.  The fate of the Madam Queen is still up in the air.  The City of Amarillo seems to have no plans whatsoever for this magnificent locomotive other than to let it rust in place.

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