Photo of Lever Bed Switching Panel at Santa Fe Railway Milepost 51.
The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, commonly known as the Santa Fe or AT&SF, was a prominent railroad in the United States. It was established in February 1859 with the purpose of serving the cities of Atchison and Topeka, Kansas, as well as Santa Fe, New Mexico. Over time, the railroad expanded its reach, reaching the Kansas-Colorado border in 1873 and Pueblo, Colorado, in 1876. To stimulate demand for its services, the company established real estate offices and sold farmland obtained through congressional land grants.
Despite its original charter, the Santa Fe railroad initially bypassed Santa Fe due to the challenging terrain of the mountainous region. However, a branch line from Lamy, New Mexico, was later built to connect the railroad with its namesake city.
The Santa Fe railway was a trailblazer in intermodal freight transport. It ventured into various ventures, including operating an airline called the Santa Fe Skyway (albeit briefly) and maintaining a fleet of Santa Fe Railroad Tugboats. Additionally, the company's bus line provided passenger transportation to areas inaccessible by rail, while their ferryboats in the San Francisco Bay facilitated westward journeys to the Pacific Ocean. The railroad even inspired a popular song, "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe," written by Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer for the film "The Harvey Girls" in 1946.
On December 31, 1996, the Santa Fe railroad concluded its operations following a merger with the Burlington Northern Railroad, resulting in the formation of the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway.