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Reed Family Model Locomotive

Reed Family Model Locomotive

The Reed Family Model Locomotive is a unique locomotive model donated by the family of John Shedd Reed. Reed was a former chairman, president and chief executive officer of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. The model locomotive is on display under the clock at Union Station. It is free and open to the public daily.

Reed’s family donated the model to Union Station after his death in 2008. Mr. Reed’s son, at his father’s request, had contacted Michael Haverty, chairman of Union Station’s board and chairman and chief executive officer of Kansas City Southern, to inquire about the donation. At one time, Haverty and John S. Reed worked together at the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.

“We are honored and humbled that Mr. Reed and his family chose Union Station Kansas City to be the recipient of this historic model steam locomotive shortly before his passing,” said Michael R. Haverty, chairman and chief executive officer of Kansas City Southern, a former president of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, and current chairman of the board of Union Station Kansas City.

“Mr. Reed was a model of integrity during his tenure as chairman, president and chief executive officer of Santa Fe, and I had the privilege of working under his leadership for over a decade. Union Station will display the locomotive with pride, and we will also preserve Mr. Reed’s legacy. It is appropriate that Union Station becomes the home of the Reed locomotive as Santa Fe was the dominant passenger rail carrier during the station’s peak.”

The locomotive is a model of a full-size Santa Fe locomotive built in 1909. When it was built, the original locomotive was among the latest in fast passenger power. With excellent steaming capacity and tall driving wheels, it pulled Santa Fe’s finest trains at speeds exceeding 100 mph – a marvel in its day. At one time, more than one-third of all passenger trains running in and out of Union Station Kansas City were Santa Fe. The model was built in 1915 by apprentices at Santa Fe’s shops in San Bernardino, Calif., and was presented to Reed upon his retirement in 1983. It is a fully-functioning 1:8 scale model, capable of steaming under its own power.

“Union Station is pleased to receive this gracious gift from the Reed family,” said George M. Guastello, II, president and CEO of Union Station Kansas City, Inc. “What a treasure for the Kansas City community and all our visitors to enjoy. Collecting and preserving the region’s history is our mission, and we are pleased to add this artifact to our collection. We are grateful to the family for selecting Union Station as the beneficiary of this gift.”

Kansas City Southern’s Charitable Fund generously donated funds to construct a special display case for this model so it can be exhibited for public viewing. The case is made with cherry wood and LED lights powered by three solar panels mounted on top of the case provide lighting for the locomotive.

Reed’s love of trains started at an early age. He decided at age four he wanted to become a locomotive engineer. He fulfilled his dream of working for the railroad and worked his way up to president of the Santa Fe in 1967. He held that position for 16 years.

Reed’s family has ties to Chicago and Kansas City. His grandfather was John G. Shedd, benefactor of Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium and president of retailer Marshall Field & Co. Kersey Coates was a great-grandfather; he owned the Coates House hotel, once Kansas City’s finest, which still stands at 10th and Broadway.

Prototype Information

Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Locomotive #1452

The Model and the Prototype

The railroads of John S. Reed’s childhood represented speed and the lure of distant places. That was particularly true for the trains of the Santa Fe Railway, which raced from Chicago to California. Santa Fe operated more trains than any other railroad at Kansas City Union Station, and these engines were a common sight in the early 20th century.

When the prototype of this model was built in 1909, it was among the latest in fast passenger power. With excellent steaming capacity and tall driving wheels, it pulled Santa Fe’s finest trains at speeds exceeding 100 mph – a marvel in its day. It was known as a balanced compound locomotive, a sophisticated design that used four cylinders in order to get the most out of every pound of steam.

The model on display at Union Station was built in 1915 by apprentices at Santa Fe’s shops in San Bernardino, Calif., and it was presented to John S. Reed upon his retirement in 1983. It is a fully-functioning 1:8 scale model, capable of steaming under its own power.

Prototype technical information

Builder: Baldwin Locomotive Works, Philadelphia, Pa.
Date built: 1909
Wheel arrangement: 4-4-2 “Atlantic” type Balanced compound
Cylinders: 15” x 26” (high pressure); 25” x 26” (low pressure)
Weight on drive wheels: 115,000 lbs.
Total engine weight: 220,795 lbs.
Boiler pressure: 220 lbs.
Tractive effort: 22,200 lbs.
Driving wheel diameter: 79”

John S. Reed Bio (1917-2008)

When he was four years old, John S. Reed decided he wanted to become a locomotive engineer. It was a common ambition for a boy of his times, but Reed was the scion of a successful family. His grandfather was John G. Shedd, benefactor of Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium and president of retailer Marshall Field & Co. Kersey Coates was a great-grandfather; he owned the Coates House hotel, once Kansas City’s finest, which still stands at 10th and Broadway.

Reed was persistent in his ambition. After receiving a college degree, he applied to be an Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway engineman, only to be rejected. He was told that “a Yale man couldn’t shovel enough coal to get a train to its destination.” Undaunted, he signed on with Santa Fe’s test department at Topeka instead, rose to become a division superintendent at Marceline, Mo., and was named company president in 1967 – a position he held for 16 years. He was later named as the company’s chairman, too.

One of the greatest railroad executives of his time, he never lost his love of trains. His early ambition was rooted in boyhood trips to California – on Santa Fe trains pulled by locomotives like the one now in display at Union Station.

The Display Case

The 11-foot display case is made of cherry wood and was constructed by Melvin Williams and Bob Copeland of Richard’s Construction Company in Blue Springs, Missouri. Special attention was given to the design of the case so it would blend well with the architectural design and antiquity of Union Station. In order to protect the wood from scratches, a "solid surface by Hanex" was incorporated into the information areas and also the molding on the sides of the case.

Twelve volt LED lights powered by three solar panels mounted on top of the display case provide lighting for the locomotive. The lights are controlled by timers, dimmers and relays. A back-up charger was installed in case of a shortage of solar energy. This lighting solution allows Union Station, as part of its science mission, to utilize an environmental and energy efficient method for powering the case. It also solved the challenge of getting electricity to the case where it sits in the middle of the room under the clock.

The case can be easily moved, should the need arise. It has built in hydraulic jacks to raise and lower the wheels. This unique design keeps the rubber wheels from getting "flat spots" and eliminates the need for locking wheels.