Rare Santa Fe articulated covered hopper finds a home

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This articulated Santa Fe covered hopper has been preserved at the Oklahoma Railroad Museum.
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The Oklahoma Railway Museum has added a rare Santa Fe articulated grain covered hopper to its collection.

Known as a “Super Hopper,” the car is composed of five separate aluminum hoppers and totals 166 feet 7 inches in length. Santa Fe commissioned three prototypes in 1991, Nos. 390000-390002.

Although the Super Hoppers weighed less and carried 30 percent more than conventional hoppers, shippers and customers did not care for the design and demand for the innovative rolling stock did not appear. Santa Fe successor BNSF Railway retired the cars in 2017 and planned to scrap them. Oklahoma Railway Museum asked to save one and the railroad donated No. 390002.

A museum crew moved the hopper over tracks owned by the City of Oklahoma City and onto museum grounds on Dec. 5. The Super Hopper broadens the museum’s collection of unusual pieces of rolling stock. The museum also restored a one-of-a-kind inspection car that the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad created from a boxcar.

The museum plans to restore the Super Hopper to as built condition. Afterwards, it will be displayed on the grounds and might occasionally be used for photo charters and other special events.
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