Santa Fe 3415 – Photo Charter

In September 2023, photographers from across the nation converged on Abilene, Kansas, to capture one of Santa Fe 3415’s final days before its FRA-mandated 1472 Day inspection and rebuild. This special photo charter, hosted by Steam Charters by Dak Dillon Photography, was a significant fundraiser to kick off the rebuild effort by the Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad (ASVRR).

Event Highlights

  • The day began early, with 30 photographers from various states representing both coasts gathering before sunrise.
  • Despite some rain and clouds, the variety of scenes captured was remarkable. We had classic cars from different decades, provided by Rod Riffel, and horses from Shannon Walden, adding a dynamic element to our photos.
  • Santa Fe 3415, in its glory, pulled a recently repainted passenger consist.
  • The night photo session offered a dramatic and unique photographic experience illuminating the historic Rock Island train depot in Abilene and Santa Fe 3415.

This event was a testament to the community’s support, with the ASVRR leadership, volunteers and the town of Visit Abilene, Kansas, playing crucial roles.

The highlight of the day, of course, was the fundraising achievement, with $10,000 raised toward the rebuilding of Santa Fe 3415.

The day was not just about photography; it was a celebration of history, community and the spirit of preservation. The success of this charter, both in terms of the photographic opportunities and the funds raised, sets a positive tone for the future of Santa Fe 3415 and the Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad.

The Abilene Reflector Chronicle, the local paper, covered the event with a nice article about the day with perspectives from multiple attendees.

We look forward to more such events, bringing together photography enthusiasts and supporting historic preservation.


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