Chanute resident Jerald Henry and his grandson Ethan ran across this photo of a Warbonnet streamliner at Santa Fe Depot, circa early 1970s. It’s not known for sure, but Henry’s father Wesley, who piloted trains to Kansas City and back, may be in the engineer’s seat. It is known that Chanute residents at that time Clyde Breiner is pictured at left, and Joe Godinez at right.
Henry said the photo has to be from prior to 1974 because that’s when that particular train made its last trip from Chanute.
While there were many, now-classic paint schemes to grace locomotives during the start of the diesel and streamliner age of the 1930s, none became as legendary as Santa Fe’s “Warbonnet.” The design was the creation of artist Leland A. Knickerbocker, who worked for General Motors.
During the mid-1930s, the company needed a classy, matching livery to the Native-American-themed train that the Santa Fe was planning to debut, the Super Chief.
The Warbonnet was shelved by the railroad following the end of passenger service in 1971, but was readopted in the late 1980s. Following the creation of Burlington Northern Santa Fe in 1995, a version of the livery was briefly used but was finally dropped altogether.