On Thursday, September 17, 1955 The Santa Fe Railway Company officially dedicated the steam-powered Engine 1809 to the City of Slaton. presented by W. a. J. Carter, Superintendent of the Slaton Division of Santa Fe, the engine w s accepted by Slaton Mayor L B. Wooton. Engineer J. W. Pettigrew brought Engine 1809 into the Slaton rail yard for her last journey before being retired.
Special recognition was given to W. R. Lovett, Walter Cannon, Jack Steward, and Louis Smith, all who were retired engineers of Engine 1809. In the dedication ceremonies, a special tribute was paid to the progress Santa Fe had made in the transition from steam to diesel. Melvin Kunkel, then President of the Slaton Chamber of Commerce, mentioned that possibility of a future transition from diesel to atomic power. In 1955, that was indeed a far-sighted statement! He also noted the role Engine 1809 played n our agriculture economy. Making the run to Houston known as the "Cotton Special", Engine 1809 delivered cotton from this area to the Gulf ports.
The engine was built in 1906 by Baldwin Locomotive Works. It has a 2-6.2 wheel arrangement; weighs 242,000 pounds (121 tons); could generate a 200 pound steam pressure; has 70-inch drivers, and was used for both freight and passenger service. although it has not moved since 1955, Engine 1809 is one of the few remaining steam locomotives capable of moving under its own power because no working part has been removed.
The State of Texas Historical Society offered to buy Engine 1809, but of course, the City has no intention of ever parting with such a valuable piece of Slaton's history. Many local railroaders had ridden on "1809" before her retirement and hold fond memories of her service to Santa Fe and Slaton, Texas.