ATSF Burro Crane 749 and Flatcar

Model 30
ATSF Burro Crane 749 and Flatcar
Car Specs
Car Number: 
749
Type: 
Flat Car
Built / Retired: 
1955
Construction: 
steel
Notes: 
Mother car for Burro Crane. Cast frame. Ex- 209104

Named after the favored pack animal of the old west, Burro Cranes are small four-wheeled cranes designed to operate on rails. The boom can be fitted with a number of different tools depending on the assignment, from a clamshell to an electromagnet to a simple hook.

The self-propelled Burro could also tow a flat car or other equipment needed for its work. This allowed them to tow some of the rail, ballast, timbers or other materials needed for the track repair or construction job at hand.

Burro 476 was used by the Santa Fe Railway into the 1990s when it was donated to the Museum along with its special flat car that was used to move it from job to job. Note the extra set of wheels on the side of the Burro; these wheels engage with the rails on the flat car deck and give the Burro added stability when operating from the deck of the flat car.

The Burro can also load and unload itself from the flat car- it picks up the track ramp that sits on the deck and lowers it into place on the rails. It then drives itself off the end of the car, down the ramp and onto the rails. To get back on, the lifting cable is attached to the flat car deck and the crane’s winch is used to help it move back up the ramp.

More Images
Closeup showing the outside wheels engaged with the rails on the deck. The norma
Closeup showing the outside wheels engaged with the rails on the deck. The normal running wheels can be seen just inboard of the rail.
The Burro Crane inspired this popular Lionel toy train.
The Burro Crane inspired this popular Lionel toy train.

Additional Images

A Santa Fe Burro Crane on the job, towing a flatcar loaded with ties. John Mosba
A Santa Fe Burro Crane on the job, towing a flatcar loaded with ties. John Mosbarger photo.
A Model 30 Burro at work. Ron Kohlin photo.
A Model 30 Burro at work. Ron Kohlin photo.
Burro Crane ad
Burro Crane ad
Closeup of the cab. The flatcar was built in 1955.
Closeup of the cab. The flatcar was built in 1955.
Burro 749 on board "mother car" ATSF 206204 along with its special unloading ram
Burro 749 on board "mother car" ATSF 206204 along with its special unloading ramp.
A view looking down onto the deck. Note the rails on the deck which engage with
A view looking down onto the deck. Note the rails on the deck which engage with the outside wheels on the Burro