This engine hauled passenger trains on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway at 20 cars at speed reaching 90 miles an hour or it could haul 100 freight cars at a slower rate until the 1950's.
The locomotive was donated to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois in 1961 and placed on display outdoors.
In December 1994, the Museum of Science and Industry donated this locomotive to the Illinois Railway Museum. The museum was trying to re-arrange its outdoor exhibits and moving many of the outdoor exhibits to the inside, but 2903 was simply too heavy to be moved inside the museum. The locomotive was moved from the Museum in the Spring of 1995, and was moved through downtown Hyde Park.
- Santa Fe 2903 is the largest preserved locomotive in Illinois.
- The locomotive made a cameo appearance in Transformers: Age of Extinction.
- Being dual service locomotives, the 2900's (2903 included) are not only able to haul heavy freight, but they were also fast enough to run passenger trains, even the 'name' trains such as the 'Scout' and the 'Grand Canyon Limited'.