After the 1980-1981 recession, railroads began to look at merging together to stay competitive in the transportation market. In December 1983, the holding companies for the Santa Fe Railway and Southern Pacific Railroad merged to become the Santa Fe Southern Pacific Corporation (SFSP Corp). Immediately thereafter, this new company filed a petition with the ICC to merge their two railroads into one. In July 1986 the ICC denied their request.
During that time span both railroads painted a few of their locomotives into a new paint scheme. It was a red and yellow carbody, with a black roof and silver trucks, with a large “SPSF” (backwards from the Corporations name) painted on the side of the carbody and on the noise. This color scheme made the locomotives look like a box of Kodak Kodachrome film (the preferred film by railfans and rail publications) so these locomotives got the nickname “Kodachomes”.
The SFSP Corporation was so sure the merger would go through, so they went ahead and got a head start painting locomotives. On the Santa Fe units, a large “SF” was painted and the “SP” would be added after the merger was approved and vice versa for the Southern Pacific units. Some have speculated that the ICC denied the merger because it did not like the arrogance of the railroads already assuming their decision before it was made. After the merger request was denied, the new railroad name became, "Shouldn’t Paint So Fast".
In all, just over 400 locomotives were painted along with 4 Santa Fe cabooses and 1 Southern Pacific caboose. Two Santa Fe locomotives and 1 caboose were painted with the “SPSF”. Few photographs exist of these two rare locomotives; railfans scramble to find them and photograph them in action. I have only a few photographs of Kodachromes in my collection, most of these are from Roland Haynes.