St Louis-San Francisco 4-8-2 "Mountain" Locomotives

The St. Louis - San Francisco Railway bought a total of thirty 4-8-2s from the Baldwin Locomotive Works to be used in passenger service. Fifteen (road numbers 1500 through 1514) were delivered in 1923, five (road numbers 1515 through 1519) came in 1925 and the final ten (road numbers 1520 through 1529) arrived in 1926.

All thirty of these "Mountains" had 28 x 28 cylinders, 69" drivers, a 210 psi boiler pressure, a tractive effort of 56,800 lbs and total locomotive weight as shown in the chart below.

During the late 1930s, the SLSF needed new locomotives, and money was tight, so the West Springfield Shops undertook a project to build a total of 34 4-8-2s from older locomotives. The first eleven of these rebuilds, outshopped in 1936 and 1937, were built from used 2-10-2 parts and were assigned road numbers 4300 through 4310. They had 27 x 30 cylinder, 70" drivers, a boiler pressure of 250 psi, a tractive effort of 66,400 lbs and weighed 431,110 pounds.

Another 23 4-8-2s were built using the boilers from 2-10-2s between 1939 and 1942. These locomotives were assigned road numbers 4400 through 4422 and had 29 x 32 cylinders, 70" drivers, a boiler pressure of 210 psi, a tractive effort of 68,600 lbs and weighed a whopping 449,760 pounds. They were the heaviest Mountains ever built. Locomotives numbers 4400 through 4412 were built as oil burners and numbers 4413 through 4422 burned coal.

There are six surviving SLSF "Mountains".

  • 1501 at a city park in Rolla, MO
  • 1519 at the Railroad Museum of Northwest Oklahoma in Enid, OK
  • 1522 at the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis, MO
  • 1526 at the Museum of the Great Plains in Lawton, OK
  • 1527 at Spring Hill Park in Mobile, AL
  • 1529 at Frisco Park in Amory, MS

Number 1522 was donated to the Museum of Transportation in the early 1950s. It was restored to operating condition by a volunteer group known as the St. Louis Steam Train Association and has run several excursions. Today, it is undergoing a major overhaul and is scheduled to run again in May of 1999.

Roster by Richard Duley

Road Numbers Year Built Builder Locomotive Weight
1500 - 1514 1923 Baldwin 339,800 lbs
1515 - 1519 1925 Baldwin 342,200 lbs
1520 - 1529 1926 Baldwin 360,890 lbs

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 4300 (Locobase 8652)

Data from 1947 and 1951 St L-SF locomotive diagram books supplied in May 2005 from the extensive collection of Allen Stanley.

Jim Quarles in a 1996 article entitled "Those Magnificent, Distinctive, Homebuilt, Frisco Mountains" (published on the web at http://home.mchsi.com/~zquarles/friscomountains.htm, accessed 7 July 2007) says that this set of 11 engines was used to test the idea of rebuilding the never-satisfactory 2-10-2s into dual-service Mountains.(The more definitive conversions of 1939 -- the 4400 class -- are discussed in Locobase 224). 4300s used a cast frame and rode on Scullin disk drivers. Thermic syphons enriched the firebox heating surface in both the firebox itself and the combustion chamber. 14" piston valves admitted the steam to the cylinders.

According to Quarles, "They did have problems with the boilers cracking, because of a deficiency of the type of material specified for use in the boilers." He adds in the shops' defense: "Remember much of the advancements in metallurgy and technology during this period was being done by the railroads. The stresses and strains a boiler goes through are not trivial."

The Frisco nevertheless secured 15 years of useful work before dieselization rendered them redundant. The class was "dismissed from service" between 23 April 1952 and 20 October 1952.


Class 4400 (Locobase 224)

Data from 1947 and 1951 St L-SF locomotive diagram books supplied in May 2005 from the extensive collection of Allen Stanley.

Frisco rebuilds reusing all parts of earlier 2-10-2s (Locobase 8537) above the running gear. Oil-burners 4400-4412 pulled both freight and passenger trains; 4413-4422 burned coal and pulled freights only. Jim Quarles in a 1996 article entitled "Those Magnificent, Distinctive, Homebuilt, Frisco Mountains" (published on the web at http://home.mchsi.com/~zquarles/friscomountains.htm, accessed 7 July 2007) argues that about all that was left of the 2-10-2 in the conversion was the original builder's plate.

The St Louis-San Francisco's 1947 locomotive diagram book shows that the firebox had 2 Nicholson thermic syphons of 76.2 sq ft in area and that the piston valves measured 15" in diameter. It also shows that 4407 & 4409 weighed considerably less on the drivers (278,850 lb). (Indeed, 4405-4409 had less superheating surface, their boilers holding only 54 flues but 245 tubes.)

The increases in heating surface and larger piston valves, together with the greater cylinder volume, made for more power at speed than the first set of conversions (see Locobase 8653 for the 4300s.)


Class T-54 (Locobase 223)

Data from table and diagram in 1930 Locomotive Cyclopedia and SL&SF 1930 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Raildata collection and DeGolyer, Vol 74, pp. 335+. Works numbers were 56137 in January 1923; 56265-56278 in March; 58606-58610 in August 1925.

Firebox fitted with combustion chamber and thermic syphons. The boiler and firebox were very similar in size to that of Frisco 2-8-2s delivered by Baldwin in the same period. 1500-1514 burned oil fuel and used Baker valve gear. Steam was admitted through 14" (356 mm) piston valves. The combustion chamber contributed 95 sq ft (8.8 sq m) to direct heating surface.

Problems with the Baker gear (which were later cleared up, according to Don Wirth in January 1989 Railfan), led the Frisco to order the next five with Walschaerts gear in 1925 followed by the last ten, also with Walschaerts gear, 1926.

"Throughout their careers,"says Wirth, "...the 1500s were well liked by engine crews, dispatchers, and the motive power department. They were a true general-purpose locomotive, as well suited for use in hotshot freight service, fast passenger service, or even on the local." Some of their passenger runs were impressively long and included St Louis to Oklahoma City (542 miles/873 km) and Kansas City to Birmingham (737 miles/1,187 km) without engine change.

The last ten were completed to a different boiler and firebox design; see Locobase 15333.


Class T-54 (Locobase 15333)

Data from DeGolyer, Vol 74, pp. 373+. See also SL&SF 1947 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Raildata collection. Works numbers were 59132-59134, 59169 in April 1926; 59198-59203 in May.

Locobase 223 describes the first twenty Baldwin Mountains that were delivered to the Frisco in 1923. The 1926 batch featured quite a few changes in the firebox and boilers. The firebox was fitted with combustion chamber and thermic syphons; the former contributed 89 sq ft (8.25 sq m) and the latter 84 sq ft (7.8 sq m). And the balance of tubes and flues shifted in favor of more large-diameter flues and, in this case at least, more superheater area.

Although these ten were delivered with Sellers injectors and were coal burners, but were shortly converted to oil firing with Chicago injectors.

The Frisco diagrams from 1947 show a superheating surface of 1,222 sq ft (113.5 sq m).

In either version, the 1500s were highly regarded by their crews and served the Frisco throughout the steam era.

Specifications by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Class 4300 4400 T-54 T-54
Locobase ID 8652 224 223 15333
Railroad St Louis-San Francisco (Frisco/(SLSF) St Louis-San Francisco (Frisco/(SLSF) St Louis-San Francisco (Frisco/(SLSF) St Louis-San Francisco (Frisco/(SLSF)
Country USA USA USA USA
Whyte 4-8-2 4-8-2 4-8-2 4-8-2
Road Numbers 4300-4310 4400-4422 1500-1519 1520-1529
Gauge Std Std Std Std
Builder Frisco St. Louis-San Francisco Baldwin Baldwin
Year 1936 1939 1923 1925
Valve Gear Walschaert Walschaert Walschaert Walschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase 18.25' 18.25' 18' 18'
Engine Wheelbase 42.33' 42.50' 40.33' 40.33'
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.43 0.43 0.45 0.45
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) 84.23' 85.90' 77.60' 77.60'
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) 70630 lbs 76190 lbs 63450 lbs
Weight on Drivers 277680 lbs 298800 lbs 244700 lbs 247000 lbs
Engine Weight 406580 lbs 449760 lbs 320400 lbs 355000 lbs
Tender Light Weight 247440 lbs 255890 lbs 238000 lbs 240500 lbs
Total Engine and Tender Weight 654020 lbs 705650 lbs 558400 lbs 595500 lbs
Tender Water Capacity 14000 gals 14000 gals 12000 gals 11700 gals
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) 18 tons 5000 gals 4500 gals 17 tons
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) 116 lb/yard 125 lb/yard 102 lb/yard 103 lb/yard
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter 70" 70" 69" 69"
Boiler Pressure 250 psi 210 psi 200 psi 200 psi
Cylinders (dia x stroke) 27" x 30" 29" x 32" 28" x 28" 28" x 28"
Tractive Effort 66391 lbs 68626 lbs 54085 lbs 54085 lbs
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.18 4.35 4.52 4.57
Heating Ability
Firebox Area 485 sq. ft 410 sq. ft 329 sq. ft 405 sq. ft
Grate Area 76.20 sq. ft 76.20 sq. ft 70.30 sq. ft 70.30 sq. ft
Evaporative Heating Surface 4720 sq. ft 5122 sq. ft 4382 sq. ft 4440 sq. ft
Superheating Surface 1834 sq. ft 1726 sq. ft 1107 sq. ft 1180 sq. ft
Combined Heating Surface 6554 sq. ft 6848 sq. ft 5489 sq. ft 5620 sq. ft
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume 237.42 209.37 219.59 222.50
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation 19050 16002 14060 14060
Same as above plus superheater percentage 24384 20003 16872 17013
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area 155200 107625 78960 98010
Power L1 34699 22740 18430 19692
Power MT 1101.96 671.13 664.18 703.05

Photos

Reference

  • Frisco Power by Joe G. Collias (M. M. Books)
  • Frisco Railroad Museum
    P. O. Box 276
    Ash Grove, MO 65604
  • Steam Locomotives of the Frisco Line by Lloyd E. Stagner, Published by Pruett Publishing Company

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