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Texas & Pacificapostrophe1212s P-1-b class 4-6-2s. (passenger locomotives)

This story was printed from FindArticles.com, located at http://www.findarticles.com/.

Representative passenger power from the golden age

The locomotive roster of the Texas Pacific RR, like that of mostrail-ads, shows a steady progression toward heavier locomotives with correspondingly larger wheel arrangements. Indeed, the demands on its freight haulers led the T&P to pioneer and give its name to one of the largest nonarticulated engines: the 2-10-4, or Texas type.

By contrast, T&P passenger power, though impressive in its own right, followed trends rather than set them. Starting around World War I, the 4-6-2 Pacific type became an almost universal design for passenger locomotives, not only in the United States but around the world.

Through 1918, however, the T&P made do with 4-6-0s as its heaviest passenger engine, the most recent built in 1912. When more power was needed, as on its premier Sunshine Special, the railroad turned to its top-of-the-line freight power, the G class 2-10-2.

The Pacifics

In 1919 the Texas & Pacific received 14 Pacifics, nos. 700-706 (class P-1) from Baldwin Locomotive Works and nos. 707-713 (class P-1-a) from Alco. These engines proved to be good performers and in 1923, eight more Pacifics, nos. 714-721, were received from Alco and classed P-1-b. This is the engine depicted in our drawings.

Though designated a sub-class, the 1923 Alcos featured two important changes from the earlier P-1s: a booster engine on the trailing truck and an H-40 Elesco feedwater heater.

Booster engines were small, separate steam engines hung on trailing or tender trucks to provide additional tractive effort when starting. They were disconnected once the train was under way. The feedwater heater (on these engines, it's the crosswise tank ahead of the smokestack) preheated the water from the tender before it was injected into the boiler, improving the boiler's efficiency.

These modernizations were later added to many of the earlier P-1s as well. As delivered, all the engines had plain stacks, but around 1930 the T&P installed ornate capped stacks on its engines - a throwback to a style Baldwin had used in the 1890s. These stacks and the Elesco feedwater heaters became trademarks of T&P power.

The Pacifics underwent two other major changes about 1940. The single compound air pump located on the left side was replaced by dual compound pumps, one on either side of the pilot deck and hidden behind shields.

At this time the main drivers (those to which the main rods attach) were all replaced with Baldwin disk centers. Some engines also had their front and rear drivers re-equipped with disk centers, while others simply had the spoked drivers rebalanced by replacing the counterweights.

Interestingly, later photographs show engines which had received disk drivers once again with spoked wheels. The T&P shops apparently placed whatever drivers were ready under whichever engine had finished repairs, rather than keeping sets together.

Paint and lettering

Along with their capped stacks, Texas & Pacific engines received particularly handsome paint jobs. On passenger engines, the flange of the stack and the cylinder and valve heads were nickel-silver plated and the lettering was gold leaf.

The standard paint scheme was silver graphite for the stack, smokebox, and firebox. The boiler jackets were painted with Gray Jacket Enamel in imitation of the Russia-iron jacket sheathing of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century engines.

Like Russia iron itself the actual color of T&P's boilers has been the subject of some debate. Descriptions of the color refer to it as a dark olive green or gray green or simply a dark gray.

Gloss black covered the rest of the locomotive and tender body, except for red oxide on the cab roof between the eaves. The cab interior was green and the locomotive and tender frames and trucks were painted with asphaltum, a flat black.

The main rods and valve gear were burnished steel. The safety valves, whistle, and bell were all the traditional brass, although the interior of the bell and the clapper were painted red.

Lettering on passenger equipment was gold leaf with gold paint on freight engines. Texas & Pacific was spelled out in 8[inches]-high capitals, centered on the tender. The engine number was in 16[inches] numerals on the cab and in raised-brass numerals on the smokebox.

Mounted on the feedwater heater and, after 1940, on both air-pump shields was the T&P diamond herald with its red field, black bullseye, shaded dark tan and white border, and aluminum lettering.


The 700s operated throughout the T&P. Some sources indicate that when first delivered they were not allowed to run south of Shreveport to New Orleans due to weight restrictions. Number 700 was rebuilt to shift weight to the lead and trailing trucks to lower its axle ratings, but this reduced tractive effort and no other engines were converted. Whatever the earlier restrictions, by the 1940s the 700s show up regularly in photos of the New Orleans terminal.

After the M-class 4-8-2s arrived in 1925, the Pacifics were gradually moved to secondary assignments. When the Texas Eagle was introduced in 1947, many (perhaps all) of the Pacifics were repainted in the blue and gray color scheme. A few even received a touch of streamlining in the form of a wide bullet-nosed panel attached to the running boards.

On the T&P, diesels began replacing steam on passenger trains in the '40s, and in November 1949 no. 717 was the first P-1 to be cut up. All were gone by the early '50s.

Presidential approval

A P-1 has the distinction of being one of the few engines ever run by a president. On November 7, 1920, President Warren G. Harding took the throttle of no. 709 on his own election special and piloted it for several miles, under the watchful eye of engineer Grant Pillow you can be sure.

A picture of Harding at the throttle appears in Don Watson and Steve Brown's Texas & Pacific (Boston Mills Press). If not the most storied of locomotives, the T&P Pacifics are a beautiful example of a typical, modern steam passenger locomotive.

COPYRIGHT 1997 Kalmbach Publishing Company
in association with The Gale Group and LookSmart. COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group

Model Railroader
George Sebastian-Coleman