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Texas types: Musclemen of steam

In 1919 Santa Fe purchased a group of 2-10-2's. One of them, No. 3829, was built with an experimental four-wheel trailing truck, but was otherwise identical to the rest of the group. The experiment was inconclusive: No. 3829 was not converted to a 2-10-2, nor were other 2-10-2's fitted with four-wheel trailing trucks.

In 1925 Lima stretched its Super-Power 2-8-4 design with a fifth set of drivers to increase tractive effort while keeping the axle loading low. The new wheel arrangment, 2-10-4, was named Texas in honor of the first road to buy the type, Texas & Pacific. Between 1925 and 1929 the type was built with drivers in the 60"-64" range, and suffered to some extent from the counterbalancing problems that plagued low-drivered 2-10-2's. In 1930 Chesapeake & Ohio stretched Erie's 70"-drivered Berkshire into a Texas with 69" drivers, creating a 2-10-4 that was both powerful and fast. It set a pattern for 2-10-4's designed thereafter. The only 2-10-4's built with low drivers after 1930 were for railroads that already had such locomotives. The largest drivers used on the type were 74", on Santa Fe 5001-5035 (No. 5000 had 69" drivers).

With one exception the 2-10-4 was a freight locomotive - Canadian Pacific used semistreamlined 2-10-4's in passenger service through the Rockies. While Texas types remained in service quite late on a few railroads to protect traffic peaks, the job they did - hauling heavy freight trains long distances at high speeds - was the one for which railroads were most willing to spend money to dieselize. They were generally outlived by smaller locomotives.

Other names: Colorado (Chicago, Burlington & Quincy), Selkirk (Canadian Pacific)

Total built: 429

First: Texas & Pacific 600, 1925

Last: Canadian Pacific 5935, March 1949

Longest lived: Central Vermont 707, 1928-1959; Chicago, Burlington & Quincy 6310-6321 may be runners-up

Last in service: Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range's ex-Bessemer & Lake Erie 2-10-4's were scrapped in 1961, but it is doubtful they were used in the two years before that; 1959 scrap dates are listed for 2-10-4's of Canadian Pacific (Nos. 5930-5935); Santa Fe, and Central Vermont (No. 707)

Greatest number: Pennsylvania Railroad, 125

Heaviest: Pennsylvania Railroad J1, 575,800 pounds

Lightest: Central Vermont 700-709, 419,000

Recommended reading: North American Steam Locomotives: The Berkshire and Texas Types, by Jack W. Farrell, published in 1988 by Pacific Fast Mail, P. O. Box 57, Edmonds, WA 98020 (ISBN 915713-15-12)

Excerpted from "Guide to North American Steam Locomotives," by George H. Drury, Kalmbach, 1993.

George H. Drury