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Steam & Excursion > Despite This Steam Locomotives Age, She Is Still Well Maintained!


Date: 11/05/19 02:59
Despite This Steam Locomotives Age, She Is Still Well Maintained!
Author: LoggerHogger

In today's railroading, no mainline carrier would likely plan on getting 60 years of service or anything close to that out of the modern diesels they run in their fleets today.  However, in the days of steam, the investment in steam motive power and maintenance equipment and personnel, led the mainline railroads to hang on to some locomotives in service for often over 6 decades or more. Here we have just such an example of a well maintained steam locomotive that far outlasted what her builder may have envisioned.

Built by Schenectady in 1888 for the Northern Railway, she later went to the Southern Pacific as part of the T-8 Class of 4-6-0's.  #2178 was originally built as a coal burner and only converted to oil in 1917.  We see her in 1937 in Dunsmuir, California at the SP roundhouse facility looking very good for her nearly 50 years of service.

When this photo was taken, she had just been returned by the Yreka Western Railroad who had leased her for a year while they were short of motive power.  Perhaps she was just shopped when this photo was taken, and that accounts for her pristine condition.

#2178 would continue in service for another 14 years before being finally retired by the SP in 1951 and finally scrapped in San Diego after a total of 63 years of service.  Try getting that kind of longevity out of a diesel!

Martin



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 11/05/19 03:13 by LoggerHogger.




Date: 11/05/19 06:22
Re: Despite This Steam Locomotives Age, She Is Still Well Maintai
Author: utwazoo

Quite a few former SP SD9s (class of 1956) are still operating at age 63.



Date: 11/05/19 06:38
Re: Despite This Steam Locomotives Age, She Is Still Well Maintai
Author: elueck

No beauty like a Walter McQueen designed locomotive.



Date: 11/05/19 09:31
Re: Despite This Steam Locomotives Age, She Is Still Well Maintai
Author: PHall

Fair number of GP7/9's out there that are in thier 60's and still workin for a living.



Date: 11/05/19 15:37
Re: Despite This Steam Locomotives Age, She Is Still Well Maintai
Author: wingomann

The SD9's and GP9's aren't working for SP (UP) anymore.  But it is pretty amazing that some of them are still earning money.



Date: 11/06/19 02:37
Re: Despite This Steam Locomotives Age, She Is Still Well Maintai
Author: Evan_Werkema

LoggerHogger Wrote:

> However, in the
> days of steam, the investment in steam motive
> power and maintenance equipment and personnel, led
> the mainline railroads to hang on to some
> locomotives in service for often over 6 decades or
> more.

With regard to "often," it's worth pointing out that 2178's longevity was an outlier within her own class and on the Southern Pacific in general.  Espee didn't get such exceptional service out of their ten T-8's that they kept them all intact and rolling up revenue miles for 60+ years.  Eight of the engines were gone by the mid-1930's, having achieved lifespans of 41 to 48 years.  That's still respectable, but also well within the reasonable lifespan of a 4-axle EMD diesel, even on a Class-1. 

More generally, as hogheaded notes in his Dome O' Foam page devoted to "Southern Pacific Pacific Lines Steam Locomotive Rosters for 1935 and 1941," SP's roster in 1935 contained very few locomotives built before 1900:

"The effects of the Depression, and new motive power purchases just prior, are clearly evident here, as the pre-1900 classes are largely cleaned out. The most elderly loco on the roster appears to be T-2 #2174, one of three remaining T-2's, which was built in 1888 for Northern Railway and scrapped two months shy of its 60th birthday in 1948. T-2 #2178 lasted even longer, until 1951!

Otherwise, just a smattering of 19th Century locos remained among 2-6-0, 4-6-0, 2-8-0 and 4-8-0 classes. A pair of the remaining six E-23 4-4-0's also dated (barely) to the 19th Century. The last of the other 4-4-0 classes were vacated the previous year."


http://wx4.org/to/foam/sp/steam/rosters/steam.html

It's also worth noting that 2178 spent the last six years of its service life as a stationary boiler.



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