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Steam & Excursion > Frisco's Bashful Brutes. The 4200s

Date: 01/17/23 09:01
Frisco's Bashful Brutes. The 4200s
Author: Frisco1522

In 1930, with the economy starting to fall down around the country, Frisco tried to cancel an order with Baldwin Locomotive Works for 20 giant 2-8-2s.  Baldwin refused since the material had been ordered and was on hand.  Thus the 4200-4219 was born.
These, at that time were the world's largest Mikados, a title they would holld until Great Northern created their O8 class.
The total weight of a 4200 engine was 376,000 which made it 8 tons heavier than a 1500.
They were put to work on the Springfield-Birmingham line, which had some wicked grades between Springfield and Thayer, MO and south of Amory, MS. 
They had an 80 sq foot firebox, more than adequate for their size.  Also front end throttle and 63" drivers.  Also booster equipped.  They were BIG.
For some reason, action photos of these engines are very rare.. That's too bad.
4209 is seen here in 1946 at Birmingham, AL.  Possibly taken by R.J.Foster.
4211 makes a very rare appearance in St. Louis as it is westbound at SE Jct, taken by Wm. Barham.
4206 is working in coal service in Adamsville, AL in 1950.

Date: 01/17/23 13:14
Re: Frisco's Bashful Brutes. The 4200s
Author: nycman

You have a fantastic photo collection and I thank you for sharing them and the history with us.

Date: 01/17/23 17:15
Re: Frisco's Bashful Brutes. The 4200s
Author: P

nycman Wrote:
> You have a fantastic photo collection and I thank
> you for sharing them and the history with us.

Yes, wonderful photos

Date: 01/17/23 17:20
Re: Frisco's Bashful Brutes. The 4200s
Author: Txhighballer

Great pictures. I gotta thing for Mikes...and Santa Fes...and a Mountain or two...

Date: 01/17/23 18:14
Re: Frisco's Bashful Brutes. The 4200s
Author: coach

That is one of the most handsome, nicely designed (visually) Mikados I've ever seen.  Really, really eye-catching--it makes you want to see it work.  Perfect lines.  Really great looking engine!!

It almost looks like an ALCO.  Do any still exist??

You know, after seeing all your posts and photos of FRISCO engine classes, I'd say FRISCO had the most uniform and handsome classes of engines overall.  On other RR's, you see big differences in design and style, but FRISCO seemed to stick to good proportions and similar lines throughout their classes.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 01/17/23 18:41 by coach.

Date: 01/17/23 21:10
Re: Frisco's Bashful Brutes. The 4200s
Author: wabash2800

Thanks for sharing. My, that looks like bridge spans in the gons.

Victor Baird

Date: 01/18/23 10:22
Re: Frisco's Bashful Brutes. The 4200s
Author: Hillcrest

I gotta say, while the GN O-8's were a tad heavier (and my favorites) they certainly weren't as attractive as the 4200's...

Cheers, Dave

Date: 01/20/23 16:57
Re: Frisco's Bashful Brutes. The 4200s
Author: MP4093

I note they do not all have coonskins.

Date: 01/21/23 02:59
Re: Frisco's Bashful Brutes. The 4200s
Author: wcamp1472

The two action photos show that they have the hottest of fires...
There are NO holes in the firebed, the stoker is slowly feeding a steady supply 
of coal, the draft through the grates is is a virtual tornado, and the brick arch in
the firebox is glowing and incandescent!  All of that produced by the mass of
the trains they're hauling.  

The flame tips are at 3000 F, and superheated steam is hitting the pistons at 
better than 725F !   Under such conditions, they almost 'fire' themselves ---
the main challenge the fireman has keeping the water level where he wants it ---
typically, that's a little less than "half a glass" of water.

With the throttle open, submerged steam bubbles around the sides of the
firebox raise the apparent level of water in the sight glass by 15% to 20%..
... it's a 'fictional' reading.  

If stopped and stationary, the water level physically drops account
the safety valves are closed, and the increased boiler pressure suppresses
the generation of submerged steam bubbles! ---- dropping the water level to
it's 'true level'....

That characteristic can lead to critically low water in the boiler ----
after battling up a steep grade, and. rolling over the top, beginning the descent,
the severe low-water issue is also aggravated by the downhill tilt of the boiler
and the absence of characteristic water level-raising 'steam bubbles'. 

The fire is still white-hot and very quickly an overheated area of tte dry crown sheet
quickly glows red-hot, thus softened --- it strips off the threads holding the crown sheet,
causing a boiler explosion when the 2000 gallons of 400F boiler water instantly flashes
into steam ( since the boiler pressure has drastically fallen!).  

Newton's Third Law takes over and throws the boiler up a couple of hundred feet,
and forward by about 7-10 engine-lengths..  Often times the rolling train runs into
it's own inverted boiler shell ( lying on the rails) before coming to a stop.

In the 1950s, a C&O 2-6-6-6 blew up, a D&H 4-6-6-4 blew up, and there were
other, inexplicable boiler explosions --- to modern, newly manufactured steamers.

Its serious stuff.... and that mis-understood behavior of 'steam-bubbles'
affecting the apparent water level( with the throttle open)  was not a common
training subject tor new firemen.  

I also suspect that worn injector, internal jet-forming cones, became
worn and eroded.  Such worn injectors loose their ability to deliver water
past the boiler checks at anywhere near their original, rated capacity....

it's common for crews to have mental markers on up-grades where they would
customarily put on the injectors.   With low-delivery injectors, when they crested
the hill, and closed down the throttle, there would not nearly be enough water
in the boiler compared to what they would have expected ---- that's the hidden
curse of low performing pumping systems.

Such low performance might have been reported by crews both orally and written,
to engine house forces.  When the engine is stationary & tested the injector
roars normally, sounds good, and causes the water level in the glass to bobb
and move.   Thus, satisfying the rules of the 'test' ---- however, the RATE of
boiler water-supply can be 1/3 of what its rate was at time of manufacture ....

So, a 3,000 gallons per hour "rated injector" might actually only
deliver less than a thousand gallons/hour rate...  Following a cursory 'function test',
roundhouse crews would put the engine back out on the "ready tracks" , as if all "ready"
for the next crew and train... yet, not have 'capacity-tested' the device.  
It sounded good, though!

There are NO current regulations regarding capacity 'qualification' or injector/ pump
testing procedures, to ensure continued rated performance, and the specifying of
lower acceptable limits, if applicable.  If a Nathan 4000 injector is rated to deliver
4,000 galllons per hour, ---at it's rated boiler pressure.  After years of service,
what should the test procedure's condemning lower-limit be, when properly tested?  
10% lower, 20% lower?

In today's world of steamers, the best clue we have is with injectors that are 
so worn internally, that they are cantankerous when crews try to get them 
to "go to work".    A cranky-to-start injector is a dangerous injector --- the cure 
is newly manufactured cones to replace the worn-ones.

 ( Years of high speed forces, impacting all sorts of dirt & solid matter from the tenders,
    when rushing through the forcing and combining tubes of the injectors, erodes their
   distinct internal tapers to approximating smooth, straight cylinders...with reduced
    jet pressures necessary to force water into the boilers.  It is such extensive wear
    that makes the injectors finicky and hard to start, even with repeated attempts.)

If you are working with apparently worn injectors and your maintenance staff
wont, or doesn't know how to correct that problem, let me know ---- 

I have resourses that can resolve such issues ---- which are serious 
public safety concerns.  Do not hesitate to reach-out, annnonimity is assured.
Send me a PM, and we'll arrange to privately discuss your concerns.

Wes Camp


Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 01/21/23 06:42 by wcamp1472.

Date: 01/21/23 06:31
Re: Frisco's Bashful Brutes. The 4200s
Author: Frisco1522

MP4093 Wrote:
> I note they do not all have coonskins.
They didn't.

Date: 01/21/23 06:46
Re: Frisco's Bashful Brutes. The 4200s
Author: wcamp1472

I wonder where they put the power reverse's air cylinder and link tio the cab?


Its up under the forward running board, between the Baker valve gear frame and the
mechanical lubricator, just above the guide for the valve stem and valve crosshead.

Operating Link to the cab is the long, straight rod, about 12" above the running board,
from the lower cab front wall to the smoke box...
( See picture 1, above. Loco 4209)...

Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 01/21/23 07:59 by wcamp1472.

Date: 01/21/23 16:59
Re: Frisco's Bashful Brutes. The 4200s
Author: ns1000

I REALLY like Pic 2!!

Date: 01/22/23 17:26
Re: Frisco's Bashful Brutes. The 4200s
Author: Copy19

Wonderful post!   Lots of good info and great photos.

JB - Omaha 

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