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The Steam Engine. My Shot of the Day – September 14, 2012

the steam engine


The railroads running out of the southern states didn’t much appreciate the American Locomotive Company naming their 4-8-4 steam engine the “Northern”.  The C&O happily re-named them “Greenbriers” instead. The Nashville, Chattanooga & St.Louis named them “Dixies”.  Why the Canadians chose “Confederations” has to remain among the Canadians.

Never mind that “Northern” referred to the “Northern Pacific” and not some attempt to poke at delicate southern sensibilities then at their height as the very last of the Civil War veterans passed over.

As more and more people took to the rails for passenger service in the years after World War I, the companies running the trains realized that they needed “super powered” steam engine locomotives to pull increasingly long strings of passenger cars.

Hence the development of the 4-8-4 and its introduction to the rails in 1927.

The improved wheel configuration, enlarged firebox and increased boiler capacity made for one powerful steam train.

The ATSF #2912, found at the Pueblo, Colorado Railway Museum (located next to the old Union Depot building) is one of the loveliest one-million pound pieces of machinery to be found anywhere, in my humble opinion.

the steam engine
The Pueblo, Colorado Union Depot Building

Covered in massive bolts and towering far above my head, I find this a stunning being to stand next to.

The 2912 was created by Baldwin in 1944 and rain between La Junta, Colorado and Los Angeles, California.

The 2900 series were the heaviest of all the 4-8-4’s ever constructed due to limitations on lighter steel alloys restricted by wartime needs.   This series was also among the fastest on the rails.

The 2912 is also a very popular machine in my house. No visit to Pueblo is ever complete without a few hours playing around on this steam engine train.

When my son rings that bell, the tourists jump.


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