SLSF Has Anyone Built a Frisco 4400?

acptulsa Mar 23, 2021

  1. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member



    The Frisco had some nice, very conventional Mountain types they bought in the 1920s. The road liked them. They were good for fast freight, of course. They were also good for The Meteor, which was their heaviest passenger train. The Frisco's speed limits weren't terribly high (didn't need to be to run St. Louis to Tulsa while everyone got a full night's sleep). Handling the rolling hills and the train's weight required power and traction, not hundred mph speed.

    For drag freight they had a large class of large Santa Fe types, the One Spot Class. They had tiny driving wheels, and a top practical speed squarely in Mallet territory--30 mph. They had mikados too, of course.

    As all the railroads began speeding up in the 1930s, the Frisco realized that speeding up all their freight operations would make them a more competitive bridge line. They certainly had the routes for it. One of the joint services they inaugurated before WWII remains one of the very fastest trains in the U.S. today.

    But they needed faster power. They could have bought new Northerns, but they had those big, fine shops at Springfield, and the government was giving tax breaks for rebuilding existing equipment. So they took a handful of their big, slow 2-10-2 types in hand.

    These had drivers too small to counterbalance properly. They beat the track up, they beat their crews up, and they beat themselves up. The road was sick of them. So, basically, they jacked their steam domes up and built new 4-8-2s under them. The steam domes were cast with the builder numbers, so they could make the tax men climb up top and confirm that these were rebuilds.

    And they also reused a few more things, like smokeboxes (concealing Coffin feed water heaters), cabs and tenders. But these were mostly new and remarkable engines, with cast frames, Scullin disc drivers and new 250 psi boilers. They were unique and very powerful; according to the road's dynamometer, to the tune of 4800 horses. They were also expensive and slow to build. Only eleven were made.

    The 4400 Class followed close on their heels. These also used new cast frames, and the first few also used Scullin 70" discs. But the 200 psi boilers were pulled straight from the old One-Spot Santa Fes. The result was slightly heavier, making them the heaviest Mountain types ever built. And they were slightly less powerful, at 4400 horses. Many were built through the war, though later examples reverted to spoke drivers. And the resulting speedup of all freight services helped keep their lines from getting too clogged up with the massive wartime traffic.

    These boilers were very similar to USRA Heavy Santa Fe type boilers, and I believe a fine kitbash could be made the same way the real engines were kitbashed. Models of USRA heavy 2-10-2s exist to donate their boilers. Does anyone know of someone who has mounted one on a Mountain or Northern chassis?

    I love the Frisco, but model the Santa Fe. Even so, I've been tempted for a while to do this...
    fordy744, gmorider, RailMix and 2 others like this.
  2. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

    Good lookin' loco!(y)
    BNSF FAN likes this.
  3. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

    Lovely. Not an ALCO product, but definitely a good looking steamer.
    BNSF FAN likes this.
  4. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

    Yes they were. Too bad none were preserved.

    The slightly lighter, slightly more powerful 4300s with the new 250 psi boilers looked at least as good.


    But those don't look much like USRA heavy Santa Fe type boilers. In fact, I don't know what other boilers resembled that. Which would make for a more complicated kitbash.

    Yeah, I do love the Frisco's more massive homebuilt Mountains of the 4300 and 4400 classes.

    By the way, someone who develops an interest in modeling the Frisco has an amazing resource available. Many of the road's records were donated to the Springfield, MO library system.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2021
    gmorider, RailMix, Kurt Moose and 2 others like this.
  5. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett TrainBoard Member

    Ship it on the Frisco.
    acptulsa and BNSF FAN like this.
  6. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

    It may have been small by modern Class 1 standards, but it was a truly great railroad, very innovative, and a source of great local pride here in "Flyover Country". I salute everyone who works to preserve this heritage.
    Joe Lovett likes this.
  7. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

  8. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

  9. DanRaitz

    DanRaitz TrainBoard Member

  10. gmorider

    gmorider TrainBoard Member

    @DanRaitz fine loco. Glad to see you popping up here. Around here, we do love The Frisco. It is one of two railroads I would like to research "resurrecting". Frisco Rules!
    BNSF FAN likes this.
  11. fordy744

    fordy744 TrainBoard Member

    The 4400 looks a handsome brute, liking the discs too!

    As noted the 4300 is similarly good looking too.

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