Did you know that 3801 is the last remnant of a once famous class of US Express Passenger Steam Loco Design?
This streamlined NSW Australian locomotive built in 1943 has its streamlining based on the New Haven I5 Hudson class, which sped through the New England region in the late 1930’s.
The I5 featured very similar streamlining, 80″ driving wheels and 285 PSI boiler pressure, all higher than their Australian cousins. They were used on Express Passenger trains between New Haven and Boston, until diesels replaced them. Apparently, they only travelled around 70 MPH, the same maximum speed prescribed for a 38 class due to per way limits. It is believed they could reach speeds of around 100 mph, and 38s have been rumoured to achieve these speeds on occasion. Regrettably the entire class was cut up, leaving 3801 the only reminder still in steam.
There are a number of large locomotives no longer with us, having been lost in the frantic conversion to diesel power of US Railroads back in the 1950s.
One of the more unusual is the steam turbine, which came in various forms. The one below looked more like a conventional steam engine than most.
I found an interesting video, describing some of the more unusual and large US locomotives that didn’t survive into preservation. This is a real shame, as some of them look like they were amazing machines. The video is at the end of this post.
The NSW 38 class were only in service from 1943 to 1970, a total of 27 years, and their premature departure was also due to the arrival of diesels.
In actual fact, the streamlined 38s were all out of service by mid 1968, black 3803 being the last. 3801 was returned for a week in 1970 due to a visit by the Pope and expected huge crowds travelling to Sydney to see him.
As many will know, there are still some examples of big engines. There is the Big Boy at Wyoming, and another under restoration at Cheyenne. The huge Y6A is located at the Virginia Museum of Transportation and the B & O Railroad Museum in Baltimore has a 2-6-6-6 Allegheney on display. Many others were cut up, and are featured in the video.
Oh to have been around with a camera and transportation back then!