When it comes to brute power, it is hard to beat the heavy 2-10-4. The design maximized the tremendous strength of Lima’s “Super Power” design. What the 4-6-4 was to fast passenger service and the 2-8-4 was to fast freight, so did the 2-10-4 prove Lima’s concept for hauling heavy tonnage.
The landmark design evolved from the ever-present needs of the Chesapeake and Ohio. The very first 2-10-4 was an experimental engine built by Baldwin for the Santa Fe in 1919 for comparison to the larger order of 2-10-2’s purchased. The next use of the design came from Lima in 1925 for the Texas and Pacific, hence the name “Texas” normally assigned to this wheel arrangement.
The original Texas engines were powerful, but rough riding and the design may likely have ended there were it not for the Advisory Mechanical Committee of the Van Swerigan’s. The Van Swerigan brothers owned the C&O, Erie, Nickel Plate and Pere Marquette railroads and are an often overlooked dynasty in railroad history. The search for better power for the C&O led them not to the Texas and Pacific, but the Erie. An Erie 2-8-4 was tested, and from that design it was decided to add another set of drivers of similar diameter. The new 69″ high drivered engine (compared to 63.5 from the T&P) was really an entirely new animal and performed remarkably well.
Ironically, despite the railroads’ important role in advancing the design, only 40 of the 430 Texan’s built ran for the C&O – and none were ever purchased by the other Van Swerigan roads. The largest user, by far, was a railroad that normally scoffed at out-of-house designs – the Pennsylvania. Forced to accept an existing design for WWII construction, the PRR found something it could use in the C&O 2-10-4 and built 125 of their own in their Juniata Shops. The foreign designs may have been a tough pill to swallow in the engineering department, but many in the operating department and among the train crews themselves said they were the best locomotives the Pennsy ever owned.
Another significant owner was the Santa Fe, whose 2-10-4’s went even further with 74″ drivers. Although slightly less powerful than their eastern brethren, they were faster and perfectly suited to hauling perishable freight up the steep western grades. In all, 11 railroads rostered Texans – and more were exported to other countries.
Lionel’s new LEGACY models capture all of the heft and power of the prototype. Plus you’ll have tons of fun with the many LEGACY effects like the crew talk, quillable whistle, chuffing smoke and even steam chest effects on the cylinder cocks. A die-cast body and traction tires mean you should be able to put these big beauties to work on some long trains. We’ve done correct versions for both the PRR and the C&O, with correct smokeboxes, pilots, cabs, tenders, even builders plates! In tribute to the other members of the Advisory Mechanical Committee, you can also get a Texan for the other Van Swerigan lines. They will look right at home alongside the Berkshires they grew up from!
Models require an O-72 curve, retail for $1,299.99 and should be thundering into your dealers in the next 4 to weeks!