Frisco and the USRA Mikes

Discussion in '2-8-2 Mikado' started by Frisco2008, Oct 29, 2009.

  1. Frisco2008

    Frisco2008 Member Supporter

    Did any of the USRA Light Mikes stay USRA...or did they all get new cabs, etc,?

    Glenn in Tulsa
  2. gna

    gna Member Supporter

    The Frisco replaced the Hodges trailing trucks with Delta trailing trucks with boosters. That's the biggest spotting difference I can think of off the top of my head.
  3. gbmott

    gbmott Member

    All, or at least most (were there any exceptions?), also got new cabs that were noticably taller than the originals and doghouses on the tenders.

  4. FRISCO4503

    FRISCO4503 FRISCO4503 Supporter

    Just a quick question. What was the Dog Houses on the tenders used for? I have always wondered and never knew, WAs it for the conductor or brakeman to sit and watch backing moves or to get in and sit out of the cold? My mind ponders the possibilities of the use of this.
  5. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Gordon, you are right on. I have seen some photos in Frisco Power showing Mikes with their original cabs.

    The extended-height cabs seem pretty easy to spot, especially when compared to the originals.

    Considering the evidence that West Springfield enjoyed trying out a variety of appliances on Frisco motive power, I suspect that a very thorough examination of all individual locomotives would provide a wide variety of differences.

    For thsoe wanting to add a doghouse, Don Wirth has provided a drawing that's included in this link:

    Doghouse Diagram

    Best Regards,
    Last edited: May 5, 2016
  6. gbmott

    gbmott Member


    The doghouse was accommodation for the head brakeman. Depending on the design of the cab, some railroads provided a third seat there. It was widely thought, though, that having the head brakeman on top of the tender riding backwards provided him with better ability to view the train as it was underway.

    Since on passenger trains the head brakeman rode in the train, locomotives used exclusively in passenger service typically had no doghouse. There are several examples of Frisco steam locomotive classes, especially 1015's and 1500's, where later in their careers they were downgraded to freight service and had doghouses added. Even 1522 had a doghouse at the time she was retired from active service, though it was removed before being donated to the museum in St. Louis.

  7. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Gordon, I'm glad you shared this information...something new to learn every day!

    Perhaps it's time for another thread or a private message but I'd be curious to know where the head brakeman typically rode. As I understand it, the RPOs were always off-limits to anyone but Post Office employees.

    Best Regards,
  8. gbmott

    gbmott Member


    I will certainly invite anyone to correct me, but one place he could frequently be found was the baggage car, especially a train that did not carry a dedicated baggageman, from where he was expected to help with the loading and unloading of baggage and express at station stops. You are correct that only USPS employees were allowed in the mail apartment of an RPO car, so he would never have been found there.

    Others please chime in as I don't want to go too far down the wrong path with this.


    ** Oops, I see Chris has opened a new thread "Headend brakemen on passenger trains" -- let's move any further discussion of this topic to that thread. -- Gordon **
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2009
  9. w3hodoug (Doug Hughes RIP 03/24/2021)

    w3hodoug (Doug Hughes RIP 03/24/2021) 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    How much taller were the rebuilt cabs? I have an unbuilt PowerHouse Pro USRA Mike kit and would like to scratch build a new cab for it. I've already purchased the Delta trailing truck castings but have yet to purchase the rest of the booster "hardware" for it.

    Don Wirth probably knows all this stuff.
  10. frisco1522

    frisco1522 Staff Member Staff Member

    The "tall" cab roof is 3' from the top of the boiler at its peak.
  11. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Just noticed that my link to Don's doghouse diagram was broken. It is now repaired.

    One question that crossed my mind: any definitive reason why the Frisco elevated the cab roofs? My guess would be that there was hardware in the cab or some such items that necessitated it being moved upwards.

    Best Regards,
  12. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Speculation; raised roof would create better ventilation for the cab.
  13. frisco1522

    frisco1522 Staff Member Staff Member

    When I converted one of the mikes with the arched roof, I left the floor where it was, made new sides and ends and just put the original roof back on. Worked well and I didn't have to roll a new roof.

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