SLSF #5 2-10-2, Rolla Mo 1918

Discussion in '2-10-2 Santa Fe' started by klrwhizkid, Sep 4, 2020.

  1. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    From Don Wirth on Frisco Rails Across Missouri:
    The wayback machine is set to 1918 in Rolla, MO, about 110 miles southwest of St. Louis on the Frisco main line to Springfield, MO. Two year old 2-10-2 No. 5 (5 spot) which is either in helper service out of Newburg, MO or doing a caboose hop. The spot engines were notorious rail pounder/kinkers above 30 MPH
    The crew is posing alongside the engine. The engineer, on the right is Mike Faber and his fireman to his right is my Dad, Big John Wirth. Dad went to work for the Frisco in 1916 in engine service. During the Depression, he was furloughed a couple of times until about 1936, Promoted to the right side about the time I was born, 1940, we was still in engine service as engineer on Frisco's last passenger train between ST. Louis and Newburg. He died in a freak auto accident, ironically next to the main line west of Cuba, MO in Jan of 1964. I still think of him every day. Both parents have been gone since 1961 and 1964.
    As an engineer on 1522, I always felt like he was at my side every time I ran east out of Newburg and up Rolla Hill. Hope I didn't disappoint him.
    During service stops at Newburg, I had a couple of old retired heads come talk with me who had known him and fired for him on steam. They spoke well of him saying he was great to work with and a great steam engineer. Also had a guy come introduce himself who was the son of Dad's regular fireman from the 40. Those were special days.
    Frisco had 60 of these rail pounding hogs and during the mid-late 30s all were stored. They started a motive power program in 1936 when West Springfield shops build from the ground up 11 beautiful 4-8-2s, using whatever parts from the Spot engines that was practical. Mostly, they build NEW Nickle Steel boilers and cut the steam dome and piece of boiler off of the Spot engines and installed it on the new boilers. Thus, the new boiler had the builder's number from the spot engine and wasn't taxed as a "new" boiler. 4300-4310 were great engines. Two of the spot engines, 19 and 40 were overhauled for service on the new Ft. Leonard Wood branch just west of Newburg.
    Later in the 30s, a decision was made to turn out 23 more 4-8-2s, but budget concerns dictated that the 4400-4422 would utilize the spot engine boilers and anything else that could be used. Trailing trucks, etc. They were the largest 4-8-2s around. They lasted longer than the 4300s due to the nickle steel boilers developing crack issues. 4400s soldiered on until the end.
    SLSF #5 2-10-2 Rolla Mo 1918 Don Wirth Collection.jpg
  2. patrick flory

    patrick flory Member

    Great stories. Record them now. They won’t go on forever. My uncle was a T&NO fireman in the 20’s. He died before I was old enough to know to just sit him down in front of a tape recorder, crack the throttle with a couple of good start up questions, and watch the momentum build going down the main line of memory .
  3. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    Don - One fireman must have had a tough job to fire these big brutes. I'm sure your dad was up to the task. It must have been a spectacular noise show listening to one of these "Spots" attacking Rolla Hill working up from Newburg in the quiet of a night.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2020
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  4. patrick flory

    patrick flory Member

    I love the raking wood pilot and the high mounted acetylene headlight, evocative of the era. And note that in the entire crew, no one is wearing the stereotypical “engineer cap.”
  5. frisco1522

    frisco1522 Staff Member Staff Member

    They had stokers.
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  6. patrick flory

    patrick flory Member

    When did the lettering scheme on this engine change to the more modern one?

Share This Page