Whistle Placement - 4300s

Discussion in '4300 Class Mountains' started by yardmaster, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Folks -
    This question came to mind the other night while thumbing through Frisco Power. Karl's excellent description of stand-by locomotives, along with the question as to why none of the 4300/4400 homebuilt Mountains were preserved reminded me to post.

    I've always wondered why the whistle was placed where it was on the 4300s, i.e. on top of the smokebox, lying horizontally along the center line in front of the stack?

    It seems that moving it from the steam dome to the front would not do that much in terms of being more audible to motorists at grade crossings or for signalling movements.

    From the photographic evidence I have handy (i.e. the Frisco site), the following had the whistle placed as such:


    4304 (nose-down in the pit at Lindenwood)



    Did any of the class ever have its whistle moved from this somewhat unusual location?

    Best Regards,
  2. frisco1522

    frisco1522 Staff Member Staff Member

    I can't speak with authority, but I think it was much more audible to the front of the engine. One thing it would have done to the advantage of the enginemen is to move it away from the cab area and make it a little easier on the ears. Steam dome mounted whistles are LOUD inside the cab. It's much louder depending upon which side of the steam dome that it's mounted. 1522's is on the fireman's side, and is much louder on that side, not to mention the steam blowing back when you're moving.
  3. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Don, that's good information for me to have. I wouldn't have thought that the placement would make that big of a difference with all of the other noise.

    You do bring up a good point: for steam dome mounted whistles, what was the rhyme or reason (if any) for choosing the engineer's or fireman's side?

    Best Regards,
  4. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    4300 had its whistle mounted along the boiler centerline, behind the stack, and inclined forward at about 30 degrees. There is an overhead shot of 4300 fresh from the shops in a late 50's or early 60's issue of TRAINS. I will look for it.

    The forward position of the 4300 whistles implies that they may have been superheated.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2012
  5. TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020)

    TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020) Passed Away July 15, 2020 Frisco.org Supporter

    Who-ee, that 4303 picture is waaay cool. For years, the model magazines have gone on and on about how model steam engines shouldn't really be painted black, but should be dark gray?? 4303 is BLACK! That engine photo is a "cenerfold" if I ever saw one! I can't believe there isn't a Spectrum or Proto (Atlas, Athearn somebody) model of a Frisco 4300 or 4400!!! (Or 4500!!!)

    Tom G.
  6. tmfrisco

    tmfrisco Member Frisco.org Supporter

    I can tell you that the same thing is true of diesel locomotive horns. On the U25b low nose units, the horn was over the fireman's window, and I can tell you that it was very loud on that side of the engine. I would sometimes forget about that and, when headed east on the north track at the depot in Tulsa, I had my left ear BLASTED:p by the horn as it reverberated off the buildings just outside the cab on the north side of the tracks. The EMD units were loud in this spot also, but because they were on the roof, it wasn't as bad. Don is absolutely correct about the placement of the horn/whistle having a direct influence on the enginemen. The modern day rules for hearing preservation requires hearing protection in locomotives under load with the exception of the newer units with all doors and windows closed S-21.5.
  7. frisco1522

    frisco1522 Staff Member Staff Member

    Here is a "builder's photo" of the 4300 showing the whistle behind the stack and operated by superheated steam.
    I've seen photos of some of the 4-4-0s with a set of the Volotone air horns on the cab roof right above the engineer. That must have been a joy to run.

    Attached Files:

  8. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    SLSF 4300 was a handsome beast indeed!

    I think the 4300's were the best looking Frisco steam locomotives. Anyone have any other thoughts?

  9. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Indeed, Tom...no mistaking that color, even in black and white film. And, I think Spectrum has a 4-8-2 numbered for a 4400 Frisco, but it's a good ways off of the prototype. I swapped mine for a Spectrum 2-10-0.

    Best Regards,
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 27, 2012
  10. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    I dunno - I sure do like the 1500s with Walschaerts and the Pacifics that had the larger sand dome and smokebox mounted bell.

    However, I think the 4300s are my favorites, for the reasons that they were Frisco-built, and that their construction and use of the old 2-10-2 steam domes technically constituted a pre-existing boiler rebuild. Resourcefulness at it's best.

    And true, they were just good looking.

    OT, but I see on www.stltoday.com that they're tearing down the brick smokestacks on I-44. The article says the facility was originally constructed by Scullin Steel. Ken, do you or others know if this is where the wheels for the 4300s would have been produced?

    Best Regards,
  11. tmfrisco

    tmfrisco Member Frisco.org Supporter

    I would be hard pressed to pick between the 1500s, 4300s, 4400s, and 4500s (which I believe may be the best looking 4-8-4 of all), and the streamlined Firefly. The Frisco certainly had beautifully proportioned engines. I am fortunate enough to have examples of all these engines in brass, and they are beautiful.
  12. frisco1522

    frisco1522 Staff Member Staff Member

    Strangely in retrospect, maybe the Frisco would have been better served to use the whole boiler from the spot engines like they did with the 4400s. The 4300s started biting the dust early because of boiler cracks due to the nickle steel used in them. Santa Fe, Missouri Pacific and other roads had the same problems.
    The engineers loved the 4300s and Dad had some good stories to tell about them. 1500s were popular also. For some reason the 4400s didn't seem to be all that poplular. Perhaps because of the larger cylinders and lower boiler pressure. Both classes did yeoman's service during the war.
  13. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Chris - Don Wirth, Karl Brand and I kicked this over today, and as best we know, Scullin Steel only had this one fabrication plant. So yes, if that is the case, the Scullin disc drivers, such as used on SLSF 4300, would have been made there.

  14. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    That's interesting to know, Don. Were they simply retired for scrap as this happened? Seems like rather a sad way for them to go.

    Thanks, Ken, Don & Karl for the clarification on Scullin Steel. Seems a shame to see another St. Louis-area landmark go, especially one with a Frisco connection.

    Best Regards,

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