“Engines Are Not Giving Satisfaction”, read the headline!

Discussion in '2-8-8-2 Mallet' started by Karl, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    While perusing the Ft Scott Republican for further information about the boiler explosion of 1111 or 111, which was handling, 109, the southbound Meteor out of Ft Scott during the early morning of November 9, 1911, I saw this this in the search results index.

    Engines Are Not Giving Satisfaction”, read the March 14, 1911 headline! “Mallet Type Locomotives to be Taken Off Springfield Division.” That caught my attention. At last I thought, here is a documented account about the maligned Frisco Mallets that will put an end to the speculation surrounding 2001-class 2-8-8-2’s.

    The Republican quoted an article from the Springfield Republican:

    “That the new giant Mallet locomotives are not practical for all use was admitted yesterday by J. M. Sills, district engineer of the Frisco, who went over all portions of the Eastern division on one of the engines Thursday.

    Mr Sill’s test trip resulted in learning that the engines cannot be used to complete satisfaction on undulating grades or where rapid service is required.

    Although Mr. Sills didn’t say, it is considered more than probable that the Frisco will take off all its Mallets on the run between here (Springfield) and St Louis, and place them elsewhere on the division. Where the grade undulates, the slack on the train is such that draw bars are jerked out. This is the principal complaint with regards to the trains drawn by the powerful Mallets.

    It is Mr. Sill’s (sic) belief that the Mallets could be operated in the Afton District where there are long coal hauls, to good advantage. He says that the engines are entirely satisfactory when used in country where the grades are more adaptable.”

    The Ft. Scott paper reports that several of the Mallets will be sent to Ft. Scott and placed in service on coal drags on the Cherokee division. It also notes that many of the old heads predicted what the test run proved.

    The January 1911 FEM notes that the Mallets were receiving the new Street Stokers, and the April 1931 FEM notes that the Mallets were handling oil tank trains between Afton and Sapulpa during March of 1915.

    So, wooden underframes combined with K-type triple-valves may be the real story behind the maligned Mallets.

    The story reminds me of several narrow gauge pictures that I’ve seen. During the San Juan Basin drilling boom, which occurred during the 1950’s, the D&RGW used its ancient flats and gons to haul drilling pipe and casing in 70-90 car trains. The standard drill pipe and casing sections were longer than a narrow gauge car, and therefore an idler was required on either side of a loaded car. In some cases, the slack action in these trains ripped the car asunder.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019

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