4-8-2 - 1500 Class Series - Locomotive Front Smokebox Doors - Big or Small Aesthetics Poll - Inquiry

Discussion in '1500 Class Mountains' started by WindsorSpring, Oct 8, 2009.


Which smokebox door looks better on a 1500 Class Mountain?

Poll closed Jan 6, 2010.
  1. Large Smokebox door as on 1501

    10 vote(s)
  2. Small Smokebox door as on 1522

    26 vote(s)
  1. WindsorSpring

    WindsorSpring Member

    Large smokebox door on the 1500 Class Mountains

    Small smokebox door on the 1500 Class Mountains

    Compare the doors in the attached photo and vote.

    Attached Files:

  2. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Defiantly the smaller one.

    The one on 4-8-2 SLSF 1501 looks out of place because of its size.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2024
  3. meteor910

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


    Both good looking, but the large door made those 1500's that had it distinctive and even more handsome.

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2024
  4. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    How about with and with out boiler top-mount air tanks and with and without the full cab-side window "treatment"?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2024
  5. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Ken makes a good point, the large doors are distinctive.

    But, I personally find the smaller ones more aesthetically pleasing.

    Surprising, I also like the top-mount "torpedo tubes".

    They give a good feeling of bulk without detracting from the overall appearance.

    Best Regards,
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2024
  6. WindsorSpring

    WindsorSpring Member

    Top-mount "torpedo tube" air tanks give the locomotive a business-like appearance, I think.
  7. gbmott

    gbmott Member

    Well, I will irritate everyone by voting for small smokebox door as on the first order that was without boiler-top air reservoirs.

    I also like the fact that the first order had Baker valve gear rather than Walshaerts. Also, as much as I like it, and as distinctive as it was, I prefer the basic strap-iron pilot over the "chicken-coop" model.

    Altogether, I think it is hard to beat 4-8-2 SLSF 1502 and others in its final form, though without the Southern Pacific (SP) train indicators it acquired when on lease to the Texas and New Orleans (T&NO) at the end.

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2024
  8. R Allison

    R Allison Member

    In the past I always attributed the large smokebox door on 4-8-2 SLSF 1501 to a front-end collision sometime early in her career.

    Photographs prove that when she was built in April 1923, she mounted a small door, just as 4-8-2 SLSF 1522 does today. However, at least nine other 1500 class Mountains including SLSF 1503, 1504, 1508, 1510, 1512, 1515, 1517, 1918 and 1519, also sported the larger opening at sometime in their lives.

    As you can see, this retrofitting is spread evenly throughout the first two orders from Baldwin during 1923 and 1925. I
    may be mistaken, but as far as I can tell none of the last ten, built in 1926, received this feature.

    Certainly this many locomotives could not all have suffered front-end damage during their service. Apparently this modification was done to improve or simplify maintenance.

    The logical questions are when it was done and why was not it applied to all thirty locomotives in the class?

    I cannot answer the last question but I may be able to shed some light on the first one, at least as far as SLSF 1501 is concerned.

    Directly beneath the smokebox, between the cylinder seats, is a welded inscription that reads as follows.

    Ser. 7-34

    Does this mean that major repairs were done to the smokebox area in July 1934?

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2024
  9. Sirfoldalot

    Sirfoldalot Frisco.org Supporter Frisco.org Supporter

    Very nice info "R".

    Maybe some of our "steam" members may have some light on this.

    Dumb question from me, could it have something to do with boiler tube replacement?"
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2024
  10. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Here is the little bit that I know based on my available sources.

    Frisco Power by Collias notes that the second order of 1500-class Mountains, SLSF 1515-1519, from Baldwin were ordered concurrently with the 2-8-2 SLSF 4135-4149 Mikes. The 2-8-2s also shared the "large" smokebox doors. Indeed, both the 2-8-2s and 4-8-2s were built to similar specifications in order to take advantage of duplicate parts.

    Regarding SLSF 1503, the same book notes that it was "semi-streamlined" by West Springfield in 1938. I would assume that it received the large smokebox door at that time partially out of whimsy and probably because spares were on hand. Purely speculation on my part.

    I have not found many references in the ICC Accident Reports where all of the first order of 1500-class mountains would have been involved in accidents that would necessitate replacement of the smokebox front. However, I do not have a reasonable alternative explanation.

    A bit of digression. The 4400-class 4-8-2 Mountains apparently all had large smokebox doors for the simple reason that the old 2-10-2s which served as a starting point were cannibalized as thoroughly as possible.

    If one compares the front view of the 4-8-2 4400s with the 2-10-2s, the ancestry is pretty obvious.

    Best Regards,
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2024
  11. fluff

    fluff Member

    Small. :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2024
  12. frisco1522

    frisco1522 Staff Member Staff Member

    I tend to like the small door better.

    My thinking on the large door is that it made it easier to open the smokebox and work in there.

    Frisco 4-8-2 SLSF 1522 with the small door had the whole smokebox front hinged, but you had to remove all the nuts on the bolts around the circumference.

    More time consuming, and to the railroad, time is money.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2024

Share This Page