St Louis-San Francisco 2-8-8-2 "Chesapeake" Locomotives of the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 2001 (Locobase 6454)

Data from builder's card shown on the FMIG site (12 Jan 2005). The Alco-Frisco tractive effort is given as 83,300 lb. The first five were delivered to the Frisco's sub Kansas City, Fort Scott & Memphis.

The brief comment notes that these were the most powerful 2-8-8-2s when delivered, but that they were unsatisfactory in service. Wes Barris of (, visited 12 Jan 2005) states that the tender was so small that the locomotives had a very short range. (Locobase also notes that the boiler seems small given the ratios and factors and the tubes too long.)

Despite the imperfections, the Frisco superheated these locomotives in the 1920s; see Locobase 8640.

Class 2001 - superheated (Locobase 8640)

Data from StLSF 1930 and SL&SF All Time Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Raildata collection.

Despite the weaknesses describe in Locobase 6454, the Frisco's only articulateds received the modifications applied to virtually all locomotives worth the effort. In particular, the engines were superheated and the HP cylinders now sported 14" piston valves. At least three of the engines -- 2001, 2004, 2007 -- later used piston valves on the LP cylinders as well.

They wound up as switchers of iron-ore trains near Birmingham, Alabama. "Someone could correct me if I'm wrong," comments Wes Barris of (, "but they were probably the largest steam switch engines."

The class was "dismissed from service" over a long period. 2005 went in December 1929 at Springfield, Mo. The others all retired in Birmingham, Ala: 2002, 2003, & 2006 all withdrew in July 1935; 2007 followed a few months later in April 1936 and 2001 & 2004 went in April 1939.

Specifications by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Class20012001 - superheated
Locobase ID6454 8640
RailroadSt Louis-San Francisco (Frisco/(SLSF)St Louis-San Francisco (Frisco/(SLSF)
Number in Class77
Road Numbers2001-20072001-2007
Number Built77
Valve GearWalschaertWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase15.67'15.50'
Engine Wheelbase56.83'56.83'
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.28 0.27
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender)85.52'85.52'
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle)
Weight on Drivers360000 lbs360000 lbs
Engine Weight418000 lbs418000 lbs
Tender Light Weight149600 lbs161300 lbs
Total Engine and Tender Weight567600 lbs579300 lbs
Tender Water Capacity8000 gals8000 gals
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal)10 tons16 tons
Minimum weight of rail (calculated)75 lb/yard75 lb/yard
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter57"57"
Boiler Pressure200 psi200 psi
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke)24.5" x 30"24.5" x 30"
Low Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke)39" x 30" (2)39" x 30" (2)
Tractive Effort77018 lbs77018 lbs
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.67 4.67
Heating Ability
Firebox Area344.70 sq. ft350 sq. ft
Grate Area75.40 sq. ft75.30 sq. ft
Evaporative Heating Surface5162 sq. ft4371 sq. ft
Superheating Surface807 sq. ft
Combined Heating Surface5162 sq. ft5178 sq. ft
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume315.35267.02
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation1508015060
Same as above plus superheater percentage1508017470
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area6894081200
Power L131546131
Power MT154.52300.37

Additional Notes

The Frisco had seven 2-8-8-2 locos numbered 2001 thru 2007. They were built in 1910 at the ALCO/Schenectady plant. They were an unusual group. So that they would fit onto existing turntables, the tenders were built very small. Thus they had a very short operating range. Consequently, they were a disaster at over-the-road hauling. They were quickly reassigned to duty as switch engines in iron ore service at Birmingham, AL. Someone could correct me if I'm wrong, but they were probably the largest steam switch engines. They were scrapped circa 1937.


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