Florida East Coast 4-8-2 "Mountain" Locomotives of the USA

The Florida East Coast Railway was primarily a passenger carrier. Its freight business was mostly northbound vegetables and fruit carried on its road from Key West to Jacksonville, FL.

The Florida land boom in the 1920s dramaticly increased the FEC's passenger business and it reacted by improving the railroad, buying more motive power and more cars. Between 1924 and 1926 it bought 125 new locomotives most of which were "Mountain" type locomotives.

The first time FEC bought "Mountains" was in 1923, with fifteen from the American Locomotive Company. These locomotives were assigned road numbers 301 through 315 and had 25 x 28 cylinders, 68" drivers, a 200 psi boiler pressure, a tractive effort of 43,100 lbs and a total weight of 278,000 pounds.

A second batch of 52 (road numbers 401 through 452) came from ALCO in 1924 through 1926. This group of locomotives had 26 x 28 cylinders, 73" drivers, a 200 psi boiler pressure, a tractive effort of 44,100 lbs and a weight as shown in the chart below.

A last group of 23 came from ALCO in 1926. These "Mountains" were assigned road numbers 801 through 823 and had 28 x 30 cylinders, 69" drivers, a boiler pressure of 210 psi, a tractive effort of 60,800 lbs and weighed 356,000 pounds.

A hurricane in 1926 and the stock market crash killed the land boom. FEC's revenue fell drastically and it had to declare bankruptcy in 1931.

The FEC ultimately sold 50 of the 90 "Mountains" in its fleet. In 1936 it sold two (road numbers 417 and 420) to the Atlanta, Birmingham & Coast, five (road numbers 401, 409, 411, 413 and 416) to the St. Louis Southwestern, ten (road numbers 403 through 408, 410, 412, 414 and 415) to the Western Pacific and three (road numbers 402, 418 and 419) to the Western Railway of Alabama. In 1941, 1945 and 1948 it sold thirty of its 4-8-2s to the National Railways of Mexico. The 1941 sale included road numbers 304, 305, 307 through 309, and 311 through 315. In 1945, numbers 429, 433, 434 and 441 through 452 went to Mexico. The last group sold to NdeM included 421, 422, and 425 through 427.

Roster by Richard Duley

Road NumbersLocomotive Weight
301 - 315287,000 lbs
401 - 417313,000 lbs
418318,500 lbs
419313,000 lbs
420 - 432318,500 lbs
433 - 422322,000 lbs
443 - 452321,500 lbs
801 - 823356,000 lbs

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 301 (Locobase 1347)

Data from FEC 1926 locomotive diagram book supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Raildata collection. Works numbers were 65159-65173 in November 1923.

One of the lightest Mountain designs to be built, but had an impressive percentage of superheater area and firebox heating surface area as well as generously scaled 14" (356 mm) piston valves. The latter included 74 sq ft (6.87 sq m) in thermic syphons.

They were retired over a thirteen-year period from 1941-1954. 310 was lost in a wreck in February 1945 at Wewahotee, Fla.

Many were sold in December 1941 to the National Railways of Mexico. Five fell in the TR-1 class (ex-304-305, 308, 311-312, 315) and were numbered 3200-3205. Ex-307 (sold to the NdeM in October 1948), 309, 313-314 were classified TR-2 and renumbered 3206-3209.

Class 401 (Locobase 1348)

Data from FEC 1926 locomotive diagram book supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Raildata collection. Works numbers were 65748-65763 in August 1924, 65764-65767 in late 1924, 66170-66181 in May 1925, 66451-66460 in November, 66716-66725 in May 1926.

Firebox heating surface includes 60 sq ft of thermic syphons.

Although bigger than the earlier 300 series (Locobase 1347)and graced with more cylinder volume thanks to a one-inch (25.4 mm) increase in diameter,, these engines used larger grates to heat more tubes of greater length as well as slightly larger fireboxes. Superheater area and firebox heating surface kept pace. Contributing to the latter were 60 sq ft (5.75 sq m) of thermic syphons. Their larger cylinders turned taller drivers, which nearly canceled out any tractive effort gain, but allowed them to run at higher speeds.

(See the Central Vermont U-1s -- Locobase 7102 -- for an essentially identical design.)

The FEC engines were retired over a 19-year period from 1936 to 1955, when they were sold to other railroads. Western Railway of Alabama bought the first to be sold in June 1936, Grouped as WRA class M, 402 was renumbered 185. Sold a month later, the 419-420 took 187 and 186, respectively.

In that same month (July 1937), the Atlanta, Birmingham & Coast bought 417 and 420 as class M-1 and renumbered them 351 and 372 while the Cotton Belt (St Louis Southwestern) took delivery of the ex-401, 409, 411, 413 as their class L-0 and gave them road numbers 676-679.

Western Pacific bought ten of the class in August 1936. 403-408, 410, 412, 414-415 went into WP service as their 171-180.

Almost a decade later, twenty went to the National Railways of Mexico in September 1945 (2), as their class TR-3 (road numbers 3300-3319). 433-434 were sold in September, 441-452 went in the next month, and the class finished with ex-425-427 and 429 in October 1948.

Two were lost in wrecks. 431 was destroyed at Milepost 358 in December 1947 while 432 was totalled on the Seaboard Air Line in October 1949.

Class 801 (Locobase 205)

Data from FEC 1926 locomotive diagram book supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Raildata collection and from the 1930 Locomotive Cyclopedia. Works numbers were 66811-66833 in July 1926.

Firebox heating surface included 68 sq ft (6.3 sq m) of thermic syphons. Based on the USRA heavy Mountain design, these were the last new steem locomotives bought by the FEC. They were substantially bigger and heavier than either of the two earlier 4-8-2 class (Locobases 1347-1348). Superheating surface area as a percentage of combined heating surface increased still more while smaller drivers raised tractive effort.

All continued to serve the FEC into the 1950s except for 802, which was destroyed in October 1940 by a boiler explosion. 815 suffered a similar fate in April 1951 at Delray. 813 was lost in a rear-end collision in May 1952. The others were sold for scrap to Florida Iron and Metal Company in October-December 1954.

Specifications by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Locobase ID1347 1348 205
RailroadFlorida East CoastFlorida East CoastFlorida East Coast
Number in Class155223
Road Numbers301-315401-452801-823
Number Built155223
Valve GearWalschaertWalschaertBaker
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft)18.5818
Engine Wheelbase (ft)40.1741.08
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.46 0.44
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft)74.1982.71
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs)48,10054,60061,300
Weight on Drivers (lbs)191,500217,000244,500
Engine Weight (lbs)287,000327,000356,000
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs)201,700200,600255,900
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs)488,700527,600611,900
Tender Water Capacity (gals)10,00010,00012,000
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons)400040005000
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd)8090102
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in)687369
Boiler Pressure (psi)200200210
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in)25" x 28"26" x 28"28" x 30"
Tractive Effort (lbs)43,75044,07960,845
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.38 4.92 4.02
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft)351365395
Grate Area (sq ft)63.0766.7775.30
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft)331538575014
Superheating Surface (sq ft)8479981477
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft)416248556491
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume208.39224.17234.52
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation12,61413,35415,813
Same as above plus superheater percentage15,13716,15819,450
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area84,24088,330102,029
Power L118,08620,73822,909
Power MT832.85842.75826.27


If you have any railroad data such as diagram books, rail station plans or anything else that you would be willing to share, please contact us.