California's Railroad to the U.S. 1861 - 1996

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Model Train Help EBook

Southern Pacific
Class Mt-2

6 units built

built by Alco Brooks
0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 4385 4386 4387 4388 4389


These engines were inherited when the SP bought the El Paso & Southwestern.

These were ordered by the EP&SW and so were different to SP designed engines. One difference was the top smokebox mounted Elesco feedwater heater which they kept their entire lives. This later made a difference when skyline casings were fitted. All engines had the Baker valve gear replaced with Walschaert's valve gear in 1943-44.

Designed to burn coal they came with a (SP Class) 123-R-1 rectangular tender, when SP not converted them to burn oil in 1929-1930, they fitted an oil tank in the coal bunker space. In 1938 they were reclassified 121-R-1 indicating a capacity of only 12,150 gallons of water. The tenders were again rebuilt in 1942-43 by increasing the water capacity, and reclassified 160-R-1. The tenders always stayed with the Mt-2's except for #4388's tender which was wrecked in 1934, it was replaced with a 120-C-8 Vanderbilt tender. According to tender record cards in the possession of Arnold Menke, the tender was a 120-C-8, #8759, from 6-1934 to 12-1946, and 3-1947 to 5-1951. That tender came with #5029 (4-10-2) when new. #4388 had a 160-C-3 from 12-46 to 3-47. The engine was retired in 1951.

From Arnold Menke: These engines (Mt-2's) were built with sport cabs, Baker valve gear, multiple bearing crossheads, and Pyle National cast aluminum headlights. SP replaced the Baker valve gear with Walschaert in 1943-1944 at El Paso. Universal disc main drivers were applied in the late 1940's to 4386 (9-9-49 Sac), 4388 (9-3-48 El Paso) and 4389 (11-25-47 El Paso). The Mt-2's did not have airhorns.

The Mt-2's have generally been regarded as Rio Grande Division engines until they were transferred to California in the late 1940's. But there is photographic evidence that in the 1930's and early 1940's some of the engines occasionally got to Los Angeles, and even as far north as Mission Bay in San Francisco in 1945!

Many Mts eventually received multiple bearing crossheads. Mt-2's, of course, were built with them. Disc main drivers were applied to many of the 4300's; these were mostly Universal discs but some were fitted with Boxpok discs. The installation of multiple bearing crossheads and disc wheels was not always simultaneous, some engines did not get both, and some got neither. Only occasionally were disc drivers and multiple bearing crossheads added when the skyline case was installed. I have listed below known dates for application of this equipment taken from SP's Descriptive Record of Locomotive cards in CSRM. Application of disc main drivers and multiple bearing crossheads sometimes was not recorded on Descriptive Record of Locomotive cards. For these engines photographic evidence must be used. Whenever I have lacked such evidence I have given" no" with a question mark to indicate that verification is needed. First entry after the engine number is the date of application of multiple bearing crossheads. Second entry is date of application of disc main drivers. Except as indicated above, Universal discs were used.

MBXHDisc main driverSkyline
4385yes ? 5-19-42 EP
4386yes 9-9-49 Sac 6-18-42 EP
4387yes ? 3-25-42 EP
4388yes 9-3-48 EP 12-22-41 EP
4389yes 11-25-47 EP 11-25-47 EP
4390yes ? 1-31-50 Sac


  • A Century of SP Steam Locomotives - Guy L. Dunscomb
  • SP Co. Steam Locomotive Compendium by Diebert & Strapac
  • The 4300 4-8-2's Southern Pacific's Mt- Class Locomotives (Revised Edition) - by Robert J. Church
  • Southern Pacific Steam Pictorial Vol.2 by Dunscomb, Dunscomb & Pecotich
  • Volume 8 -- Southern Pacific Mountain 4-8-2 Pictorial - by Duane Karam Jr. & Jeff Ainsworth, Monte Vista Publishing

  • Ernie Fisch
  • Bob Pecotich

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Tuesday, 18 November 2003