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Great Northern S2 4-8-4 Northern #2584
Published 2 months ago
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In March and April of 1930 the Great Northern Railway received fourteen 4-8-4's from Baldwin, assigning them to the S-2 class and numbering them 2575 through 2588. Intended for Oriental Limited and Empire Builder duty they were assigned to the Montana division for service between Williston, ND and Havre, MT, and the Spokane division for service between Spokane, WA and Wenatchee, WAGN 1936 logo.

The design of the S-2 Class 4-8-4 was somewhat of a departure from the traditional steam locomotive design on the Great Northern. Normally the GN preferred to equip its engines with a Belpaire type boiler, but in an effort to reduce weight, the S-2's were delivered with a radial stay boiler. The nickel-steel boiler tapered from a 85 1/4" diameter at the front, to a 94" diameter at the dome ring. It was constructed for a design and operating pressure of 225 psi. The boiler had a firebox measuring 138" long by 102" wide, designed to burn oil. A Walschaert type valve gear transmitted power from the 29" diameter by 29" stroke pistons to the drivers, which were 80" in diameter, the tallest on any Northern.

The S-2 came with a Vanderbilt type tender, which provided a capacity of 17,000 gallons of water and 5,800 gallons of oil. It was unique in being the only all-welded tender on the GN. This water-bottom tender had a Commonwealth cast-steel frame and rode on two 6-wheel cast steel trucks. As the Great Northern dieselized, the S-2 lost its assignment on the Empire Builder and drew duty on less prestigious passenger runs and saw service in freight duty, where its passenger design proved to be rather unsuitable. All engines were retired by 1958, with some remaining in strategic storage until 1963. Only one S-2 survives today; 2584. She was retired in December of 1957. In 1958 it was decided to hold her for historical purposes. On May 15, 1964 she was put on display at the Havre, MT depot, where she is still residing today as a fond memory of the superb passenger steam power once used on the Great Northern Railway. This MOC another Mimi68 creation. Instructions for both the engine and tender can be found on Mimi68’s YouTube page. Like, comment and stay tuned. I’ve got a big project coming up next!
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