Notes on Detailing B&M Steam Locomotives

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. P-2c 4-6-2 Pacifics
  3. P-4 4-6-2 Pacifics
  4. T-1a and T-1b 2-8-4 Berkshires


This began as a place to keep my notes for some modeling projects. I hope others find them useful; comments, corrections and contributions are welcome. Related information can be found in my B&M Steam Roster page.

The B&M, like most other railraods, had an active upgrading program for their steam locomotives that continued into the post-WWII era. Because many of the engines that survived into the 1950s had been built before 1920, shop forces had applied significant improvements like superheating, feedwater heaters and power reverses, along with smaller B&M details like train lighting equipment and Automatic Train Control (for Fitchburg Division servce). Furthermore, the B&M (like most railroads) tended to divide its purchases between competitive suppliers. Thus, not all engines in a class were equipped the same, and engines with the same equipment often had it installed differently.

What to do about this depends on the level of accuracy and detail you want. Imported brass models look nice, but even if the manufacturers did enough research to accurately model one or more engines at some specific time, they rarely include that data in the package (a notable exception is New England Rail Service; Thanks, Don). This began as an effort to figure out what number I ought to apply to a stock 1949-era Overland P-2c. I hope it is useful to at least a few of you. I plan to expand it as I work on more steam projects in the future, and contributions from others are welcome.

P-2c 4-6-2 Pacifics

The P-2c class was built by Alco in 1916, with longer tenders than earlier P-2s - water capacity was 7400 gallons. I don't have any photos in "as delivered" condition, but I expect they had a single air pump; at that time, they could have been delivered with superheating. After Automatic Train Control was installed on the Fitchburg Division, some of the engines received control boxes mounted on the engineer's side between the steam and sand domes. During the late 1920s, Worthington feedwater heaters were applied on the fireman's side forward of a cross-compound air-pump. Initially, the running board was cut out around the unit, but by the end of WWII a raised section had been added, with steps at each end. During the late 1930s, power reverses were applied, with the engineer's side running board raised in segments at two or three different levels over them. Scrapping began in 1951, but 3687 survived until the very end.

An HO brass P-2c was imported by Overland in 1998, in several configurations. One was based on 3681 and 3688 circa 1927, and painted in a special buff and blue scheme for Minute Man service. I don't know if the model had an ATC box, but it was required by that time on Fitchburg Division engines. Another version represents 3686 and 3689 circa 1930, factory painted in a two-tone green scheme for Flying Yankee service. Per the Vol. 17 #3 Bulletin , these tenders were modified to hold 8700 gallons of water. Per the April 1986 Bulletin , at least the latter two engines had been repainted by 1935/6.

A third version (OMI 1556) is labeled "circa 1949", for 3680 - 3687. It has a Worthington feedwater heater and forward train lighting connections. A boxpox main driver is included if you want to install it in place of the spoked original. There is no Automatic Train Control box. The headlight has prominent numberboard "wings". There is an air tank behind the pilot deck. The running board is raised over the power reverse, in two different levels. There is an air tank behind the power reverse below the raised section of the running board, but above the main running board level. The reverse rod goes to a lever that protrudes through the top running board step from the top of the power reverse casting. The power reverse unit doesn't have any crosshead or guides, and isn't actually connected to the reverse gear.

So far, the model appears to be correct for 3680 after 1946 except for the reverse rod location and power reverse casting, which doesn't have the conspicuous crosshead and guides visible in photos. If 3684 also got the auxilliary air tank behind the power reverse in the late 1940s, as 3680 and 3688 did, it would also be close. The model can't be 3681, 3682, 3683, 3687 or 3688 (all had three-level running boards over the power reverse). I haven't found good post-WWII photos of the engineer's (RH) side of 3685, 3686 or 3689.

3680 - scrapped 8/1951

3681 - scrapped 8/21/1953

ATC, at least pre-WWII. 3 levels used in raising running board over power reverse.

3682 - scrapped 6/8/1955

ATC, at least post-WWII. Three levels used in raised running board over power reverse on engineer's side (RH). Running board originally installed over Worthington FWH on fireman's side (LH) discontinuously, later made continuous with steps at each end.

3683 - scrapped 6/5/1953

3684 - scrapped 3/24/1955

No ATC box, 2 levels in running board over power reverse (but reverse rod enters from rear), steps on each end of running board over Worthington FWH.

3685 - scrapped 8/1951

3686 - scrapped 2/1952

3687 - scrapped 9/20/1956

3688 - scrapped 6/21/1955

ATC equipped 1927 to retirement. 3 levels in running board over power reverse. Can't tell about LH side so far.

3689 - scrapped 8/25/1955

P-4 4-6-2 Pacifics

The first group (P-4a) of these engines were built by Lima in 1934 with a single cross-compound air pump and a cowl along most of the top of the boiler. The second group (P-4b) arrived in 1937, also with a single air pump, but without the cowl. Tender capacity was 12,000 gallons of water and 18.5 tons of coal. The Isothermos tender truck journals are sometimes confused with roller bearings.

During WWII, the P-4a group lost their cowls, and both groups had a second cross-compound air pump added to the pilot deck.

Drawings can be found in the Bulletin Vol. XVII #3 and in the Steam Locomotive Cyclopedia

T-1 2-8-4 Berkshires

The T-1a class (4000 - 4019) was built by Lima in 1928, with 4-wheel tender trucks. According to Minuteman Steam, half of them received longer, welded 12-wheel tenders circa 1940, but it doesn't say which engines got them. From published photos, I'm sure that 4015 - 4019 received the larger tenders between 1935 and 1940. Because I haven't seen any others with larger tenders (other than the cover of Vanishing Markers, which is captioned 4007 but isn't clear enough to check), I doubt that more than those five engines had them at the beginning of the war. Studying the photos has led to a few other conclusions:

  1. None of the T-1as with the original 8-wheel tenders have the white stripe around the edge of the tender. Many of these engines don't have a visible herald anyway - could be dirt, could be the "austerity scheme" of road numbers only which I've seen on a few photos of smaller engines, but never on a Pacific. The only one that looks like it was washed at the start of the trip is 4000 or 4010 in Forest, River & Mountain at the East Portal.
  2. All the T-1as with the 12-wheel tender have the white stripe around the outside edge. Most of these are clean enough to be easily readable.
  3. The earliest dated photo showing a T-1a with 12-wheel tender is 1935. The earliest photo of most of the engines with new tenders are 1938 - 1940, however, and I wonder a bit about the 1935 date.
  4. The only photo of a lower-numbered T-1a with a 12-wheel tender is the cover of Vanishing Markers, credited to Don Robinson, captioned "4007". It isn't printed clearly enough for me to check, and no date is given. A photo in Bulletin Vol. XVIII #2 shows a T-1a with an 8-wheel tender, claiming a date of October 1949. As most other A. Arnold photos are earlier, this may be an error.
  5. Dana Goodwin photographed eight engines heading west on 30-Jul-1945 (Fall 1980 Bulletin). The first two are painted ATSF (ex-4001, 4004), the rest haven't been re-painted and are bound for the SP. At least the first six have 8-wheel tenders.
  6. During the 1930s, some T-1a and T-1b engines had smoke lifters.
  7. 4000 apparently arrived on the SP with Walschaerts valve gear and a multiple-bearing crosshead, but the change hadn't been made as of April 1942.

The T-1b class was built in 1929, with 12-wheel riveted tenders and inside steam pipes to the cylinders. All engines of both classes had boosters on the trailing truck. Originally, these exhausted through a pipe that ran up the RH side of the engine to behind the stack. Later the exhaust was relocated to the tender deck ahead of the water fill. Photos lead me to believe that this was completed by the mid-1930s.

Published T1 Photographs

T-1a Class
400021-Aug-1940Spring 1979 Bulletin LH side, LF 1/4, 8-wheel tender
  B&M Locomotives LF 1/4, 8-wheel tender
 April 1942Bulletin Vol. XVII #2 RF 1/4, 8-wheel tender, still has Baker valve gear, original crosshead.
400130-Jul-1945Fall 1980 Bulletin 8-wheel tender, painted ATSF 4193
40021947from Bruce Bowden 8-wheel tender, as SP 3501
400331-Aug-1944NH and VT Railroads by Ron Johnson p. 33 8-wheel tender
4004circa 1940Spring 1975 Bulletin RF 1/4, 8-wheel tender
 6-Jun-1943WInter '78-'79 and Vol. XVI #2 BulletinRF 1/4, 8-wheel tender
 30-Jul-1945Fall 1980 Bulletin LH side, 8-wheel tender, painted ATSF 4194
40051934Minuteman Steam p. 146 RH side, smoke deflectors, 8-wheel tender, booster exhaust on tender
 1928March 1985 Bulletin LF 1/4, 8-wheel tender
?4006?1938April 1986 Bulletin, City & Shore p. 186, Memories of the B&M Front, color, 8-wheel tender
40071939Winter '82-'83 Bulletin RF 1/4, 8-wheel tender
  Spring 1983 Bulletin LF 1/4, 8-wheel tender
?4007? Vanishing Markers p. 54 LH side, 12-wheel tender w/stripe
400929-Mar-1942Winter '78-'79 Bulletin LF 1/4, 8-wheel tender
 1935Conn. River RRs & Connections Vol. 1 p.117LF 1/4, 8-wheel tender
 WWIIB&M Locomotives LF 1/4, 8-wheel tender
  Bulletin Vol. XVIII #2 LF 1/4, 8-wheel tender
  Vanishing Markers p.64 RF 1/4, 8-wheel tender
?4010?pre-1945Forest, River & Mountain pp. 172-3Several views, color, 8-wheel tender
401123-May-1941Bulletin Vol. XXII #3 RF 1/4, 8-wheel tender
40121940Minuteman Steam, Spring 1977 Bulletin, B&M Locomotives RF 1/4, 8-wheel tender.
  1-Jul-1945Bulletin Vol. 20 #4 Front, 8-wheel tender.
4013 Spring 1980 Bulletin Front
4014 Oct. 1941Bulletin Vol. 22 #2 RF 1/4, 8-wheel tender
  Mar. 1938Vanishing Markers p.102 RH side, 8-wheel tender
  Conn. River RRs & Connections Vol. 5 p. 129LH side, 8-wheel tender
4015 Forest, River & Mountain p. 157LF 1/4, 8-wheel tender, E. Deerfield MA
  Fall '76 Bulletin LF 1/4, 12-wheel tender, Westminster MA
  Bulletin Vol. XXII #3 LF 1/4, 12-wheel tender, white stripe
4016 June '74 Bulletin 12-wheel tender, Tyngsboro MA
  Conn. River RRs & Connections Vol. 2 p. 194RH side, 12-wheel tender, Greenfield MA
4017 Aug. 1935Fall '83 Bulletin LF 1/4, 12-wheel tender, white stripe on tender
  Mar. 1946Winter '74-'75 Bulletin LF 1/4, 12-wheel tender, Rigby
4018Feb-1940Forest, River & Mountain p. 158, Memories of the B&M Color, LF 1/4 12-wheel tender, E. Deerfield, MA
 9-Oct-1940Minuteman Steam p. 145 12-wheel tender, Johnsonville NY
40191934?Conn. River RRs & Connections Vol. 9, p. 45RH side, 12-wheel tender, Boscawen, NH
 1938Memories of the B&M Color, LF 1/4, 12-wheel tender, Worcester
 Aug-1938Forest, River & Mountain p. 135, Memories of the B&M Color, LR 1/4, 12-wheel tender, S. Ashburnham
  23-May-1941Bulletin Vol. XVII #2 Front, 12-wheel tender, Lowell Jct.
  9-Jun-1943Fall '76 and Vol. XVI #2 BulletinLF 1/4, 12-wheel tender, E. Fitchburg, MA
T-1b Class
402020-Nov-1938Bulletin Vol. XXI #1 LR 1/4
4021 N.E. States Ltd. Vol. IV #4 RF 1/4
4022Jan. 1938Spring 1983 Bulletin LF 1/4
40231934Minuteman Steam p. 144 RH side, smoke deflectors, Concord, NH
  Fall 1976 Bulletin LF 1/4, E. Fitchburg, MA
 18-Apr-1939Winter '83-'84 Bulletin Front, Eagle Bridge NY
 2-Sep-1940Bulletin Vol. XX #4 RF 1/4, Cardigan NH
  Conn. River RRs & Connections Vol. 9 p 45Front, smoke deflectors, White River Jct.
 circa 1950B&M - A Photograhic Essay, pp. 182 - 184Several views, Mechanicville, NY
4024 Fall 1976 Bulletin LF 1/4, S. Ashburnham, MA
 1946Bulletin Vol. XVII #2 LF 1/4, Lowell Jct.

James VanBokkelen