Frisco 1630: The "OTHER" Decapod. With volunteer crewmen looking on, Frisco 1630 moves for the first time in the Illinois Railway Museum's 2018 steam season, just outside the engine shop, in Union, Illinois. With the first day of passenger rides scheduled the following day, the crew was busy on this particular Saturday, steaming up the locomotive, making final adjustments and demonstrating to an FRA Inspector that everything was in good, working order. Later this day, she would do a few test runs out on the line, checking out all of the systems and giving the each of the crew a little throttle time.
In my caption lead, I refer to this locomotive as the "OTHER" Decapod. This locomotive shares the 2-10-0 wheel arrangement with only one other active steamer in the US (that I am aware of), and of course, that's the much more well-known (and photographed) Great Western #90, which runs in Strasburg, PA. This particular engine has an interesting history. Sometimes referred to as the "Russian Decapod", this Baldwin Loco was built for export to Russia back in 1918 and was designed for running on 5 ft. gauge track. Unfortunately, when she was done, the Russian Government didn't have the money to pay for her, so she was re-gauged to the US standard and sold domestically. After bouncing around a couple of places for 2 years, including a stint with the Pennsy, she was sold to the St. Louis & San Francisco ("Frisco") Railway in 1920, and served that line as a mixed traffic engine until 1951. She came to the Illinois Railway Museum in 1967, and was restored to operation in 1974. She's been in service there as an excursion engine off and on ever since, with her most recent Form 4 being issued in 2013. With 47,454 lbs of tractive effort, she's probably a bit of overkill for the museum's trains, but she's a very handsome engine and the crew there really seem to take pride in caring for her.