SP T-31 #2355 is on display in Pioneer Park, Mesa, AZ

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SP T-31 #2355, Mesa, AZ

When I visited, Southern Pacific #2355 was on display in
Pioneer Park in Mesa, AZ, behind high steel fencing and
appeared to be in deteriorating condition. However, by then, a group of local enthusiasts and city employees had banded together to restore the engine and relocate it to a more
conducive display area in the southwest corner of Pioneer Park. In Augut 2017, I was contcted by Marc Stern who advised that restoraation had started on #2355 and sent the photos shown at the end of this page. Great news, and good luck to all the volunteers working on this!

#2355 is one of ten Ten Wheeler type (4-6-0) locomotives built by Baldwin in 1912 for the SP (#2353-#2362). Designed for lighter freight and passenger trains, they typically hauled commuter trains, their good traction allowing them to readily accelerate from the many stops.

#2355 worked mainly in the SP’s western divisions. It hauled a Railroad Club of Southern California excursion from Anaheim, CA, down the SP’s Santa Anna Branch to Tustin and back on 2nd May 1954 and spent its last years on the SP’s Los Angeles Division on local switching and freight.

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SP T-31 #2355, MesaSP T-31 #2355, MesaSP T-31 #2355, Mesa
SP T-31 #2355, MesaSP T-31 #2355, MesaSP T-31 #2355, MesaSP T-31 #2355, MesaSP T-31 #2355, Mesa
SP T-31 #2355, Mesa

After forty-five years service, during which it clocked up several million miles, #2355 was
retired in 1957 and went into storage in Southern Pacific’s Bayshore yard just south of the City of San Francisco waiting to be scrapped.
Fortunately, it was spared the torch and given to the City of Mesa. A dedication ceremony was held at Pioneer Park on 12th April 1958, where it has sat ever since.

Only one other T-31 has survived, # 2353. You can see photos of it on the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum page of this website.

SP T-31 #2355, Mesa
SP T-31 #2355, MesaSP T-31 #2355, Mesa

#2355 has Walschaert valve gear. Below right, the engine’s cylinders are 22” x 28”.

The 41’ 5¾” long Vanderbilt 120-C-1 Class tender was mated to #2355 in the early 1920s. It weighs 89,900 lbs light and has 4,000 gallon oil and 20,000 water capacity.

#2355 weighs 208,000 lbs, 162,000 lbs on its 63” drivers and is 41’ in length. The driver wheelbase is 13’ 10” and the engine wheelbase 25’ 10”. With a 32 sq ft grate and 230 sq ft firebox, it has a total heating surface of 2,894 sq ft including 467 sq ft superheating (an early example of an engine built with superheating, rather than being converted later in its life).

An oil burner originally operating at a boiler pressure of 200 psi delivering 36,570 lbs tractive effort, this was later raised to 210 psi with a 5% increase in tractive effort to 38,400 lbs.

SP T-31 #2355, Mesa
SP T-31 #2355, MesaSP T-31 #2355, Mesa
SP T-31 #2355, MesaSP T-31 #2355, MesaSP T-31 #2355, Mesa
SP T-31 #2355, MesaSP T-31 #2355, MesaSP T-31 #2355, Mesa
SP T-31 #2355, Mesa

I learned from Marc Stern in mid August 2017 the great news that restoration had started on #2355 at Pioneer Park.

Left, a view of the engine with scaffolding up and the volunteers at work. Right, the engine after the cladding and asbestos had been removed.

SP T-31 #2355, Mesa

All lettering & numbering has been traced onto plastic mylar films ready for later reinstatement. All window bars have been removed and the cab had most rusted metal removed. New steel was on order at that time to rebuild the cab, tender catwalk for the boiler jacket and other details.

The volunteers are working in the early mornings to avoid the Arizona heat during the day, which Marc describes as “torture”. He says they hope to have all metalwork completed by the end of October.

SP T-31 #2355, MesaSP T-31 #2355, Mesa
SP T-31 #2355, Mesa

Marc says they hope to have all metalwork completed by the end of October, when the weather is perfect for stripping, priming and painting.

The City of Mesa is rebuilding Pioneer Park with $8 million in upgrades, including a railroad surround display for #2355. The volunteers are hoping to complete their work on the locomotive in time with the park upgrades so that it can be dedicated at the same time looking like new. When the project is done, the tall fencing will be removed and there will be a nice display with plants, bushes and lighting surrounding the locomotive.

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