Frisco Class 1306 #1355 on Garden St, Pensacola, FL

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SLSF #1355, Pensacola, FL

The rain was pelting down when I took these photos of SLSF #1355 on open air display at Garden St, Pensacola, FL. This locomotive was built by Alco as SLSF Consolidation type (2-8-0) Class 1306 #1318 in 1912, but was converted to a Mikado type (2-8-2) at the Frisco's main Shops in West Springfield, MO, in 1945. It was one of seven SLSF Consolidations converted to Mikados by the railroad between 1943 and 1946.

It is hard to fathom but, despite an almost 30% increase in overall weight (from 414,100 lbs to 530,100 lbs), the new Mikado delivered the same tractive effort (53,355 lbs) as the original Consolidation and, like #1318, this coal burner has a 50.3 sq ft grate, 26" x 30" cylinders and 63" drivers. It also operated at a boiler pressure of 195 psi.

The original 1300s were assigned to freight runs on Frisco's Eastern Division, from Springfield to Monett, MO, as well as the Southern Division, Springfield to Thayer, MO. The rebuilt 1300s worked on the River Division between St. Louis, MO, and Memphis, TN, as well as the Southern Division from Amory, MS, to Pensacola. The Frisco donated #1355 to the City of Pensacola in 1957.

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SLSF #1355, Pensacola, FL

#1355 hauled heavy freight on Frisco's River Division until June 1948, when it transferred to the Southern Division. Four years later, after a forty years in service as both a Consolidation and Mikado, having clocked up over 1,000,000 operating miles, the locomotive was retired and placed in storage in Memphis, TN.

In late 1956, SLSF undertook to donate the locomotive to the City of Pensacola and carried out a complete cosmetic refurbishment. On 4th March 1957, the deed to #1355 was duly transferred to the City in a ceremony held at the locomotive's new display location on the median between the two lanes of West Garden Street.

Over the years, #1355 slowly deteriorated in the moist Gulf air. In April 1992, however, thirty Pensacola Naval Air Station volunteers completed over six hundred hours work refurbishing the locomotive. The Frisco Railroad Museum Research Service provided historical, technical and photographic resources to aid in the project. It then began to deteriorate again until repainted in 2010 by a group of local Catholic High School children, when the "Pride of Pensacola" was stenciled on the boiler.

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