The first Northern (4-8-4) type locomotives built for the Great Northern were delivered in 1929 from the Baldwin Locomotive Works (#2550-#2555). Designated Class S-1 the six engines were heavy, dual service oil-burners and remained in service until the 1950s. None has survived.
Between March and April 1930, the Great Northern took delivery of another fourteen Northerns from Baldwin (#2575-#2588). Designated Class S-2, they were lighter than the S-1 Class with higher drivers, specifically intended for fast passenger service. The locomotives were assigned to the railroad's Montana division working between Williston, ND, and Havre, MT, and the Spokane division for service between Spokane, WA, and Wenatchee, WA, hauling the Empire Builder and recently inaugurated Minneapolis, MN-Seattle, WA, Oriental Limited.
The S-2s were bumped from the Empire Builder and Oriental Limited in 1949 when the services were
dieselised, and relegated to secondary passenger and freight trains . During the 1950s, they were all repainted from their original Cascade Green to a more utilitarian black.
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#2584 is the only surviving Great Northern S-2. Returned to its original Cascade Green livery, it is on display at the railroad depot in Havre, MT.
When we visited, it needed a paint job, and left over Christmas lights detracted from its powerful lines.
An oil burner with (above right) 29" x 29"
cylinders and a total heating surface of 7,046 sq ft, including 2,265 sq ft superheating, #2584 operated at a boiler pressure of 225 psi delivering 58,305 lbs tractive effort. The nickel-steel boiler tapered from an 85 ¼" diameter at the front to 94" at the dome ring. It was fitted with a Sellers exhaust steam injector that could process 4,500 to 7,350 gallons per hour.
Below, the S-2's 80" drivers were built with friction bearings. These were replaced with Timken roller bearings in the 1940s.
Like the P-2 Class Mountain (4-8-2) type locomotives they replaced hauling the Oriental Limited and Empire Builder, the
S-2s were built with radial stay fireboxes in place of the Great Northern's usual Belpaire (you can see both surviving P-2s on the GN #2507 and GN #2523 pages of this website).
With a 111 sq ft combustion chamber, 22 sq ft of arch tubes were installed to the firebox at a later date. The total firebox area was 401 sq ft, with a 97.75 sq ft grate.
#2584 weighs 438,120 lbs, 257,000 lbs on its drivers. It is 103' 3" from front coupler to tender coupler, with an engine wheelbase of 47' 8" and driver wheelbase of 20' 8".
Below, the water-bottom Vanderbilt type tender weighs 326,560 lbs light with a 17,000 gallon water and 5,800 gallon oil capacity. The Commonwealth cast steel frame rode on two six-wheel cast steel trucks, and these were the only all-welded tenders on the Great Northern.
#2584 was retired from service by the GN in December 1957.
The following year, it was decided to
historical purposes and, on 15th May 1964, it went on display at its current location in Havre, MT.