#4500 is one of three Northern (4-8-4) type locomotives built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, PA, in 1942 for the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway's crack overnight Meteor passenger service from Oklahoma City via Tulsa, OK, to St. Louis, MO.
The other two locomotives on the Meteor service were #4501 and #4502 (you can see #4501 on the Museum of the American Railroad page of this website). #4500 has been restored with the original zephyr blue, white and grey livery, with "METEOR" painted across the tender in distinctive red lettering.
As well as the three oil burning passenger engines, the SLSF also took delivery of twenty-two coal burning 4500s
(#4504-#4524) for freight service. You can see #4516 on the
SLSF #4516 page of this website and the last in the delivery on the SLSF #4524 page. All twenty-five were based on the
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy's 4-8-4 O-5A Class built at
CB&Q's West Burlington, IA, shops between 1936 and 1940.
The coal burners weighed 462,500 lbs and the oil burners
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The locomotive is on display in Route 66 Village in Tulsa, OK. The park is not fenced and has a small area for parking.
The village also has, left, America's tallest oil derrick, the Centennial Derrick and, below, a Blue Star Memorial Highway plaque.
The 4500s were the last steam locomotives bought by SLSF and #4500-#4502’s prestige assignment was
short lived. In 1947, as the Frisco started dieselising, they were moved to other passenger trains like the General Wood and Will Rogers while the Meteor was hauled by newly purchased and specially liveried EMD E7s. All three were then demoted to freight service and eventually retired.
Several 4500s were rebuilt near the end of steam on the Frisco and stored in 1952 behind the Lindenwood Roundhouse in St Louis, MO, until they were either scrapped or donated for display.
#4500 was retired in 1950 and towed to the Frisco Railroad shops in Springfield, MO, for a clean up and re-paint. It was then donated to the City of Tulsa in 1954 and parked in Mohawk Park Zoo until 1991 when it was pulled to the Owasso, OK, rail yard to be renovated. Renovation was slow with most of the work done on weekends by volunteers and it was not until 2011 that work was completed and it was moved to its current location.
#4501 weighs 280,000 lbs on its 74" drivers. With 28" x 31" cylinders, an 88 sq ft grate area, 544 sq ft firebox, combined heating area of 6,296 sq ft, including 1,530 sq ft superheating and 137 sq ft in three thermic syphons in the firebox, it operated at a boiler pressure of 255 psi, delivering 71,118 lbs tractive effort.
Right and below, #4500 is on display with a Pullman Car liveried for the Tulsa-Sapulpa Union and named “William Hill”.
With origins dating back to 1907, however, the Tulsa-Sapulpa Union is a shortline, and never operated a Pullman service.
Right, an un-numbered tank car was on display when we last visited. It was painted by hand and logos of many oil companies related to Tulsa's history were applied.
SLSF steel cupola Caboose #1157 was also part of the consist when we visited.