4-8-0 "survey" results

NW Modeling List nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org
Mon Aug 3 11:16:22 EDT 2015

Your research is exemplary.  I knewabout the CP 4-8-0 and 4-10-0, the build dates and what I thought were thelocomotive names (Mastadon and El Gobernador respectively).  . What I didn’t have access to was thepublications just before and after 1900, which you contributed.  They show the name Mastadon being used for4-8-0s much earlier than I realized.Here’s a later use of the name Mastadon for a 4-8-0 attributed to a RailwayAge article of 25 December 1914, p. 1194: "On October 10 a double-unit electric locomotive wasput in the day freight service on the main line between East Anaconda andRocker, a distance of 20.1 miles. The steam locomotive replaced in thisinstance was of the Mastodon type ... “ I can’t confirm the accuracy of this quote, because I don’thave that issue of Railway Age. Although the use of the name Mastadon for a 4-8-0 has aprecedent, there’s still the conflict of using single name for two wheelarrangements.  With that in mind, I’ll continuewith the name “12-wheeler” if I absolutely have to use a name for the 4-8-0. Otherscan use what they want.   Thanks for the new info. One learns something every day in this game. Dave Stephenson      From: NW Modeling List <nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org>
 To: NW Modeling List <nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org> 
 Sent: Saturday, August 1, 2015 6:15 PM
 Subject: RE: 4-8-0 "survey" results
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StL&A Rwy, Brooks).   See alsoThe Railway and Engineering Review, 31 Dec 1897, p748.  Other pages in that book cite “Mastodon” locomotives delivered to the Mexican Central Rwy and Great Northern Rwy, referencing and providing line drawings of a 4-8-0 for the GN.  Railway Locomotives and Cars V77, June 1903 p225 applies “Mastodon” to the 4-8-0 wheel arrangement.    Furthermore, there are strong secondary references to the fact that Central Pacific RR called its 4-8-0 #229 (Cooke Works, 1882) “Mastodon”, preceding El Gobernador by over a year.  For what it’s worth, the Wikipedia article on El Gobernador (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Gobernador) cites application of “Mastodon” to the 4-10-0 wheel arrangement as erroneous.    The first concrete “Mastodon” reference I have found to a 4-10-0 is inLocomotive Cyclopedia of American Practice, 1906, p56.  It did not specifically reference El Gobernador.    I have not found an authentic CPRR document naming #229 “Mastodon”; I have only secondary references in evidence so far.  So there is room for doubt.  But it seems plausible to me that CPRR (originator of both the 4-8-0 and 4-10-0 wheel arrangements, as best I can determine) used “Mastodon” in reference to the 4-8-0 starting in 1882.  CPRRmay also have applied that term to the 4-10-0 arrangement, in which case one might conclude that “Mastodon” is the legitimate name for “The Class of All Locomotives Having Four Leading Wheels, No Trailing Wheels, and 7 Or More Driving Wheels.”  But my reading of the 1896-1903 references cited above is that “Mastodon” was accepted as unambiguous in common usage for the 4-8-0 wheel arrangement through 1903, and possibly up to 1906.     Clearly starting no later than 1906, “Mastodon” became associated with the 4-10-0 wheel arrangement in the current railroad trade literature, regardless of CPRR’s intent and any prior common usage.    My earliest Locomotive Cyclopedia is 1925, and my latest is 1952.  All that I have apply “Mastodon” to the 4-10-0 wheel arrangement, as you state.  But though I agree that the LCs are outstanding references, they were assembled by editors (not researchers) from advertisements, drawings, and data from the locomotive and appliance builders of the time, plus interviews with spokespeople from those companies and the railroads.  I regard them as indicative and priceless reflections of common practice of their times, but I most certainly do not regard them as impeccably researched or constituting an exquisite “standard”.  Nonetheless, it would interesting me greatly if Members with LCs from 1882 to 1906 would report on “Mastodon” usage from them.    I cannot agree that there was an error of research ~15 years ago leading to misappropriation of “Mastodon” for either the 4-8-0 or 4-10-0 wheel arrangement.  And concrete secondary evidence, referring to CPRR’s own use of the term, as well as common usage in the 20 years following the introduction of the 4-8-0 wheel arrangement, strongly support the conclusion that there is no error in applying “Mastodon” to it.  If there was an error, it was evidently made sometime closer to 110 years ago, and its nature was to apply the term to the 4-10-0 wheel arrangement.    So I assert without apology that N&W’s Mollies were Mastodons.  That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.    -Eric Bott   


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