Fast Mail (Southern Railway)

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Fast Mail
Southern class F14 diagram 600.jpg
Specifications
Power type Steam
Builder Baldwin Locomotive Works
Serial number Build Number 22633
Configuration 4-6-0
Gauge 4 ft 8.5 in (1.4 m)
Leading wheel
diameter
33 inches (84 cm)
Driver diameter 68 inches (170 cm)
Length 14 ft 9 in (4.5 m)
Height 14' 8-1/2"
Weight on drivers 124,420 pounds (56,440 kg)
Locomotive weight 166,060 pounds (75,320 kg)
Tender weight 108,300 pounds (49,100 kg)
Locomotive and tender
combined weight
274,360 pounds (124,450 kg)
Fuel type coal
Fuel capacity 12 tons
Water capacity 5000 gal.
Boiler pressure 200 psi
Firegrate area 2654.8 sq. ft.
Superheater type none
Cylinder size 21" X 28"
Valve gear Walschaerts
Valve type Richardson Balanced
Valve travel 5-3/4In.
Tractive effort 30,900 pounds (14,000 kg)
Career
Operator(s) Southern Railway
Class F-14
Number(s) 1102
Official name Fast Mail
Nicknames Old 97
Locale Virginia
Delivered 21 August 1903
First run 2 November 1902
Last run 27 September 1903
Scrapped 9 July 1935

The Fast Mail was a Southern Railway steam train that on the September 27, 1903 derailed at Stillhouse Trestle in Danville, Virginia. The train consisted of two postal cars, one express car, and one baggage car. The accident inspired the famous railroad ballad - Wreck of the Old 97. As mentioned in the song, the old 97's locomotive (Southern Railway #1102) did make it to Spencer, North Carolina. It was hauled to the Southern Railway Spencer Shops where it was repaired and placed back into regular service for many years afterwards.

Southern Railway's Train 97 had previously been in another fatal accident earlier in the year of 1903. On Monday, April 13, Train 97 left Washington, DC at 8 AM en route to New Orleans, Louisiana. As the train approached Lexington the train struck a large rock on the rail causing the train to derail and become ditched killing the engineer and fireman. The locomotive pulling the train is unknown. Southern #1102 had yet to be delivered to the railroad at that time.

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