St. Louis-San Francisco Railway 1630

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Frisco 1630
Frisco 1630.JPG
Frisco 1630 in between excursions at the Illinois Railway Museum in July 2014
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
BuilderBaldwin Locomotive Works
Build date1918
 • Whyte2-10-0
Gauge4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)
Length71 ft 0 in (22 m)
Height16 ft 2 in (5 m)
Axle load37,000 lb (17,000 kg)
Adhesive weight185,000 lb (84,000 kg)
Loco weight210,000 lb (95,000 kg)
Fuel typeCoal
Boiler pressure180 psi (1 MPa)
Cylinder size24 in × 28 in (610 mm × 711 mm)
Performance figures
Tractive effort47,454 lbf (211 kN)
OperatorsPennsylvania Railroad, St. Louis–San Francisco Railway, Eagle-Picher, Illinois Railway Museum
NumbersSLSF 1630, Eagle-Picher 1630, USRA 1147, Pennsylvania 1147
Current ownerIllinois Railway Museum
DispositionOperational, in excursion service based in Union, Illinois.

St. Louis-San Francisco Railway 1630 is a 2-10-0 Decapod steam locomotive[1] that is preserved and operating at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois. Frisco 1630 is one of two Decapods in operational service in America; the other is former Great Western 90 at the Strasburg Railroad in Strasburg, Pennsylvania.


The locomotive was built in 1918 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works for use in Russia as a class Ye locomotive. However, it, along with about 200 other locomotives, remained in the United States because the Bolshevik government could not pay for them after the Russian Revolution. 1630 was converted from 5 ft (1,524 mm) Russian track gauge to 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge. After being re-gauged, #1630 was sold to the USRA and was numbered 1147. Shortly after, 1147 was briefly leased for use on the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1920, the locomotive was sold to the St. Louis – San Francisco Railway, where it was used as a mixed traffic engine. In 1951, the locomotive was sold to Eagle-Picher, which used it to haul lead ore from a mine to their smelter.

In 1967, the locomotive was donated to the Illinois Railway Museum, in Union, Illinois, where they began restoring it in 1972 and returned it to operating condition and revenue runs in 1974.[2] Sometime after arriving at the museum, 1630 was restored from her Eagle Picher appearance to her Frisco appearance. 1630 was taken out of service in 2004, and after more than six years undergoing repairs and a federally mandated rebuild, it was returned to operational condition on October 30, 2013.[3] On Memorial Day weekend 2014, the locomotive returned to excursion service. In 2016, the locomotive received a cylinder overhaul, which, according to Steam department curator Nigel Bennett, made the locomotive "probably more powerful than she has been since her [sic] first arrival at IRM in the 1970’s." The locomotive, during Memorial Day weekend 2016, pulled 137 empty coal cars in storage at the museum as what was considered to be one of the longest revenue freight trains powered by a steam locomotive in at least 25 years, Bennett said.[4]

On the evening of September 14, 2019 during the Museum Showcase Weekend, 1630 doubleheaded with recently restored J. Neils Lumber Co. 5 (aka Shay 5), as this was the first time a doubleheader has been seen at the Illinois Railway Museum in a long time.

Popular culture[edit]

  • The locomotive appears in some sequences in an episode of the 1982 TV series American Playhouse, "Any Friend of Nicholas Nickelby is a Friend of Mine."
  • In 1991, the locomotive appeared in the movie The Babe in the transportation scenes, which were filmed at IRM.[5]


  1. ^ "St. Louis-San Francisco Railroad 1630". Illinois Railway Museum.
  2. ^ "St. Louis-San Francisco Railroad 1630 Ownership History". Steam Locomotive Information.
  3. ^ Bennett, Nigel (October 31, 2013). "Steam Department 10-30-13 Extremes of high and low". Illinois Railway Museum.
  4. ^ Bennett, Nigel (June 19, 2016). "Steam Department update - Spring 2016". Illinois Railway Museum.
  5. ^ "On the Set at IRM". Illinois Railway Museum.

External links[edit]