The GreatRails North American Railroad Photo Archive
 
 
Photo of Southern Pacific @ Sacramento, CA.
Southern Pacific @ Sacramento, CA.

The most distinguishing feature of the 4294 was that the cab and firebox were at the front of the locomotive instead of the traditional rear. This was done essentially by running a 2-8-8-4 machine backwards with appropriate modifications. The engineer and fireman swapped sides and faced away from the firebox. The tender remained behind the locomotive to maintain the improved forward vision; this was possible because the locomotive burned Bunker C fuel oil rather than coal, so the fuel could easily be piped from the tender to the firebox, unlike a coal-burning locomotive. The smoke box end coupling was strengthened. The power reverse lever (Johnson Bar) and steam throttle motion direction were reversed. The drive wheel axles were also reversed, end for end without rekeying the return "fly" cranks, to reverse the expansion link timing on both sides.
The cab forward design was useful in the long tunnels and snow sheds of Donner Pass and other mountainous regions where it kept smoke, heat, and soot away from the operating crew, allowing them to breathe clean air in such enclosed spaces. It entered service on March 19, 1944 and was retired from active service on March 5, 1956.

Photographed by Bruce Macdonald, May 4, 1981.
Added to the photo archive by Bruce Macdonald, September 15, 2021.
Railroad: Southern Pacific.

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