PRR I1sa Decapod
A total of (598) I1s’ were constructed between 1916 and 1923 by Baldwin and Juniata. They were the largest 2-10-0 Decapods built in the US, producing 90,000 lbs of tractive effort. With large 30.5 x 32″ cylinders, a nearly 8′ diameter free steaming boiler and (10) 62″ drivers, the I1s were absolutely massive, taking advantage of the PRR’s heavy trackage and high allowed axle loads. Their power was undeniable, but they were not popular with the crews, for they were rough riding at all but low speeds. Because of the large boiler, the size of the drivers were limited, which made it impossible to mount counterweights large enough to balance the piston thrusts, resulting in the engine to pound constantly, giving them their nicknames: “The Holy Terror of the PRR”. In 1919, USRA Russian Decapod #1147 (eventually becoming Frisco’s #1630) was leased to the PRR for testing. It was found to be inadequate with the I1s producing practically twice the power. A test was performed in 1923 with I1s #4358 at the Altoona Test Plant. It was determined that at 21.36 mph, a total of 7000 lbs of coal were consumed in just 30 minutes! An average of 7 tons per hour! Eventually, (498) of the I1s’ were converted to I1sa’s, which utilized a 78% cut-off adjustment that increased the total tractive effort to a whopping 96,000 lbs! Their tenders were also found to be insufficient with the ferocious appetites for coal when assigned longer trains and longer distances. The standard 90F82 (9000 Gallons, Freight, 82″ Firing Deck) tender were swapped out for massive 210F82 (21000 Gallons, Freight, 82″ Firing Deck) welded tenders to accommodate for longer runs. Coal capacity was increased from 18.5 ton to 31 tons. The Coast to Coast Tenders as they were referred to were actually longer than the engine, and weighed more when loaded. After WWII, a number of modifications were made to the I1sa’s, including: Swapping the positions of the Headlight and Dynamo to make easier access for maintenance on the Dynamo, the tender lettering was spaced farther apart and many engines were equipped with cab signal systems. The whistles were also swapped on many engines. Originally equipped with a Banshee, crews expressed frustrations with them, and they were swapped out for traditional PRR 3 Chime whistles removed from older late 1800’s era passenger engines that were being scrapped. The PRR’s I1sa’s lasted until the very end of steam in 1957.
Today: Only (1) of the (598) PRR I1sa Decapods survive:
#4483 and a 90F82 tender are on display on a siding at the WNYRHS Headquarters in Hamburg, NY
PRR I1sa Decapod Heavy Coal Pack includes: Pre-War Engine, Short & Long Tenders, Post-War Engine, Short & Long Tenders, GLa Hopper, H21 Hopper and N5c Cabooses with and without Train Phone system
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