Southern Ps-4 Pacific
With the success of the first (27) Ps-4’s received in 1923, the Southern Railway placed a second order for another (27) in 1926. Like the first order, these new Ps-4 closely resembled the USRA Heavy Pacific design, with the exception of smaller 73″ drivers and slightly shorter boiler, plus the addition of a firebox combustion chamber. However, unlike the first order, these newer Ps-4’s were equipped with an Elesco Feedwater Heater. The year earlier, Southern’s President: Fairfax Harrison, had traveled to the United Kingdom, where he admired the LNER’s use of green-painted steam locomotives. This inspired Harrison to have the second order of Ps-4’s, numbered 1393 through 1406 to be painted in Virginian Green paint, with gold leaf trimming and lettering. Eventually all of the previous Ps-4’s from 1923 would be painted green as well.
These engines were assigned to the Southern’s highest priority trains, including the: Piedmont Limited, the Aiken-Augusta Special, the Birmingham Special, and most notable, the Crescent Limited. In 1929, engines #1393 through 1396 were selected and decorated with Crescent Moon decals on their steam chests and outer cab walls. They were given green number plates, and their tenders were also lettered “Crescent Limited”. A total of (5) new Pullman lash-ups were delivered in 1929 to accompany the (4) newly decorated engines. The cars were painted in the same green as the locomotive, and the piers/mullions around the windows were painted in a lighter Sylvan green. The Crescent Limited was doomed almost from the start. The train was debuted on Monday, October 21st, 1929….just 3 days before the Stock Market Crash. By 1934, the Southern had held on as long as possible, but inevitably succumbed to the economics of the Great Depression. Cost cutting measures were implemented, which resulted in the two-tone green screen being dropped in lieu of the traditional Pullman green. This allowed for easier equipment swaps, and savings on paint since all cars were the same paint scheme. The train continued from 1934 through 1938 listed on the timetable as “Thirty Seven” and “Thirty Eight”. I resumed in 1938 as simply “The Crescent”.
By the early 1940s, the Southern was quickly dieselizing the majority of it’s high priority trains, thus sideling many of their steam locomotives. The Ps-4’s were not immune to these changing times. All were retired and scrapped by the middle 1950’s, with the exception of one.
#1401 was saved from the scrappers torch thanks to the efforts of Mr. Graham Claytor Jr. At the time he was a member of the Southern’s Outside Legal Council, and an avid railfan. He would later go on to serve as the Southern’s President from 1967 through 1977. However in the late 1950’s, Mr. Claytor convinced the Southern to save and donate the 1401 to Smithsonian Institute, which at that point was still being constructed. On November 25th, 1961, the 1401 was transported and placed inside the museum, where she resides today.
Southern Ps-4 Heavy Pacific set includes:
Southern Ps-4 Engine & Tender (1926-1938)
Crescent Limited Ps-4 Engine & Tender (1929-1934)
Southern Ps-4 Engine & Tender Modernized (1938-1952)
(2) Railway Post Office Cars (Pullman Green & Two-Tone Green)
(3) Baggage/Lounge/Buffet Club Cars (Pullman Green, Two-Tone Green, Pullman Green with AC)
(3) 10-2 Sleepers (Pullman Green, Two-Tone Green, Pullman Green with AC)
(3) 8-1-2 Sleepers (Pullman Green, Two-Tone Green, Pullman Green with AC)
(3) 14 Section Sleepers (Pullman Green, Two-Tone Green, Pullman Green with AC)
(2) Dining Cars (Pullman Green & Two-Tone Green)
(2) 3-2 Observation Cars (Pullman Green & Two-Tone Green)
Crescent Limited Consist (1926-1929) Pullman Green
Crescent Limited Consist (1929-1934) Two-Tone Green
Crescent-37-38 Consist (1934-1941) Pullman Green with AC
All locomotives, RPO’s and Diners have auto running numbers. All Baggage and Sleepers have automatic name assignment.
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