This is a serious locomotive book, not simply a photo album, in the tradition of Bob Church or Joe Strapac. Amply illustrated with detail photographs, early-day roster shots, and lively action photography. Heavily researched and cross-checked.
Author Terry Johnson begins his study with a discussion of ALCO number 50,000—a 1912 demonstrator that pushed the envelope of modern passenger locomotive design. SP's own heavy Pacific locomotives were part of the post-Harriman era, when SP spent millions replenishing and modernizing rolling stock worn out during World War I.
New technology became available in the early 1920s, including wagon-top boilers, feedwater heaters and Delta trailing trucks with boosters. As SP and Baldwin engineers developed classes P-8 through P-13, all these features were put to work. Even though SP was concurrently buying larger 4-8-2 locomotives for its heaviest trains, the 4-6-2 type was continually improved.
This book also addresses the former El Paso & Southwestern #3120-3129, which were added as coal burners in 1924 and continually refined to better fit them in with SP's home team. A chapter is also devoted to the three smaller class P-6 locomotives rebuilt at Houston in 1937 to power the Texas & New Orleans streamliner SUNBEAM and HUSTLER trains. They were fully modernized (as class P-14) in the face of dieselized competition between Houston and Dallas on a shorter route.
Class P-8 and P-10 heavy Pacifics were still powering Commute trains between San Jose and San Francisco as late as the summer of 1956—as illustrated by the dramatic, wrap-around Roger Cortani cover. This book is a major historical work at an affordable price, filled with large photographs and numerous tables.
Shade Tree Books, softcover, 118 pages, 11 x 8.5 x .25 in., 179 B&W photographs, color covers, tables, roster information, diagrams and notes.