Mth ho challenger 3985,rail cars blown off bridge in new orleans,ho scale logging railroad,train model kits - 2016 Feature

The first Challengers were conceived in 1936 to replace the Union Pacific's fleet of three-cylinder 4-12-2s (shown elsewhere in this catalog). This is an awesome loco, I've been captivated by USA steam power and I have to say this unit is pretty much as good as it gets. With a 50 mph top speed, the 4-12-2s had been the road's primary fast freight engines when built in 1926.
In the midst of World War II, the War Production Board refused the Rio Grande's request to order new articulated of its own design and instead diverted the last six Challengers in UP's order to the D&RGW - which turned up its nose at the locos and decided to lease them for the duration and return them after the war.
In 1947, the War Assets Administration sold the orphan locos to the Atlantic Coast Line and Louisville & Nashville Railroads, which put the Challengers to work on their jointly-owned subsidiary, the Clinchfield, Carolina & Ohio.


So American Locomotive Works (ALCO) was commissioned to build what became one of the most successful fleets of articulated engines on any railroad. Thus six engines intended to speed over western deserts and mountains ended up thundering through Appalachia.
The pressure of wartime traffic brought an order for 65 more of these 70 mph greyhounds in 1942-44, with improvements based on lessons learned from the UP's 4-8-8-4 Big Boys.
In service, the Challengers often complemented the Big Boys, speeding traffic over less rugged territory and handing it over to the Big Boys for the passage over Utah's Wasatch Mountains.The Challengers were steam power at its zenith.
They incorporated all the technology that represented super-power steam, including roller bearings on all axles and drive rods - but none of the foolishness that characterized some of the desperate efforts to save steam in the post-war years.


While most Challengers hauled freight, a number were assigned to passenger service in the Pacific Northwest, where they were converted to oil burners, equipped with smoke lifters ("wind wings" in UP parlance), and painted two-tone gray in 1946.It was in a roundabout way that six Challengers ordered by the UP ended up hauling coal for the Clinchfield Railroad. In the midst of World War II, the War Production Board refused the Rio Grande's request to order new articulateds of its own design and instead diverted the last six Challengers in UP's order to the D&RGW - which turned up its nose at the locos and decided to lease them for the duration and return them after the war.



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