Reprinted from the November 1997 issue of the "Green Diamond", the Illinois Central Historical Society Magazine.
More on 4-6-4 No.1
When Paul Somers said he had an article on constructing a model of No. 1, I had just finished reading an article entitled "McIntyre's Baby." This story was published in Lloyd E. Stagner's book North American Hudsons, and yes I recommend it to those who want to know more about No.1.
Stagner's article "McIntyre's Baby" refers to an article in the September 1, 1937, issue of Railway Age entitled "World's Fastest Freight Train," a story of MS-1 on the 527-mile trip from Chicago to Memphis made in less than 13hours. We're fortunate to have copies of Railway Age that include this article.
On one work day at the depot, Dick Stairs noticed my copy of the IC's famous picture "The Five Titans" I'd hung at the depot and told me about the five merchandise trains that left Chicago each day. The trains were MS-1, Train No.61, Chicago to Memphis; CB-9, Train No. 75, Chicago to Birmingham; CS-7, Train No. 63, Chicago to St. Louis; SY-2, Train No. 89, Chicago to Indianapolis/Cincinnati on the Big Four; and CW-1, Chicago to Omaha. Stagner's book also refers to some of Dick's train sheets listing these trains.
I'm sure most IC fans have heard or have read about the conversion of 4-6-4 No. 1 from 2-8-4 No. 7038, the result of a search for motive power for the fast merchandise trains that were too much for 4-6-2's as the traffic grew and 2-8-2's were too slow. 4-8-2's were sometimes a waste of power for these fast merchandise trains, and a possible solution was to rebuild 2-8-4's into 4-6-4's.
As we know now, this solution didn't work. I've read reports that said No. 1 was "slippery" and also top heavy and prone to derail. Now we come to why Stagner included the story "McIntyre's Baby" in his book North American Hudsons.
John L. McIntyre was born on a farm in Champaign County, Illinois, on January 1,1871, and entered ICRR service on July 16, 1891, as a fireman. He became an engineer in December 1895 and was promoted to traveling engineer on the Springfield Division on February 8, 1921. He transferred to the St. Louis Division in 1929, returned to the Springfield Division in 1939, retired after fifty years of service and was honored at a banquet on January 3l, Í941, in Clinton, Illinois.
In late 1938 or early 1939, No. 1 was working out of Clinton, Illinois, on the Springfield, Division. John McIntyre was road foreman of engines at Clinton, and it became his responsibility to make a success of No. 1 . To correct the slipping, he had the weight equalization on the drivers changed, and some improvement was noted. Also changed during its Clinton stay was a reduction of the cylinder diameter to 24 inches.
From Cimic to Clinton, No. 1 was rated at 4,600 tons while the 2500 series 4-8-2's were rated al 6000 tons. No.1 handled coal trains as well as dispatch trains from Clinton to Markham.
In I945, No. 1 was renumbered to 2499. It was placed in service between Louisville and Fulton, Kentucky, handling passenger trains. It was retired in 1949 and scrapped soon afterward, never returning to the Springfield Division.
McIntyre had done all he could to improve No. l, but it became a one of a kind on the ICRR. It did have the distinction of being the only 4-6-4 built expressly for freight service.
For information on IC steam locomotives, I recommend Illinois Central Steam Finale by Lloyd E. Stagner and Stephen A. Lee, available at the ICHS Company Store for $25.00.