Large Scale Central

1309 coming into Cumberland Station

For our anniversary, yesterday Linda and I took the “Frostburg Flyer” steam run out of Cumberland, MD. Here’s the 1309 coming in. The last I saw the engine was at the B&O RR museum years back, so it was great to see her fully restored.

We were in the dome car, which had great views. Also served cheese & cracker plate, and sold / served drinks along the way. Very pleasant.

We walked around Frostburg, had a drink at the historic Gunter hotel, and visited the prison cells in its basement.

Then walked back down the hill and got back on board to Cumberland.

The C’land station is next to the terminus of the C&O canal, so very pretty historic area with museums and shops & eateries nearby.

A really fun day, I highly recommend the ride if you’re in the area.


Nice! Getting back there is on my list. We rode about 10 years ago during a stop on our way to Cass. My son Matt rented a bike in Frostburg and chased the train back down the mountain, or rather the train chased him!

We went to the little RR museum near the station this morning, and Linda was talking to the elderly railroad historian / museum docent / dude there. After her pointing to a photo of the 1309 and saying “My husband says this is a Challenger!” the dude turns to me with a scowl and a severe reprimand.

As I soon learned, the 1309 isn’t a Challenger (I’m thinking, b-b-b-but I swear that’s how she was labelled in the B&O museum!!), but a Mallet, due to its compound compression (I knew what that was at least: primary steam to one driver set, exhaust from that feeds the other set), and its 4-6-6-4 (vs 2-6-6-2) wheelbase (OK, wrong there…). And you’d better pronounce the inventor’s name “mal-LAY,” and the locomotive “MAL-ee.” And never, EVER, utter “MAL-et” (despite being spelled that way).

The things you can learn without even opening your mouth!


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Yeah, Cliff;

The Union Pacific Challenger was a simple articulated steam locomotive (full steam to all four cylinders). Several articulateds were built that way, including the Big Boys. Oddly, the N&W A class was a simple articulated, but the N&W Y6b class was a Mallet. The size of the front set of cylinders is usually the give-away. On a Mallet, they can be up to 2/3 larger than the rear set of cylinders. I don’t think compounding was ever tried with a Beyer-Garrett, probably because the steam had to travel too far between the cylinders.

Best, David Meashey

Thanks David. Yes, I saw the larger front cylinders, and you’re right, that should have been the big giveaway.

However… I’ve always thought of loco classification in terms of wheel configuration, so was caught off guard by the 1309 not being a Challenger because I got the wheel config wrong (which I did), but because it operated under the different principle of compound vs. simple.

There were many wheel configs of Mallet; so does that “classification” bring all locos of the compound approach into the “Mallet” bucket? From small Euro 0-4-4-2’s to the enormous 2-10-10-2 shown here?

Maybe there’s a chart that explains all this, or adds another kind of nomenclature. But it strikes me as odd that if some company ordered a 4-8-8-4 or 4-6-6-4 with compound action, it wouldn’t be a Big Boy or Challenger, only just another Mallet.

Click on pic to enlarge or look up Whyte steam locomotive classification chart :sunglasses:

Hi Cliff,

IIRC Mallet is a method of articulation Anatole Mallet had named after him, rather than a wheel configuration. I had to learn quite a bit about Mallet vs Meyer articulation when I tried to build this little fella.


Edit: As usual - wiki has a better explanation than my memory.
Articulated locomotive - Wikipedia

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Nice photos Neil, and that’s what I thought as well!

BUT… As Hollywood’s chart shows (thanks David!), of all the different wheel configs, only one of them is named Mallet, and it happens to use Mallet articulation… and the 1309 is one of them.

Unfortunately, your 2-4-4-2 and the 2-10-10-2 I showed are both Mallets, but aren’t on the chart. If they were, I wonder what they would be called?


Towards the end of the steam era, the railroads were more interested in speed for articulated locomotives, so more simple articulateds were built. Mallets could lug, but their top speed was usually 45 mph or less. For example, a Y6b was good for a coal drag, but the A class could hustle a troop train with power to spare.

Best, David Meashey

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Thanks for the link and pics Rooster! Yeah, that’s how I remember in at the B&O.

Is that Hollywood?

Yes I was gathering data for my BL2 build. And Rooster needed a tour guide to get to the roundhouse :innocent: :sunglasses:

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I guess he did, being that young!


Did “rooster” come from knee issues?

:grin: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Back in the day in the hood Cliff. The boy has other interests currently and time fly’s as the “old guys” say !

That’s where I’m at and sorry to jack up your, you’re awesome thread Cliff but bringing back some 10yr old memories now.

Nice action shots! You didn’t need to delete those other two!

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And lest we forget bringing up the rear of the train