MILW S3 4-8-4 “Northern” No. 261 by Joseph Meador

Image of MILW S3 4-8-4 “Northern” No. 261 by Joseph Meador

Builder: Joseph Meador

About MILW S3 4-8-4 “Northern” No. 261 by Joseph Meador

The Milwaukee Road, most famous for their Class A Atlantics and F7 Baltics, also fielded a number of 4-8-4 Northern locomotives. These locomotives, known as the S3's, were built by the American Locomotive Company in 1944. The S3 weighs 460,000 lbs. (210,000 kg) and has a max horsepower rating of 4500 hp, with a max speed of 100 mph. These engines were mostly assigned to heavy freights along the eastern portion of the Milwaukee Road, but could also pull passenger trains as the need arose. Two prototypes of the S3 Northerns survive today, 261 and 265. 261 was retired from revenue service in August 1956 and subsequently donated to the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, WI. 265 was retired in 1957 and donated to the city of Milwaukee before being acquired y the Illinois Railway Museum, where it resides on static display. 261's fate is far more exciting. In 1991, North Star Rail selected 261 to pull their mainline steam excursion programs, and subsequently restored the engine to operational condition. 261 debuted for public excursion service two years later, September 1993. The engine enjoyed a long and sweet tenure pulling special trains such as the "Chocolate City Days," the "New River Train," and was the first steam engine to pull the BNSF Railway's Employee Appreciation Special. 261 currently enjoys a career with the non-profit organization "Friends of the 261," pulling excursions such as the Gourmet Express and the North Pole Express. The engine, since its restoration to operational condition in 1993, has logged over 25,000 miles under its own power.

My model of MILW 261 is built in 1:48 scale, coming out to a length of 88 studs without the auxiliary tender, and over 125 studs in length with the auxiliary tender. When physically built, the model will be controlled using a DCC decoder in order to have features such as lighting and sounds.

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