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A streamlined P class pulling the St. Petersburg section of the Silver Meteor between Wildwood and St. Petersburg, Florida.

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A postcard rendition of a Seaboard Air Line's streamlined Class P Pacific locomotive.

A streamlined P class pulling the St. Petersburg section of the Silver Meteor between Wildwood and St. Petersburg, Florida.

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A postcard rendition of a Seaboard Air Line's streamlined Class P Pacific locomotive.
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The streamlined Class P was a beauty to behold.
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The streamlined Class P was a beauty to behold.

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Seaboard Air Line Railroad Class P Streamlined Pacific

In 1939, the Seaboard Air Line inaugurated the Silver Meteor, a Budd-built coach train between New York and Florida pulled by an EMD E-4 locomotive. Originally, the railroad acquired a single, seven-car train set, with service every three days, and the train alternating between St. Petersburg on Florida’s west coast and Miami on Florida’s east coast. The service was so successful that Seaboard ordered two more trainsets to make the train run daily.

By 1941, Seaboard added heavyweight sleepers to the consist, requiring more locomotives. In order to provide enough power for all of its passenger trains, three Pacific-type Class P steam locomotives were streamlined. The color scheme was a dark green overall decorated with a broad gold band near the top and thin yellow and red stripes just below the footboard. These were numbered 865, 867, and 868 and were used to haul the St. Petersburg section of the Silver Meteor between Wildwood and St. Petersburg, Florida. These locomotives operated in this capacity for about a year, after which the Seaboard removed the streamlined shrouding and returned the locomotives to general service.

Most of the P class operated through World War II and were retired in the late 1940s.

SAL Class P Pacific Overview

Type and Origin
Railroad: Seaboard Air Line (SAL) 
Power type: Steam
Whyte Configuration: 4-6-2 
Number in Class: 20 
Road Numbers: 85-104, 1-20, 851-870
Gauge: Standard
Number Built: 20 
Builders: Baldwin, Alco Richmond
Year Built: 1911, 1913
Number Streamlined Units: 3
Road Numbers Streamlined Units: 865, 867, and 868
Specifications
Valve Gear: Baker
Driver Wheelbase: 12.50 ft
Engine Wheelbase: 32.75 ft
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender): 66.25 ft
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle): 48,200 lbs
Weight on Drivers: 137,700 lbs
Engine Weight : 214,700 lbs
Tender Loaded Weight: 147,000 lbs
Total Engine and Tender Weight: 361,700 lbs
Tender Water Capacity: 8,000 gals
Tender Fuel Capacity: 14 tons
Minimum weight of rail (calculated): 77 lbs/yd
Driver Diameter (in / mm) 72 in
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa) 195 psi
High Pressure Cylinders (diameter x stroke): 23" x 28" 
Tractive Effort: 34,098 lbs
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort): 4.04 
Firebox Area: 210 sq ft
Grate Area: 53.10 sq ft
Evaporative Heating Surface: 2,820 sq ft
Superheating Surface: 575 sq ft
Combined Heating Surface: 3,395 sq ft
Career
Operator: SAL
Locale: Southeastern U.S.
Disposition: Retired circa 1948-49

See also:

Streamlined Steam Locomotives

Steam Locomotives

Locomotives

Seaboard Air Line Railroad

Silver Meteor