2-8-2 Steam Loco Illinois Central 1518
by: Frederick Boucher
IC 1518 is my steam icon. It has been on display in Paducah, Kentucky ( home of the late-great Illinois Central Locomotive Shops of Paducah, Kentucky) for generations. Decades ago while super-detailing a model steam locomotive, I walked around and drew a schematic of as much of the appliances and piping as was visible. Then the engine was behind a vision obscuring cyclone fence. Today, she sets majestically along Paducah's 1st Street between Broadway and Kentucky Avenue, at the head of a passenger baggage car and an externally braced caboose.
While visiting the display I was fortunate to meet a couple of 1518 fans; one is a man who was an engine crewman on 1518. He told me fun facts and trivia about 1518, Illinois Central, his career and his family. The other provided me with some of the more exotic 1518 photos. Even later, I met yet another former 1518 fireman; his father was 1518's engineer and they were fired the locomotive as a father-son team!
The mighty I.C. was an early railroad, a rare north-south trunk line that linked the Great lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. It spanned the Mississippi River several times as it expanded east and west, grew to tap coal fields in Indiana and Kentucky, hauled beef from the western reaches of Iowa, iron to Birmingham, Alabama, and even towards Texas into Louisiana. I.C. built its huge locomotive shops in Paducah in 1925, and there it rebuilt and even home-built a stable of impressive iron horses.
A feature of "Paducah-Built" steam locos was the squared sand domes. 1518, the last operating steam loco on the I.C., sports this and many other features of the late steam era.
Please check back to this feature, as I will be adding photos and captions as time permits. Also, note that the photos are in different galleries, and until I get them sorted into a single gallery, you may have to close out one sequence and open another one to view all photos in expanded format.
Illinois Central Mikados
Steam Locomotive Archive--Illinois Central (Featuring 1518 in action!)
Illinois Central Historical Society
I.C. Railroad, A Brief Historical SketchI.C. Railroad Corporate Logos, 1851-present
Lima Locomotive Works
Build Date: November 1923
Construction No. 6524
Empty Weight: 308,500 pounds
Weight on Drivers: 235,400 pounds
Driver Diameter: 63.5 in.
Tractive Effort: 75,000 pounds
Boiler Pressure: 225 psi
Cylinders: 28x30 inches
To understand how these beasts operated, please enjoy these sites:
Steam Loco Air Brake Stand and Diagrams
How A Steam Train Works
Baker valve gear
Steam Locomotive Walschaert Valve Gear Animation
STEAM ENGINE VALVE GEAR ON THE COMPUTER
I thank the former I.C. men who told me their stories and shot some of the photos. I wish I had time to record more of their stories. Further, thanks to Paducah for leaving this treasure out where people can view her up close. All to many communities fence their engines in, making them inaccessible, and obscuring details.