The P-1's were the B&O's most heavily modified class as most future Pacifics more or less carried the same (or similar) designation. In 1913 the railroad went back to Baldwin for more, this time listed as Class P-3 and numbered 5100-5129. These were also considered heavy Pacifics, working similar territories as the P-1's, as were the P-4's of 1917 (5130-5139). The Class P-5's and P-6's, built between 1919 and 1923, were based from the USRA light Pacific design. Then, there was the Class P-7's. All of the B&O's 4-6-2s are remembered for their good looks thanks to a clean, semi-streamlined look and symmetrical appearance (notably a result of evenly spaced drivers and a centered headlight, number-board, and "B&O" logo on the smokebox). This was especially true for the P-7's, which arrived from Baldwin in 1927 numbered 5300-5319.
The locomotives became known as the Presidential Class since all
twenty were named (and lettered) after the first twenty presidents of
the United States. They were also presented in a stunning livery of
olive green with gold trim. A year later the B&O added #5921 (built
by its own shop forces), listed as Class P-9, and named President Cleveland.
As delivered these Pacific's were the most powerful in the fleet
offering the highest axle loadings and tractive efforts, among other
advantages. Starting in 1942 the B&O began phasing out the
Presidential Class, returning them to
standard black and without names. A few, however, garnered additional
special treatment; #5301-5304 were overhauled and streamlined in 1946
for the new Cincinnatian serving Cincinnati and Washington, D.C./Baltimore.
streamlining, which featured a two-tone royal blue livery with silver
trim and simple shrouding covering the entire locomotive was designed by
the B&O's own Olive Dennis, a female engineer. The locomotives
were redesignated as Class P-7d and continued to carry their handsome
look after the Cincinnatian was transferred to the Detroit - Cincinnati
route where they remained until retired in the mid-1950s. After World
War II the Pacific's still in service were a hodgepodge of numbers and class
designations as the B&O retired more and more. A few (all Class P-7's) survived as late as 1958, remaining in
service long enough to sport such upgrades as Timken roller bearings and a new 100 numbering
series to make room for more diesels.
Incredibly, but at the same time not all that surprising considering the
B&O's financial state, only one 4-6-2 of more than 200 survives
today; #5300 was the first of the Presidentials, named George Washington, and given to the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore following her retirement where she still resides today. It should be worth mentioning that the B&O operated a handful of other 4-6-2s; in 1910 it purchased a batch of five (501-505) from Alco for subsidiary Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton. It went back to Alco in 1924 for more, sublettered for subsidiary Cincinnati, Indianapolis, & Western numbered 121-124. Finally, it picked up 22 others with its purchase of the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh in 1932. The BR&P listed theirs as Class WW/-2 but after the B&O takeover were merged into the Class P's. They were smaller and not quite as powerful as the B&O's originals and all were retired by 1953.
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