ACL 4-6-2 Pacific "FDR Special" : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

Last month I asked about an IHC Model I had aquired which was suppose to represent an ACL "FDR Special" 4-6-2 Pacific.The only response that I got from Mr.Goolsby indicated that this was probably not a model of an authentic ACL engine. Since then I have found a book by Bob Withers titled "The President Travels By Train". On page 141 of the book there is a picture dated 10/24/35 which shows President Roosevelt standing on the rear platform of a railcar, along with several other people.On the rear railing of the car the ACL Herald with the words "Presidential Special" are clearly visible.Additionally a second picture dated 3/24/36 on page 145 of the same book shows FDR getting off of a similar/same car in Ft.Lauderdale and again the Presidential Special herald is quite clear.So,again I would ask if anyone has any knowledge about a specially decorated ACL Pacific (Light blue boiler,silver firebox,rest of engine black and a gold ACL herald on the tender. Or does anyone have an idea how to contact IHC to find out where they got the idea for this particular model. Thanks, Tom Hughes

-- Tom Hughes (, December 03, 1998


Tom Im still looking for the site address, But the Pvt.Car President Roosevelt was standing on is called "Ferdinand Magellan" the belongs to Gold Coast RR Museum in miami Florida its US No. 1 historical landmark as a Presidential Car, railroad code for the President of the United States was P.O.T.U.S. with special train orders, I don't know about the steam engine most likly black like most engines of the times, use your search engine for the gold coast RR Museum, their is a great story about this,

-- Robert Fish (, May 28, 1999.

Based on information obtained from an article in the September 1977 issue ofRailroad Magazine about former ACL employee and artist Thomas Solomon, ACL P-5a No. 1516 was used to pull FDR's train on a secret run btw Waycross and Montgomery. No date for this run was indicated. If Mr. Solomon's information is correct and the run was secretive in nature, it is doubtful the locomotive would have been painted in the manner indicated by the model. This is the only connection btw the 1516 and FDR that I have been able to come up with to date.

The model was described as having a gold script herald. On ACL engines the script herald was white. The script herald first appeared on the ACL 1800s in 1938 and was applied to the rest of the roster beginning about 1940 (based on photos). If the dates for the first use of the herald are correct and the model paint scheme is based on an actual prototype, then the dates provided above would preclude the use of this paint scheme (or at least the script herald) on the engine(s) pulling the 1935 and 1936 FDR presidential specials.

I agree with Larry that the use of a specially painted locomotive seem unlikely. However, some 60+ years later who can say with a high degree of certainty that the light blue paint scheme did not exist. As Larry suggested it would be interesting to contact the manufacturer to determine if the model paint scheme is based on fact or fancy. You should drop an e-mail to one of the hobby magazines such as MR - they may be able to suggest a contact at IHC.

With all that said there may yet be precedent for light-colored boilers on ACL engines. I have B&W photographs of ACL and C&WC locomotives with what appears to be gray boiler jacketing and pre-1940 lettering. In addition, there was a photo of a P-5a with a light-colored boiler and post-1940 lettering taken at Uceta in one of the early issues of Lines South. Also, some of Mr. Solomons's paintings show ACL engines with gray boilers. (Perhaps IHC mistook the gray for blue?) Unfortunately, to date no one has been able to provide info on the application of this gray boiler paint scheme. Hopefully, there is a former ACL employee (Mr. Sellers?) who remembers this paint scheme and can solve this riddle.

Finally, based on photos the 1516 appeared to have been assigned to various SC and GA terminals in the 1930's and 40's. Sorry for the length but hope it helps. (No emails please - using someone else's computer - Thanks)

-- Buddy Hill (, December 16, 1998.

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