Special History Study
NPS logo


Boston and Maine locomotive


Boston and Maine Railroad 3713

Whyte System Type: 4-6-2 Pacific
Class: P-4a, Series 3710-3714

Builder: Lima Locomotive Works
Date Built: December 1934
Builder's Number: 7625

Cylinders (diameter x stroke in inches): 23 x 28
Boiler Pressure (in lbs. per square inch): 260
Diameter of Drive Wheels (in inches): 80
Tractive Effort (in lbs.): 40,900; with booster, 52,800

Tender Capacity:
    Coal (in tons): 18
    Oil (in gallons): not applicable
    Water (in gallons): 12,000

Weight on Drivers (in lbs.): 209,800

Remarks: After delivery, engine was the subject of a New England wide name contest that resulted in it being named The Constitution. Engine has a superheater and a steam booster on the trailing truck.

Boston and Maine Railroad 4-6-2 Locomotive No. 3713

History: Created by a consolidation in 1842 of earlier railroads, including one dating back to 1835, the Boston and Maine Railroad by 1920 owned 1,704 miles of track in Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, New York, and New Hampshire and leased an additional 527 miles of track of other railroads. As of 1917, it owned 1,131 locomotives, 1,900 passenger cars, and 22,887 freight cars, and would continue to serve as an important regional rail system.

The Baldwin Locomotive Works produced the first 4-6-2 type of locomotive in 1901, allegedly as an improvement on the 4-4-2 or Atlantic type, and because of that, plus the fact that Baldwin's first 4-6-2 was erected for export to New Zealand Railways on an island in the Pacific, the new type of locomotive came to be called a Pacific type. (Another point of view would have the 4-4-2 an improvement over the 4-4-0, and the 4-6-2 an improvement over the "10-wheeler" type 4-6-0.)

The Boston and Maine Railroad purchased its first 4-6-2 type locomotives in 1910, ordering a dozen of these locomotives from Schenectady. The company assigned these to the class P-1. In 1911 the company purchased another 40 of these Schenectady engines with some minor changes that resulted in their being classified as P-2-a types. In 1913 the company purchased another 20, with further variations that led to their being classified as the P-2-b. In 1916 came another 10 of a still different class, the P-2-c. In 1923 the company acquired a final 10 from Schenectady, these classified as the P-3-a, making a total of 92 Pacifics purchased from the American Locomotive Company's Schenectady Works.

On the Boston and Maine, the Pacifics became the mainstay of passenger service from 1910 until dieselization, replacing little 2-6-0 Moguls and 4-6-0 10-wheelers on the main lines and shunting them aside to branch line traffic. Some were modernized over the years with either Elesco or Worthington feedwater heaters and power reverse levers.

Photo courtesy Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society

Meanwhile, the Lima Locomotive Works was developing a reputation for manufacture of exceptionally powerful main line steam motive power equipped with the latest improvements such as high-pressure boilers, feedwater heaters, and other mechanical innovations that led to their being called "superpower" steam locomotives. In 1934, the Boston and Maine Railroad contracted with Lima for construction of five locomotives of the 4-6-2 Pacific type, to be numbered in the series 3710 through 3714. Lima delivered these locomotives in December 1934. These first five Lima engines, which the Boston and Maine classified as their P-4-a type, worked so well that the company ordered another five from Lima in 1936. These, delivered in March 1937, proved to be the last Pacifics that Lima would ever build. The last five Pacifics acquired by the Boston and Maine varied slightly from the earlier ones and became the P-4-b class, Nos. 3715 through 3719.

Steamtown National Historic Site

The Lima Locomotive Works photographed the engineer's side of Boston & Maine Locomotive No. 3710 as representative of all of the engines in the series 3710-3714. This builder's photograph illustrated the original streamlining features of this class such as the smoke deflectors alongside the smokebox and the casing that concealed the steam and sand domes and whistle. Shortly after its construction, the railroad gave No. 37 13 the name The Constitution, which it carried on a pair of name plates mounted just below the running boards and above the third pair of drive wheels. This beautiful machine, well designed aesthetically as well as mechanically, is shown below, on her home railroad after the railroad had removed the streamlining of engines of this class. In this view the locomotive is temporarily out of service, with her stack sealed to keep out the weather. Above, Steamtown National Historic Site. Below, collection of Gerald Best, California State Railroad Museum.

Locomotive No. 3713 is, of course, one of that first group of Lima Pacifics, a P-4-a that cost the company $100,000. She was inspected by C. W. Bruening at the Lima plant on December 21, 1934. As originally delivered, the locomotive had a metal shroud concealing her sand and steam domes and had smoke deflectors alongside the smokebox (some varieties of which were colloquially referred to as "elephant ears"), and a single, deck-mounted air pump on the pilot deck. As thus delivered, the engine had a semi-streamlined appearance.

Locomotive No. 3713 and her sisters went into service hauling the most important passenger trains on the Boston & Maine, eventually serving between Boston, Massachusetts, and Bangor, Maine; between White River Junction and Troy, New York; between Worcester, Massachusetts, and Portland, Maine; and between Springfield, Massachusetts, and White River Junction, Vermont. She was designed to operate at a normal speed of 70 miles per hour. She carried sufficient coal to pull and heat a 14-car train about 250 miles, and enough water to last about 125 miles.

When the Boston and Maine took delivery of its second order of Lima Pacifics in 1937, it sponsored a contest among New England schoolchildren to name those 10 engines and 10 other passenger engines. The contest was open to any pupil in any community along the railroad and included students from kindergarten to the final year of junior high school. The railroad promised to paint the names on the sides of the locomotive and to attach to the locomotive a plate with the name of the boy or girl who suggested the name, as well as the name of his or her school. The contest elicited more than 10,000 names for the 20 engines. A 14-year-old named J. Schumann Moore of Lynn, Massachusetts, a student at Lynn's Eastern High School, suggested the winning name for No. 3713: The Constitution. Other winning names for the 10 Lima Pacifics were for No. 3710, Peter Cooper No. 3711, Allagash; No. 3712, East Wind; No. 3714, Greylock, No. 3715, Kwasind; No. 3716, Rogers' Rangers; No. 3717, Old North Bridge; No. 3718, Ye Salem Witch; and No. 3719, Camel's Hump.

Certainly The Constitution was among the more dignified names. Moore said he selected the name because it signified "the backbone of our country. Appropriate especially in that the railroads are the backbone of our transportation system." On December 11, 1937, the railroad held a christening ceremony in Boston's North Station. The railroad would hold two more such contests, one in 1940 and one in 1941, to name eight additional engines. For all 31 named engines, the engine name and the name of the contest winner were inscribed on a pair of large name plates mounted on the running boards on both sides of each engine above the drive wheels. Thus engine No. 3713 and her sisters acquired names, a practice more typical of the 19th than the 20th century in railroad operation.

Collection of Andy Kinicki.

After the country entered World War II in 1941, No. 3713 pulled many a 15- to 20-car troop train during the next four years. It was apparently during these wartime years that, for reasons unknown at present, the Boston and Maine removed both the shroud atop the boiler of these five locomotives, and the smoke deflectors alongside the smokeboxes. They may simply have been removed for routine servicing and, in the press of wartime conditions, were left off to avoid the time and labor of putting them back. About 1944 or 1945, the company added a second air pump on the pilot deck.

It was probably after the war that No. 3713 and her sisters were repainted and relettered in a racy style sometimes referred to as "speed" lettering because its slanted script gave an impression of speed. The "speed" lettering replaced the standard rectangular herald adopted by the Boston & Maine in 1927.

Following the war, No. 3713 and her sisters returned to handling the regular passenger traffic. Among their patrons were young campers headed for an outing in the northern woods. Toward the end of her working life, No. 3713 was equipped with special steam pipes and used to melt snow in the yards of North Station, and still later as a stationary steam power plant. She was last called into service during a flood. Whereas floods shorted out the axle-mounted traction motors of diesel-electric locomotives, the fireboxes of many steam locomotives rode high enough to be above flood waters so that steam locomotives could push through flood waters that diesels dared not enter. No. 3713 made her last run in 1958.

When F. Nelson Blount acquired No. 3713, he exhibited her first at South Carver, then Pleasure Island at Wakefield, Massachusetts, in 1960 and 1961. From 1962 through 1969, the engine rested on exhibit first at North Walpole, New Hampshire, then at Bellows Falls, Vermont, after which Steamtown loaned the engine to Boston's Museum of Science. The Boston and Maine's Billerica Shop overhauled the locomotive in 1969, repainting her in the original 1934 herald (pattern of 1927). Eventually, after some years in Boston, the engine returned to Steamtown during the mid-1970s.

The 4-6-2 Pacific-type locomotive is the type most common in the Steamtown collection, which in addition to this engine included one Canadian National Railways 4-6-2, No. 5288, and two Canadian Pacific Railway Pacifics, Nos. 1293 and 2317.

C. P. Atherton photo, collection of John C. Hutchins, courtesy Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society

However, Boston and Maine Railroad No. 3713 is the only American-built engine among the Pacifics in the Steamtown collection. It is one of about fifty-six 4-6-2 Pacific-type locomotives preserved in the United States. Although the type is well represented among preserved locomotives in the United States and 12 more are preserved in Canada this particular locomotive is further significant because it is one of only three steam road engines of the Boston and Maine Railroad that have survived, the others being 4-4-0 No. 494, at White River Junction, Vermont, and 2-6-0, No. 1455, at Edaville, Massachusetts. Two Boston and Maine 0-6-0 switch engines, Numbers 410 and 444, also survive.

Condition: In terms of appearance, the locomotive is in reasonably good condition. Mechanically, the locomotive is believed to be nearly operable. It could be made operable with suitable overhaul.

Recommendation: This is exactly the type of heavy-duty, main line motive power, in this instance specifically passenger motive power, that the Steamtown collection should emphasize. The NPS should document in much more detail the operational history of this locomotive, and through photographs and Boston and Maine Mechanical Department records, should thoroughly explore changes made in the locomotive during its history. Extensive search for photographs of this particular locomotive in service should be a part of the study. The study should include a complete assessment by mechanical authorities of the locomotive's mechanical condition. The report should recommend the period to which the locomotive should be restored and repainted, and based on mechanical condition, whether to restore it to operable condition and to operate it for excursion trains or special movements. It should ascertain whether the locomotive ever received the red and mustard/gold striping and speedlining documented on sister locomotives Nos. 3712 and 3714. It should be restored to operation if feasible. When not in service, it should be exhibited indoors, protected from the weather.

The Boston and Maine Railroad published this undated single-sheet flyer during the mid 1930s to announce the contest to select names for its Lima-built 4-6-2 locomotives. The flyer illustrated No. 3711, a sister to Steamtown's No. 3713, which exhibited the smoke deflectors alongside the smokebox and the streamlined casing over the domes, features removed from all locomotives of this class, probably during World War II.
Steamtown Foundation collection.


Armitage, Al. "Boston and Maine Locomotive No. 3710 [measured drawing]." Railroad Model Craftsman, Vol. 25, No. 2 (July 1956): cover, iii.

"Boston and Maine 4-6-2 [measured drawing of No. 3712]." Model Railroader, Vol. 13, No. 4 (Apr. 1946): 266-268.

"Boston and Maine No. 3712 [measured drawing]." Model Railroader, Vol. 17, No. 5 (May 1950): 60.

Boston & Maine Railroad, WANT YOUR NAME ON THIS LOCOMOTIVE? AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE YOUTH OF NEW ENGLAND. (Single-page promotional flyer, published by the Boston and Maine Railroad, ca. 1937.) In the Steamtown Foundation files.

Cook; Richard J. Super Power Steam Locomotives. San Marino: Golden West Books, 1966: 7, 8, 21, 42, 43, 100, 101.

Frye, Harry A. Minuteman Steam: Boston & Maine Steam Locomotives, 1911-1958. Littleton: Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society, Inc., 1982: 124-142, 158, and especially 125, 140-142. [This excellent motive power history is a principal source on this locomotive.]

Guide to the Steamtown Collection. Bellows Falls, Vt.: Steamtown Foundation, n.d. (ca. 1973).

Harlow, Alvin F. Steelways of New England. New York: Creative Age Press, 1946.

Hastings, Philip Ross. The Boston and Maine: A Photographic Essay. n.p.: Locomotive and Railway Preservation, 1989. [Disappointingly, although Hastings photographed No. 3713, not one of his photographs of that locomotive appears in this book.]

"High Green" column, Boston and Maine Railroad Magazine, Vol. 26, No. 3 (May-June-July 1958). [Item on upcoming move of Locomotive No. 3713 to Edaville.]

Johnson, Ron. The Best of Maine Railroads. South Portland: Author, 1985: 120.

Jones, Robert Willoughby. Boston and Maine; Three Colorful Decades of New England Railroading. Glendale: Trans-Anglo Books, 1991: No data on Locomotive No. 3713, but on pp. 50 and 86 color photos of No. 3712 and on p. 51 of 3714 all with colorful red and mustard-gold lettering and striping which may have been used on No. 3713 also.

Kyper, Frank. "Yes, It Was 'The Constitution.'" The Railroad Enthusiast (Winter-Spring 1971): 27-28.

________. "The Boston and Maine's Existing Steam Locomotives--Intentional and Otherwise!" B&M Bulletin, Vol. 2 (Mar. 1973): 10-14.

Lima Locomotive Works. Builder's photo card of Locomotive No. 3710, with specifications for series 3710-3714 on reverse. In Steamtown collections.

Lima Locomotive Works. "Specification Card for Locomotive No. 3713." Dec. 21, 1934. In the Steamtown Foundation files.

Locomotive Cyclopedia of American Practice. 12th ed. New York: Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corp., 1944:171. [Builder's photograph of No. 3710 with specifications.]

McCall. "Pinnacle of the Pacifics--Boston & Maine's P4 Locomotives." B&M Bulletin, Vol. 17, No. 3, n.d. [1990]: 14-35.

Neal, Robert Miller. High Green and the Bark Peelers: The Story of Engineman Henry A. Beaulieu and his Boston and Maine Railroad. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1950: 161-165. [A description of a trip on P-4-b No. 3715 in service on a suburban (commuter) train of wooden coaches.]

"Retired Boston and Maine Equipment on Exhibit at 'Pleasure Island.'" Boston and Maine Railroad Magazine, Vol. 27, No. 4 (July-Aug. 1959): 16, 17.

3713, the Pacific Locomotive exhibited at the Museum of Science, Boston. Boston: Museum of Science, n.d. [A six-panel folder about the locomotive.]

Twombly, L. Stewart, and Robert E. Chaffin. "Post-1911 B&M Steam Roster--Part XI." B&M Bulletin, Vol. 6, No. 1 (Fall 1976): 34.

<<< Previous <<< Contents >>> Next >>>

Last Updated: 14-Feb-2002