Frisco Mikado Steam Locomotive

Makes Big Impression on Citizens!

Tuesday, April 17, 2001 marked the day the ISD & FA Railway Company took delivery of their SL-SF "Frisco" Mikado steam locomotive. This 2-8-2 locomotive came from the shops fully equipment and ready for operations.

The press office for the ISD & FA Rwy Co. posted this press release on April 17, 2001.

April 17, 2001 - Calico Texas

Today Marks Big Day at ISD & FA Rwy. Co.

After several years of searching for a Frisco Mikado steam locomotive, the ISD & FA Railway Company took delivery. The locomotive arrived today from its previous home in White Plains, NY. The locomotive was immediately moved into the locomotive shop for a complete inspection. The shop maintenance crew started their detailed inspection of the locomotive and tender and the crew plans to work throughout the evening and night looking at the locomotive and tender to determine when the fire up procedure can begin.

The shop foreman indicated the inspection could be finished as early as 2 or 3 AM Wednesday morning. If all is well with the locomotive, the crew will start the fire in the firebox about 3 AM and about 8 to 9 hours later the Mikado will have enough steam pressure to make a move through the locomotive service facility. If this short test run goes well, the locomotive will begin to stretch her legs with her first stroll around the yard by 10AM Wednesday morning.

The ISD & FA Railway has been hauling coal loads into the locomotive service yard for the last week at record breaking levels. The railway's  Superintendent indicated that "Once the boiler is fired with successful  test runs, it may be a while before the locomotive will be moved back into the shop for routine maintenance. It is our intent to put the Frisco Mikado through its paces. We want to complete testing by Friday."

Members of the shop crew are excited and will be among the first see the Frisco Mikado take her first steps. The ISD & FA shop crew has started calling the Frisco Mikado, "Miss Calico" after the former CEO of the ISD & FA Railway's holding company. When one of the locomotive shop crew members was asked why they started calling her "Miss Calico" he said, "She's a beauty with fine lines, has her personality, she's a lady and she's already starting to purr like a cat."

With the acquisition of 24 Frisco Coal Hopper cars earlier this year, "Miss Calico" will make her first commercial run on Friday afternoon bringing a coal train into Calico, Texas from the ISD & FA / Union Pacific mainline inter-connect.

The railway press office is planning major photo coverage over the next 5 days. The events will be track on the ISD & FA Railway Company's website with pictures and more information about "Miss Calico".

Detail information about "Miss Calico"

Lionel Un-cataloged 6-18030 SL-SF "Frisco" Mikado 2-8-2 steam locomotive with Lionel Railsounds. Cab/Tender number "4100" manufactured 1993.

Locomotive Details:

     •     Die cast metal cab

     •     Brass and steel accents

     •     Fire box glow

     •     Interior cab detail

     •     Operating smoke stack and steam chest

     •     Opening boiler front

     •     Metal wheels on the pilot and trailing trucks

     •     Brake shoe details

     •     Die cast drive wheels with steel rims

     •     Constant voltage head light & back up light

     •     Illuminated marker lights

     •     Powerful motor that will run on AC or DC current

     •     Transformer controlled forward-neutral-reverse operation

     •     Engineer and fireman figures     

Coal Tender Details:

     •     Water capacity of 12000 gals and a full tender weight of 12 tons

     •     Operating die cast knuckle coupler on the rear of the tender

     •     Stamped metal frame

     •     Die cast trucks

     •     Directional back up lighting

     •     Real coal load

     •     Steam railsounds

     •     Authentic FRISCO markings

     •     22" long

On Wednesday, April 18, 2001 at 4:00 A.M. the ISD & FA Railway Company completed it inspection of their new Frisco Mikado locomotive. ISD & FA General Superintendent gave the order to the locomotive crew to fire up the boiler. By 11:00 A.M. the cab crew announced that they had the pressure needed to make a move in the service yard.

With the General Superintendent on board, the engineer moved the throttle lever just a little and while everyone held their breath the mighty Mikado locomotive with its water pumps operating, steam blowing from its Cox's values, generator running and the air compressor making its pumping noise, just sat there. "What was wrong?"

After a moment of exchanged words in the locomotive cab, the engineer moved the throttle just a little bit more and then it happened. The mighty Mikado moved for the first time under her own power. The locomotive that the service crew had nicknamed "Miss Calico" moved oh so slowly up the track with its pistons moving slowly in and out of the cylinders, the massive drive rods slowly turning the huge driver wheels and then right on cue, the smoke stack belched a massive cloud of smoke and made the sound that everyone in Calico, Texas had waited to hear, its first "CHOO".

The joy and jubilation that came from the waiting crowd of railway employees brings tears to the eyes and so much joy to the heart. Then just about the time the crowd drew quite again, "Miss Calico" belched another cloud of smoke and made her second CHOO! The crowd cheered again! Now it was time for "Miss Calico" to make her presents known to everyone in town as well as up and down the valley.

The engineer slowly reached up above his head, placed his oil and grease stained glove on the shining brass bobber at the end of a rope and slowly pulled on that shining bobber until the whistle on top of Miss Calico's boiler let out with a deafening blast of steam! It was official now, Miss Calico was in town and everyone could hear her whistle blowing, announcing to the town's folks, "I'm here, I'm alive, and I'm ready to meet the world!"

Then the engineer pulled back on the throttle, Miss Calico came to a lady like stop and the cab crew was so excited, it took them 15 minutes to gain control of themselves. Miss Calico's first steps were everything they had hoped for.

The General Superintendent climbed down out of the cab, got on his walkie-talkie and radioed the junction tower and told the yardmaster to "Clear some track, Miss Calico, she's coming out!" Moments later, the yard master radioed back, "Your have clear track into town." The General Superintendent signaled the engineer and Miss Calico strutted her stuff into town.

The engineer pulled Miss Calico in front of the depot and parked her there for all the towns people to see. Her gleaming paint, white steam, white smoke from her stack, they all made for a beautiful sight. While all this was going on, the General Superintendent was on the phone to the yardmaster in Uhlerville.

The conversation was about getting clear track to Uhlerville's new servicing facility 18 miles away and Miss Calico's first test run. The clearance was given and Miss Calico backed away from the depot onto a spur, picked up the restored woodside Frisco caboose and then back onto the mainline for Uhlerville.

With a Frisco U36B standing by, Miss Calico would move under her own power to Uhlerville and the U36B would follow close behind just in case. So the locomotive service crew and the General Superintendent climbed aboard the caboose. Miss Calico's whistle announced her intentions and as the engineer slowly pulled back on the throttle, the mighty Mikado headed for Uhlerville.

Some 50 minutes later, Miss Calico and her caboose came to a stop in Uhlerville on a track adjacent to the new servicing area being built. Everyone got off and started checking Miss Calico out. They checked her water levels, grease fittings, bushings, drive rods, checked everything. After a 30-minute layover in Uhlerville, the General Superintendent radioed the yardmaster and requested clear track back to Calico, Texas. After a few moments the General Superintendent received a Hi-Ball from the dispatcher and Miss Calico with her U36B escort returned home. It was an exciting day and things couldn't have gone better. Miss Calico was home and ready to show what she could do.

After arriving home, the General Superintendent hurried back to his office to line up Miss Calico's first day of revenue service. Things had already been lined up but plans had been made to have a couple of diesel locomotives standing by just in case.

The ISD & FA Railway is a branch line operation. They supply and receive freight to and from the big boys. The next day the big boys were bringing a consist of 24 coal hopper cars full of coal. It was the intent of the General Superintendent that the Mikado would pick up the 24-unit coal train and bring it into Calico, Texas.

Now with the success of the test run behind them, he ordered up a U36B to accompany the Mikado to the mainline junction and assist Miss Calico in bringing the coal train in.

Miss Calico was moved back into the yard, her caboose still coupled to her tender where she remained the rest of the day and night. The crew took shifts that night, tending to her, re-checking her, waiting for the next day and her official debut.

As the sun slowly came up the next morning, the sun moved over Miss Calico bringing her from the dark shadows of the night into the light of a perfect day, no clouds and the bluest of sky. As the crew continued checking on Miss Calico during the early morning hours, things were getting under way to make the trip to the mainline and to pick up that coal train.

At 11:00 A.M. the radio aboard Miss Calico received the message from the yardmaster ordering the U36B to couple on behind the Mikado, couple up the caboose and move out of the service area toward the depot. Sitting in front of the depot, some additional crew climbed onboard the caboose and now all was ready.

The engineer signaled his intent and with the pull of the throttle, Miss Calico was off on her first revenue run. The ride over was easy and because Miss Calico had not pulled a load the excitement was building on how she would perform. The Frisco U36B was instructed to add power assist only if the engineer asked for it. You see the diesel locomotive was there just in case.

They arrived at the mainline junction a little early and were there when the mainline freight from the West arrived. After looking the Mikado over, the engineer of the East bound freight and his crew uncoupled the freight right behind the last coal car, moved up the line to clear the switch and then backed the 24-unit coal train onto the siding. After setting the brakes, the diesel uncoupled from the coal train consist and moved back through the switch onto the mainline, coupled up the remaining freight and after a fan fare of horn and whistle signals, the East bound freight pulled away from the junction.

After the freight had cleared the junction, Miss Calico and the U36B maneuvered the caboose into an old spur to wait while they coupled onto the coal train. Then after some switching, Miss Calico and her U36B assistance backed up to the coal train, set the couplers, connected the air brake hose, ran an air check, then the brake check and now things were ready to go.

Miss Calico whistled that she was going to move off the siding and the mighty Mikado was throttled up. As the slacking noise of the couplers could be heard throughout the train, the coal train started to move. When the last coal car cleared the switch, the Mikado was put in reverse and the entire train moved backwards to pick up her caboose. Once the caboose was coupled up, air hose connected and tested, the order was given to head for home.

Once again the engineer radioed the dispatcher for track clearance, blew the mighty whistle, pulled back on the throttle and Miss Calico was officially on the payroll.

Miss Calico moved her load of coal with ease and without strain. When she arrived back home, all the towns people were there to greet her. With a helicopter over head and people sitting on top of the water tower, on the service platform of the light tower, the cat walk on the crossing signals, roof tops and one person sitting on the elevated trolley track, there must have been several hundred pictures taken as Miss Calico slowly pulled into town with that coal train.

The staff of the ISD & FA Railway Company is extremely proud to show you the SL-SF "Frisco" Mikado steam locomotive "Miss Calico" and her first trip home.