No. 34


I have been a member of this group for some time, enjoying the banter
about the late John Allen, one of my lifelong heroes. I have noted
with pleasure the recent postings regarding Keith Blanchard's No.
but am surprised not to have found any references to No. 34,
scratchbuilt 4-10-0. No. 34 was also a survivor, having appeared in
several photos in "Model Railroading with John Allen" and
recently, in the July 1999 "Model Railroader" on page 43.
Interestingly, this article identifies No. 34 as the only locomotive
to have survived. It is now apparently the property of Andy
Sperandeo, the recent editor of MR. Apparently, the existence of No.
43 was not known at the time.

What is curious about No. 34 is the wheel arrangement and what it
says about John. As far as I am able to determine, there was only
one prototype for the 4-10-0 wheel arrangement. "El
("The Governor," presumably in honor of Leland Stanford,
president of the Central Pacific Railroad) was produced by the shops
of the CPRR in 1884 to improve on the recent success of their 4-8-0s
and master the High Sierras. According to "The Encyclopedia of
American Locomotives" (Brian Hollingsworth, Smithmark Publishers,
1997), the 4-8-0s were the "Mastadons", not the 4-10-0.
Gobernador" was not successful and apparently served out most of
relatively short career in the Sacramento yards.

Not so John's No. 34. Only John could get away with a wheel
arrangement which did not exist in the late steam era. According to
the MR article, No. 34 was "a conglomeration of . . . Mantua
engine drivers, Varney Ten-Wheeler cylinders, a Mantua
Pilot truck, and a boiler from a Varney Consolidation."
No. 34 had considerably more success in the High Akinbacks than its 4-
10-0 predecessor had in the High Sierras. The point which captures
my mind as I read contemporary model railroading literature and
marvel over the slavish adherence to the prototypes by some modelers
is that the most renown modeler of all time, a man with a wide
following today, had no prototype for any of his equipment. Yet any
single piece could have existed as he modeled it, even No. 34. The
supreme irony is that perhaps John's GD has become the only model
prototype produced and sold in the marketplace.

Best wishes to all for a great 2003.