Brass Showcase: Westside Model Co. AT&SF Santa Fe 2-10-10-2 3000 Class Locomotive

Welcome to the Rare Brass Showcase: Spotlight on a favorite from the Nightwatch Trains private HO Scale brass train collection:

Westside Model Company Brass HO Scale AT&SF Santa Fe 2-10-10-2 3000 Class Locomotive

This striking steam loco is for sale! Click here to see the listing.

Crafted by Katsumi Mokeiten Co. in Tokyo, Japan, the AT&SF Santa Fe 2-10-10-2 is definitely a conversation starter. Katsumi built both HO and O scale brass models; importers included Max Grey, Perfection Scale Models, and of course, Westside Model Company, amongst others.

This particular locomotive even had the original Westside Model Co. paperwork, which we’ve transcribed word-for-word below.

AT&SF 3000 Class 2-10-10-2 Westside Model Co. Original Brochure:

“In 1911, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company constructed ten 2-10-10-2 compound Mallets which, at the time, were the world’s largest locomotives. Numbered 3000-3009, these giants were the first engines to exceed half-a-million pounds weight for just the locomotive.

They were also the first of this particular wheel arrangement. However, the units were under-designed and were failures from the start. Having “not enough boiler and fire box” they could not make steam fast enough to feed their massive cylinders thus holding their operating speed to less than 10 mph.

Their 111,600 lbs. tractive force was almost unbelievable back then and was used primarily for helper service out of Barstow, California on the Cajon Pass and out of Bakersfield on the Tehachapi Loop. Because of the many mechanical problems and lack of speed and steam the 3000’s were converted to simple 2-10-2 types (3010 class) between 1915-1918.

This was even more interesting since the class originated from early 2-10-2 compounds. From that point on the Santa Fe ceased to experiment with Mallet designs and did not purchase any articulated equipment until WW II.

The Westside Model Company saw fit to product the “3000” class as a sequel to its “3010” class 2-10-2. It is rare to have a model available that represented a failure on its prototype road but performs so well on the model pike.

Although massive with its 20 driving wheels, this gargantuan squeaks around some fairly tight curves and can pull “the tower out of the yard” if need be. The tender alone with its compound curves, pilot on the rear and 6-wheel passenger car trucks was as much a novelty as the locomotive that pulled it. The tenders however, lived on to serve more useful lives rolling behind a large assortment of power on the Santa Fe until the end of the steam era.”

Westside Model Company Santa Fe 2-10-10-2 3000 Class Brass Locomotive Specs:

  • Length: Engine & Tender 17 1/8 inches
  • Weight: 35 oz.
  • Motor: KTM DH-15
  • Manufacturer: Katsumi, Japan
  • Imported: 1000 Units
  • The brochure also states a “Pewter Belt Buckle Included” – but alas, it was long gone before we acquired this model.

Additional History from Accompanying Westside Model Co. Paperwork:

Text of the original paper has been transcribed below:

S.F. Class 3000 2-10-10-2

Class 3000-3009 locomotives were built in 1910-1911 lasting until the period of 1915-1918 during which they were rebuilt into the 2-10-2 locomotives.

Additional information and photos of Santa Fe steam locos are available in the following publications:

  • “Iron Horses of the Santa Fe Trail” – E.D. Worley
  • “Santa Fe-Steel Rails Through California” -Duke-Kistler

Fun Facts: 2-10-10-2 Steam Locomotives

The wheel arrangement of the rare 2-10-10-2 was as follows; all were articulated, Mallet-type locomotives.

  • 2 leading wheels
  • 2 sets of ten driving wheels
  • 1 pair of trailing wheels

Just two classes of the 2-10-10-2 locomotives were ever built:

  • The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway’s 3000 class
  • The Virginian Railway’s class AE

On the AT&SF 3000 class:

  • Baldwin-built, they were the world’s biggest locomotives from their debut until 1914.
  • They could only go an unimpressive 10-15 MPH before losing steam
  • Between 1915 and 1918, the AT&SF converted them back to 2-10-2 configs

What Happened to the Original 2-10-10-2 Locomotives?

As the Westside Model Co. paperwork explained above, the 3000 class was, for all purposes…an unfortunate failure. None were preserved.

However, the Alco-built class AE locomotives found greater success: in service for a quarter century or more, the last were scrapped between 1947 and 1949. As with the 3000 class, none survived.

Even if the gargantuan 2-10-10-2’s lost steam early on, perhaps they serve to remind us that all was not lost. After all,

Failure is central to engineering. Every single calculation that an engineer makes is a failure calculation. Successful engineering is all about understanding how things break or fail.

― Henry Petroski


Nightwatch Trains specializes in collectible vintage HO scale trains, with an emphasis on brass trains. See what quality HO scale brass we have in stock and ready to ship.