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Broadway Limited 2-10-2/4

Updated May 23, 2011

click the above for enlargements


The saga of the Broadway Limited ATSF 3800 2-10-2 goes back several years and has developed simultaneously with Broadway's development as a company.

Broadway Limited has raised the stakes for prototype model railroading. They were new kids on the block and have come on the scene in a major way. Most of their products appeared with little forewarning and are very railroad specific. They have also been pioneers in sound locomotives. All of this together has encouraged other manufacturers to do more rapid prototyping and raise sound to a higher level.

However, the 2-10-2 production was not rapid. Broadway moved their offices, changed staff and changed manufacturers in China during this time. Hopefully some of the adolescent mistakes will mean a more mature production in the future.

John Moore was involved in early critiques of the locomotive but seems to have been lost in the changes at BLI. When they saw critiques of the pre-production locomotive on the society website, they contacted me to tweak the model. To their credit, several changes were made to improve its performance and appearance. Credit should be given to John Moore, Don Borden, Paul Brown and Andy Sperandeo for their assistance in the whole process. They have been the brains behind this compilation.


The 3800 was announced showing photos of the modernized loco. However, when the photos of the pre-production engine hit the website, the criticism began to flow. It was an as-built oil burner. The plans appear to be from Plans for Model Railroaders, 1948 edition and 1953 edition, published by the Santa Fe.

The 3800 class included locos 3800 - 3940, minus 3829 mentioned below. But not all were the same, and modifications through their lives made each one unique. They were produced 1919-1927 and lasted as late as 1955.

The units produced by BLI will accurately represent 3876-3882 during their early life.

The 2-10-4 will is 3829, Santa Fe's first 2-10-4 and an experimental and developmental engine toward the later 2-10-4 engines. It was born with a 4 wheel trailing truck and a 15K coal tender. Other than the trailing truck it was a standard 3800. It received a 20K long coal tender in 1930 which was converted to oil in the late thirties. The 15K tender with the model is not correct for any of its configurations.

Below is a list of published photos of the specific engine numbers that Broadway Limited has chosen. I would invite others to submit additional listings and notes.


  • Jeff Ainsworth Santa Fe Steam Series Volume 11, p. 47, 48, and 49 has photos of original and modernized versions.

#3877, I have not seen one in print.


  • Jeff Ainsworth Santa Fe Steam Series Volume 11, p. 50 -52 has photos of original version both engineer and fireman side and a modernized photo.


  • Santa Fe in the Mountains, p. 69, has 3879 leading a freight down Cajon Pass near Sullivan's Curve. It is the modernized version. Most of the consist is visible.
  • Cajon: Rail Passage to the Pacific, p. 181, has a color photo of 3879 pulling into Summit, CA, as front helper on a 1948 train. Again it is the modernized version.
  • Cajon: A Pictorial Album, p. 117, has a color photo of 3879 on the point of a train at Summit, 5/29/50, as modernized.
  • The Warbonnet, 4Q 2003, p. 22 contains the same color photo seen in Cajon: Rail Passage above.
  • Jeff Ainsworth Santa Fe Steam Series Volume 11, p. 53-54 has photos of original and modernized version both fireman side.
  • http://photoswest.org/cgi-bin/imager?00002035+OP-2035 as the model
  • http://photoswest.org/cgi-bin/imager?00001022+OP-1022 as the model


  • Santa Fe: Steel Rails Through California shows 3881 at Victorville in 1947. It does not have drifting valves, but does have extended cab, flip smote deflector, and disk main driver.
  • Jeff Ainsworth Santa Fe Steam Series Volume 11, p. 55 has photos of modernized version engineer side without drifting valves. 1947 in Los Angeles.


  • Jeff Ainsworth Santa Fe Steam Series Volume 11, p. 56 -57 has photos of original and modernized version both engineer and fireman side.


  • Santa Fe's Big 3, p. 19, builder photo with coal tender.
  • Steam Locomotives of the Santa Fe, p. 105: - Santa Fe photo, squarely on the fireman side, coal tender, as delivered with 1 sand dome.
    - 3/4 shot, engineer's side, 1954, San Bernardino, 20K oil tender with SANTA FE on it, drifting valve clearly shown (Ellington calls "valve by-pass).
    - 3/4 shot, fireman's side, 20K oil tender with number only on it, no drifting valve, no other data.
  • Model Railroader Cyclopedia Vol. 1 Steam Locomotives, p. 84, two shots, both of the fireman's side, one early with coal tender and one with later trailing truck (changed 1925) , Elesco heater pump and drifting valve, SANTA FE on tender.
  • Iron Horses of Santa Fe Trail, p. 336, 3/4 shot of engineer's and one of fireman's side, Raton, 1950, drifting valve, Raised roof on cab, SANTA FE on tender
  • Santa Fe Texas Type 2-10-4 (Ainsworth), p. 7, 3/4 shot engineer's side, Raton, 1949, drifting valve, SANTA FE on tender
  • Santa Fe's Raton Pass:
    - p. 127, front of boiler only, engineer's side, drifting valve
    - p. 134, fireman's side, as built, coal burner, one sand dome.
  • Santa Fe Steam, the Last Decade, p. 67 3/4 shot, fireman's side, oil, no drifting valve, no SANTA FE on tender. Text: "worked until 8-29-53 with its last years devoted to freight and helper service on the NM Division."
  • Iron Horses of Santa Fe Trail, p. 340, (no photo) sold for scrap 8-9-55
  • Locomotive Quarterly 26:4, p. 32, good side shot, engineer's side, oil tender, 9-3-48, drifting valve, two sand domes, Albuquerque.


  • Steam Locomotives of the Santa Fe:
    - p. 236, drawing from Santa Fe's Car and Locomotive Plans for Model Railroaders. 15K oil tender.
    - p. 238, 20 K tender, oil and coal.

Therefore, for the prototype modeler, the 2-10-2s are accurate only for the 1920s-30s and only for locomotives 3876 - 3882. The 3829 is not accurate for any time period. The undecorated version can be adapted for 3800-3890 with many exceptions.

Review of the Model


  • Very nice looking tender! It follows Ellington's plans for the 15K oil tender nicely.
  • The step that goes from the lower level of the tender to the top of the oil bunker should be slightly to the fireman's side, and there should be a hand hold to assist in climbing to the top of the tank. The strap which secures the oil bunker to the tender is shorter under that step.
  • Overall, excellent job. I hope they make the tender available separately.
  • The QSI sound system and decoder are located in the tender. The tender hatches open to reveal a rheostat to control sound volume.
  • Santa Fe was omitted from the tender since the loco generally represents a pre-1940 configuration.


  • The cab looks good except:
    • No cab sunshade, or the shade is rolled up. This can be added using the 3751 model as an example.
    • The hatch on the roof is a vent that raised for ventilation. BLI's version is non-descript.
    • The windows are thick and not very appealing.
  • The loco is too long
    • Wheelbase is 1' too long.
    • Driver wheelbase is 9" too long
    • Drivers are 3" too small (to be expected to allow for flanges.
    • From the rear of cab to pony truck axle is 2'7" too long (3/8")
  • There is a line that runs much of the distance of both sides of the boiler. It represented a seam in the boiler jacket, but it is very thick.
  • The whistle and pop valves are brass. However, in real life they would have been blackened by use. Only the bell would have been polished.
  • The builder plate is blank. It would be nice to have data in that spot.
  • The stack is too tall per Ellington's drawing. Many modelers would like a selection of stacks like were on the 3751, as later versions did have a variety of stacks. The stack is a separate molding and is press fitted so that a modeler can make his own if he desires.
  • There were 3-rung ladders on each side hanging over the valve gear. This has been added by BLI after initial reviews but without instructions for attaching them. Photos in Ainsworth's 3800 class book demonstrate that these ladders were not consistently attached to all 3800 locomotives. One needs to use photos to be sure of his prototype. (A good example is 3824 in 1930-31 with ladder, in 1937 and 1946 without, and in 1950-52 with.)
  • The loco comes with a rubber tired driver either installed or separate depending on who packed it. Some folks like traction wheels, others hate them, but the extra driver is included so that the modeler can use whichever he wishes.

QSI Sound

The sound system has been excellent on my engine. I especially like the whirl of the steam generator as the headlight slowly brightens. The mechanical adjustment of the sound volume goes from off to loud to louder. When I get around to programming the locomotive, there may be more sedate sound levels available. Unfortunately, QSI decoders have their own programming instructions that differ from other manufactures so buyers should follow the included instructions with care. I have reset BLI locos to factory settings more than once to correct my errors.

Unpacking the model

  • When my loco was received, it would not do anything. I removed the tender and reset the decoder; that solved the electrical problem.
  • Then the tender would not stay on the track. I noted one of the tender axles had shifted. I removed the truck, moved the metal electrical pickup piece back into its proper place, and replaced the truck.
  • The headlight was very crooked and did not light well. I wiggled it until it came loose and noticed that the brass mounting pin was bent. Using needle nose pliers I straightened the pin and reattached it.
  • Most modelers are "modelers," so these issues should be easy for them to correct. A heavy model packed in foam traveling half way around the world, including part of that in the US Postal Service gets some difficult treatment.

Steve Sandifer

Photos: click for enlargements. (Excuse the dust, I've been working on the railroad.)

Corrections and input to Steve Sandifer.

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