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This site requires JavaScript to function properly.Please enable JavaScript in your web browser. It was a daring attempt by the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway to improve upon its early successes with mallet-type locomotives and to push this concept to the limit. Their theory was simple – combine two articulated engines under a single boiler with the aim of doubling the power of a single locomotive. By doing so, railroad companies expected to save big money on maintenance, fuel, and crew costs without compromising raw motive power.

In 1911, they pushed the idea to the limit by doubling up existing Santa Fe 2-10-2 engines to create the ultimate 2-10-10-2 mallet.
With rounded sides and rear, and an overall modern appearance, turtleback tenders had a clean, streamlined look that was years ahead of its time. Most eye-catching was the distinctive cow-catcher fitted on the rear of the tender.With this locomotive, Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway discovered the limits of the compound mallet locomotive experiment. Simply put, the under-designed boiler and firebox could not make steam fast enough to power the massive cylinders at higher speeds.

Ultimately, 3000-class mallets were relegated mainly to helper service in California on the Cajon Pass and on the Tehachapi Loop. The unique turtleback tenders, however, lived on throughout the steam era to service a large assortment of Santa Fe engines.

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