Engine Tender

which US railroad company made the highest quality steam engines back in the 1930-50's?

Two different things.

Locomotive manufacturers included Lima, Baldwin, Alco and others, all of highest quality and cutting edge technology for the day, such as incorporation of roller bearings.

Some railroads did make their own locos, too. Not too familiar with other carriers, but the SP had major shops in Sacramento, LA, Houston and San Antonio in Texas and Pine Bluff Arkansas. The Sacto shops were turning out locos of SP design very early on. "El Gobernador" with a 4-10-0 wheel arrangement was the largest loco in the world when it was out-shopped in 1882, and the very prolific Stevens valve gear was designed by A J Stevens, SP Master Mechanic at Sacto.

Addendum:

And I agree with the gentleman below. Baldwin was the king of the heap.

Wanna have some fun? Ask someone which was the most powerful loco produced by an American manufacturer?

You'll hear, Big Boy, Alco Big Boy, UP big Boy, Big Boy, Big Boy Big Boy...

Get them to bet on it. The higher the better. Because they are wrong, wrong, wrong.

Then tell them about the Baldwin built M3 Yellowstones of the Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range

The Big Boy Cylinders (4) 23.75" x 32"
The M3 Cylinders (4) 26" x 32"

Big Boy Driving Wheelbase 36'6"
The M3 Driving Wheelbase 45'7"

Big Boy Engine & Tender Wheelbase 117' 7"
M3 Engine & Tender Wheelbase 113' 6"

Big Boy Boiler Diameter 95"
M3 Boiler Diameter 104"

The Big Boy Weight on Drivers 540,000 lb.
The DM&IR M3 Weight on Drivers 560,257 lb.

and for that reason

The Big Boy developed tractive effort of 133,375 lb.
The Baldwin Built M3 Yellowstones of the DM&IR got ya 140,000 lb.

The UP Big Boys were a couple feet longer, and a little heavier in overall weight (64,000 lbs), but that is where their claim to fame ends.

The Big Boy did have one thing in advantage over the M3s. They were released with great fanfare and a well organized PR campaign.

Now.

Wanna bet?

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Lionel 6 28649 Polar Express Berkshire Jr Engine and tender
Lionel 6 28649 Polar Express Berkshire Jr Engine and tender
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Lionel O gauge Union Pacific 8633 engine  tender works fine
Lionel O gauge Union Pacific 8633 engine tender works fine
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Lionel Standard Prewar No 6 Engine  Tender NYC  HRRR Steam Locomotive NR
Lionel Standard Prewar No 6 Engine Tender NYC HRRR Steam Locomotive NR
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MTH 20 3560 UNION PACIFIC STEAM ENGINE LOCOMOTIVE WATER TENDER 814 O SCALE TRAIN
MTH 20 3560 UNION PACIFIC STEAM ENGINE LOCOMOTIVE WATER TENDER 814 O SCALE TRAIN
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Vintage Lionel Engine 6110 And Tender Lionel Lines Untested
Vintage Lionel Engine 6110 And Tender Lionel Lines Untested
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Lionel NYC 8632 Die Cast 4 4 2 Steam Engine w Whistle Tender  4 Freight Cars
Lionel NYC 8632 Die Cast 4 4 2 Steam Engine w Whistle Tender 4 Freight Cars
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LIONEL LionChief RC Disney Christmas GENERAL 4 4 0 Steam Engine
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LIONEL 8902 AND 8704 ENGINES AND TENDERS REPAINTED AND DC TRANSFORMER
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Lionel N  W J 4 8 4 Steam Engine  Tender Cab 612 No6 18040
Lionel N W J 4 8 4 Steam Engine Tender Cab 612 No6 18040
$450.00
LIONEL Postwar  246 2 4 2 Steam Engine  Tender 1959 1961
LIONEL Postwar 246 2 4 2 Steam Engine Tender 1959 1961
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LIONEL 28067 ERIE SCALE 4 6 2 PACIFIC STEAM ENGINE AND TENDER New In Box
LIONEL 28067 ERIE SCALE 4 6 2 PACIFIC STEAM ENGINE AND TENDER New In Box
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LIONEL TRAIN O GAUGE 224 STEAM ENGINE LOCOMOTIVE TENDER 2466W FLAGMAN No 1045
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Lionel new Lionel Little Lines Wizard of Oz steam engine tender go
Lionel new Lionel Little Lines Wizard of Oz steam engine tender go
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New Lionel 561 Pennsylvania 0 8 0 die cast metal steam engine and tender
New Lionel 561 Pennsylvania 0 8 0 die cast metal steam engine and tender
$99.99
HTE LIONEL POSTWAR 2035 2 6 4 ENGINE W 6466W TENDER
HTE LIONEL POSTWAR 2035 2 6 4 ENGINE W 6466W TENDER
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Lionel 8142 CO steam engine  tender runs smokes w light Chessie
Lionel 8142 CO steam engine tender runs smokes w light Chessie
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LIONEL 1423W SET 1655 ENGINE 6654W TENDER 6465 TANK 6452 GONDOLA 6257 CABOOSE
LIONEL 1423W SET 1655 ENGINE 6654W TENDER 6465 TANK 6452 GONDOLA 6257 CABOOSE
$70.00
LIONEL 6 83286 E JOHN DEERE STEAM ENGINE  TENDER LIONCHIEF REMOTE CONTROL SALE
LIONEL 6 83286 E JOHN DEERE STEAM ENGINE TENDER LIONCHIEF REMOTE CONTROL SALE
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O gauge Lionel 2065 4 6 4 steam engine and Tender Lionel lines
O gauge Lionel 2065 4 6 4 steam engine and Tender Lionel lines
$275.00
LIONEL POLAR EXPRESS 10TH ANNIVERSARY LIONCHIEF RC ENGINE  TENDER 6 81101 NEW
LIONEL POLAR EXPRESS 10TH ANNIVERSARY LIONCHIEF RC ENGINE TENDER 6 81101 NEW
$258.84
MT 3019LP MTH O Scale K 4s Steam Engine  Tender Pennsylvania
MT 3019LP MTH O Scale K 4s Steam Engine Tender Pennsylvania
$400.00
LIONEL UNION PACIFIC OVERLAND FLYER STEAM ENGINE TENDER o gauge train 6 30188 E
LIONEL UNION PACIFIC OVERLAND FLYER STEAM ENGINE TENDER o gauge train 6 30188 E
$178.84
Lionel 28059 Western Pacific TMCC 4 8 2 Mountain 179 Engine  Tender
Lionel 28059 Western Pacific TMCC 4 8 2 Mountain 179 Engine Tender
$999.95
Vintage Lionel JC Penney 4 6 2 Engine and Tender 6 18679 O Gauge Model Trains
Vintage Lionel JC Penney 4 6 2 Engine and Tender 6 18679 O Gauge Model Trains
$125.00
C 7 Steam Engine 1664 Locomotives with Tender 6466 WX Lionel Lines 0 Scale
C 7 Steam Engine 1664 Locomotives with Tender 6466 WX Lionel Lines 0 Scale
$99.95
LIONEL 8040 STEAM ENGINE with TENDER
LIONEL 8040 STEAM ENGINE with TENDER
$38.98
Marx Postwar Wind Up Bell Engine Tender  Caboose
Marx Postwar Wind Up Bell Engine Tender Caboose
$0.99
Lionel Chicago and North Western Steam Engine  Coal Tender
Lionel Chicago and North Western Steam Engine Coal Tender
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Vintage Lionel 2037 Locomotive with 6466W Tender Engine Runs
Vintage Lionel 2037 Locomotive with 6466W Tender Engine Runs
$99.99
Lionel  8003 Chessie Steam Special Steam Engine  Tender
Lionel 8003 Chessie Steam Special Steam Engine Tender
$600.00
Marx Trains Clockwork Engine and NYC Tender + 2 more cars
Marx Trains Clockwork Engine and NYC Tender + 2 more cars
$25.00
Vintage MARX 999 Steam Engine with NYC Tender O Scale  Transformer Model 729
Vintage MARX 999 Steam Engine with NYC Tender O Scale Transformer Model 729
$49.96


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