1921 – 1956 – SP 745 hauled mostly freight, but occasionally passengers, from 1921 through 1956. Although it was always painted “Southern Pacific” or “Southern Pacific Lines”, it actually worked for SP subsidiaries. The state of Texas had a law that required railroads operating in the state to be based there. SP owned the Galveston, Harrisburg, & San Antonio, and sent 745 to work for it. Later 745 worked for another Texas-based, SP-owned line, the Texas & New Orleans. In these roles 745 operated mostly between east Texas and the east end of the SP system in New Orleans.
1919 – In a burst of genius, the Southern Pacific placed an order for repair and replacement parts for their existing fleet of Mk-5’s. These 2-8-2 work horses were the backbone of SP / T&NO’s freight haulers, and were capable of helping passenger traffic on locals or special movements. Baldwin supplied the parts ordered; while some went to the Houston Texas shops, most came to New Orleans.
Rather than simply repairing existing locos, the Algiers Shops became a locomotive manufacturer. Thru 1921, the Shops turned out a dozen sister “Mike’s”; receiving road numbers 738-750. As part of the SP’s Texas and New Orleans subsidiary, the Mikes spent most of their working lives east of El Paso and west of the Sabine. Because of Texas railroad law, the distinctive Vanderbilt tenders were recipients of a “dog house”, a small metal out-house looking shed built atop the tender, to provide a station for the brakeman.