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After a long search, I found and bought a nice preowned MTH Premier PRR 4-6-2 K-4 from a major reseller. A 20-3296-1 w/ 3 volt PS2 to be exact, at a price that I consider to be reasonable.

It arrived and I really like it. BUT, it came with a tender for a Mikado.

The seller has searched in-house for the correct tender to no avail. They have offered to make good by either giving me a price adjustment, or full refund.

As I said I really like it and am tempted to keep this peculiar combination. It seems that good 3 volt PS 2’s and PS 3’s are more than a little hard to find. Both loco and tender are in pristine condition. I realize that this mismatch kills the resale to quite an extent, but I like to think that the price adjustment would help to blunt that hit.

I’m wondering too if the prototypes ever ran with mismatched units.

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After a long search, I found and bought a nice preowned MTH Premier PRR 4-6-2 K-4 from a major reseller. A 20-3296-1 w/ 3 volt PS2 to be exact, at a price that I consider to be reasonable.

It arrived and I really like it. BUT, it came with a tender for a Mikado.

Nine words  - the first four and the last five of that paragraph define this situation. Do you want to resume the 'long search' or can you live with a possibly incorrect tender?  What is your time worth?  How important is the correct tender?  Only you can answer these questions.   John

It really is up to you. If your thing is realism (though I would trust some of the comments from people like Rich, they likely did swap tenders, it is the pragmatic thing to do and railroads aren't run by scale modellers *lol*) then you could always get the cost adjustment, as John said, then try and find the right tender for it. You will be able to run the engine and enjoy it, and eventually you might be able to find the right tender (and can always sell the one you have now).

The one thing IMO not to worry about is resale value. I can't talk about how much difference it would make, but given the nature of toy trains and that this is not particularly going to be a collectors item (even if an engine is relatively scarce out there, doesn't mean it will be a collectors item), personally I wouldn't worry about that, why deny yourself having fun with something by worrying about that? How much time will it take to find another engine like this with the correct tender, and how much would it cost?

I thank you all for the considerable insight, observations, and suggestions. It's even more than I had hoped for.

As I am not too knowledgeable about actual rr steam operations, I appreciated learning that such a combination “could” have happened. Still, a tender with a doghouse, with a person (figure) in the doghouse, on a passenger drag probably never actually happened. But what the heck.

Bottomline, as usual, is to have fun with what we have. And if it’s a little quirky, so what? Thanks for the encouragement that I can do so without feeling idiotic.

Will keep it, pending reseller's counteroffer.

Last edited by b_kind2animals

Another way to look at it...

I thank you all for the considerable insight, observations, and suggestions. It's even more than I had hoped for.

As I am not too knowledgeable about actual rr steam operations, I appreciated learning that such a combination “could” have happened. Still, a tender with a doghouse, with a person (figure) in the doghouse, on a passenger drag probably never actually happened. But what the heck.

Bottomline, as usual, is to have fun with what we have. And if it’s a little quirky, so what? Thanks for the encouragement that I can do so without feeling idiotic.

Will keep it, pending reseller's counteroffer.

Another way to look at it... a K4s might have pulled some freight once or twice in its storied career.  And maybe it had a tender behind it with a doghouse.

K4s did run occasionally in freight service as evidenced in this photo.  However, while the PRR had many non-standard practices as the "Standard" railroad of the world, any tender behind a K4 would not likely have the dog house on it although the PRR most certainly swapped tenders on locomotives.  K4s only pinch hit for freight power when used in that type of service.

I'd still hold onto the locomotive personally.  K4 tenders are bound to pop up if you really find you need one.  In the meantime you have an interesting locomotive that you have been seeking for some time even if it isn't exactly what you expected.  As others have said, it is your railroad.

As a reference to swapped tenders on PRR locomotives, I modeled this HO E6 based on a photo out of the annual PRR calendar.  It has a K4 tender behind it.  The original model was an HO MDC Roundhouse locomotive and the tender is a Bowser.  Fun little super detailing project from my 20's.  The tender became surplus when I put the long haul tender behind my K4 - dog house and all shortly after I built the K4 at age 16 from a Bowser kit.

E6-HO20210814_151502

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Last edited by GG1 4877

As has been mentioned previously, remove the dog house and you have what would be considered a "correct" tender.

The only issue would then be if your tender has the series number on the rear.  Some MTH tenders show that data and some do not.  Two common tenders for the K4 were classified as a "90 P 75" or "110 P 75".  The first number represents the water capacity.  Add two zeros and you get the total gallons (i.e. 9000 or 11000 gallons).  The P is for passenger service.  The final number is the deck height in inches off the rail.  The K4, L1, and M1s all had the same deck height, although changes were made over time based on modifications for stokers, so even that can vary.  The equivalent freight tender would have an F in the middle of the designation.

Looking at the MTH product number, it appears the model comes with the 90 P 75 tender.

It takes decent eyesight to see that as I recall the lettering is only about 2" high on the real locomotive.  I agree with Rich about what is a "correct" tender speaking from a prototype perspective.

Do you have a photo to post?  If so, I'm sure there are several who can post links to real K4s with the tender you have behind the locomotive.

If you really want to get into the weeds, this website has a pretty good listing of tender designations as of 1952 in service on the PRR.  http://www.wsbcos.com/tenders.htm

Last edited by GG1 4877
@Rich Melvin posted:

Once again I have to ask what constitutes the “correct” tender? In the real world, tenders were often swapped around, especially after an overhaul.

One thing I have learned about trains is it seems like modelers are often more persnickety than the real railroads were (not surprising, running  a business is all about being pragmatic). To them it was right if it worked, if they could reuse something they would, if they could use a passenger engine to pull freight they would if they had a shortage of freight engines. I made a maintenance of way car out of an old caboose and a box car, had someone tell me a railroad would never do what I did, why would I do that, it wasn't 'prototypical'.....and several years later found a railroad that pretty much did what I did (and yes, I sent a copy of the photo to the person, they were that obnoxious

@GG1 4877 posted:

As has been mentioned previously, remove the dog house and you have what would be considered a "correct" tender.

The only issue would then be if your tender has the series number on the rear.  Some MTH tenders show that data and some do not.  Two common tenders for the K4 were classified as a "90 P 75" or "110 P 75".  The first number represents the water capacity.  Add two zeros and you get the total gallons (i.e. 9000 or 11000 gallons).  The P is for passenger service.  The final number is the deck height in inches off the rail.  The K4, L1, and M1s all had the same deck height, although changes were made over time based on modifications for stokers, so even that can vary.  The equivalent freight tender would have an F in the middle of the designation.

Looking at the MTH product number, it appears the model comes with the 90 P 75 tender.

It takes decent eyesight to see that as I recall the lettering is only about 2" high on the real locomotive.  I agree with Rich about what is a "correct" tender speaking from a prototype perspective.

Do you have a photo to post?  If so, I'm sure there are several who can post links to real K4s with the tender you have behind the locomotive.

If you really want to get into the weeds, this website has a pretty good listing of tender designations as of 1952 in service on the PRR.  http://www.wsbcos.com/tenders.htm

Jonathan,

You are probably more knowledgeable than I, but from my reading, the K4s started out with 70P70 tenders (the short ones without the extended sides for the coal bunker similar to the original 70P66 E6s tenders), and then later versions were equipped with 110P70 tenders.

AFAIK, the 70" deck indicates that it was hand fired.  Then later, when the K4s got mechanical stokers, the deck height was increased, and they got 110P75 tenders, and then later some got 130P75 models, while some got the "coast-to-coast" tenders which I believe were either 210P75 or 250P75, though a few resources say 210F75. Maybe both, or all three! This of course doesn't include some of the special tenders that went with the streamlined K4s.

I just checked my MTH pre-war K4s and it has a 110P70 with it (at least that's what the plate on the rear of the tender says.

Last edited by rplst8
@rplst8 posted:

Jonathan,

You are probably more knowledgeable than I, but from my reading, the K4s started out with 70P70 tenders (the short ones without the extended sides for the coal bunker similar to the original 70P66 E6s tenders), and then later versions were equipped with 110P70 tenders.

AFAIK, the 70" deck indicates that it was hand fired.  Then later, when the K4s got mechanical stokers, the deck height was increased, and they got 110P75 tenders, and then later some got 130P75 models, while some got the "coast-to-coast" tenders which I believe were either 210P75 or 250P75, though a few resources say 210F75. Maybe both, or all three! This of course doesn't include some of the special tenders that went with the streamlined K4s.

I just checked my MTH pre-war K4s and it has a 110P70 with it (at least that's what the plate on the rear of the tender says.

You are correct regarding the original tenders for the K4s and the deck heights.  It certainly gets a little fuzzy when the question of stokers is added into the mix.  Depending on the type of stoker there could be several deck heights.  I believe 75" was the most common, but some were 81" as well.  For a railroad that was allegedly the standard, the K4 fleet over time was anything but standard!

I need to check out my Sunset K4 tenders when I get home and see what the plate on the rear says  They have a larger tender than the MTH version as I recall but mine are post-war versions.  My Williams pre-war K4 has a slightly smaller tender that may or may not truly be scale.  It probably represents the  90 P 70.  I know my Bowser HO version came with a non-prototypical sized tender that goes back to the original Penn Line tooling from the mid 50's that the Bowser locomotive shares.

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