A Heavy Consolidation Engine - Annotated

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A host of new wheel arrangements combined with innovative technology and new materials to create a final generation of refinement. Within a few years the Texas, Hudson, and Northern had led the way, and by the late s, large modern articulated types were taking shape. The Majesty of Big Steam is full of these late-era locomotives, the last generation of steam power before the diesels took over.

Dramatic photos show Berkshires, Hudsons, and Northerns at work, as well as massive articulateds at their finest. See how to qualify. How Big Was Big Steam? Weight is a good measure of size, and in the s typi cal locomotives weighed between 60 and 90 tons. Among the most important advance ments that precipitated rapid locomotive growth was the intro duction of the radial trailing truck.

Santa Fe briefly followed a peculiar developmental path. The s were even tually rebuilt as conventional locomotives. Although drawings for such out landish machines exist, none were constructed. This situation raises a variety of hypothetical scenarios. It is impossible to know. He held this position until Four years later he was made treasurer of the association and continued in this office until his death. His close ties with the association's membership introduced him to every prominent locomotive builder and designer in the country.

In the managing editor of Locomotive Engineering joined Sinclair in buying the paper from American Machinist Sinclair became sole proprietor five years later. He found time after his editorial labors to produce several additional books: His contributions to railway literature were rewarded in 19 8 by an Honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from Purdue University. His productive pen slowed during the last years of his life, though he enjoyed the novelty of seeing one of his texts translated into Chinese. Death came in New York City on January 1, Sinclair's interest in locomotive history was undoubtedly stimulated by his association with many early locomotive engineers and builders who lived into the 's.

Sinclair met these men at the meetings of the Master Mechanics organization and through the columns of Locomotive Engineering. They worked in smoke-darkened shops with the great and near great creators of steam. Now approaching the end of life, many were given to recollection. But as mechanics they rarely put their thoughts on paper—this indulgence is left largely to retired politicians and generals.

Sinclair did interview many of these pioneers, and an occasional letter would bring forth a nostalgic note from another railway ancient. Over the years an accumulation of articles and sketches, together with obituaries of passing pioneers, suggested a drawing together of all this information for a book. This was the announced basis of the book, but Sinclair also borrowed heavily from previous treatises on the locomotive engine. The works of Colburn, Holley, Clark, and others were scoured. Contributors were invited to produce several of the more technical chapters.

Very reliable evidence of the rapid progress in locomotive building in the United States is preserved. In an investigation was made by the United States Government into the number of steam boilers in use in connection with steamboats, locomotives and stationary engines, with the names of the makers, the time the boilers had been in service and other facts.

This report gave particulars of 1, stationary engines, steamboat engines and locomotives. The locomotives were at work on fifty-six different railroads. The report gives curious evidence of the numerous parties who had been smitten by the locomotive building infection.

There had been locomotives produced by American builders and 74 were built abroad. This was surprising, considering that the report was made only eight years after the first locomotive had been turned out of an American workshop. The locomotives were built by the following firms:. Some of these locomotives were built by railroad companies, but the collectors of the data put the names of those who had supervised the construction of the engines. Some makers have been omitted, such as the West Point Foundry, but there is no doubt that the report is substantially correct, for it bears the marks of painstaking accuracy.

Reading's Mark on the Locomotive. The original charter gave authority to construct a line of 58 miles from Philadelphia to Reading and to extend towards Pottsville, provided the Board of Managers deemed such extension advisable. The company now operates 1, miles of track and has about locomotives and 40, cars. That long mileage is more concentrated than that of any other railroad on the American continent, twisting and turning in all directions, with Reading as a center.

Its trackage touches all the coal lands in Pennsylvania and in no part does the distance much exceed one hundred miles from Reading. No railroad ever was constructed with better prospects of a lucrative business than the Reading, but from a variety of causes the work proceeded slowly and it was five years after the charter was granted before any part was in operation.

The road was finished to Reading in As anthracite coal had the characteristics of an ideal fuel for locomotives, being cheap in the Atlantic Seaboard States, and free from smoke, there were naturally attempts made from the inception of railroads to utilize it. Yet twenty years after the first locomotive had been operated in the United States, wood was the fuel used by locomotives even when their principal work was hauling anthracite to market. In fact, one of the early prejudices held by the public against railroads was based on the fear that they might poison the atmosphere by clouds of smoke.

Peter Cooper used anthracite for fuel in the small engine Tom Thumb, which! It had been used on the Beaver Meadow Railroad and other short lines in Pennsylvania, but very little success had been achieved with it on engines doing hard, continuous work. Early experimenters with coal burning locomotives moved on the theory that concentration was necessary to maintain a very hot fire, and their tendency was to provide limited grate area.

It took long years of failure to convince the men in charge of American railroad motive power that anthracite, being a slow burning coal, needed a much larger grate surface than wood or bituminous coal to produce an equal amount of heat. Various attempts had been made to burn anthracite but success was attained very slowly. For several years all the new engines put upon the road suffered from the defect of small fire boxes. The boiler of this engine was of the Bury type, and the fire box had then the unprecedented length of five feet outside.

There was about 10 square feet of grate area, which was then considered very large, but it was not sufficient to generate all the steam needed when burning anthracite. The engine was four wheel connected and proved very powerful for its dimensions, which were cylinders The engine hauled a train 40 times its own weight from Reading to Philadelphia over a level track, and that performance made it famous all over the world. By that time the engineering world was beginning to realize that.

Curious Anthracite Burning Locomotive. Nichols, a civil engineer, who held advanced views concerning the proper means for burning anthracite. He patented a peculiar form of locomotive to embrace his ideas of an anthracite burning engine. Working out of the details was done by Lewis Kirk. Up to that time the only locomotives burning anthracite successfully had unusually large grates and forced draft. Nichols, thinking that the boiler connecting with the frame carrying the power transmitting machinery of a locomotive could not be made sufficiently large, designed a boiler to be carried upon a carriage separate from the engine.

The locomotive was called the Novelty, and justified the name. The boiler like part of the engine was a steam reservoir which received the steam from the boiler proper through a jointed pipe. The cylinders exhausted the steam into a condenser and drove a, blower discharging into the ash pan.

The boiler was of the return tubular form and had a large fire box with 36 square feet of grate area. The total heating surface was 1, square feet. The engine was a failure principally for want of the necessary adhesion, but the boiler details were badly worked out, for the fire could not be replenished while the draft fan was working, and it was necessary to stop to fire between stations. There have been few such glaring mistakes made in locomotive designing. Although the novelty was a failure it represented a most courageous attempt to reach a desired end. Winans Designs an Anthracite Burning Locomotive.

Live Steam West Valley Consolidation 2-8-0 first steam trial

His engines, which were modified camels, had long overhanging fire boxes and they were not allowed to run on account of the excessive weight on the back wheels. Winans then applied a pair of pony wheels under the foot plate and the engines were accepted. They burned anthracite better than any locomotives previously tried and were really the pioneer heavy anthracite burning locomotives to do the work of train hauling regularly, the large grate, having The report submitted was devoted principally to recounting the difficulties experienced in burning anthracite.

In some respects his report bears a strong resemblance to others submitted years afterwards to the Railway Master Mechanics' Association by committees.

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Whistler reported that it was found anthracite made such a hot fire that it soon burned out the side sheets of the iron fire boxes. The iron not being free from seams, laminated and blistered so readily, that much expense was entailed. No remedy was suggested, but the company was advised to persist in the practice of using the fuel it was so much interested in carrying. The employing of Mr. Whistler to report on anthracite coal burning was an act which testified to the influence of the civil engineer in those days.

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There was a strong tendency to place the knowledge of the man, whose principal experience had been the building of railroads and the digging of canals, above that of the mechanic who had designed, built and operated locomotives, even when it related to purely mechanical matters. The civil engineer's calling was old and that of the mechanical engineer scarcely recognized, so it was natural that the representatives of capital should show deference to the views of the civil engineer.

This was James Millholland, a master among the pioneer mechanics, whose labors have put an indelible mark upon the development of the. James Millholland was born at Baltimore, in , and had time to learn the machinist trade, and held the reputation of being a remarkable bright boy and an ingenious mechanic, when Peter Cooper, in , was building his Tom Thumb locomotive. Millholland worked on that tiny engine, and he no doubt acquired a strong liking for railroad motive power, since he devoted his life to that line of work, at a time when working on railroad machinery had not become popular.

In spite of that enormous first cost, the road was doing a profitable business in , for it was then carrying the heaviest traffic of any railroad in the country.


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It was so difficult to make a good forging of a crank with the inferior tools used that breakages were of frequent occurrence, so he tried the weaker but sound material and it did not break. When Millholland took charge the rolling stock was in a decidedly unsatisfactory condition, particularly the motive power. He proceeded to carry out the necessary improvements, almost the whole of the required changes having been evolved from his own head. There was little experience of others to draw from, so he was forced to depend upon his own resources to produce the designs best adapted for the work to be done.

His controlling idea seemed in the first place to be the production of a locomotive to burn anthracite satisfactorily and then to design an engine capable of hauling a heavier train than anything tried up to that time. He succeeded in both of these aims, but success was achieved over some serious failures. Almost the first question put before Millholland was settling the fate of Nichols' Novelty. After making some tests with it he finally decided that the only purpose the engine could be used for to advantage was passing through the scrap heap, and this was done.

The first locomotive built by Millholland, about , was the Philadelphia , a six wheel connected engine without a truck, in which no attempt was made to break away from the beaten path of early locomotive designing. His guiding idea was to produce a locomotive that would haul a heavy train of cars on a crooked track without undue resistance or injury to the track. To attain these ends he placed the wheels as closely together as possible. The cylinders were secured outside of the smoke box and transmitted the power to the back pair of drivers, an arrangement that induced so much oscillation that the engine furnished good object lessons on defects to be remedied.

The fire box was the Bury style, which had been fairly satisfactory in the Gowan and Marx , the most successful of the first freight engines on the road; but it did not permit of more than 10 or 11 square feet of grate area, and hence was not well adapted to the combustion of anthracite. After obtaining experience with the Philadelphia new and original types were worked out. Finding Out Fittest Forms.

Before building any more new locomotives, Millholland made a variety of experiments with old ones to find means of burning anthracite successfully. He rebuilt a Baldwin eight wheeler, the Warrior , and made radical changes upon the fire box. The furnace was kept within the frame line until it reached the back of the hind drivers, when it was spread, reaching about five inches beyond the rail on each side.

There was a grate door in rear of the fire box resting upon the grates, and it carried two doors to fire through. This was the first locomotive ever built with the fire box extending outside of the driving wheels and was the forerunner of the Colburn , the Wootten and others. Many fire boxes of this type were afterwards applied to Belgian locomotives, and some of them may be seen at work today. Milholland's wide fire box engine burned anthracite more successfully than anything previously tried. Some of Millholland's Mistakes.

The stationary boiler and marine practice of the time led Millholland to believe that a long flame passage was necessary to effect combustion in a locomotive furnace, and he worked very persistently with various forms of combustion chambers until he finally became convinced that they were actually prejudicial to the efficiency of the boiler. One of his first attempts was to produce an anthracite burning fire box that would not damage the side sheets, and with this object in view he patterned in a boiler, the special features of which were the use of dust plates contracting the area, of grates for the purpose of preventing the overheating of the side sheets of the fire box, and the putting in of an intermediate or mixing chamber, into which the products of combustion passed from the fire box between water tables or vertical water spaces, and from which after mixing with fresh air admitted through small holes, they passed through large tubes to a second combustion chamber and thence into the smoke box.

The scientific engineering world was at that time very learnedly discussing the admixture of gases requisite to effect proper combustion of the fuel. Every engineering treatise of the time was loaded down with detailed directions for burning coal according to the most approved rules, and one injunction never neglected was, provide for a liberal supply of oxygen. This, no doubt, induced Millholland to provide for the admission of too much cold air. When Hannibal undertook to cross the Alps with a great army, he entered upon an achievement in travel of unparalleled difficulty.

If the great Carthaginian general had advisers they doubtless did their best to deter their chief from his purpose, and the lower elements of the army, who had not reached the dignity of being advisers, no doubt sneered at and criticized the enterprise, which they felt certain would end in disaster. Such is the reception given to all uncommon projects.

Early in the year a group of enterprising men entered upon the work of constructing a railroad through the Alps of America, from Mauch Chunk to Easton, Pa. The railroad project was embarked in for the purpose of gathering some of the natural riches of the Lehigh Valley, but the ambition of the promoters received scant sympathy and small financial support. Building railroads through mountain obstacles had not yet become popular. A recent writer recalling the discouragement that depressed this enterprise, says:.

Genesis of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. There was lack of encouragement and lack of financial help. Skepticism of the feasibility of the project ruled in Lehigh Valley communities, and both skepticism and ridicule were meted out to its projectors by outside critics. Expressions of good will and wishes for success were not entirely absent, but the helping hand was withheld. The original preliminary survey of the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill and Susquehanna Railroad, under which name the Lehigh Valley Railroad was incorporated in , was made by Roswell B.

Mason for a number of citizens living in New Jersey. There was a vague idea among them that the railroad would be used to convey coal and merchandise to the four rivers named in the charter for transport to the ocean, thence to the world of commerce. When, however, the incorporators came to investigate the character of the country to be traversed by their railroad, they lost courage, and the scheme was abandoned and lay dormant for several years. In the charter was secured by Asa Packer, who had an unwavering faith in the resources of the Lehigh Valley, with the inflexible determination to utilize them.

His foresight and faith in the enterprise in the face of difficulties that would have appalled most men, were backed by splendid courage and a tireless energy, which won victory for him and the faithful band of brave spirits who cooperated with him. The name of the road was changed by act of legislature in to the Lehigh Valley Railroad. Sayre were the active powers of the road. Upon their shoulders rested the responsibility and work.

The two represented the functions of all the departments that make up a railway organization of today; the one, the executive and financing departments, the other, the construction and operating departments. The little as well as the big things demanded their personal attention, exacting of them eternal vigilance. Mauch Chunk Inclined Plane. New England is proud to claim the honor of having had within its borders the first railroad in America to carry wheeled vehicles. Pennsylvania comes next with its famous gravity railroad, opened in I, from the Lehigh River to Mount Pisgah, a peak of 1, feet above sea level, in the heart of a rich anthracite region.

This inclined plane railroad was built for the transportation of coal to the river. It is now operated as a scenic railroad and draws multitudes of visitors every summer. When we come to regard its oldest member as an integral part of a consolidated railroad system we have to credit the short, tortuous, inclined plane of Mauch Chunk as being the most ancient part of the Lehigh Valley Railroad.

Another possession of ancient origin was the Beaver Meadow Railroad, which was projected in and put in operation in That was a famous little railroad in its day.

Its purpose was to transport anthracite coal from the mines near Beaver Meadow in the Mauch Chunk region for shipment on the Lehigh Canal. Its location was through a remarkably rugged mountain district, where it wound by steep hillsides, over torrential streams, through swamps and forests by a route that involved the greatest difficulties of construction then encountered in railroad building.

Although there was no direct connection between the undertakings the construction of the Beaver Meadow Railroad was a fitting introduction to the building of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. The Beaver Meadow Railroad was as famous for different locomotives it possessed, as was the Lehigh Valley for the novel forms its people produced, in developing locomotives adapted, to hauling heavy loads over steep grades.

Ingham, after the president of the company, and was notable among the railroad motive power of that time. Eastwick, reversing being done by a block sliding on the valve seats, and it was the first locomotive in Pennsylvania to be provided with a cab for sheltering the engine crew. The first section of the Lehigh Valley Railroad was no sooner opened than the company was flooded with business far beyond the most sanguine expectations of the promoters. At the head of the company were men of a pushing, enterprising character, who perceived the golden opportunities that their inroad into virgin territory had brought forth and they proceeded to make the best of them.

A policy of extension and consolidation was adopted, and the management proceeded gradually to the absorbing of fragmentary roads calculated to be worked up into a great trunk line. In l the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company absorbed the Beaver Meadow Railroad, an important move, for it took away a competitor and secured a valuable feeder from the richest anthracite regions. In another consolidation was effected, and the Lehigh and Mahanoy Railroad became part of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. This consolidation gave the name to the type of eight-wheel connected and leading pony truck locomotive designed by Alexander Mitchell and built that year.

Other consolidation and absorptions followed, and now the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company operates about 1, miles of track, with about 80 locomotives and 40, cars.

Grice and Long Locomotives. The principal freight handled by the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company has always been coal and other minerals. The mechanical officials from the first displayed a leaning toward heavy motive power that would handle economically heavy freight over the steep grades. Before discussing particulars of their progress in this line, I wish to allude to a peculiar type of mine locomotives used on some of the branches.

How Big Was Big Steam?

The figure below illustrates one of these Grice and Long locomotives, which was at work at Packer No. Grice and Long Mining Locomotives. This was a four-wheeled locomotive, with built up frame.


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The boiler, which is of the internally fired, return tubular type, is placed over the front pair of wheels. The cylinders, which are placed nearly vertical over rear axle, are in the rear of the boiler. The connecting rods drive a cranked shaft on which a gear is placed. This gear in turn drives a pinion on rear axle. The wheels are inside the frame, and axles are cranked for parallel rods.

Only the rear pair of wheels are equipped with springs. Shifting or so-called Stephenson link motion was used, and the lost motion in parallel rods was taken up on one end by taper key, on the other by a set bolt lock nut. In spite of very persistent search, I have been unable to find out who designed these extraordinary locomotives, but it certainly was a man with some engineering ideas, the leanings being towards marine practice. They were evidently patterned somewhat after the Baltimore and Ohio Grasshopper engines, being made so short and compact that they would go round any curve, but the boiler was of a decidedly better form and the engine was likely to do its work on less steam, while it was very convenient for repairing.

Early Four Cylinder Engines. Among curious locomotives possessed by the Lehigh Valley were two called the " Defiance " and the " Champion ," built by the Niles Locomotive Works of Cincinnati, and purchased by the Beaver Meadow Railroad Company in They were designed for service on an inclined plane and had cog gearing for working on a rack rail.

There were four cylinders, two inside and two outside, had four pairs of driving wheels connected outside, but no truck. They were equipped with the Walschaerts valve motion, or a radial motion of a similar kind, which was used all the time the engines were kept in service, probably twenty years.