This challenging little railway formed in 1886 when its founders realized that the Niagara Falls was an enduring attraction, sights that included the Falls themselves and the Whirlpool Rapids. First organized in 1886 as the Niagara Falls & Whirlpool Company. It was reorganized as NF&L to build the line "The new railroad would become," says the Great Gorge site's account, "one of the most expensive and difficult ever constructed."
A single track ran seven miles along the gorge from Niagara Falls to Lewiston. Built in a remarkably short 75 days, the rail appeared from under the 100,000 cubic yards of rock "thrown into the Niagara River" in the first 1/2 mile (0.8 km) alone. Of the seven total miles, "only seven hundred (700) feet [less than 2%] was on level ground. The rest of the rail bed consisted of curves and grades as steep as nine (9%) percent."
The 1 served the construction corps, its relatively powerful dimensions lending useful effort to the railway's construction.
Upon its opening on 25 August 1895, "this electric railroad became an instant marvel of engineering technology.". It also drew the anticipated crowds and sparked construction of a second track that opened in 1896.
Across the mighty Falls, a Canadian company--the Niagara Falls Park and River Railway--opened its 11 1/2 mile (18.5 km) railway ran from Niagara to Queenstown. (See both sources above for accounts of its construction.) The two were merged in 1902 as the Great Gorge Route (aka Niagara Belt Line).
|Specifications by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media|
|Railroad||Niagara Falls & Lewiston|
|Number in Class||1|
|Builder||Burnham, Williams & Co|
|Locomotive Length and Weight|
|Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase||1|
|Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender)||7'|
|Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle)|
|Weight on Drivers||33000 lbs|
|Engine Weight||33000 lbs|
|Tender Light Weight|
|Total Engine and Tender Weight|
|Tender Water Capacity||200 gals|
|Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal)|
|Minimum weight of rail (calculated)||28 lb/yard|
|Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort|
|Boiler Pressure||140 psi|
|Cylinders (dia x stroke)||12" x 16"|
|Tractive Effort||7215 lbs|
|Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort)||4.57|
|Grate Area||8.45 sq. ft|
|Evaporative Heating Surface|
|Combined Heating Surface||0|
|Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume|
|Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)|
|Robert LeMassena's Power Computation||1183|
|Same as above plus superheater percentage||1183|
|Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area||0|