Philadelphia & Reading 0-4-0 Locomotives of the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class Spitfire (Locobase 10239)

Data from Herbert T Walker, "An Old Braithwaite Engine," Locomotive Magazine, Vol VII (November 1902), pp. 179-180. Boiler pressure is an estimate.

Walker says that Braithwaite's locomotives were named Rocket, Firefly, Spitfire, Dragon, Comet, Planet, Hecla, and Gem. Walker interviewed engineer J Timothy Jackson, who said that the Spitfire would pull 3-coach passenger trains at 22 mph and 150-ton freight trains at 10 mph. As was often the case with these short-coupled engines, the Braithwaites were unsteady at high speed and their short boilers had a fierce draft over a wood fire that quickly induced the adoption of the tall, flared balloon spark-arresting stacks.

"Even with spark arresters," Walker reports, "these short boiler engines when working hard threw sparks and sometimes flame, causing the smokebox and chimney [sic] to get red hot, and occasionally setting fire to the boiler lagging." Withal, Spitfire operated on the Reading until 1849, when it was sold to the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western for $3,067.50. The Lackawanna was then a 6'-gauge railroad and the Spitfire had to mount longer axles.

Spitfire was sold in 1859 to the Spencer Coal Company and worked for that firm until 1870 or so. Its boiler was still in use at the Rolling Mill in 1893.

Specifications by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Locobase ID10239
RailroadPhiladelphia & Reading
Number in Class8
Road Numbers
Number Built8
BuilderBraithewaite, Milner & Co
Valve GearD hook
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase5'
Engine Wheelbase
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender)
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle)
Weight on Drivers20160 lbs
Engine Weight20160 lbs
Tender Light Weight
Total Engine and Tender Weight
Tender Water Capacity
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal)
Minimum weight of rail (calculated)17 lb/yard
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter51"
Boiler Pressure50 psi
Cylinders (dia x stroke)9.5" x 16"
Tractive Effort1203 lbs
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort)16.76
Heating Ability
Firebox Area
Grate Area
Evaporative Heating Surface440 sq. ft
Superheating Surface
Combined Heating Surface440 sq. ft
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume335.20
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation0
Same as above plus superheater percentage0
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area0
Power L10
Power MT0


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