Wheeling & Lake Erie 2-6-6-2 Locomotives of the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class I-2 (Locobase 7895)

Data from W&LE 8 - 1923 & 10 1924 Locomotive Diagram books supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Raildata collection. Works numbers were 57043-57052 in April 1917, 57704-57713 in May.

This class owns the distinction of having the biggest-diameter HP and LP cylinders of any 2-6-6-2 Locobase has uncovered. Firebox area was relatively grand as well, the basic hearth heating surface and largest-ever grate augmented by 50 sq ft (4.65 sq m) in five arch tubes. The design also had tall drivers. They were operated on the 80 miles (129 km) of the Toledo division between Pluron, Ohio and Brewster, Ohio where the ruling grade climbed 0.6% over a five-mile climb. The ruling grade is 0.6 per cent, 5 miles (8 km) long. A typical train of 61 loaded cars weighed 4,314 tons. The I-2 averaged 17 mph (27.4 km/h) pulling that train.

Eugene Huddleston (Trains, March 1991) tells us that the I-2s were an older design than the USRA Light Mallets that the railroad received just two years later (Locobase 7896). Locobase suspects they were good enough for two decades, although likely to run out of steam on main-line freight runs trying to supply those big HP cylinders, but when the much more up-to-date K-1 2-8-4s (Locobase 64) came on the property in the 1930s, the W&LE shed these compounds quickly. By the end of the 1930s, they had all been scrapped.

Class I-3 (Locobase 7896)

Data from W&LE 8 - 1923 & 10 1924 Locomotive Diagram books supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Raildata collection. Works numbers were 52178, 52265 in August 1919; 52287-52290, 52313, 52330, 52350, 52424 in September.

Compared to the Brooks-built 2-6-6-2s delivered two years earlier (Locobase 7896) these had smaller cylinders and drivers, but larger boilers and more firebox heating surface using longer boiler tubes. All four cylinders used 12" (305 mm) piston valves.

They were in fact USRA Light articulateds, one of that enterprise's less-successful designs that on the W & LE served mine runs out of Pine Valley, Ohio. According to Eugene Huddleston (Trains, March 1991, p 37), "No one on the Wheeling ever said the USRA Mallets were a bad design; it was just that a use for them could not be found commensurate with their specifications."

Six were scrapped in the early 1940s. The last four--8001-8003, 8009--remained in service until the 1950s, essentially unchanged. They spent their last days rostered on the Nickel Plate, which had leased the W&LE for 99 years in 1949, and were renumbered 940-943. The 941 retired last on 22 February 1955.

Specifications by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Locobase ID7895 7896
RailroadWheeling & Lake ErieWheeling & Lake Erie
Number in Class2010
Road Numbers800-819/8401-84208001-8010 / 940-943
Number Built2010
Valve GearBakerBaker
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft)1110.60
Engine Wheelbase (ft)50.2549.75
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.22 0.21
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft)80.0485.04
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs)61,000
Weight on Drivers (lbs)362,500360,000
Engine Weight (lbs)435,000452,000
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs)192,300192,000
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs)627,300644,000
Tender Water Capacity (gals)900010,000
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons)2318.50
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd)101100
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in)6357
Boiler Pressure (psi)210225
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in)25.5" x 32"23" x 32"
Low Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in)39" x 32"35" x 32"
Tractive Effort (lbs)82,59979,336
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.39 4.54
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft)360416
Grate Area (sq ft)9976.30
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft)46705443
Superheating Surface (sq ft)11201260
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft)57906703
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume246.89353.72
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation20,79017,168
Same as above plus superheater percentage24,74020,429
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area89,964111,384
Power L1824811,315
Power MT300.97415.75


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