Boston & Albany / New York Central 2-6-6 Locomotives of the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class J, Ja (Locobase 2814)

Data from 1902 New York Central locomotive guide reproduced on http://www.rr-fallenflag/nyc/nyc-lbp207.gif (visited December 2002). See also E E R Tratman, "Tank Locomotives", Official Proceedings of the Western Railway Club (Chicago: W F Hall Printing Company, 1903), pp. 342 et seq.

A wide-firebox suburban tank engine of considerable power. Although wide, the firebox wasn't a Wootten type and burned bituminous coal. The JAs (1414-1422) had a 56.62 sq ft grate area, but suffered only a 1.8 sq ft decrease in firebox heating surface.

Drury (1993) says that they ran on the Hudson and Harlem subdivisions until the railroad electrified the approaches to Grand Central Station.

Then Boston & Albany ran them in Boston-area commuter service until converting them to 2-6-0 Moguls (Class E-11) in 1904. Alvin F. Staufer (New York Central's Early Power, Vol II, 1967), p.84, says the class were poor haulers. The Central scrapped the 1422 in September 1911, the 1421 in January 1912, 1407, 1408, 1420 in February, and all of the rest in March 1913.

Tratman uncovered another practice that reduced the engines' effectiveness. He reports that F. M. Whyte, General Mechanical Engineer (and devisor of the Whyte classification system for locomotives used worldwide) said "...that the tank engines are satisfactory from a mechanical standpoint, but that the enginemen do not like them, preferring to run engines head first all the time on account of the dust blowing into the cab when running backward. It was found that the men were having the tank engines turned whenever possible, and also that it was just as convenient to head the engine in the direction of movement, so that this has usually been done, except at Yonkers."

Moreover, adds Tratman, "The water capacity of the tanks is not sufficient tor winter requirements for the runs between New York and Croton, so that it is necessary to take water at an intermediate station. This is objectionable, and therefore regular tenders are placed behind the tank engines on both divisions, except those running to Yonkers, at which place it is not convenient to turn the engines. With the rear tanks it was necessary to make the tank short so as to keep the length of the engine within certain limits, and the height and width of tank were also limited. With the standard tender behind these engines they are more generally availabie, instead of being restricted to certain service."

Class L-1, L-1a (Locobase 16245)

Data from "Class 266 T 229, Order No. S-536", American Locomotive Company datacard. See also "Boston & Albany Suburban", Railway and Locomotive Engineering, Volume 19, No 9 (September 1906), p. 427. (Many thanks to Chris Hohl for his 10 December 2016 email supplying the datacard and noting significant differences in the data.) Works numbers were 39654-39663 in February 1906, 44868-44875 in December 1907

Data for the first ten were essentially the same as the specs shown here, which apply to the last eight L-1a that were produced in late 1907. Firebox heating surface area in the L-1s amounted to 148 sq ft (12.75 sq m), weight on the drivers was 136,000 lb (61,689 kg), and engine weight came to 225,000 lb (102,058 kg).

The firebox was just over 7 feet wide (actually 85 1/4"/2.165 m), almost as beamy as that of a Wootten furnace and meant for the same purpose of burning pea sized coal to reduce smoke. Relatively capacious 10" (254 mm) piston valves had a maximum travel of 5 1/2" (140 mm). At the time, said RLE, these were believed "to be the heaviest and most powerful locomotive specially designed for regular suburban service."

Rebuilt with a superheater; see Locobase 3844.

Class L-2/L-3/D-2a, D-2b (Locobase 3844)

Data from NYC 1 - 1946 Locomotive Diagram book supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Raildata collection.

Locobase 16245 shows the original L-1 class that began service in 1906. Beginning in 1916, the B&A superheated the class.

Lima rebuilt and enlarged the class from January 1929 to November 1931 (batched as order 18555-1 through -18) as shown in the specs, at which time superheater area was increased from 305 sq ft to 354 sq ft. The 8 D2Bs had 178 sq ft of direct (firebox) heating surface. Piston valve diameter increased from 10" to 12" (305 mm). The B&A redesignated the class L-3 and the New York Central reclassed it as D-2a or D-2b in 1940.

Unlike the parent New York Central's suburban tanks which lost their jobs when the route into Grand Central Station was electrified, this class served the Boston area until diesels took over. Except for 305, which was redesignated X305 in June 1950 for duty as a shop engine at Selkirk, the entire class was scrapped in June (6), July (10), and September (1) 1950. X305 was sold for scrap to Luria Brothers in October 1952.

Class M (Locobase 5424)

Data from "Tank Locomotive for Suburban Traffic", The Railroad and Engineering Journal, Vol LXV, No 9 (September 1891), p. 410-411. See also E E R Tratman, "Tank Locomotives", Official Proceedings of the Western Railway Club (Chicago: W F Hall Printing Company, 1903), pp. 342 et seq. Edward May & William D Edson's Locomotives of the New York Central Lines (supplied to Locobase by Allen Stanley in August 2013) contains a diagram that provides the engine weight in service. Works numbers were 3528-3530 in 1891.

This was one of the earlier suburban-service locomotive, a design credited to the road's Superintendent of Motive Power William Buchanan.

The Journal said that at the time of writing a train left Grand Central Station (the earlier one, not the one well-known to 20th- and 21st-Century travelers) every five minutes (on average) between 3 and 7 PM.

Like the later Js, these were not a success and were converted to 2-6-0s by 1899; see Locobase 4105..

Specifications by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
ClassJ, JaL-1, L-1aL-2/L-3/D-2a, D-2bM
Locobase ID2814 16,245 3844 5424
RailroadNew York Central (NYC)Boston & Albany (NYC)Boston & Albany (NYC)New York Central (NYC)
Number in Class1618183
Road Numbers1407-14221250-1267300-317829, 830, 832/1050-1052
Number Built1618183
Valve GearWalschaertWalschaertWalschaertStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft)15151512.75
Engine Wheelbase (ft)2335.8336.3335.58
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.65 0.42 0.41 0.36
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft)35.8335.8336.3335.58
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs)
Weight on Drivers (lbs)128,000137,500145,20095,000
Engine Weight (lbs)216,000229,000258,000171,000
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs)
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs)216,000229,000258,000171,000
Tender Water Capacity (gals)3700385040002300
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons)545 2.70
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd)71768153
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in)63636364
Boiler Pressure (psi)200200200180
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in)20" x 24"20" x 24"23" x 24"18" x 22"
Tractive Effort (lbs)25,90525,90534,25917,040
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.94 5.31 4.24 5.58
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft)159.30159.30169144.90
Grate Area (sq ft)63.205656.1031.90
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft)2437243518721597
Superheating Surface (sq ft)354
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft)2437243522261597
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume279.26279.03162.20246.47
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation12,64011,20011,2205742
Same as above plus superheater percentage12,64011,20013,0155742
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area31,86031,86039,20826,082
Power L17781777610,7416879
Power MT402.05374.03489.25478.91


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