Tidewater 4-4-0 "American" Locomotives of the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class EA (Locobase 7484)

Data from VGN 8 - 1951 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Raildata collection. See also DeGolyer, Volume 29, p. 147. (Thanks to Chris Hohl for his 18 July 2016 email noting the original driver diameter and the later change.) Works numbers were 28558, 28568 in July 1907; 29666-29667 in December 1906; 30098, 30101 in February 1907.

These were the only 20th-Century Eight-wheelers operated by the VGN. As Chris Hohl pointed out, they were delivered to the Tidewater Railway as 11-16 with 61" drivers. Locobase wonders at that figure, which is clearly entered in the Baldwin specs, because the driver centers are shown as 56" (1,422 mm). The 5" (127 mm) difference seems too low because the usual tire thickness at that time was 3 to 3 1/2" (76 to 89 mm). If the locomotives were delivered with 3 1/2" tires, their nominal diameter would be 63". Locobase uses that latter figure for reasons given immediately below.

The class was renovated in the 1920s, the results visible in the increased area of the firebox to 184.5 sq ft (17.5 sq m) thanks to two arch tubes contributing 12.5 sq ft ( sq m) and a concomitant rise in the total heating surface area to 2,026 sq ft (188.29 sq m). Prince's Virginian roster shows that 295-296 and 298-299 rolled on 67" drivers. Weight on their drivers increased to 107,500 lb (48,761 kg) and engine weight rose to 150,500 lb (68,039 kg); maximum axle loading was 60,000 lb (27,216 kg). Tractive effort with the new wheels dropped to 21,400 lb (9,707 kg).

294 and 297 retained their 63" wheels and now had adhesion weights of 105,000 lb/47,627 kg (max axle loading of 58,750 lb/26,649 kg) and engine weights reaching 148,000 lb (67,132 kg). Empty, the tender weighed (25,492 kg); loaded with 10,500 US gallons (39,770 litres) of water and 14 tons of coal, its weight came to 134,500 lb (61,008 kg).

All but one was disposed of in the 1930s, two in 1934, three in 1937. For some reason 295 lasted into the 1950s; by that time, she had regained her 63" drivers.

Specifications by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Locobase ID7484
RailroadTidewater (VGN)
Number in Class6
Road Numbers11-16/100-105/294-299
Number Built6
BuilderBurnham, Williams & Co
Valve GearStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase8'
Engine Wheelbase23.08'
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.35
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender)56.96'
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle)
Weight on Drivers94000 lbs
Engine Weight135000 lbs
Tender Light Weight140000 lbs
Total Engine and Tender Weight275000 lbs
Tender Water Capacity7000 gals
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal)14 tons
Minimum weight of rail (calculated)78 lb/yard
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter63"
Boiler Pressure200 psi
Cylinders (dia x stroke)18" x 26"
Tractive Effort22731 lbs
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.14
Heating Ability
Firebox Area184.50 sq. ft
Grate Area29.70 sq. ft
Evaporative Heating Surface2026 sq. ft
Superheating Surface
Combined Heating Surface2026 sq. ft
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume264.57
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation5940
Same as above plus superheater percentage5940
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area36900
Power L18086
Power MT379.29

If you have any railroad data such as diagram books, rail station plans or anything else that you would be willing to share, please contact us.