Virginian 2-8-4 "Berkshire" Locomotives of the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class BA (Locobase 63)

Data from a 1951 Virginian locomotive diagram supplied to Locobase in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Raildata collection. Works numbers were 9107-9108 in June 1946, 9109-9111 in July.

Said to be virtually identical to C&O K-4s. How powerful and smooth was a Lima 2-8-4? EW King, Jr. (in Drury, 1993) says they "had speed well beyond that required." In a detour move on the Norfolk & Western, the Virginian's 505, pulling a 3,500 ton train, was claimed to have hit 87 mph.

The diagram shows that the firebox had two arch tubes (19 sq ft) and two thermic syphons (103 sq ft) that contributed to the firebox heating surface. Piston valves measured 14"(356 mm) in diameter and had a travel of 8" (203 mm). Although the diagram shows a combustion chamber, it doesn't give the length.

Specifications by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Locobase ID63
RailroadVirginian (VGN)
Number in Class5
Road Numbers505-509
Number Built5
Valve GearBaker
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft)18.25
Engine Wheelbase (ft)42
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.43
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft)93.17
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs)74,400
Weight on Drivers (lbs)295,600
Engine Weight (lbs)460,400
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs)410,200
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs)870,600
Tender Water Capacity (gals)25,000
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons)21
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd)123
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in)69
Boiler Pressure (psi)245
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in)26" x 34"
Tractive Effort (lbs)69,368
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.26
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft)475
Grate Area (sq ft)90.30
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft)4776
Superheating Surface (sq ft)1932
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft)6708
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume228.59
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation22,124
Same as above plus superheater percentage28,539
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area150,124
Power L133,092
Power MT987.22

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