Tidewater / Virginian 2-8-8-2 "Chesapeake" Locomotives of the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class AB (Locobase 3565)

Data from "Mallet Compound Virginian Railway," Locomotive Engineers Monthly Journal, Vol 45, No 1 (January 1911), pp. 63-64. See also DeGolyer, Volume 35, p. 104. (Thanks to Chris Hohl for his 7 March 2015 email pointing to the Baldwin specs page that had updated information.) Works number was 35094 in August 1910.

The first of the 2-8-8-2s, this engine featured the separable boiler in which the front section served as a feed water heater. Its assembly included 401 2 1/4" (57 mm) tubes, each 7 ft (2,134 mm) long and comprising 1,694 sq ft of feed water heating surface. Between the boiler and the reheater was a 82" (2,083 mm) combustion chamber. Never a successful concept, the novelty soon was replaced by a more conventional boiler in 1922 at Baldwin's shops.

Charles Reid wrote the LEMJ with an account of "my regular engine", as he identified the 600. All four valves were balanced 15" (381 mm) piston valves and had "5 lubricators, 2 on inside of cab, 3 on the outside; 25 grease cups; 237 different place to oil." Reid added "It keeps the hog-heads busy all the time."

It was used as a pusher between Elmore and Clark's Gap in West Virginia to help trains up a 2 1/2%, 13-mile grade along which there were ten 12-degree curves, five tunnels, and nine bridges. "In some cases," boasted Reid, "I run this engine over wooden bridges of which one has a 10 degree curve."

Commenting that the engine gave him "..very little trouble", Reid noted the work of the two firemen that accompanied him: "In some cases it is necessary for one fireman to fire his side of the fire-box while the other is hooking his side, but most of the time one fire-man fires part way up the hills and the other one the rest of the way." Sounds like truly back-breaking work ... Reid attempted to allay the chief concern of his fellow enginemen by noting that at least on the Virginian, the Mallets had cost no jobs as far as he could tell.

After its 1922 modification, the 600 operated for another 15 years until scrapped in August 1937.

Class AD (Locobase 3567)

See "Mammoth Mallets for the Virginia Railway[sic]", Railway and Locomotive Engineering, Volume 27, No. 7 (July 1912), pp. 258-259.

Firebox heating surface includes 67 sq ft of arch tubes.

When these came on the line in 1913, they were among the biggest articulateds in the world. Certainly their LP cylinders were huge. R & LE explained the duty for which they were intended. Given the constantly increasing train loads, "...the crucial point on the railway is a portion between Elmore and Clark's Gap, on the Deepwater division, a distance of about 14 miles, nearly all of which is on a 2.07 per cent grade with maximum compensated curves of 12 degs."

Before the ADs, "...the trains have been operated over this grade with one Mallet of the lightest class at the head, and two of the heavier locomotives as helpers." So powered, the VGN could muster 3,340 tons over the line. With two of the ADs and a lighter engine, the train load would increase by 890 tons to 4,320.

Even for coal traffic, the ADs must have been a little slow and the railroad scrapped them in the 1930s while retaining the USRA Mallet Consolidation designs and the 2-10-10-2s.

Class US/US-C (Locobase 14005)

Data from tables in 1930 Locomotive Cyclopedia and VGN 8 - 1951 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Raildata collection. Works numbers were 61113, 61115 in June 1919, 61114, 61116-61126 in July, 61127-61131 in August, and 61132 in September, 64550 in June 1923, 64551 in July, 64552-64567 in August.

Classic USRA Heavy Mallets (see original at 330) supplied by the United States Railroad Administration. The design was based on N&W Y-2 Mallet compound locomotive. Although the Virginian resisted taking its allotment of USRA locomotives at first, the railroad signed for 20 in 1919.

Sufficiently pleased with the engines, the Virginian ordered 15 more in in 1923. Beginning in April 1935 with 733, 6 of the US-Bs were converted to US-C. The makeover featured the installation of arch tubes in the firebox. that added 49 sq ft to the firebox heating surface.. 723 followed in October 1935, 726 in May 1936 and 728 in November, and 733 in April 1937 and 721 in October 1937.

Specifications by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Locobase ID3565 3567 14,005
RailroadTidewater (VGN)Virginian (VGN)Virginian (VGN)
Number in Class1620
Road Numbers600601-606701-720, 721-735
Number Built1620
Valve GearWalschaertWalschaertBaker
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft)1515.5015.50
Engine Wheelbase (ft)58.1757.3357.33
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.26 0.27 0.27
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft)89.2099.8293.25
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs)
Weight on Drivers (lbs)405,400475,000478,000
Engine Weight (lbs)448,750540,000531,000
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs)176,250212,000209,100
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs)625,000752,000740,100
Tender Water Capacity (gals)950012,00012,000
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons)121616
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd)8499100
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in)565657
Boiler Pressure (psi)210200240
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in)26" x 32"28" x 32"25" x 32"
Low Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in)40" x 32"44" x 32"39" x 32"
Tractive Effort (lbs)96,945108,416101,465
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.18 4.38 4.71
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft)258447386
Grate Area (sq ft)8499.2096
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft)689369096071
Superheating Surface (sq ft)13111475
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft)689382207546
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume350.54302.95333.93
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation17,64019,84023,040
Same as above plus superheater percentage17,64023,01427,648
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area54,180103,704111,168
Power L13446694210,964
Power MT149.92257.76404.54



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