Erie / New York, Lake Erie & Western 2-10-0 "Decapod" Locomotives of the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class J-1 - simpled (Locobase 8530)

Data from, a locomotive diagram dated 4-20-1917 (last accessed 4 July 2007) and the Erie 1907 locomotive diagram book supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Raildata collection.

As noted in Locobase 3271, these camelback Decapods were delivered as compound locomotives. Some time around the turn of the century, the class was simpled. It retained its 36" combustion chamber (contributing 57 sq ft to firebox heating surface) for some time after that and that configuration is shown in the specifications.

By the time of the 1917 diagram, however, the combustion chamber had been eliminated and the specs show 15 ft 0 3/8" tubes. Yet a comparison with the earlier version unearths an anomaly. With the deletion of the combustion chamber, the Erie diagram shows that tube evaporative heating surface came to 2,228 sq ft, only 16 sq ft more than the same number of tubes measuring a full 3 ft less in 1907. A straight upscale based on the longer tubes suggests instead a total tube area of 2,785 sq ft.

Class J-2 (Locobase 381)

See illustrations in Linn Wescott (Model Railroader Cyclopedia - Vol 1, 1960) and see Drury (1993), 176. See the quite detailed overview published by designer Alphonse I Lipetz, "Russian 'Decapod' Locomotives", The Railway Engineer, Volume 43, No 2 (February 1922), pp. 51-54; April 1922, pp. 136-137; July 1922, pp. 249-251; and November 1922, pp. 415-417.

This large class of 2-10-0s was built by Baldwin and Alco (Richmond and Schenectady Works) for the Russian Government. When that empire was overthrown, some 200 of the Russian order was diverted to railroads in the US, including the Erie which wound up with the largest single batch.

They were typical Decapods: low-drivered with big grates and no pretensions to speed, although one New York, Susquehanna, and Western decapod pulled the last passenger train to arrive in Sussex, New Jersey. (This may say more for the state of West Jersey passenger service than for any inherent qualities of the 2-10-0.)

More powerful than the earlier J1s, these engines also had a better balance between grate and boiler. They were fitted with superheaters, but were manually stoked and had no feedwater heaters.

Built by Baldwin, Richmond (Alco), and Schenectady (Alco). Schenectady built 13.

The 2450 was sold to the Alabama, Tennessee & Northern in November 1943 as their 427. (Thanks to Chris Hohl for the information.). It later operated on the Minneapolis, Northfield & Southern as their 507.

Class S / J-1 (Locobase 3271)

Data from, a locomotive diagram dated 4-20-1917 (last accessed 4 July 2007), a History of the Baldwin Locomotive Works from 1831 to 1897 (J. B. Lippincott company, 1897), p 81, and Erie 1907 locomotive diagram book supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Raildata collection. See also DeGolyer, Volume 17, p. 121. Works numbers were 12361-12362, 12370-12371, 12376 in December 1891. 13315 was completed 15 months later for exhibition at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

The earliest source, the Baldwin history, gives the tube length and firebox heating surface as shown (12 ft, 185 sq ft) and notes a combustion chamber.

These engines were among the first decapods -- almost certainly the only Camelbacks of the wheel arrangement -- and relatively small compared to later 2-10-0s. The Baldwin history notes that the first, fourth, and fifth driver sets were flanged and that the last had 1/4" lateral play.

The history described the role played by this quintet: "These locomotives are used as pushers on the Susquehanna Hill,where curves of five degrees are combined with grades of 60 ft per mile [1.5%], doing the work of two ordinary 'Consolidation' locomotives." Samuel Vauclain would declare to the 1892 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Railway Master Mechanics that the size and power of the design was such that "...were they made plain [i.e., simple-expansion] engines, no man could fire at all."

Notwithstanding Vauclain's pronouncement, the sextet was later converted to simple-expansion operation with two 21 x 28"(533 x 711 mm) cylinders, boiler pressure reduced to 165 psi,(11.35 bar) and a tractive effort of 34,640 lb (15, 712 kg). The 1907 diagram add the data that the combustion chamber contributed 57 sq ft (5.3 sq m) to the firebox heating surface. The 1917 diagram suggests that the chamber was later removed; see Locobase 8530 for the data on this later modification.

Specifications by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
ClassJ-1 - simpledJ-2S / J-1
Locobase ID8530 381 3271
RailroadNew York, Lake Erie & Western (ERR)Erie (ERR)New York, Lake Erie & Western (ERR)
Number in Class6756
Road Numbers800-8052425-2499800-805
Number Built756
BuilderErieseveralBurnham, Williams & Co
Valve GearStephensonWalschaertStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase18.83'18.33'18.83'
Engine Wheelbase27.25'27.54'27.25'
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.69 0.67 0.69
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender)53.46'53.46'
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle)39300 lbs35000 lbs
Weight on Drivers173700 lbs175000 lbs172000 lbs
Engine Weight200550 lbs197900 lbs195000 lbs
Tender Light Weight90100 lbs146700 lbs89420 lbs
Total Engine and Tender Weight290650 lbs344600 lbs284420 lbs
Tender Water Capacity4500 gals7400 gals4500 gals
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal)10 tons14 tons10 tons
Minimum weight of rail (calculated)58 lb/yard58 lb/yard57 lb/yard
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter50"52"50"
Boiler Pressure165 psi180 psi180 psi
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke)21" x 28"25" x 28"16" x 28"
Low Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke)27" x 28" (2)
Tractive Effort34636 lbs51490 lbs32467 lbs
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 5.02 3.40 5.30
Heating Ability
Firebox Area242 sq. ft227 sq. ft242 sq. ft
Grate Area89.50 sq. ft64.70 sq. ft89.50 sq. ft
Evaporative Heating Surface2470 sq. ft2610 sq. ft2470 sq. ft
Superheating Surface579 sq. ft
Combined Heating Surface2470 sq. ft3189 sq. ft2470 sq. ft
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume220.05164.07379.07
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation147681164616110
Same as above plus superheater percentage147681374216110
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area399304821543560
Power L1450887832975
Power MT286.08553.23190.66


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