4-6-4 "Hudson" Locomotives in Cuba

A New York Central Hudson

The First Hudson, New York Central No. 5200

On January 1, 1926, when Paul Kiefer took over as Chief Mechanical Engineer of Motive Power and Rolling Stock of the New York Central System, the NYC was the nations largest railroad. At that time, its passenger business had grown to a point that many of its main line trains had to be operated in sections because the Class K-5 Pacifics assigned to passenger service could only haul a maximum of 12 cars. It was apparent that a new passenger locomotive was needed, yet no decision had been reached to solve the passenger power crisis.

Kiefer quickly made a decision to proceed with an experimental 4-6-4 locomotive and selected the American Locomotive Company to build it. He followed the example of Lima's William E. Woodard and designed a locomotive with a large grate area and a four wheel trailing truck to support it.

Kiefer's design looked much like a Class K-5, Pacific. It was only 5 inches longer and had the same cylinders (25 X 28) and drivers (79") as the 4-6-2's, but the boiler pressure was increased to 225 psi. The new 4-6-4 locomotive had a slightly larger boiler evaporative heating surface, 24 sq. ft. more of firebox and 14 sq. ft. more of grate area. This new design could produce much more steam per square foot of heating surface and needed a much larger superheater to maintain the same steam temperature as the K-5's. The total weight was about 41,000 lbs more, and with no increase of weight over the drivers. An increase of 3820 lbs in Tractive Effort was obtained with the increase in boiler pressure.

The American Locomotive Company delivered the first Class J-1a (road number 5200) on February 14, 1927 and it was thoroughly tested on the main line between Albany, NY and Syracuse, NY.

After the testing, Paul Kiefer went to see Pat Crowley who was the president of the entire NYC system. He asked Crowley what name the new locomotive should have, Crowley thought for a few minutes and then said "let's call her the Hudson, after the Hudson River" and the name stuck.

Information for this introduction to Hudsons provided by Richard Duley.

Builders of 4-6-4 "Hudson" Type Locomotives (by Richard Duley)

RailroadNumber Build (Builder)
Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe16 (Baldwin)
Baltimore & Ohio4 (B&O)
Boston & Albany10 (ALCO), 10 (Lima)
CCC & St. Louis30 (ALCO)
Canadian National5 (MLW)
RailroadNumber Build (Builder)
Canadian Pacific65 (MLW)
Chesapeake & Ohio13 (Baldwin), 5 (C&O)
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy12 (Baldwin) 2(CB&Q)
Chicago, Milwaukee, St Paul & Pacific6 (ALCO) 22 (Baldwin)
RailroadNumber Build (Builder)
Chicago & North Western9 (ALCO)
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western5 (ALCO)
Grand Trunk Western6 (MLW)
Illinois Central1 (IC)
RailroadNumber Build (Builder)
Maine Central2 (Baldwin)
Michigan Central30 (ALCO)
National Railway of Mexico10 (ALCO)
New York Central195 (ALCO)
RailroadNumber Build (Builder)
New York, New Haven & Hartford10 (Baldwin)
New York, Chicago & St. Louis4 (ALCO), 4 (Lima)
St. Louis-San Francisco10 (STSF)
Wabash7 (Wabash)

Railroads that used 4-6-4 "Hudson" locomotives in Cuba (data provided by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media)

Surviving Examples of 4-6-4 "Hudson" Locomotives in Cuba

No.ClassF.M. WhyteGaugeRailroad LineLocationStatusBuilder InfoNotes

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