Delaware & Hudson 0-4-0 "Switcher" Locomotives in the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class America (Locobase 13610)

Data from "The First Locomotive in America," Engineering & Railroad Journal, Volume LXVII, No 1 (January 1893), p. 13. Stephenson works number 12.

Very similar to the famous Lancashire Witch of the same year (Locobase 633), this is one of the very first locomotives in the United States. It was ordered by the D & H's Horatio Allen during his landmark visit to the motherland of all steam locomotives in 1828.

Like the Witch, the America had angled cylinders (33 degrees from the horizontal), which drove the leading axle directly. As in the Witch, the layout pointed the way to the more efficient layout of cylinders and driving gear. that would appear in the Rocket a year later The engine was also fitted with a variable cut-off valve gear that actually worked in reverse, using an early cut-off when starting in order to save steam generated in the inadequate boiler. The boiler was a hybrid, intermediate step between a single flue and the later multi-tube having a central flue, 2 smaller 19"-diameter return flues, and 2 water-tubes within the central flue.

The locomotive known as the America was ordered as the Pride of Newcastle and arrived in the US on 15 January 1829. Beyond that, little if anything can be said about the America's later career.

It appears Pride of Newcastle/America didn't have much time to perform, according to a transcript of Episode 2709 of John Lienhard's "Engines of Our Ingenuity" prepared at the University of Houston's College of Engineering (archived at, last accessed 28 December 2011). Lienhard uses an earlier article published by J Demos and R Thayer American Heritage (J. Demos and R. Thayer, The Case Of The Vanishing Locomotive ... And The Birth Of The Railroad Revolution In America. A Mystery Solved. American Heritage, Vol. 49, No. 6, Oct. 1998, pp. 91-95).

As Lienhard tells it, Demos and Thayer searched through early locomotive artifacts archived at the Smithsonian Institution that were known to include bits and pieces of the Pride of Newcastle. It was in their canvas that "...Demos and Thayer made their astonishing discovery: They found a small coffin-shaped carved wooden box -- a kind of memento. Carved on its top is the image of an embryonic train. The box is also inscribed: "John B. Jervis, 1829, D&H Canal Company" on one side -- "America" on another. And, hidden away on the bottom of the lid are the words, "Blew up July 26, 1829.""

Apparently the locomotive's explosion had been hushed up to avoid discouraging D & H investors. Ironically, the performance of the Stourbridge Lion (Locobase 5586) would dispirit them at least as much as a boiler blowup might have.

Class Stourbridge Lion (Locobase 5586)

Data from Hollingsworth (1982) and William Henry Howard, The History of the Firsr Locomotives in America (rev ed) (New York:cD. Appleton and Company, 1874), pp. 74-92. (Thanks to Chris Hohl for his 28 April 2019 email giving the correct date of the first run

This was the first steam engine to run on an American railroad. Horatio Allen ordered three of the basic English steam engine from the builder in 1828 and one more from Robert Stephenson (Locobase 13610). Stourbridge Lion was delivered in May 1829 and readied for testing. Alas for this particular design's future in America, the specified 4-ton weight had ballooned to 7 1/2 and the light track couldn't tolerate the stress. A sister engine, Agenoria, had a long and happy life in England (see 5595).

The vertical cylinders were operated by a gangling walking-beam type valve motion. As Hollingsworth (1982) notes, the arrangement actually consists of two engines in one. The single flue doubled on itself but eventually exhausted up the very tall stack.

Howard's detailed investigation established the Stourbridge Lion's first run as having occurred on 8 August 1829 (although Horatio Allen remembered it was the 9th). Howard then quoted Dilton Yarrington's letter describing the Lion's reputation: "[I]t was considered a failure from the very first time it was used." Yarrington then graphically describes the Lion's fate: "It stood around for several years, and by degrees was taken to pieces and wasted away like an old cripple. I worked up some of the fragments of it in the shop in 1849."

And Hohl's comment that the boiler was the only significant survivor is also borne out by Yarrington's last comment: "The boiler is now [1847] in use here in Carbondale, in a foundery [sic], where it has been in use for twenty years past, and is still considered reliable. The iron plates composing it are full half an inch thick."

In the early 1870s, the boiler was offered up for sale for $1,000. Howard did not report the result of that opportunity, but clearly its historic role proved enough to lead to its donation to the Smithsonian Institute, where it remained well into the 21st Century.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
ClassAmericaStourbridge Lion
Locobase ID13,610 5586
RailroadDelaware & HudsonDelaware & Hudson
Number in Class11
Road Numbers
Number Built11
BuilderRStephensonFoster, Rastrick & Co
Valve Gear
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)5 / 1.52
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)5 / 1.52
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase1
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)15,435 / 700114,000 / 6350
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)15,435 / 700114,000 / 6350
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)5800 / 2631
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)19,800 / 8981
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)400 / 1.52
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT) 0.30 / 0.30
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)13 / 6.5012 / 6
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)48 / 121948 / 1219
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)5050 / 3.40
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)9" x 24" / 229x6108.5" x 36" / 216x914
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)1721 / 780.632303 / 1044.62
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 8.97 6.08
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)12 / 1.128 / 0.74
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)66 / 6.13
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)66 / 6.13
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume37.35
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation600400
Same as above plus superheater percentage600400
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area
Power L1
Power MT

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Wes Barris