Niagara Falls & Lewiston 0-4-0 "Switcher" Locomotives in the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 1 (Locobase 16175)

Data from Baldwin Locomotive Works Specification for Engines as digitized by the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University Volume 18, p. 24. See also "Great Gorge Route and the Niagara Falls Park and River Railway, 1895 -1935 at [], last accessed 4 February 2016; and "Niagara Falls Park and Railway", Electric Railway Review, Volume 3, No 11 (15 November 1893), p. 689. Works number was 12762 in June 1892.

This challenging little railway formed in 1886 when its founders realized that the Niagara Falls was an enduring attraction, sights that included the Falls themselves and the Whirlpool Rapids. First organized in 1886 as the Niagara Falls & Whirlpool Company. It was reorganized as NF&L to build the line "The new railroad would become," says the Great Gorge site's account, "one of the most expensive and difficult ever constructed."

A single track ran seven miles along the gorge from Niagara Falls to Lewiston. Built in a remarkably short 75 days, the rail appeared from under the 100,000 cubic yards of rock "thrown into the Niagara River" in the first 1/2 mile (0.8 km) alone. Of the seven total miles, "only seven hundred (700) feet [less than 2%] was on level ground. The rest of the rail bed consisted of curves and grades as steep as nine (9%) percent."

The 1 served the construction corps, its relatively powerful dimensions lending useful effort to the railway's construction.

Upon its opening on 25 August 1895, "this electric railroad became an instant marvel of engineering technology.". It also drew the anticipated crowds and sparked construction of a second track that opened in 1896.

Across the mighty Falls, a Canadian company--the Niagara Falls Park and River Railway--opened its 11 1/2 mile (18.5 km) railway ran from Niagara to Queenstown. (See both sources above for accounts of its construction.) The two were merged in 1902 as the Great Gorge Route (aka Niagara Belt Line).

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Locobase ID16,175
RailroadNiagara Falls & Lewiston
Number in Class1
Road Numbers1
Number Built1
BuilderBurnham, Williams & Co
Valve GearStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)7 / 2.13
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)7 / 2.13
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase1
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)7 / 2.13
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)33,000 / 14,969
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)33,000 / 14,969
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)200 / 0.76
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)28 / 14
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)38 / 965
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)140 / 9.70
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)12" x 16" / 305x406
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)7215 / 3272.67
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.57
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)
Grate Area (sq ft / m2) 8.45 / 0.79
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation1183
Same as above plus superheater percentage1183
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area
Power L1
Power MT

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Wes Barris