Chicago & South Side Rapid Transit 0-4-4 "Forney" Locomotives in the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 1 (Locobase 6459)

Data from "Compound Locomotives, C&SS, Chicago, Ill.", Locomotive Engineers' Monthly Journal, Vol XXVI [26], No 12 (December 1892), pp. 1100-1102; "A Train of Compound Locomotives", Railroad Gazette, Volume 24, (6 May 1892), p. 325; and "The Equipment of the 'Alley' Elevated Road, Chicago", (28 October 1892), p. 798. And Bruce G Moffet, "Steam on the Alley 'L'" [] (visited 31 January 2005). See also DeGolyer, Volume 17, p. 226 and Volume 18, p. 96; and . (Thanks to Chris Hohl for his 6 December 2018 email noting the correct boiler pressure for these engines.) Works numbers were 12555-12556, 12558-12559, 12562-12569, 12571-12575 in March 1892; 12579, 12599, 12606 in April; 12982-12984, 12989-12991, 13001-13005, 13010 in October; and 13013-13015, 13026-13027, 13031, 13042-13043, 13047-13048, 13062, 13065, 13067 in November.

The first twenty of this class to be completed were delivered in a single train hauled by Baldwin Vauclain compound 82, itself a demonstration engine. Train load came to an even 500 short tons (455 metric tons).

Moffet's account of "Steam on the Alley 'L'" describes these unusual elevated locomotives. Like all such designs, the class had to be able to accelerate rapidly while pulling a five-car train and averaging 15 mph (an average three mph higher than the more famous New York Elevateds). Although Baldwin used the basic layout pioneered by Matthias Forney, this class gained its power from a four-cylinder Vauclain compound layout. (Locobase supposes that the rationale was a smoother cycle and, with an interception valve letting in live steam to all four cylinders, getaway power of much greater authority.) The single piston valve on each side measured 7" (178 mm) in diameter.

Presumably to reduce smoke in the urban center, these engines had a fuel space suitable for anthracite egg coal" and enough for 20 miles run. RG repeated advocates' claims that the compounding system "practically does away with offensive noise from the exhaust, and prevents throwing of sparks and cinders" and anthracite coal would avoid generating smoke. Such contentions were intended to rebut the city's wish to ban steam locomotives from downtown. Further discussion of disagreeable effluents in the 28 October 1892 RG focused on the drip pans mounted under the locomotive and cars to catch all oil. In addition, the ash pans and smokeboxes both used water to quench cinders.

LEMJ's correspondent pointed out several key factors in the reported savings generated by the South Side elevated engines compared to other such services. Noting that the savings were "in the neighborhood of 40 percent," the writer attributed them to a combination of "higher steam pressure, compounding, and to larger boilers and grates." Homing in, he continued: "Much of it is undoubtedly due to the fact that the firebox is unusually large and the rate of combustion quite slow for locomotive engines, although considerably greater than for stationary engines."

His contention gains strength both from Baldwin's specs, which reveal that the boiler was raised 4" (102 mm) to gain the same increase for the firebox, and the high share of heating surface area that came from the firebox (12.6%). Given later estimates that a square foot of firebox surface evaporated about six times as much water as a square foot of tubes, the L-class firebox generated as much steam as 3/4 of the tube area in the locomotive.

(For the only cross-compound locomotive of the class, see Locobase 16401.)

Upon delivery in June 1892, Moffet notes, the locomotives saw heavy use: "Service was provided on an around-the-clock basis with intervals ranging from as close as every 2+ minutes during rush hours to every 20 minutes during the night-owl period (Midnight to 5:00am)."

Electrification of the system followed relatively soon afterward, with the last of the steamers being retired on 27 July 1898. Ten were sold to New York in 1899 to pull elevated trains over the Brooklyn Bridge.

(Ten had been sold by Baldwin to the Long Island Railroad in 1892 as 150-159.)

Many continued in use in a variety of industrial settings as well as on small railroads. And at least one country club (Midlothian Country Club). The railroads included the Chicago Union Transfer, Coronado Railway, Roaring Creek & Charleston, Sheffield & Tionesta, Topeka & Vinewood Park, Trinity Valley Railroad, Vernon Tram Co, and the Wisconsin Ruby & Southern.

Class 46 (Locobase 16401)

Data from DeGolyer, Volume 18, p. 97. See also F W Dean, "The Efficiency of Compound Locomotives", Railway Engineer, Volume 16, No 9 (September 1895), pp. 256-260, 305-309. (Thanks to Chris Hohl for his 6 December 2018 email reporting the existence of this hitherto unknown to Locobase one-off trial horse.) Works number was 13259 in February 1893.

Locobase 6459 describes the 45 Forney-type elevated locomotives delivered in 1892 as four-cylinder Vauclain compound locomotives. The railway decided to buy an additional engine set up as a two-cylinder cross-compound. Specifications deliberately repeated all of the other signficant dimensions and ratios.

In a reply to a paper reported in September 1895, however, Baldwin's Samuel Vauclain conceded that his company had built over 500 compound locomotives and only two cross-compounds. He claimed (p. 307) that "As we are builders of locomotives, and there being no monetary return to me whatever for my system of compounds, we aim to get the very best, whether it is a four-cylinder or two-cylinder compound, or three-cylinder compound or a single-expansion engine. We are in the locomotive business and not in the compound business."

The South Side wanted a cross-compound so the Philadelphia builder supplied one. "But," continued Vauclain", the trials of these engines on the Chicago South Side caused the company to have the two-cylinder engine changed to a single-expansion, when it could not compete as a two-cylinder, and finally is used for switching service in the yard and not run in regular train service."

As with the other Forneys, 46's career on the L was shortened by electrification and the engine was sold. Its new owner was Bluff City Lumber of Kearney, Ark, which retained its number. (Bluff City Lumber was established by John F Rutherford and Captain Jerome Bonaparte York. The latter's name led Locobase to speculate on why a set of parents would come to name their son after the less-competent brother of Napoleon Bonaparte. One possibility was that he was their 20th child and their nominative inspiration was spent.)

A short biography revealed that he was born in Winchester, Ill in 1843, served in the Union Army during the Civil War, and entered the lumbering business not long after his 30th birthday. After a long career, York retired to Texas for his health and died in Paris (Texas, not France) on 7 July 1919.)

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Locobase ID6459 16,401
RailroadChicago & South Side Rapid TransitChicago & South Side Rapid Transit
Number in Class4545
Road Numbers1-4546
Number Built4545
BuilderBurnham, Williams & CoBurnham, Williams & Co
Valve GearStephensonStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)5 / 1.525 / 1.52
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)16.33 / 4.9816.33 / 4.98
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.31 0.31
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)16.33 / 4.9816.33 / 4.98
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)40,000 / 18,14440,000 / 18,144
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)58,000 / 26,30858,000 / 26,308
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)58,00058,000
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)750 / 2.84750 / 2.84
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)33 / 16.5033 / 16.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)42 / 106742 / 1067
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)180 / 12.40180 / 10.30
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)9" x 16" / 229x40614" x 16" / 229x406 (1)
Low Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)15" x 16" / 381x40620" x 16" / 381x406 (1)
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)6943 / 3149.307667 / 3477.70
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 5.76 5.22
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)70 / 6.5070 / 6.51
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)19 / 1.7719 / 1.77
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)555 / 51.56555 / 51.58
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)555 / 51.56555 / 51.58
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume471.10389.38
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation34203420
Same as above plus superheater percentage34203420
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area12,60012,600
Power L134853920
Power MT384.16432.11

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