Virginian 2-10-10-2 Locomotives in the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class AE (Locobase 417)

Data from "Virginian 2-10-10-2 Locomotives", Railway Mechanical Engineer, Volume 92, No 11 (November 1918), pp. 600-604 and from VGN 8-1951 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in August 2013 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange collection. See also "Avoidable Waste in Locomotive Operation as Affected by Design", Railway Age, Volume 95, No. 11 (5 November 1921), pp. 673-677; "Virginian Mallet Locomotives", Railway Journal, Volume 27, No 10 (October 1921), pp. 12-13. (Thanks to Wes Barris of for his 28 June 2018 email reporting the missing metric equivalents to cylinder diameter and stroke.) Works numbers were 60000-60001 in April 1918 60002 in May, 60003-60004 in June, 60005 in July, 60006 in August, 60007 in September, 60008 in October, and 60009 in November.

Firebox heating surface in the specifications included 78.5 sq ft (7.29 sq m) of arch tubes that were later removed.

These were far better proportioned engines than the Triplexes built for the Erie or the 2-8-8-8-4 that later entered service on the Virginian. Their boiler and grate demand factors were within reason, which meant the crew could keep steam up, especially since the class used a Duplex or Standard mechanical stoker. A relatively short combustion chamber fleshed out the firebox heating surface area. HP cylinders received steam through 16" (406 mm) piston valves, while the massive LP cylinders, which contained a volume of 33.51 cu ft (949 liters) each, used double-ported slide valves. Simple starting TE reached 176,000 lb (79,832 kg.or 782.8 kN).

Eric Bott's 3 February 2019 email questioned Locobase 417's tender coal capacity which was given as 20 tons. A recheck of the 1918 RME article and other sources showed the original coal amount as 12 tons. Later, a larger tender weighing 231,000 lb (104,780 kg) loaded used tender boards to increase the coal bunker's capacity, raising it to 20 tons (18.2 metric tons) of coal. In that configuration, the tender increased the overall power system weight to 915,000 lb (415,038 kg).

Estimating Engineer James Partington of Alco delivered a paper in December 1921 in which he described the pulling power of one of these double decapods. One pulled a 15,725-ton (14,295 tonne) train from Princeton, Va. to Roanoke burning 26.9 lb of coal per 1,000 ton-miles (18.37 kg per 1,000 km). Another 2-10-10-2 managed 110 cars or 17,250 tons (15,680 tonnes) over a ruling adverse grade of 0.2%.

They performed well for 30 years, first as pushers for the 2.11% grade at Elmore until replaced by electric engines, later as helpers on other grades. EW King, Jr (in Drury, 1993) notes that except for the addition of Worthington BL feedwater heaters, these engines were never modified.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Locobase ID417
RailroadVirginian (VGN)
Number in Class10
Road Numbers800-809
Number Built10
Valve GearWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)19.83 / 6.04
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)64.25 / 19.58
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.31
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)97 / 29.57
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)61,712 / 27,992
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)617,000 / 279,867
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)684,000 / 310,258
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)214,300 / 97,205
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)898,300 / 407,463
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)13,000 / 49.24
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)12 / 10.90
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)103 / 51.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)56 / 1422
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)215 / 14.80
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)30" x 32" / 762x813
Low Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)48" x 32" / 1219x813
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)135,170 / 61312.15
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.56
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)516 / 47.94
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)108.80 / 10.11
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)8605 / 799.42
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)2120 / 196.95
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)10,725 / 996.37
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume328.69
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation23,392
Same as above plus superheater percentage28,070
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area133,128
Power L19062
Power MT323.80

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Wes Barris