Cliffside 2-6-2 "Prairie" Locomotives in the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 18 (Locobase 14632)

Data from Cary Franklin Poole, History of Railroading in Western North Carolina (Overmountain Press, 1995), p. 128-129. Works number was 131818 in July 1923.

At first blush, this lesser-known Marietta, Ga builder is a hidden giant in locomotive manufacturing. After all Baldwin and Alco each never reached 80,000. Poole's parse of the code solves the riddle: 1318 refers to the cylinder dimensions while the second 18 indicates that this was the 18th engine to be built with that cylinder volume.

Poole reports that a year after the 18 entered service, Glover received a letter from the president of Cliffside scoring the builder for delivering a locomotive that failed to live up to its marketing hype. Glover dispatched a mechanical engineer, who discovered that the railroad undertaken a sloppy retrofit that caused significant havoc. Concluding that the locomotive needed a larger whistle on the steam dome, shop mechanics had bored out the hole in the steam dome. Shavings from the drilling fell into the throttle linkage and prevented the mechanism from either fully closing or opening the throttle. To overcome the engine's apparently willful impetus to keep moving, the engineers adopted the practicy of throwing the engine in reverse and locking down the brakes.

"After performing this maneuver hundreds of times," Poole recounts, "the entire linkage had become stretched." Cliffside and Glover battled over which party owed the other for the inspection trip and the mechanic's pay. Cliffside relented when they realized a year later that they needed spare parts for the 18 and Glover was the only builder that could supply them. Bowing to the inexorable, the railroad sent a check for the trip to Glover along with an order for the spare parts.

The 18 was retired in the late 1930s and scrapped in1943.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Locobase ID14,632
Number in Class1
Road Numbers18
Number Built1
Valve GearStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m) 7.75 / 2.36
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)20.46 / 6.24
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.38
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)20.46 / 6.24
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)50,000 / 22,680
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)66,000 / 29,937
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)66,000
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)1200 / 4.55
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT) 1.50 / 1.40
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)28 / 14
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)40 / 1016
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)180 / 12.40
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)13" x 18" / 330x457
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)11,636 / 5278.01
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.30
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)52.40 / 4.87
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)10.35 / 0.96
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)605 / 56.21
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)605 / 56.21
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume218.79
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation1863
Same as above plus superheater percentage1863
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area9432
Power L13762
Power MT497.63

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Wes Barris