Lyon Hill & Company 2-6-2 "Prairie" Locomotives in the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 2 (Locobase 15206)

Data from Baldwin Locomotive Works Specification for Engines as digitized by the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University, Vol 71, pp. 101+. See also Gerald W Williams, "The Spruce Production Division", Forest History Today (Spring 1999), pp. 7-16, at; Ward Tonsfeldt, Celebrating the Siuslaw: A Century of Growth, Siuslaw National Forest (), pp. 159-160; and Craig Magnuson,"Spruce Production Division Railroad No 1", a narrative found at, last accessed 24 May 2013. Works number was 57014 in September 1923.

The Spruce Production Division of the US Signal Corps (first "owners" of US military aircraft) was set up after the United States entered World War One to exploit Sitka spruce timber stands in Washington State for war production, especially of aircraft which used spruce extensively in their fuselages and wings. Stymied by a implacable stand-off between several loggers' unions and the owners of the logging companies, the Signal Corps took over spruce production by detailing "woods soldiers" to ensure production of the vital material took precedence over the continuing disagreements and profit-seeking management practices.

As the SPD entered the fray only in November 1917, it brought what one historian described as "Progressivism in khaki" to the Pacific Coast. After understandable resistance to the idea that the Army would log Sitka spruce, "a careful and skillful strategy" soon eliminated effective opposition. [Williams observes that the SPD achieved its goal of expanding spruce production ( p. 9) and "ended up restructuring the Pacific Northwest lumber industry. This great war effort had many lasting effects in labor-management relations for the next two decades." (p. 6)]

Woods-to-mill transportation networks were not then up to the level of effort required by war demands, so the SPD built thirteen railroads whose main line mileage reached 173 miles (279 km) and 181 miles (291 km) of spurs. Most were intended to be temporary and some sections were built only on "logs, piles, or stringers supported by log cribbing."

SPD Railroad No 1 was built in Clallam County to move logs from 300 sq miles of timber to mills at Port Angeles. Construction time was an astonishingly short six months with such corner-cutting prodigies as two tunnels along the coast of Crescent Lake speeding the process. In the end, however, the SPD Railroad No 1 abruptly ceased operation on Armistice Day, 1918 without delivering a single log to a mill, at which point all of the assets (many of which were not quite finished) were turned over to the newly formed Spruce Division Corporation for sale.

Fentress Hill. John K Lyon, and FS Scritsmeier created the LH&Co to buy the Port Angeles properties in 1922. This saddle tank was ordered in May 1923. It was a typical logging engine, although its superheater suggests an effort to get the most out of the motive power. Its 9 1/2" (241 mm) piston valves supplied the hot steam to the cylinders that drove the 2 over a challenging railroad that in 36 miles (58 km) featured 7% grades and 40 degree curves. The tight curve radii presumably dictated the Walschaert gear arrangement that had a high union link.

The Hill Lyon group sold its holdings not long after it acquired them. The Sol Duc Investment Company operated the railroad as the Port Angeles Western.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Locobase ID15,206
RailroadLyon Hill & Company
Number in Class1
Road Numbers2
Number Built1
Valve GearWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m) 9.50 / 2.93
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)25.33 / 7.72
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.38
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)25.33 / 7.72
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)105,000 / 47,627
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)134,500 / 61,008
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)134,500
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)1600 / 6.06
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)600 / 2.30
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)58 / 29
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)44 / 1118
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)165 / 11.40
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)17" x 24" / 432x610
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)22,109 / 10028.49
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.75
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)74 / 6.87
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)16.30 / 1.51
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)804 / 74.69
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)188 / 17.47
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)992 / 92.16
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume127.52
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation2690
Same as above plus superheater percentage3201
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area14,530
Power L15500
Power MT346.44

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