Pacific Lumber Company 2-6-2 "Prairie" Locomotives in the USA


Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 29 (Locobase 13612)

Data from Baldwin Locomotive Works Specification for Engines as digitized by the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University Volume 34, p. 293. (Thanks to Chris Hohl for his 25 January 2015 asking about the wood-fuel capacity.) Works number was 34484 in April 1910.

Following a year after the Selwyn Eddy, this unamed PALCO stablemate had a bigger boiler and commensurately enlarged (but still small) wood-burning grate and firebox. These generated the steam for cylinders with 2" greater diameters. The tender held 3 cords of wood fuel.

After decades in service, the 29 was retired in 1961 not long after a major overhaul. Almost 25 years later, PALCO donated the 29 to the Northern Counties Logging Interpretive Association (NCLIA) in 1986. Its relatively short time of operation after the major overhaul and its storage for decades in a shed encouraged the NCLIA to consider rebuilding the engine.


Class 30 (Locobase 13613)

Data from Baldwin Locomotive Works Specification for Engines as digitized by the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University Volume 36, p. 153. Works number was 36173 in March 1911.

This was a smaller Prairie than the two that preceded it on PALCO 'S roster, but it featured a change to oil fuel and a higher-pressure boiler.

Like the others, the 30 served for decades before being scrapped in 1955.


Class Selwyn Eddy (Locobase 13611)

Data from Baldwin Locomotive Works Specification for Engines as digitized by the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University Volume 48, p. 289. See also "Baldwin Logging Locomotive Being Built for the Pacific Lumber Co., Scotia, Cal.", The Timberman, Volume 11 (November 1909), p. 49. Works number was 33339 in April 1909.

The Timberman article goes into considerable detail about what made this Prairie so suitable for logging operations. The 2-6-2 layout, combined with the equalizing setup, ensured "...a steady riding locomotive which is easy on both rails and flanges when traversing curves." Having already noted that PALCO''s routes included 6% grades and 35-degree curves, the report comments on the boiler's qualities: "High steaming capacity is essential to successful work on heavy grades." Their characterization of the firebox as possessing "ample volume" may be overstating the case, but the report highlights the longer tubes. [Not mentioned but of undoubted value must have been the high factor of adhesion.] And the Radley & Hunter wide-mouthed stack is eminently suited to arresting sparks from the wood-burning firebox.

The locomotive's namesake, Selwyn Eddy, was one of PALCO's founders, a company that exploited the Redwood Empire's great expanse of tall trees. The 27 operated for the TPL until its scrapping in 1955.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Class2930Selwyn Eddy
Locobase ID13,612 13,613 13,611
RailroadPacific Lumber Company (PALCO)Pacific Lumber Company (PALCO)Pacific Lumber Company (PALCO)
CountryUSAUSAUSA
Whyte2-6-22-6-22-6-2
Number in Class111
Road Numbers293027
GaugeStdStdStd
Number Built111
BuilderBaldwinBaldwinBurnham, Williams & Co
Year191019111909
Valve GearStephensonStephensonStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)10 / 3.05 8.33 / 2.5410 / 3.05
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)25.92 / 7.9023.83 / 7.2625.92 / 7.90
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.39 0.35 0.39
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)47.92 / 14.6147.92 / 14.61
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)90,000 / 40,82390,000 / 40,82381,750 / 37,081
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)120,000 / 54,431120,000 / 54,431110,900 / 50,303
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)60,000 / 27,21670,000 / 31,75260,000 / 27,216
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)180,000 / 81,647190,000 / 86,183170,900 / 77,519
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)3500 / 11.363000 / 11.363000 / 11.36
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)1000 / 3.80
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)50 / 2550 / 2545 / 22.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)52 / 132146 / 116852 / 1321
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)160 / 11180 / 12.40180 / 12.40
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)18" x 24" / 457x61017" x 24" / 432x61016" x 24" / 406x610
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)20,337 / 9224.7223,070 / 10464.3918,078 / 8200.05
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.43 3.90 4.52
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)127.70 / 11.86116 / 10.78114.60 / 10.65
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)17.40 / 1.6216 / 1.4916 / 1.49
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1765 / 163.971556 / 144.561578 / 146.60
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1765 / 163.971556 / 144.561578 / 146.60
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume249.70246.79282.54
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation278428802880
Same as above plus superheater percentage278428802880
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area20,43220,88020,628
Power L1471546756008
Power MT346.49343.55486.07