Unadilla Valley 2-6-2 "Prairie" Locomotives in the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 4 (Locobase 14685)

Data from Baldwin Locomotive Works Specification for Engines as digitized by the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University Vol 62, pp. 107+. See also "The Unadilla Valley Railway Co" at [] . Works numbers were 52534-52535 in November 1919.

The UVRwy was first proposed by Colonel Nehemiah Pierce shortly after the Civil War to connect the New York, Ontario & Western's route to the south of Unadilla Valley with the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western's railroad to the north. After attracting local funding, particularly in Utica, the railroad began construction in Bridgewater in 1889, reached Leonardsville in 1892 and South Edmonston in 1894.

The line itself was described in the specifications as having "track of light construction running through boggy ground." Sounds like logging Pacific country to Locobase. And light it was, although the actual metals weighed 56 lb (28 kg/metre) and 70 lb/yard (35 kg/metre) and might have been "relay rail". The road bed was composed of gravel. Grades were held to less than 2%.

Given the funding and the traffic, these economies are understandable: "The Unadilla Valley was still very rural at this time." says the history. "As provisions of sale of the right of way, the railroad was required to provide cattle fences on many of the properties. Cattle crossings had to be provided in many spots as well, so that farmers could move cattle from one side of the tracks to the other without driving their herds over the rails. This was due in part to the fact that the rail line bisected more than a few farms."

Indeed, "Quite a bit of early freight was agricultural, including milk and dairy products, and hops." By 1904, though, the railroad entered what the history calls its golden era under Doctor Lewis Morris, turning a profit most years until 1932.

Such rural railways first confronted competition from automobile traffic and the UVRwy saw a decline in passenger ridership beginning in the 1920s. Dr Morris opened a gravel quarry, but, says the history, state politics doomed the effort: "Upon receiving word of Dr. Morris' plans, the Governor and his cronies changed the State specifications for gravel contracts for work on Route 8 to call for "sharp" gravel only. Dr. Morris' gravel pit produced gravel with rounded edges, thus excluding him from bidding on this and ultimately most other State contracts."

Dr Morris's death in 1936 put the railroad in the hands of a scrap dealer, but H E Salzburg of New York City instead vowed to restore the UV to health and, remarkably, did so. The line turned a profit from 1938 through World War Two. Both the 4 and 5 remained in service until after the war, being scrapped in 1948 and 1950, respectively.

It wasn't until the milk-processing plant that provided 35% of the traffic closed in 1956 that the salvage company thought about dismantling the line. It closed in 1960 and was torn up by the end of the year.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Locobase ID14,685
RailroadUnadilla Valley
Number in Class2
Road Numbers4-5
Number Built2
Valve GearWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)10.25 / 3.12
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)26.83 / 8.18
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.38
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)46.83 / 14.27
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)94,000 / 42,638
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)122,000 / 55,338
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)74,000 / 33,566
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)196,000 / 88,904
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)3500 / 13.26
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)6 / 5.50
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)52 / 26
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) 4.25
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)101 / 9.38
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)18.90 / 1.76
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1637 / 152.08
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1637 / 152.08
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume259.64
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation3119
Same as above plus superheater percentage3119
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area16,665
Power L14111
Power MT289.25

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