Wheeling & Lake Erie 2-8-0 "Consolidation" Locomotives in the USA


Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class G-3/H-10 (Locobase 5427)

Data from "Consolidation Locomotives for the Wheeling & Lake Erie," Railway and Locomotive Engineering, Vol 26, No 12 (December 1913), pp. 451-452. See also data from W&LE 10-1948 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. Works numbers ran from 53722 to 53741.

The W & LE diagram shows that this burly Consolidation fed its cylinders with 14" piston valves. They were indeed robust locomotives with considerable cylinder volume and adequate superheater area for their generation. In fact, RLE's report claimed: "They deserve special study ...On roads where freight service does not demand a speed greater than that which can be obtained economically by 57" wheels, the Consolidation should be the preferable type." One advantage of the smaller drivers was the ability to increase the firebox's depth, which the R&LE described as always "a serious problem with the Consolidation engine." In this design the distance from the grate's surface up to the bottom row of firetubes was 24 3/4" (629 mm).

The boiler was described by Alco as a 100% vessel that was guaranteed "to furnish a constant supply of steam for any sustained speed the locomotive cylinders are capable of making."

Firebox heating surface area, which measured 223.7 sq ft (20.8 sq m) when delivered in 1913, was later augmented by 31.7 sq ft (2.95 sq m) of arch tubes. They were delivered with boilers set to 185 psi (12.75 bar), but pressure soon rose to 200 psi (13.8 bar).

The class went to work on the Toledo division on the 72 miles (116 km) between Brewster and Huron, Ohio. Wheeling's superintendent of motive power and cars FT Hyndman's review of early performance was quite favorable, reported the R&LE,which summarized the conclusion: "[T]he engines are very efficient and economical. They steam very freely and give no trouble whatever from lack of steam when properly fired."

The ruling grade against eastbound traffic was a mere 0.5% and the westbound trains felt even less resistance from a 0.4% average. One five-mile grade of 1.15% required helper service. Eastbound trains averaged 3,130 tons, westbound 3,575 tons, each at 20 mph. Average coal consumption for the trip was 15,360 lb (6,967 kg) or half a full tender; ton-mile consumption came to 0.636 lb (28.8 grams). Average water consumption was about a tender and a half: 14,416 US gallons (54,565 litres) or .0859 gallons (0.22 litres) per ton-mile.

Later updates included a very welcome stoker and syphons; see Locobase 7824.


Class H-10 with syphons (Locobase 7874)

Data from W&LE 10-1948 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange.

Locobase 5427 shows these twenty big Consolidations as they were delivered in 1913. The firebox heating surface in this entry reflects the later deletion of two fire tubes and two arch tubes (14.2 sq ft/1.3 sq m) in favor of two Nicholson thermic syphons (80.5 sq ft/7.5 sq m). Some engines were retrofitted with automatic stokers and the weights given in this entry show locomotives with both syphons and stoker added at a gain of 7,020 lb (3,184 kg) over the original configuration.

The W & LE diagram shows that this burly Consolidation fed its cylinders with 14" piston valves.

Nine of the class were withdrawn and scrapped in October-November 1941. Except as described below, the other seven continued in service until November-December 1949.

6062 and 6066 were sold in December 1942 to the Pittsburgh & West Virginia as their G-8 950-951. The P&WV leased the 6055 in January 1943, but lost it in a wreck two months later. Four more--6053, 6056, 6061, and 6067--were leased by the Nickel Plate in December 1949, but withdrawn within a year.


Class H-3 (Locobase 7887)

Data from W&LE 8 - 1923 & 10 1924 Locomotive Diagram books supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. Works numbers were 2052-2061 in February 1900 and 2367-2368 in January 1902.

Viewed in company with dozens of other Consolidation classes that ran on US rails at the turn of the century, this was a small design. The boiler had one of the lowest amounts of heating surface and grate and firebox areas ran well below the median. Weights ran low as well, stamping this class as light-footed, branch-line engines. The two compound H-4s shown in Locobase 7888 were converted to the H-3 simple-expansion layout

ll were renumbered in 1904 and eleven were renumbered again from 1919 to 1923. Two--672 and 678--went to the PL&W. In December 1917, the W&LE sold the 671 and 675 to the Toledo, St Louis & Western as their 134-135. When the NKP took over the TStL&W in June 1923, the two were renumbered 834-835. Eight years later, both were retired in March 1931.

The rest of the class were retired and scrapped in the latter half of the 1920s.


Class H-4 (Locobase 7888)

Data from W&LE 8 - 1923 & 10 1924 Locomotive Diagram books supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. See also "Wheeling & Lake Erie Compound Consolidation Locomotive", Railway Mechanical Engineering, Volume XXVI [26], No 6 (June 1902), pp. 200-201. (Thanks to Chris Hohl for his 19 April 2018 email noting the orginal coal capacity and steam pressure.) Works numbers were 2369-2370 in February 1902.

Differences between this pair of Consolidations and the similar H-3s shown in Locobase 7887 went beyond the adoption of cross-compounding. Their boilers had 25 more tubes in a barrel that measured 2" (50.2 mm) smaller behind the smokebox, the result of greater taper back by the firebox. Still, as Consolidations went in those turn-of-the-century days, this was a rather small design.

Tender fuel capacity, which was 8 tons when delivered, soon increased to the 9.3 tons shown, most likely through the addition of coal boards around the sides and back. The additional coal added about 3,300 lb (1,497 kg) to the tender's original 84,300 lb loaded weight.

As was usual with North American railroads, the cross-compound era on the W & LE lasted only a short time. These engines were converted to simple expansion in March (3010) and April 1902 (3009).


Class H-5 (Locobase 7891)

Data from W&LE 8 - 1923 & 10 1924 Locomotive Diagram books supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. See also Baldwin Locomotive Works Specification for Engines as digitized by the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University Vol 25, p.255. Works numbers were 21997, 22003, 22036-37, 22051-22053 in April 1903; 22105-06, 22114, 22140, 22149-50, 22189, 22270 in May.

This Consolidation class represents a good-sized freight design of the early 1900s. Baldwin supplied them as Vauclain compounds in small batches.

These were rebuilt as simple-expansion 21" x 30" engines, but apparently were never superheated. Locobase has established that the W & LE diagrams have a mysterious value for the count of tubes in the boilers of this class. The original Baldwin spec showed 366 2" tubes, which yields a heating surface area quite in line with the total heating surface given in the W & LE diagrams. But the latter credit this class with 319 tubes. It may be that the boilers were rebuilt with 2 1/4" tubes, but the total heating surface falls short.

3560 was scrapped first in July 1928. The others followed over the next 4 years with 3557 completing the break-up in November 1932.


Class H-6a (Locobase 7892)

Data from W&LE 8 - 1923 & 10 1924 Locomotive Diagram books supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange.

This Consolidation class was apparently delivered out of a single batch (works #30845-30894). They had 11" piston valves. By 1924, the time of the guide from which the data are taken, the number of saturated-boiler engines had been cut in half. The others are shown in Locobase 7893-7894.


Class H-6a - superheated (Locobase 8324)

Data from W&LE 10 - 1948 Locomotive Diagram books supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange.

This Consolidation class was apparently delivered out of a single batch (works #30845-30894). They had 11" piston valves. By 1924, the time of the guide from which the data are taken, the number of saturated-boiler engines had been cut in half. The others are shown in Locobase 7893-7894.


Class H-6b / G-2 (Locobase 7893)

Data from W&LE 8 - 1923 & 10 1924 Locomotive Diagram books supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange.

A look at the works numbers suggests that this class, as defined in 1924, was a subset of the original H-6 Consolidation class of 1905 and were superheated later as well. These had larger cylinders with 12" piston valves (vs 11" in the original), a useful degree of superheat, 3 arch tubes contributing 21.8 sq ft to the firebox's heating surface, and Baker gear. H-6c engines received the superheater and the arch tubes, but were otherwise similar to H-6a locomotives; see Locobase 7894.


Class H-6c (Locobase 7894)

Data from W&LE 8 - 1923 & 10 1924 Locomotive Diagram books supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange.

Locobase notes that this subclass used the original power layout supplied when the H-6 class was first delivered in 1905 (Locobase 7892), including the 11" piston valves, the 21 1/2" cylinders, and 200-psi boiler pressure. Added later, as shown here, are the superheater and 3 arch tubes contributing 21.8 sq ft to the firebox's heating surface.


Class H-7 (Locobase 7898)

Data from W&LE 8 - 1923 & 10 1924 Locomotive Diagram books supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange.

Locobase has a hunch that this class came from another railroad during an acquisition. The diagram was placed last in both books even though the class ID, wheel arrangement, and engine numbers suggested a location somewhere in the middle. Also, the numbers themselves seem out of order with the rest of the Consolidations (although not by much) and the locomotive listings at the front of the books show no builder's numbers or old-number series, as they did for all of the other W & LE engines.


Class H-7/I-3 (Locobase 5698)

Data from DeGolyer, Volume 28, pp. 270-271. Additional confirmation from WAB 1 - 1917 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange; and "The Wabash Pittsburgh Terminal Railway and Pittsburgh's Hard Luck Bridge" history at [], last accessed 14 June 2018.. Works numbers were 29129-29130, 29158-29159 in September 1906; 29175, 29182-29184, 29196, 29230, 29246-29248, 29257, 29270-29272, 29287, 29296, 29304-29305, 29338-29341 in October; and 29389, 29406, 29429, 29495, 29511 in November.

Drury (1993) wrote that the only Consolidations the Wabash ever used were second-hand locomotives from the DT&I (I-2) and the Wheeling & Lake Erie (I-3). Both of those transactions came well after the publication of the table in AERJ. So what railroad actually operated this locomotive? It's confusing because although Connelly shows the class going to the Wabash in 1910, the AERJ already put them on the Indiana railroad. And Baldwin's own specs show the engines were purchased by the Wabash, but lettered for the W&LE.

Breyer's roster shows the class as W&LE locomotives but assigned in 1909-1910 to the Wabash-Pittsburgh Terminal Railroad. And brooklineconnection.com's website history of the WPT resolves the confusion by showing that the WPT was the last piece in Jay and George Gould's coast-to-coast railroad plan and ultimately its weakest link. George Gould, who succeeded to the empire after father Jay's death in 1892, owned both the W&LE and the WPT when he bought the latter to close the gap between his western holdings and his Pennsylvania railroads.

But, says the website's history: "Little did George Gould know at the time, but the technical difficulty of building a railroad into Pittsburgh, where all of the good routes had already been utilized, the massive costs of the construction, the fierce competiton that developed with established rivals like the Pennsylvania Railroad, and his increasingly speculative business practices, were a recipe for disaster."

Here it suffices to say that a variety of mishaps and outright calamities doomed the effort. In particular, the final link--the bridge over the Monongahela--suffered an accident on 20 October 1903 that killed 10 and delayed its completion. Gould's shaky finances were unable to sustain such blows. The entire Gould system cascaded into bankruptcy beginning with the Western Maryland in March 1908, then the W&LE and WPT two months later.

The entire stud of WPT H-7 2-8-0s were sold off to the Wabash (no relation) in 1910 as their class I. The Baldwin spec shows a firebox area of 192 sq ft, however, while the 1917 diagram (dated January of that year) shows 283 sq ft. The latter number seems unlikely and in fact later Wabash diagrams show total firebox heating surface as 214 sq ft (19.88 sq m), of which 26 sq ft (2.42 sq m) was manifested in four arch tubes. Twelve-inch 305 mm) piston valves supplied saturated steam to the cylinders.

In the 1920s, the Wabash superheated this class; see Locobase 6294.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
ClassG-3/H-10H-10 with syphonsH-3H-4H-5
Locobase ID5427 7874 7887 7888 7891
RailroadWheeling & Lake ErieWheeling & Lake ErieWheeling & Lake ErieWheeling & Lake ErieWheeling & Lake Erie
CountryUSAUSAUSAUSAUSA
Whyte2-8-02-8-02-8-02-8-02-8-0
Number in Class20214315
Road Numbers2401-2420 / 6051-60702401-2420/6051-6070191-204/670-683/3001-3011203-204250-264 / 700-714 / 3551-3565
GaugeStdStdStdStdStd
Number Built20212315
BuilderAlco-SchenectadyW&LEPittsburghPittsburghBurnham, Williams & Co
Year19131925190019021903
Valve GearWalschaertWalschaertStephensonStephensonStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)17 / 5.1817 / 5.1815.67 / 4.7815.67 / 4.7815.25 / 4.65
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)27 / 8.2327 / 8.2323.58 / 7.1923.58 / 7.1924 / 7.32
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.63 0.63 0.66 0.66 0.64
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)62.71 / 19.1162.21 / 18.9653.08 / 16.1852.26 / 15.9352.67 / 16.05
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)62,100 / 28,16862,100 / 28,168
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)236,000 / 107,048244,420 / 110,867132,200 / 59,965146,600 / 66,497161,000 / 73,028
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)266,500 / 120,883274,920 / 124,702148,500 / 67,359167,400 / 75,931185,500 / 84,141
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)177,300 / 80,422189,300 / 85,86584,500 / 38,32987,600 / 39,735111,800 / 50,712
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)443,800 / 201,305464,220 / 210,567233,000 / 105,688255,000 / 115,666297,300 / 134,853
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)9000 / 34.099000 / 34.094000 / 15.154000 / 15.156000 / 22.73
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)15 / 13.6021 / 19.10 8.40 / 7.60 9.30 / 8.5010 / 9.10
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)98 / 49102 / 5155 / 27.5061 / 30.5067 / 33.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)57 / 144857 / 144857 / 144857 / 144857 / 1448
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)185 / 12.80200 / 13.80165 / 11.40200 / 13.80180 / 12.40
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)26" x 30" / 660x76226" x 30" / 660x76220" x 28" / 508x71120" x 28" / 508x711 (1)15.5" x 30" / 394x762
Low Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)30" x 28" / 762x711 (1)26" x 30" / 660x762
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)55,948 / 25377.6260,484 / 27435.1127,558 / 12500.1123,126 / 10489.7928,547 / 12948.72
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.22 4.04 4.80 6.34 5.64
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)284.70 / 26.45334.70 / 31.11161 / 14.96159 / 14.77170 / 15.80
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)66.75 / 6.2066.60 / 6.1930.30 / 2.8230.20 / 2.8147 / 4.37
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)3517 / 326.743620 / 336.431832 / 170.262008 / 186.552933 / 272.58
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)774 / 71.91776 / 72.12
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)4291 / 398.654396 / 408.551832 / 170.262008 / 186.552933 / 272.58
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume190.78196.37179.94394.46447.66
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation12,34913,320500060408460
Same as above plus superheater percentage14,57215,718500060408460
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area62,15078,98926,56531,80030,600
Power L111,35112,654406046503509
Power MT424.15456.55270.82279.71192.20

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
ClassH-6aH-6a - superheatedH-6b / G-2H-6cH-7
Locobase ID7892 8324 7893 7894 7898
RailroadWheeling & Lake ErieWheeling & Lake ErieWheeling & Lake ErieWheeling & Lake ErieWheeling & Lake Erie
CountryUSAUSAUSAUSAUSA
Whyte2-8-02-8-02-8-02-8-02-8-0
Number in Class66202010
Road Numbers4151-41564151-41562101-2149 / 4301-43202101-2149 / 4301-43202101-2149 / 3571-3580
GaugeStdStdStdStdStd
Number Built10
BuilderAlco-BrooksW & LEAlco-BrooksAlco-BrooksAlco-Brooks
Year19051905190519051901
Valve GearStephensonWalschaertBakerBakerStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)15.75 / 4.8015.75 / 4.8015.75 / 4.8015.75 / 4.8017.33 / 5.28
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)24.50 / 7.4724.50 / 7.4724.50 / 7.4724.50 / 7.4725.50 / 7.77
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.64 0.64 0.64 0.64 0.68
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)57.87 / 17.6457.87 / 17.6457.87 / 17.6457.87 / 17.6454.69 / 16.67
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)47,120 / 21,37347,200 / 21,410
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)188,112 / 85,326188,112 / 85,326193,700 / 87,861188,112 / 85,326158,000 / 71,668
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)207,800 / 94,257209,612 / 95,079216,800 / 98,339209,612 / 95,079180,000 / 81,647
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)153,000 / 69,400153,000 / 69,400153,000 / 69,400153,000 / 69,400124,500 / 56,472
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)360,800 / 163,657362,612 / 164,479369,800 / 167,739362,612 / 164,479304,500 / 138,119
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)8000 / 30.308000 / 30.308000 / 30.308000 / 30.306000 / 22.73
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)14 / 12.7014 / 12.7014 / 12.7014 / 12.7013 / 11.80
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)78 / 3978 / 3981 / 40.5078 / 3966 / 33
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)57 / 144857 / 144857 / 144857 / 144863 / 1600
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)200 / 13.80200 / 13.80190 / 13.10200 / 13.80200 / 13.80
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)21.5" x 30" / 546x76221.5" x 30" / 546x76222.5" x 30" / 572x76221.5" x 30" / 546x76221" x 30" / 533x762
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)41,359 / 18760.1541,359 / 18760.1543,031 / 19518.5641,359 / 18760.1535,700 / 16193.27
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.55 4.55 4.50 4.55 4.43
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)188 / 17.47107.50 / 9.99209.80 / 19.50209.80 / 19.50187 / 17.38
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)50.30 / 4.6750.50 / 4.6950.50 / 4.6950.50 / 4.6943 / 4
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)2986 / 277.512466 / 229.182468 / 229.372468 / 229.372962 / 275.28
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)527 / 48.98527 / 48.98527 / 48.98
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)2986 / 277.512993 / 278.162995 / 278.352995 / 278.352962 / 275.28
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume236.87195.62178.77195.78246.29
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation10,06010,100959510,1008600
Same as above plus superheater percentage10,06011,91811,32211,9188600
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area37,60025,37047,03749,51337,400
Power L1591711,67610,79912,4506805
Power MT277.38547.36491.64583.64379.81

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
ClassH-7/I-3
Locobase ID5698
RailroadWheeling & Lake Erie
CountryUSA
Whyte2-8-0
Number in Class30
Road Numbers2301-2330
GaugeStd
Number Built30
BuilderBurnham, Williams & Co
Year1906
Valve GearStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)15.75 / 4.80
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)24.50 / 7.47
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.64
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)57.87 / 17.64
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)52,000 / 23,587
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)190,000 / 86,183
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)215,000 / 97,522
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)154,000 / 69,853
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)369,000 / 167,375
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)8000 / 30.30
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)12
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)79 / 39.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)58 / 1473
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)200 / 13.80
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)22" x 30" / 559x762
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)42,559 / 19304.46
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.46
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)192 / 17.84
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)50.40 / 4.68
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)3245 / 301.47
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)3245 / 301.47
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume245.85
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation10,080
Same as above plus superheater percentage10,080
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area38,400
Power L16159
Power MT285.86

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