Chicago & North Western 2-8-4 "Berkshire" Locomotives in the USA

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Number 2804 Bud Laws Photo.

The Chicago & North Western Railroad bought twelve "Berkshire" type locomotives from the American Locomotive Company in 1927. These locomotives carried road numbers 2801 through 2812 and were very similar to the Boston & Albany's "sports models" Class A-1c.

The C&NW designated them as Class J-4. These locomotives had 63" diameter drivers, 28" x 30" cylinders, a weight of 397,000 pounds and exerted a tractive effort of 67,200 pounds under 240 psi of boiler pressure.

The J-4s were assigned to freight service and regularly pulled coal trains until they were retired in the early 1950s.

There are no surviving C&NW 2-8-4 "Berkshire" type locomotives


Roster by Richard Duley

ClassQty.Road NumbersYear BuiltBuilderNotes
J-4122801-28121927ALCONumbers 2801-2812 scrapped between 1950 and 1953.

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class J-4 (Locobase 56)

Data from table in 1930 Locomotive Cyclopedia, supplemented by C & NW 10 - 1952 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. (Thanks to Chris Hohl for his 18 March 2016 email and attachment containing the Alco builder's card for the J-4.)

Firebox heating surface included 103 sq ft (9.57 sq m) of thermic syphons and 21 sq ft of arch tubes, valve motion had limited cutoff in actuating 14" piston valves. The trailing truck wheels had two different diameters. The front axle turned 33" wheels, the rear 44" wheels.

Supplied in a batch built in Dunkirk (Brooks) in August 1927 (works #67372-67383), the class was assigned to coal trains on the Nelson-Peoria line.

Specifications by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
ClassJ-4
Locobase ID56
RailroadChicago & North Western (C&NW)
CountryUSA
Whyte2-8-4
Number in Class12
Road Numbers2801-2812
GaugeStd
Number Built12
BuilderAlco-Brooks
Year1927
Valve GearWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)16.80 / 5.12
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)39.70 / 12.10
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.42
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)82.25 / 25.07
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)253,500 / 114,986
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)397,000 / 180,076
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)287,000 / 130,181
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)684,000 / 310,257
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)15,000 / 56.82
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)20 / 18.20
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)106 / 53
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)63 / 1600
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)239.30 / 16.50
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)28" x 30" / 711x762
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)75,938 / 34444.94
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.34
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)411 / 38.18
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)100.30 / 9.32
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)4777 / 443.96
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)2243 / 208.46
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)7020 / 652.42
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume223.43
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation24,002
Same as above plus superheater percentage31,682
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area129,825
Power L131,753
Power MT1104.59

Photos

Reference