Detroit, Toledo & Ironton 2-8-4 "Berkshire" Locomotives in the USA

The Detroit, Toledo & Ironton Railroad bought six "Berkshire" type locomotives from the Lima Locomotive Works in two orders; four ordered in 1935 (road numbers 700 through 703) and two ordered in 1939 (road numbers 704 and 705). The first four weighed 411,500 pounds each and the later pair weighed 416,000 pounds each. All six had 63" diameter drivers, 25" x 30" cylinders, a 260 psi boiler pressure which resulted in a tractive effort of 65,780 pounds.

The DT&I line from Detroit, MI to Ironton, OH traversed both flat land and rolling hills and these 2-8-4s were well suited to provide the speed and pulling power for this railroad.

There are no surviving DT&I 2-8-4 "Berkshire" type locomotives


Qty.Road NumbersYear BuiltBuilderNotes
4700-7031935LimaNumbers 700-703 scrapped between 1953 and 1956
2704-7051939LimaNumbers 704 and 705 scrapped between 1953 and 1956

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 700 (Locobase 57)

Data from tables in 1947 Locomotive Cyclopedia and DT&I 7-1955 Locomotive Diagrams and DT&I 7-1955 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. See also the discussion of the class at [], last updated 26 February 2012. (Thanks to Chris Hohl for correcting the valve gear ID and for his 22 September 2017 email reporting unlikely boiler pressure values for 177 entries. A Locobase macro caused the error .) Works numbers were 7632-7635 in December 1935 and 7777-7778 in December 1939.

Firebox had 76 sq ft (7.05 sq m) of circulators; these were later replaced by 48 sq ft (4.45 sq m) of arch tubes. 14" (356 mm) piston valves supplied the cylinders.

This was a relatively small 2-8-4 that was built in response to a rising demand for fast freight service out of the automobile plants in the Detroit area. The result, says Drury (1993), was a design that looked like "condensed Nickel Plate Berkshires." They took their place as the elite class as they "were decades more modern than anything else on the property."

The author of the waverlyinfo article reports that the engines were immediately the class of the railroad because they were "decades ahead" of any other motive power. Their niche could be found in basic materials: "The 700's became preferred locomotives on the south end of the line over Summit to Glen Jean, Greggs, and Jackson. because of their superior performance in handling coal and ore drags "

There were problems with the design, at least as far as their service on the DT&I was concerned. The railroad was too narrow in places (south of Jackson, for example, becuase of a tight tunnel at Royersville) and much of the right of way had badly conditioned ties. Moreover, "The four-wheel Commonwealth trailer truck proved troublesome in yard switching duty with its high axle loadings, and the large twelve wheel tender was a problem on light rails of passing sidings and yard trackage."

The verdict on the all-weather cabs split down a seasonal divide: in the winter they were great, but "summer was dreaded. Crewmen would open all the doors and windows and even wore an extra set of coveralls to protect them from the intense heat in the cabs."

Whatever the issues, the power was too modern to give up easily and the DT&I operarted them to the end of steam in 1953-1956.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Locobase ID57
RailroadDetroit, Toledo & Ironton (DT&I)
Number in Class6
Road Numbers700-705
Number Built6
Valve GearWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)16.75 / 5.11
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)39.20 / 11.95
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.43
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)86.15 / 26.26
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)248,600 / 112,763
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)411,500 / 186,653
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)361,370 / 163,915
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)772,870 / 350,568
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)22,000 / 83.33
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)22 / 20
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)104 / 52
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)63 / 1600
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)250 / 17.20
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)25" x 30" / 635x762
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)63,244 / 28687.03
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.93
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)394 / 36.60
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)88.30 / 8.21
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)4521 / 420.17
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)1795 / 166.82
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)6316 / 586.99
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume265.25
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation22,075
Same as above plus superheater percentage28,256
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area126,080
Power L134,877
Power MT1237.18

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Wes Barris