Virginian 2-8-4 "Berkshire" Locomotives in the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class BA (Locobase 63)

Data from a 1951 Virginian locomotive diagram supplied to Locobase in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. Works numbers were 9107-9108 in June 1946, 9109-9111 in July.

Said to be virtually identical to C&O K-4s. How powerful and smooth was a Lima 2-8-4? EW King, Jr. (in Drury, 1993) says they "had speed well beyond that required." In a detour move on the Norfolk & Western, the Virginian's 505, pulling a 3,500 ton train, was claimed to have hit 87 mph.

The diagram shows that the firebox had two arch tubes (19 sq ft) and two thermic syphons (103 sq ft) that contributed to the firebox heating surface. Piston valves measured 14"(356 mm) in diameter and had a travel of 8" (203 mm). Although the diagram shows a combustion chamber, it doesn't give the length.

Specifications by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Locobase ID63
RailroadVirginian (VGN)
Number in Class5
Road Numbers505-509
Number Built5
Valve GearBaker
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)18.25 / 5.56
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)42 / 12.80
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.43
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)93.17 / 28.40
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)74,400 / 33,747
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)295,600 / 134,082
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)460,400 / 208,834
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)410,200 / 186,064
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)870,600 / 394,898
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)25,000 / 94.70
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)21 / 19.10
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)123 / 61.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)69 / 1753
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)245.10 / 16.90
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)26" x 34" / 660x864
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)69,397 / 31477.99
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.26
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)475 / 44.13
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)90.30 / 8.39
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)4776 / 443.87
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)1932 / 179.55
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)6708 / 623.42
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume228.59
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation22,133
Same as above plus superheater percentage28,551
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area150,185
Power L133,105
Power MT987.60