Alert began with the U&S in 1836. Richard Palmer of Three Rivers submitted a copy of the following lyrical description of the locomotive's operating territory from the Rome Telegraph of 26 July 1836, p.2: The passage of the valley of the Mohawk on this road, will be one of the most delightful and pleasant in the Union during the traveling season. A rich and beautiful country, here rolling in gentle undulations, there spreading into fertile plains, now rising in stately hills bedecked with majestic forests, and then breaking as it were, into towering cliffs; and our own placid river, wending its way, in the midst, studded with groups of little islands, combine in presenting throughout the whole passage the most exhilarating prospect and as ever varying landscape." Whew! And that's just the natural world.
The Telegraph continued: "To this, add those specimens of the triumph of art, and the dint of enterprise, every where abundant along the line of our railroad and great canal, and you have but a superficial view of the beauties and excellencies of the valley of the Mohawk. It will be but pastime and rest to the weary traveler to make The transit of this route. This way he will go, if he would save time and distance in passing to the far west; this way, if he would see the unrivalled cascades of Trenton, or the awful cataract of Niagara."
In 1846, the U&S sold the Alert to the Galena & Chicago Union. After a trip by ship on the Great Lakes (because there was no rail route then available) from Buffalo to Chicagor, the Alert was renamed Pioneer, On 24 October 1848 (according to G&CU's 1856 roster; other sources claim the 10th or the 25th), the Pioneer was the first locomotive to enter Chicago by rail. Maintained in service as a work locomotive on the G&CU. That railroad's consolidation with the Chicago & North Western in 1864 included the little engine, which served until 1875.
Angus Sinclair, wrote that the locomotive's running gear underwent some modifications: "As originally built it had a single fixed eccentric for each cylinder with two arms extending backwards having drop hooks to engage with a pin on a rocker arm which actuated the valve rod. That motion was removed and double eccentrics with V-hook put in its place, the motion now found on the engine"
Other modifications included a new cab, much larger stack, and, according to Dredge's 1893 report, and 10" x 18" (254 x 456 mm) cylinders (according to the G&CU's 1856 roster)..
The Pioneer was donated to the Chicago Historical Society in 1875 and appeared at the World Columbian Exposition of 1893. It is still on display at the Chicago History Museum.
All of the others in the class were scrapped in the early 1850s.
This was the first steam locomotive anywhere to have a leading bogie, an important innovation that soon led to the ubiquitous 4-4-0 "American" type. According to Staufer (1967), the relatively large grate was designed to burn anthracite coal.
Originally known as the Experiment, a rebuild which included a new wood-burning firebox led to the engine's redubbing. (Brother Jonathan was the American everyman of his day.) Designed by John B. Jarvis, Brother Jonathan proved quite successful and was itself converted to a 4-4-0 years later.
Kitterman quotes from an effusive entry in the 1832 Journals of Ebenezer Mattoon Chamberlain, made after his arrival in Schenectady on 28 June 1832. Chamberlain was fully aware of the implications of his journey and expressed his awe in Olympian prose: "Among the astonishing inventions of man, surely that of the locomotive steam engine hath no secondary rank. By this matchless exercise of skill, we fly with a smooth and even course along once impassible barriers, the valleys are filled the mountains laid low, and distance seems annihilated."
Evincing many of the qualities of later railfans, Chamberlain continued" I took my seat as near as possible to the car containing the eninge, in order to examine more minutely the operation of this, to me, novel and stupendous specimen of human skill. Having thus, as if by some invisible agency flown the distance of 16 miles [25.75 km] in 40 minutes, at Schenectacy I took passage on the Hudson and Erie Canal for Buffalo."
So Chamberlain moved from the latest engineering marvel to the still-astonishing achievement of the Erie Canal.
|Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media|
|Railroad||Utica & Schenectady (NYC)||Mohawk & Hudson (NYC)|
|Number in Class||1||1|
|Road Numbers||1, 5-8 /|
|Builder||Matthias Baldwin||West Point Foundry|
|Locomotive Length and Weight|
|Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)|
|Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)||24.45 / 7.45|
|Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase|
|Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)|
|Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)|
|Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)||24,120 / 10,941||7000 / 3175|
|Engine Weight (lbs / kg)||24,120 / 10,941||14,000 / 6350|
|Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)|
|Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)|
|Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)|
|Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)|
|Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)||40 / 20||12 / 6|
|Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort|
|Driver Diameter (in / mm)||54 / 1372||60 / 1524|
|Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)||100 / 6.90||50 / 3.40|
|High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)||10" x 18" / 254x457||9.5" x 16" / 241x406|
|Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)||2833 / 1285.03||1023 / 464.03|
|Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort)||8.51||6.84|
|Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)|
|Grate Area (sq ft / m2)||14.17 / 1.32|
|Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)|
|Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)|
|Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)|
|Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume|
|Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)|
|Robert LeMassena's Power Computation||709|
|Same as above plus superheater percentage||709|
|Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area|