Erie 4-4-2 "Atlantic" Locomotives in the USA


Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 87 (Locobase 12546)

Data from Angus Sinclair, Development of the Locomotive Engine (New York: Angus Sinclair Publishing, 1907), p.266. (Sinclair attributes the 1853 American Railway Journal article from which he derived the information to Zerah Colburn.) See also Edward Harold Mott, Between the Ocean and the Lakes (New York: John S Collins, 1899), p. 396.

In contrast to Norris's oddball design described in Locobase 12545, E H Mott says thesee were actually well-liked by their crews. He notes that the two were "...totally different in action. The former was a mass of machinery; hook-motion, and independent variable cut-off. The latter was a full crank, direct-acting, without rocker arm: a link-motion."

Yet, "With a train suitable to their capacity, they were very quick, not costly to maintain, and easy on the track. The engineers took great pride in these machines, which were put in use upon the Susquehanna Division. Luther Pitcher had charge of No. 112, and John Donohue of No. 87."

NB: Boiler pressure is a Locobase estimate.


Class E-1 (Locobase 426)

Data from Erie 1907 locomotive diagram book supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange.

All 29 Atlantics in this class were delivered as Camelback Vauclain compounds delivered with two 13" HP and two 22" LP cylinders; see Locobase 12441.

They were shortly (1904-1906) converted to single-expansion engines. The 1917 diagram shows that the tubesheets were moved 6" further apart, creating more evaporative heating surface. After 20 more years of passenger service, they were retired in 1927-1928.


Class E-1 (Locobase 12441)

Data from Baldwin Locomotive Works Specification for Engines as digitized by the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University Volume 23, p 120. Works numbers were 16488-16491 in February 1899; 17110-17111, 17179-17183 in October; 17232-17234 in November; 17278-17281 in December; 18254-18255 in September 1900; 18280-18281, 18338-18340, 18360 in October; and 18819-18821 in March 1901.

Twenty-nine Camelback Vauclain compounds were delivered with two 13" HP and two 22" LP cylinders; one of each was served by a single 13" diameter (330 mm) piston valves. The photo series in Edwin Alexander's American Locomotives 1900-1950 (NY: Bonanza Books, 1950), pp 24-25 show an almost Austrian look to the class with slim domes topped by rounded caps. But the "Mother Hubbard" double-cab layout confirms this as an Anthracite coal burner.

Like most Vauclain compounds, however, the entire class was converted to single-expansion engines in 1904-1906; see Locobase 426.


Class E-2 - simpled (Locobase 387)

Data from Erie's 1928 Locomotive Diagram book supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. Works numbers were 21248, 21273-21274, 21280-21283, 21325 in November 1902 and 21376-21377

Originally built as Vauclain compounds with 15-in high-pressure and 25-in low pressure cylinders (Locobase 16270); they were soon rebuilt as the simple-expansion locomotives shown in the specifications. Other than the removal of the Vauclain cylinder sets, the locomotives were at first unchanged. Tube counts and heating surface areas in the specs above reflect a later boiler modification.


Class E-2 - vauclain compound (Locobase 16270)

Data from Erie's 1928 Locomotive Diagram book supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. See also DeGolyer, Volume 25, p. 40; and "Atlantic Type Passenger Power for the Erie", Railway and Locomotive Engineering, Volume 16, No 5 (May 1903), p. 217. Works numbers were 21248, 21273-21274, 21280-21283, 21325 in November 1902 and 21376-21377 in December.

Vauclain compounds with 15-in high-pressure and 25-in low pressure cylinders supplied by 15" (381 mm) piston valves. Fitted with the big Wootten firebox used to burn buckwheat and bituminous coal, these camelback Atlantics stood quite tall, The center of the firedoor used by the fireman standing on the rear deck was 91" (2,311 mm) above the rail.

Within a scant three years, the class had been fitted with simple-expansion cylinders; see Locobase 387.


Class E-3 - simple (Locobase 386)

Data from Erie's 1928 Locomotive Diagram book supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. (Thanks to Chris Hohl for his 24 October 2015 email identifying the valve gear.)

These engines were originally built as compounds with 15-in high-pressure and 25-in low pressure pistons; see Locobase 9481. When rebuilt as simple-expansion engines, they seem to have disposed of some of their 2" tubes and, of course, the two LP cylinders, but were otherwise unchanged.


Class E-3 - vauclain compound (Locobase 9481)

Data from Angus Sinclair (ed), Railway and Locomotive Engineering, May 1903, p. 217. See also DeGolyer, Volume 25, p. 60. Works numbers were 21544, 21550 in January 1903; 21602, 21633, 21650, 21671, 21693, 21697, 21719 in February; and 21779, 21800, 21812, 21838, 21866-21867 in March.

These Atlantic passenger engines were originally built as Vauclain compounds with 15-in high-pressure and 25-in low pressure pistons with 15" (381 mm) piston valves, but a narrower firebox and conventional cab than the immediately preceding E-2 camelbacks.

They were quickly rebuilt as simple-expansion engines beginning in 1905; they're shown in that configuration in Locobase 386.


Class E-4 - balanced compound (Locobase 388)

Data from DeGolyer, Volume 27, p. 310. See also Lawford H Fry [of Baldwin], "Balanced Compound Locomotive for the Erie", The Valve World, Volume 1, No 6 (June 1906), pp. 8-9. Works numbers were 25181 in February 1905 and 25306 in March.

Large four cylinder balanced compound Atlantics of which only these two Baldwins and a similar Alco were built (Locobase 839), probably because interest was turning to a 4-6-2 arrangement for passenger power. Firebox heating surface included 26 sq ft (2.42 sq m) of arch tubes.

The design threw over the long-promoted Vauclain compound, which used one piston valve to supply steam to both the HP and LP cylinders in a single set that drove on the same axle, in favor of the arrangement in which the inside HP cylinders drove the front axle and the outside LP cylinders turned the rear drivers. As with the Vauclain compound, single 15" (381 mm) piston valves supplied both cylinders on a side.

At the time of their introduction, Baldwin had produced 80 such locomotives. Fry explained that the balanced arrangement, in which the pistons in the HP and LP cylinders on each side moved in opposite directions "so that the inertia forces tend to balance each other and at the same time the thrusts from the pistons tend to balance each other and to reduce considerably the stresses set up in the frames of the locomotives." Fry noted the reduction in hammer-blow and the lesser girder deflection in bridges

Certainly the Continental engineers in France and Germany had adopted similar setups for similar reasons, but even that argument couldn't overcome a standing North American aversion to compound locomotives displayed by both operating crews and maintenance staff. On the other hand, apparently they were easier to maintain than the more numerous Vauclain compounds as they weren't converted to simple expansion until 1917 (Locobase 9239).


Class E-4 - superheated (Locobase 9239)

Data from Westing's Erie Power (1970) and Erie 7-1949-1 locomotive diagram book supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange.

Firebox heating surface area included four arch tubes that contributed 25 sq ft.

This set of relatively long Vauclain balanced compound Atlantics (Locobase 388) was simpled, then superheated at the Hornell Shops with what may have been standard kit. As with the later E-5 makeover (Locobase 9238), the E-4s didn't sacrifice much in the way of heating surface area. The 12" (305 mm) piston valves, Baker valve gear, and superheat enlivened the design and the two locomotives lasted into the 1940s.

536 was scrapped in January 1942 while 535 was the last of the Erie Atlantic when it was cut up in February 1947.


Class E-5 - balanced compound (Locobase 389)

Data from a table in the June 1907 AERJ. See also "Cole Balanced Compound - Erie Railroad", American Engineer and Railroad Journal, Volume 79, No 8 (August 1905), p. 287. Works number was 30711 in April 1905.

Similar in concept and performance to Baldwin-built E4 pair shown in Locobase 388.

Although a significant increase in Atlantic engine power, this engine and the Baldwins were the last of this wheel arrangement to be built for the Erie. The Cole system divided the drive between two inside, HP cylinders set under the firebox and ahead of the two LP cylinders located outside between the bogie axles. 14" (356 mm) piston valves supplied both the LP and HP cylinders on each side. The HP cylinders drove a crank axle that turned the leading pair of drivers while the LP cylinders drove the second.

It was converted in 1919 to two-cylinder simple and superheated; see Locobase 9238.


Class E-5 - superheated (Locobase 9238)

Data from Westing's Erie Power (1970) and Erie 7-1949-1 locomotive diagram book supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. (Thanks to Chris Hohl for his 24 October 2015 email correcting the valve gear ID.

For not a lot of increase in weight, the Erie's newest Atlantic was rebuilt at the Hornell Shops. At first it was simpled (although Locobase can't say for sure when) then superheated. Unlike many upgrades, the loss in overall heating surface area was not substantial and its boiler pressure remained set at 200 PSI. 25 sq ft of the firebox heating surface came in the form of four arch tubes.

It was the next to last Atlantic to be scrapped, heading to the ferro-knacker in November 1942.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Class87E-1E-1E-2 - simpledE-2 - vauclain compound
Locobase ID12,546 426 12,441 387 16,270
RailroadErie (ERR)Erie (ERR)Erie (ERR)Erie (ERR)Erie (ERR)
CountryUSAUSAUSAUSAUSA
Whyte4-4-24-4-24-4-24-4-24-4-2
Number in Class229291010
Road Numbers87, 112502-527, 532-534502-527, 532-534535-544/934-943535-544/934-943
Gauge6'StdStdStdStd
Number Built2291010
BuilderBoston Locomotive WorksErieBurnham, Williams & CoErieBurnham, Williams & Co
Year18511904189919051902
Valve GearStephensonStephensonStephensonStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m) 6.58 / 2.01 6.58 / 2.01 6.58 / 2.01 6.58 / 2.01
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)24.75 / 7.5424.75 / 7.5426.25 / 826.25 / 8
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.27 0.27 0.25 0.25
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)52.79 / 16.0952.79 / 16.0953.92 / 16.4353.92 / 16.43
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)41,800 / 18,96042,000 / 19,05142,000 / 19,051
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)75,800 / 34,38282,000 / 37,19580,800 / 36,65080,800 / 36,650
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)155,100 / 70,352142,000 / 64,410169,500 / 76,884169,500 / 76,884
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)116,800 / 52,980116,800 / 52,980137,000 / 62,142130,000 / 62,142
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)271,900 / 123,332258,800 / 117,390306,500 / 139,026299,500 / 139,026
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)6000 / 22.736000 / 22.736800 / 25.767000 / 25.76
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)12 / 10.9012 / 10.9014 / 12.7014 / 12.70
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)63 / 31.5068 / 3467 / 33.5067 / 33.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)66 / 167676 / 193076 / 193076 / 193076 / 1930
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)100 / 6.90200 / 13.80200 / 13.80210 / 14.50210 / 14.50
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)15" x 20" / 381x50818" x 26" / 457x66013" x 26" / 330x66019" x 28" / 483x71115" x 28" / 381x711
Low Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)22" x 26" / 559x66025" x 28" / 635x711
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)5795 / 2628.5718,843 / 8547.0514,570 / 6608.8523,741 / 10768.7521,760 / 9870.18
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.02 5.63 3.40 3.71
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)66 / 6.13160 / 14.87160 / 14.87201 / 18.68209.20 / 19.44
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)11.67 / 1.0864 / 5.9564 / 5.9576 / 7.0676.20 / 7.08
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)682 / 63.382331 / 216.642270 / 210.972637 / 245.072934 / 272.58
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)682 / 63.382331 / 216.642270 / 210.972637 / 245.072934 / 272.58
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume166.72304.40568.32286.99512.32
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation116712,80012,80015,96016,002
Same as above plus superheater percentage116712,80012,80015,96016,002
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area660032,00032,00042,21043,932
Power L1272110,358679910,5436655
Power MT602.52365.59575.33363.16

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
ClassE-3 - simpleE-3 - vauclain compoundE-4 - balanced compoundE-4 - superheatedE-5 - balanced compound
Locobase ID386 9481 388 9239 389
RailroadErie (ERR)Erie (ERR)Erie (ERR)Erie (ERR)Erie (ERR)
CountryUSAUSAUSAUSAUSA
Whyte4-4-24-4-24-4-24-4-24-4-2
Number in Class1515221
Road Numbers545-559545-559535-536535-536537
GaugeStdStdStdStdStd
Number Built1521
BuilderErieBurnham, Williams & CoBurnham, Williams & CoErieAlco-Schenectady
Year19051903190519171905
Valve GearStephensonStephensonWalschaertBakerStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m) 6.58 / 2.01 6.58 / 2.017 / 2.137 / 2.137 / 2.13
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)26.25 / 826.25 / 830.08 / 9.1730.17 / 9.2028.75 / 8.76
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.25 0.25 0.23 0.23 0.24
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)55.17 / 16.8252.17 / 15.9059.87 / 18.2557.62 / 17.5660.75 / 18.52
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)49,400 / 22,40749,400 / 22,40761,400 / 27,85153,955 / 24,47457,550 / 26,104
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)92,300 / 41,86788,000 / 39,916115,500 / 52,390105,280 / 47,754115,000 / 52,163
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)178,800 / 81,102180,000 / 81,647204,200 / 92,624201,000 / 91,172206,000 / 93,440
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)137,000 / 62,142130,000 / 58,967155,000 / 70,307137,000 / 62,142162,800 / 73,845
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)315,800 / 143,244310,000 / 140,614359,200 / 162,931338,000 / 153,314368,800 / 167,285
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)6800 / 25.766800 / 25.768500 / 32.206800 / 25.768500 / 32.20
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)14 / 12.7014 / 12.7012 / 10.9014 / 12.7016 / 14.50
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)77 / 38.5073 / 36.5096 / 4888 / 4496 / 48
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)76 / 193076 / 193072 / 182968 / 172778 / 1981
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)200 / 13.80200 / 13.80225 / 15.50200 / 13.80220 / 15.20
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)19" x 28" / 483x71115" x 28" / 381x71116" x 26" / 406x66022.5" x 26" / 572x66015.5" x 26" / 394x660
Low Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)25" x 28" / 635x71127" x 26" / 686x66026" x 26" / 660x660
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)22,610 / 10255.7420,724 / 9400.2626,170 / 11870.5332,906 / 14925.9322,098 / 10023.50
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.08 4.25 4.41 3.20 5.20
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)177 / 16.45172 / 15.99207 / 19.24206 / 19.14181.10 / 16.83
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)46.90 / 4.3646.90 / 4.3654 / 5.0254 / 5.0256.50 / 5.25
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)2536 / 235.692811 / 261.253639 / 338.202759 / 256.413632 / 337.55
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)599 / 55.67
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)2536 / 235.692811 / 261.253639 / 338.203358 / 312.083632 / 337.55
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume276.00490.84601.44230.59639.64
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation9380938012,15010,80012,430
Same as above plus superheater percentage9380938012,15012,74412,430
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area35,40034,40046,57548,61639,842
Power L194325846732417,3918122
Power MT450.57292.91279.60728.35311.41

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
ClassE-5 - superheated
Locobase ID9238
RailroadErie (ERR)
CountryUSA
Whyte4-4-2
Number in Class2
Road Numbers537
GaugeStd
Number Built
BuilderErie
Year1919
Valve GearBaker
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)7 / 2.13
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)28.67 / 8.74
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.24
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)57.08 / 17.40
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)56,500 / 25,628
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)110,050 / 49,918
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)204,200 / 92,624
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)137,000 / 62,142
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)341,200 / 154,766
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)6800 / 25.76
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)14 / 12.70
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)92 / 46
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)68 / 1727
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)200 / 13.80
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)22.5" x 25" / 572x635
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)31,641 / 14352.13
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.48
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)206 / 19.14
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)56.40 / 5.24
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)2709 / 251.77
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)564 / 52.42
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)3273 / 304.19
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume235.47
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation11,280
Same as above plus superheater percentage13,198
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area48,204
Power L117,367
Power MT695.82

Reference