Buffalo, Rochester, & Pittsburgh 4-8-0 "Mastodon" Locomotives of the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class S (Locobase 8884)

Data from TraitT pratique de la machine locomotive ... By Maurice Demoulin, 1898

Librairie polytechnique, Baudry et Cie, p 404-405. See also "Twelve-wheel Locomotive: St Lawrence & Adirondack Ry," Engineering News, Volume XXXV, No 25 (18 June 1896), pp. 405; and See also "Brooks' Twelve-Wheelers for the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh," Railroad Gazette, Volume 29, No 39 (24 September 1897), pp. 662-663

Builder info from B.Rumary, 25 Kingscombe, Gurney Slade, Radstock, BA3 4TH, ENGLAND and Jeremy Lambert as supplied by Allen Stanley in March 2004. Works number was 2667 in May 1896 and 2780-2782 in July 1897.

Purchase of a single Twelve-wheeler by the St Lawrence & Adirondack in May 1896 led to several dozen entering service on the BR & P. Although the StL&A went to the trouble of numbering (15) and naming their acquisition (Manitou), they sold the engine to the BR & P in November of the same year. In July 1897, Brooks built three more (2780-2782) to an almost identical design. These were followed a year later by a much more numerous batch; see Locobase 2987.

The original quartet was sold in 1920. All had second careers with 139 going to the Cumberland & Manchester as their #56. Locomotive rebuilder/reseller Southern Iron & Equipment bought the other three. 140 was sold in March 1920 to Texas Gulf Sulphur Company. 141-142 went to the Nacional de Mexico in April 1920 as their 3-A and 4-A.

Class S-2/E-42 (B&O) (Locobase 2987)

Data from Catalogue Descriptive of Simple and Compound Locomotives built by Brooks Locomotive Works, Dunkirk, NY (Buffalo, NY: Matthew-Northrup Company, 1899.. (Builder info from B.Rumary, 25 Kingscombe, Gurney Slade, Radstock, BA3 4TH, ENGLAND and Jeremy Lambert as supplied by Allen Stanley in March 2004.) Works numbers were 3010-3013 in August 1898, 3078-3087 in November, 3162-3166 in March 1899, 3356-3365 in November.

After the BR&P had tried its quartet of Twelve-wheelers (Locobase 8884), the railroad went back to Brooks for a repeat order, but with slightly less cylinder volume. Like the originals, the boiler was Improved Belpaire. These were used in pusher service. Brooks delivered a later, larger set of twelve-wheelers; see Locobase 3929.

200 and 212 were sold to the Fort Smith & Western in 1920 as the 35-36. The pair ran until the mid-1930s. 36 was scrapped in April 1934 and 35 in November 1935.

Another (works number 3081/road #203) was converted to a 2-8-0, sold to Cumberland & Manchester in 1919 as their #53, then to the Cincinnati, Indianapolis & Western in 1923 as # 315, renumbered 321, and finally absorbed into the Baltimore & Ohio as the sole member of the E-42 class, #435 in 1927. It was retired in December of 1928.

Class S-3, S-4 (Locobase 3929)

Data from "Twelve--Wheel Wide Fire-Box Freight Locomotive--Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway," Railroad Gazette, Volume XXXII, No 41 (12 October 1900), pp. 666-667. (Thanks to Chris Hohl for his 24 October 2015 email noting the 32's revised valve gear; see Mike Condren's http://condrenrails.com/FSVB/FS&W-Engine-Terminal.htm, last accessed 4 December 2015) Works numbers were 3586-3595, 3603 in August 1900 and 4014-4019 in October 1901.

Ordered from the same company as the earlier S-2s (see Locobase 2987), these had shallower and much wider fireboxes suitable for burning bituminous slack coal. Like the earlier engines, these had piston valves operated by inside valve gear. Both the pistons and the valves had extended tail rods.

The RG report noted the controversy over shallow versus deep firebox, saying "It is now held by a few prominent men that for inferior grades of bituminous coal it is not only desirable to have a wide grate, but a deep firebox is fully as essential, and it is an important thing to determine whether a sufficiently deep firebox and wide grate can be applied to consolidation and 12-wheelers." RG pronounced this design of "unusual interest."

BR&P used these engines in helper service for years, replacing some of them with 2-10-0s in 1907-1909. Four were sold to locomotive rebuilder/reseller Southern Iron & Equipment in 1918-1919, which found a buyer in the Fort Smith & Western. 31-32 arrived in February 1918 and 33-34 joined in August 1919. Three were scrapped at Fort Smith in April 1934; 32 held on until it was sold in 1940 for scrap by Kansas City Contracting Company of McCurtain, Okla. A 1939 photograph shows the 32's Southern valve gear; neither Chris Hohl nor Locobase can say when it was installed.

Three more served Georgia's Gainesville Midland (106-108), Detroit & Mackinac had one (154) as did the Georgia Northern; the Georgia, Ashburn, Sylvester & Camilla, which gave theirs road #7; and the Tennessee Central, which numbered theirs #36 (later 336). Two ended up on the F. C. Cubano de Hershey in Cuba as their 7 and 8.

Specifications by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
ClassSS-2/E-42 (B&O)S-3, S-4
Locobase ID8884 2987 3929
RailroadBuffalo, Rochester, & Pittsburgh (B&O)Buffalo, Rochester, & Pittsburgh (B&O)Buffalo, Rochester, & Pittsburgh (B&O)
Number in Class42917
Road Numbers139-142200-228229-245
Number Built42917
Valve GearStephensonStephensonStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft)15.5015.5015.50
Engine Wheelbase (ft)25.6725.6725.67
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.60 0.60 0.60
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft)51.4851.4852.94
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs)
Weight on Drivers (lbs)140,500126,000139,000
Engine Weight (lbs)172,000156,000172,000
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs)96,00096,000110,000
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs)268,000252,000282,000
Tender Water Capacity (gals)450045005500
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons)81012
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd)595358
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in)555555
Boiler Pressure (psi)180200200
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in)21" x 26"20" x 26"20" x 26"
Tractive Effort (lbs)31,89632,14532,145
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.40 3.92 4.32
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft)225190154.50
Grate Area (sq ft)30.4032.4058.90
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft)233122982516
Superheating Surface (sq ft)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft)233122982516
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume223.64243.08266.13
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation5472648011,780
Same as above plus superheater percentage5472648011,780
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area40,50038,00030,900
Power L1547162996377
Power MT343.39440.85404.57



If you have any railroad data such as diagram books, rail station plans or anything else that you would be willing to share, please contact us.