Central of Georgia 4-8-4 "Northern" Locomotives of the USA

The Central of Georgia, like most railroads, found itself short of passenger motive power during World War II. However, the War Production Board requirements only permitted dual service or freight locomotives to be constructed and only in existing designs. Therefore, the Central of Georgia chose to purchase eight copies of Southern Pacific's Class GS-2.

In 1943, the Lima Locomotive Works delivered the eight Class K Northerns (road numbers 451 through 458) and C of G put these 73" driver 4-8-4s to work on its passenger trains like the "Dixie Flyer" and the "Seminole". They became known affectionately as "Big Apples".

These locomotives weighed 447,200 lbs, had 27 x 30 cylinders, 250 lbs psi boiler pressure and a tractive effort of 62,300 lbs.

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class K (Locobase 245)

Data from tables in 1947 Locomotive Cyclopedia and the CofGa 9 - 1950 Locomotive Diagram book supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Raildata collection. Thanks to Chris Hohl for asking the questions that led to a substantial revision. Works numbers were 8254-8255 in August 1943, 8256-8258 in September, and 8259-8261 in October.

Firebox heating surface included 70 sq ft (6.5 sq m) of thermic syphons and 15 sq ft (1.4 sq m) of arch tubes. Drury (1993) notes that these wartime engines are often described as near-duplicates of the Espee's GS-6 (Locobase 282). The boiler layout differed, however, as the Ks had more small tubes and fewer flues that had 1/2" (12.7 mm) greater outside diameter. Another principal difference was the use of the Elesco feedwater heater. Piston valves measured 12" (306 mm) in diameter.

On the Central of Georgia, the class was nicknamed the "Big Apples." Alexander (American Locomotives, 1950) adds that they cost $178,000 each and could "maintain fast schedules between Macon [Georgia] and Atlanta with 22 passenger cars northbound or thirty cars southbound." Their coal consumption was measured at 100 lb for every 1,000 gross ton miles or 11.4 lb/passenger-car mile.

Specifications by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Locobase ID245
RailroadCentral of Georgia (CofGa)
Number in Class8
Road Numbers451-458
Number Built8
Valve GearWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft)20
Engine Wheelbase (ft)45.83
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.44
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft)83.50
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs)65,000
Weight on Drivers (lbs)260,000
Engine Weight (lbs)447,200
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs)246,600
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs)693,800
Tender Water Capacity (gals)13,000
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons)21
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd)108
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in)73.50
Boiler Pressure (psi)250
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in)27" x 30"
Tractive Effort (lbs)63,230
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.11
Heating Ability
Firebox Area (sq ft)435
Grate Area (sq ft)90.40
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft)4705
Superheating Surface (sq ft)2059
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft)6764
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume236.67
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation22,600
Same as above plus superheater percentage29,380
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area141,375
Power L139,145
Power MT1327.69


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