Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis 4-8-4 "Northern" Locomotives of the USA


Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class J2-57 (Locobase 8330)

Data from NC&StL 6 - 1951 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Raildata collection. Works numbers were 68281-68285 in March 1930.

Charles B Castner, writing in Drury (1993), notes that these were the first 4-8-4s in the South (where they were never referred to as "Northerns", but rather as "Dixies") and were derived from the USRA Light Mountains. Alco delivered an impressive machine on a one-piece cast-steel frame that carried brackets for auxiliary piping normally hung on the boiler. Castner also notes the "feedwater heaters, large fireboxes, and free-steaming boilers." The class soon acquired the nickname of "Gliders" for the smoothness with which they negotiated curves, an ease attributable to the lateral-motion axle boxes fitted to the first two driven axles.

J2s first ran on the Chattanooga Division in Eastern Tennessee, moving in 1940 to Atlanta and still later to Memphis. The Dixie Line returned to Alco for more 4-8-4s in 1942-1943; see Locobase 212.


Class J3-57 (Locobase 269)

Data from 1947 Locomotive Cyclopedia and from NC&StL 6 - 1951 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Raildata collection. Works numbers were 70829-70838 in September 1943.

Based on the J2s that appeared in 1930 (Locobase 8330) as enlargements of the J1 Mountains, this class had very few changes of note. Firebox heating surface included 116 sq ft of thermic syphons (97 sq ft/9 sq m) & arch tubes (19 sq ft/1.75 sq m). One noticeable difference was the much larger tender that held half again as much coal as that of the J2 and weighed 45 tons more. The engine's weight also increased by 10 tons.

570-579 were known as the "Yellow Jackets" because of a wide yellow stripe on the valence over the running gear. The later ten engines had painted edges but no valence and were known as "Stripes." Charles B Castner, writing in Drury (1993), notes and photos confirm that the Yellow Jackets had a neat appearance with a conical smokebox, retractable couplers in the pilots, and few pipes or pumps mounted on the boiler. Running gear was as might be expected in late-model steam engines: roller bearings throughout and Boxpok drivers.

For all their modern features, these engines were soon out of service, being withdrawn in 1951-1952 when diesels took over..

Specifications by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
ClassJ2-57J3-57
Locobase ID8330 269
RailroadNashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis (NC&StL)Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis (NC&StL)
CountryUSAUSA
Whyte4-8-44-8-4
Number in Class520
Road Numbers565-569570-589
GaugeStdStd
Number Built520
BuilderAlco-SchenectadyAlco-Schenectady
Year19301943
Valve GearWalschaertWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase18.25'18.25'
Engine Wheelbase44.25'45.08'
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.41 0.40
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender)82.58'86.31'
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle)
Weight on Drivers220000 lbs228000 lbs
Engine Weight381000 lbs400500 lbs
Tender Light Weight194000 lbs285000 lbs
Total Engine and Tender Weight575000 lbs685500 lbs
Tender Water Capacity10000 gals15000 gals
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal)16 tons16 tons
Minimum weight of rail (calculated)92 lb/yard95 lb/yard
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter70"70"
Boiler Pressure250 psi250 psi
Cylinders (dia x stroke)25" x 30"25" x 30"
Tractive Effort56920 lbs56920 lbs
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.87 4.01
Heating Ability
Firebox Area444 sq. ft454 sq. ft
Grate Area77.30 sq. ft77.30 sq. ft
Evaporative Heating Surface4193 sq. ft4203 sq. ft
Superheating Surface1782 sq. ft1782 sq. ft
Combined Heating Surface5975 sq. ft5985 sq. ft
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume246.01246.59
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation1932519325
Same as above plus superheater percentage2512325123
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area144300147550
Power L13841938522
Power MT1539.991489.94


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