Morehead & North Fork 2-6-2 "Prairie" Locomotives of the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 3 (Locobase 13221)

Data from Baldwin Locomotive Works Specification for Engines as digitized by the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University Volume 31, p. 259. See also Joseph P. Schwieterman, When the Railroad Leaves Town: American communities in the age of rail line abandonment (Kirksville, MO: Truman State University Press, 2001 ), pp 94-98. Works number was 32222 in November 1907.

The M & NF was a second try at building a railroad out of Morehead, Kentucky south and east through Clark Mountain in northeastern Kentucky. When it began in 1905, the recently bankrupted Morehead & West Liberty had laid 4 miles. The new line built several tunnels along the next 20 miles with the centerpiece the 1/4-mile Clark Tunnel and arrived in Redwine, Ky on 70-lb/yard (35-kg/metre) rail.

A study of the #3 would reveal the railroad's primary business: moving the products of hardwood logging to the connection with the C & O. The Baldwin specs tell us that the 3 had to handle 3 1/2 to 4% grades and negotiate curves as tight as 22 degrees.

And the business remained profitable until the forests that had supplied the railway ran out. Clay-mining provided new business for a while, but a 1929 flash flood (perhaps abetted by clear-cutting) carried away much of the line. 1933 saw the abandonment of all but 4 miles of line, the surviving stub connecting Morehead and Clearfield. The M & NF did not actually close until 1973, as attested to by a January 1956 Trains Magazine feature archive at The Stewart Family of Kentucky geneaology site,, last accessed 28 September 2011.

Specifications by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Locobase ID13221
RailroadMorehead & North Fork
Number in Class1
Road Numbers3
Number Built1
BuilderBurnham, Williams & Co
Valve GearStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase10.25'
Engine Wheelbase26.83'
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.38
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender)
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle)
Weight on Drivers91000 lbs
Engine Weight122000 lbs
Tender Light Weight80000 lbs
Total Engine and Tender Weight202000 lbs
Tender Water Capacity4000 gals
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal)6 tons
Minimum weight of rail (calculated)51 lb/yard
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter50"
Boiler Pressure200 psi
Cylinders (dia x stroke)17" x 24"
Tractive Effort23582 lbs
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.86
Heating Ability
Firebox Area122 sq. ft
Grate Area18.20 sq. ft
Evaporative Heating Surface1553 sq. ft
Superheating Surface
Combined Heating Surface1553 sq. ft
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume246.31
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation3640
Same as above plus superheater percentage3640
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area24400
Power L15718
Power MT415.58

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