Sumter & Choctaw 2-6-2 "Prairie" Locomotives of the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 103 (Locobase 15305)

Data from Baldwin Locomotive Works Specification for Engines as digitized by the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University, Vol 73, pp. 201. See also Mississippi Rails' entry at and the Hawkins Rails' entry at and Howard Pincus's account on the 103's latest move at Railway Preservation News,, last accessed 15 July 2013. Works number was 58754 in October 1925.

[See biography of Evan Allison and the town of Bellamy at Locobase 15306.]

When the ALC of Bellamy, Ala bought the 103, it was only the second new rod-driven locomotive to serve this southern Alabama line. The 22 mile main line ran from Lilita southwest first to Whitfield (which opened in 1904) and later to Choctaw City, which saw its first service on 1 October 1911. While primarily a freight line serving the ALC, a schedule shows that the S&C hauled two trains each way each day for local passenger traffic and mail. It's likely that this 2-6-2 or a used 2-6-0 was the primary passenger hauler.

It's often true that what we save as railroad mementos are the objects that are still on hand while most of the rest have been discarded and scrapped. Timing matters a great deal so a Baldwin logging Prairie from the mid-1920s would seem a likely candidate. Still, the 103 was not an inappropriate acquisition when Allison Lumber Company sold it to the Empire State Railway Museum of Middletown, NY in 1962.

Placed in storage in 1975, the 103, still owned by the ESRM, moved in 1970 to the Valley Railroad tourist line in Essex, Connecticut, where it ran for five years before being placed on display. In 1986, the ESRM tranferred ownership to the Railroad Museum of New England (RMNE), the latter then operating the Naugatuck Railroad. In 2009, Pincus reported, the 103 was trucked up the road at 50-55 mph, "[g]oing faster than it ever had on rails" to be cosmetically restored and placed on display.

Specifications by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Locobase ID15305
RailroadSumter & Choctaw
Number in Class1
Road Numbers103
Number Built1
Valve GearWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase 9.17'
Engine Wheelbase23.75'
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase 0.39
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender)45.23'
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle)
Weight on Drivers68000 lbs
Engine Weight89000 lbs
Tender Light Weight65000 lbs
Total Engine and Tender Weight154000 lbs
Tender Water Capacity3000 gals
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal)6 tons
Minimum weight of rail (calculated)38 lb/yard
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter44"
Boiler Pressure180 psi
Cylinders (dia x stroke)15" x 20"
Tractive Effort15648 lbs
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.35
Heating Ability
Firebox Area87 sq. ft
Grate Area14.10 sq. ft
Evaporative Heating Surface995 sq. ft
Superheating Surface
Combined Heating Surface995 sq. ft
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume243.24
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation2538
Same as above plus superheater percentage2538
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area15660
Power L14614
Power MT448.77

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.