The goal of the design was to put the maximum tractive effort into a helper engine. The result, conceived and patented by Baldwin's George R. Henderson, was a sort-of-Mallet, sort-of-tank articulated locomotive. One prototype was prepared for testing; two more followed not quite two years later.
The Triplex arrangement of three engine sets had the middle, high-pressure cylinders exhausting into equal-size low-pressure ones fore and aft. The front LP set exhausted into the normally placed stack, which maintained a draft over the grate. The rear cylinder exhausted passed through a feedwater heater of 437 sq ft (40.6 sq m) and up a narrow pipe at the rear of the tank. The firebox heating surface included 108 sq ft (10 sq m) of combustion chamber and 88 sq ft (8.15 sq m) of arch tubes.
Unfortunately for such grand ambitions, the design failed in two important respects:1) it could never have generated sufficient steam as both the boiler and the grate were far too small and 2) the couplers on most freight cars couldn't stand the strain of the prodigious pulling power this design could muster.
As originally delivered, the grate measured 90 sq ft, which gave an impossible GDF of 123,379. The grate seen in the data (122 sq ft) was fitted in the second and third examples. To create the larger grate, the Gaines brick wall in the firebox was removed and the arch tube layout reduced heating surface from 88 to 74 sq ft. (See Wiener, 1930, for comparison data.) As can be seen, however, both demand factors are still far too high.
Comstock (1971) quotes an Erie fireman, Andrew Goobeck, who wrote in an October 1942 Railroad Magazine article that "We used to say that the best place for anybody to cool off on a summer day was behind the ...firedoor." Drury (1993) notes that the engines were never simpled, even for starting, because "two or three revolutions of the drivers would have exhausted the boiler."
Also, although the Matt Shay (first of the three) did start a train of 250 coal cars, the run lasted only 17 miles before the force of the pull snatched one from a coal car and stopped the train. They could be useful pushers, however, and operated on such grades as Susquehanna Hill until the late 1920s.
For Baldwin's Centipede proposal to the Denver & Rio Grande Western prepared in the same year as the Matt Shay's first runs, see Locobase 6823.
|Specifications by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media|
|Locomotive Length and Weight|
|Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase||0.23|
|Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender)||91'|
|Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle)||70100 lbs|
|Weight on Drivers||761600 lbs|
|Engine Weight||853050 lbs|
|Tender Light Weight||316700 lbs|
|Total Engine and Tender Weight||1169750 lbs|
|Tender Water Capacity||11600 gals|
|Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal)||16 tons|
|Minimum weight of rail (calculated)||106 lb/yard|
|Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort|
|Boiler Pressure||210 psi|
|High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke)||36" x 32"|
|Low Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke)||36" x 32" (4)|
|Tractive Effort||176256 lbs|
|Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort)||4.32|
|Firebox Area||468 sq. ft|
|Grate Area||121.50 sq. ft|
|Evaporative Heating Surface||6886 sq. ft|
|Superheating Surface||1584 sq. ft|
|Combined Heating Surface||8470 sq. ft|
|Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume||182.66|
|Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)|
|Robert LeMassena's Power Computation||25515|
|Same as above plus superheater percentage||30363|
|Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area||116953|