Lake Superior & Ishpeming 2-8-0 "Consolidation" Locomotives in the USA


Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 1 (Locobase 3198)

Data from "Consolidation Freight Compound Locomotive for the Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railway", Locomotive Engineering, Volume 9, No 9 (September 1896), p. 733; and "Pittsburgh Compound Locomotives for the Lake Superior and Ishpeming", Railroad Gazette, Volume 28 (4 September 1896), p. 617. McShane (1899). Works numbers were 1615-1620 in June-July 1896. (Builder information from B Rumary list supplied by Allen Stanley in March 2004.)

The LE report described a growing problem for many of the smaller railroads as traffic and weight increased: "When engines of this clas come to be used on level roads, or roads that are comparatively level, the people in charge of the building of freight cars will have to change some of their methods and some of their materials, for such engines will haul more than will hang together." The RAG's account noted that one of the key grades on the way to the port of Marquette was one that climbed at 86 feet/mile ( 1.6%) with those heavy loads.

Less common was the two-cylinder cross-compound favored by several of the locomotive builders that would soon amalgamate as the American Locomotive Company. The HP cylinder sat on the right side of the smokebox and the larger LP cylinder appeared on the left side. It wouldn't be long before the LS&I converted the class to simple-expansion locomotives with two 20 x 28 cylinders.

LS&I 1, 2, & 4 went to the Marquette & Southeastern in 1905 as their 35,33, & 34, respectively. The other three were renumbered twice by the LS & I. The 8 ( ex-6) was sold in 1934 to the Wabash as their 2390. The 9 (ex-7, ex-5) wound up at the Cleveland Cliffs Iron scrapyard.


Class 18/SC-1 (Locobase 3295)

Data from table in January 1917 issue of RME and Railway Age, 13 May 1921. See also DeGolyer, Volume 53, pp. 408+. See also "Powerful Consolidation Locomotives for the Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railway", Railway and Locomotive Engineering, Volume 29 , No 6 (June 1916), p. 188; and Aurele A Durocher, The Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad Company, Railway & Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin No 98, March 1958 (Boston, Mass: R&LHS, Baker Library, Harvard Business School), pp. 7-. (Thanks to Chris Hohl for his 5 April 2015 email reporting the tender's fuel and water capacities and the retrofit of a tender booster on 35.) Works numbers were 43105-43107 in March 1916.

This class came from Baldwin as a batch. The trio exerted hefty tractive efforts through a large cylinder volume fed by sizable 14" (356 mm) piston valves) from a very large boiler. The firebox heating surface included 29 sq ft (2..69 sq m) in four arch tubes. Its relatively high axle loading reflects a 1909 LS&I program to relay all track with 80 lb/yard (40 kg/metre) rail. Minimum curve radius was a relatively gentle 5 deg and maximum grade was a mild 1.6%.

The class more than lived up to its designers' aspirations. Aurele Durocher wrote in 1958 that the locomotives' great bulk dictated two flat domes on top of the boiler and the displacement of the bell to an unusual setup on the boiler's flank. The burly beasts quickly and permanently became known as "hogs". They weren't very fast, but they could "pull the longest string of hoppers up to Negaunee than any LS&I engine had done before--60 cars."

"I recall their exhaust as being heavy and 'boomy'", Durocher added,"they even sounded powerful when moving."

Boiler pressure later rose to 200 psi with a commensurate tractive effort increase to 60,484 lb (27, 435 kg). The 35 was later fitted with a side-rod booster on the tender's front truck.

After long careers with the LS&I, all three were sold to the Marquette & Huron Mountain tourist railroad that operated on the recently abandoned Big Bay branch line. 34-35 went in July 1963, 32 in December 1963.

34 ultimately wound up on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad as its 734 and 35 was adopted by the Illinois Railway Museum.


Class C-5/SC-4 (Locobase 16526)

Data from "Equipment and Supplies - Locomotive Building", Railroad Age Gazette, Volume XLVII [47], No. 12 (17 September 1909), p. 523. See also Aurele A Durocher, "The Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad Company", Railroad & Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin No. 98 (April 1958), pp. 13-14. (Thanks to Jonathan VanAken for his 3 February 2021 email supplying a detailed table of the SC-4 class as well as for the LS&I's diagram for the rebuilt and superheated SC-4.) Works numbers were 46939, 46941-46943 in January 1910.

Durocher noted that each locomotive's "as delivered" price was $14,335. They were the first LS&I engines to use the Baker-Pilliod outside radial valve gear. "Consequently", he wrote,"their gear motion seemed like a set of counter gyrations to railroad men, and the engines were called 'monkey motions', a name which has stuck to them." Their narrow fireboxes, the sides hemmed in by the drivers, meant they weren't "good steamers ...not always able to do the work assigned to them" despite their specifications. "[T]hey had the bad habit of stalling on hills, or giving up when the going got heavy."

Durocher doesn't offer a reason why 9 [and SC-3 class #10] "performed fairly efficiently", but repeats the ignominous outcome of a back-to-back pulling contest with Pittsburgh-built 1896 engine #8: "'Number 9 puffed, snorted, spun its drivers, raised a horrible fuss, but slowly and gradually the Eight-spot pulled the protesting Nine-spot" until it was allover."

Apparently the rear driving set bound the rails and "had a bad tendency to climb the rails." Adding hot water ejectors behind the drivers fixed the problem.

Yet they were the "backbone of the railroad's mixed train business, and pinch hit for an ore train as well when necessary.

In 1924, the four engines were joined by the three locomotives that had been produced for the Munising, Marquette & South Eastern by Pittsburgh immediately afterward.

Beginning in 1929, all seven engines were substanially rebuilt at the LS&I's New Presque Isle's shos in 1928-1931 and 1934. Weight increased to 189,360 lb (85,892 kg); see Locobase 16527.


Class SC-4 - superheated (Locobase 16527)

Data from LS&I RR SC-4 diagram prepared post-1930 "Form 4 and Supporting Calculations for Fleming Locomotive #18" See also Aurele A Durocher, "The Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad Company", Railroad & Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin No. 98 (April 1958), pp. 13-14. (Thanks to Jonathan VanAken for his 3 February 2021 email supplying a detailed table of the SC-4 class as well as for the LS&I's diagram for the rebuilt and superheated SC-4.) Works numbers were 46939, 46941-46943 in January 1910.

Locobase 16526, 16528 describe the saturated-boiler locomotives delivered to the LS&I and the Munising, Marquette & South Eastern in 1910. By 1929, the two studs had merged and taken a new number series. At that point, the LS&I obviously decided to wring much more from the design.

Most noticeable additions were the superheater and a much bigger grate and firebox. The former followed the usual update in deleting a slew of small tubes in favor of the flues that held a sizable set of superheater elements. Obviously, the poor steaming reported by Durocher represented a problem that needed a remedy. The new cast-steel rosebud grate offered about 1/3 more area than the earlier grate and the firebox now included two Nicholson thermic syphons contributing 70 sq ft (6.50 sq m) to the firebox heating surface area.

At the end of long careers on the LS&I in July 1963, the railroad sold all seven to the Marquette & Huron Mountain for tourist service. The M&HM operated on 24 miles of former LS&I Big Bay branch along the Lake Superior coast. Reduced to a fifteen-mile route in 1967, the M&HM suspended operations in 1984 and was totally abandoned in 1987.

M&HM 22 and 29 went to Mid-Continent Railway Museum of North Freedom, Wisconsin. #18 and #20 were sold to the Grand Canyon Railway. #20 later went on display at the Allen Heritage Guild's depot in Allen, Texas.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Class118/SC-1C-5/SC-4SC-4 - superheated
Locobase ID3198 3295 16526 16527
RailroadLake Superior & IshpemingLake Superior & IshpemingLake Superior & IshpemingLake Superior & Ishpeming
CountryUSAUSAUSAUSA
Whyte2-8-02-8-02-8-02-8-0
Number in Class6377
Road Numbers1-6/12, 7-918-20/32, 34-3511-13, 9/18-2418-24
GaugeStdStdStdStd
Number Built634
BuilderPittsburghBaldwinAlco-PittsburghLS&I
Year1896191619101929
Valve GearStephensonBakerBakerWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)15.50 / 4.7216 / 4.8816 / 4.8815.41 / 4.70
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)23.50 / 7.1626 / 7.9226 / 7.9226 / 7.92
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.66 0.62 0.62 0.59
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)52.85 / 16.1160.96 / 18.5860.96 / 18.5860.96 / 18.58
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)132,800 / 60,237238,000 / 107,955152,000 / 68,946172,000 / 78,018
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)147,600 / 66,950268,000 / 121,563174,000 / 78,925189,360 / 85,892
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)76,200 / 34,564167,000 / 75,750125,700 / 57,017
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)223,800 / 101,514435,000 / 197,313315,060 / 142,909
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)4000 / 15.158500 / 32.206000 / 22.736000 / 22.73
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)13 / 1212 / 1112 / 11
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)55 / 27.5099 / 49.5063 / 31.5072 / 36
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)56 / 142257 / 144856 / 142255 / 1397
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)180 / 12.40185 / 12.80200 / 13.80200 / 13.80
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)20" x 28" / 508x711 (1)26" x 30" / 660x76220" x 28" / 508x71122" x 28" / 559x711
Low Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)31" x 28" / 787x711 (1)
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)21,607 / 9800.7855,948 / 25377.6234,000 / 15422.1641,888 / 19000.10
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 6.15 4.25 4.47 4.11
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)240 - 2.25" / 57300 - 2" / 51270 - 2" / 51160 - 2" / 51
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)45 - 5.375" / 13724 - 5.375" / 137
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)14.58 / 4.4415.50 / 4.7214.50 / 4.4214.50 / 4.42
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)148.60 / 13.81245.20 / 22.78155 / 14.40241 / 22.39
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)31.78 / 2.9558.70 / 5.4537 / 3.4449.50 / 4.60
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)2198 / 204.203643 / 338.442193 / 203.731945 / 180.69
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)844 / 78.41473 / 43.94
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)2198 / 204.204487 / 416.852193 / 203.732418 / 224.63
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume431.83197.56215.42157.87
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation572010,86074009900
Same as above plus superheater percentage572012,923740011,880
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area26,74853,98131,00057,840
Power L1404011,880544211,022
Power MT268.27440.18315.72565.10

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