The Pere Marquette Railroad began in 1900 with the merger of three lumber railroads, the Flint & Pere Marquette, the Detroit, Grand Rapids & Western and the Chicago & West Michigan. This new railroad served much of Michigan and grew as the automobile industry grew.
Its position with the automobile makers and the other heavy industries of Michigan made it a constant target for take-over. Throughout its existence it came under the control of several railroads; the B & O, the Erie Railroad and the Chesapeake & Ohio. Finally, the C & O merged it into its operations in 1947.
As a member of the "Advisory Mechanical Committee" the Pere Marquette had access to some of the best locomotive designs of the day and selected the 2-8-4 "Berkshire" type locomotive to haul its fast freight. These "Berkshires" hauled fast trains between Detroit, Saginaw, Grand Rapids and Chicago and established an impressive record of speed and efficiency.
The Pere Marquette purchased thirty-nine "Berkshire" type locomotives from the Lima Locomotive Works in three orders, Class N, road numbers 1201 through 1215 in 1937, Class N-1, road numbers 1216 through 1227 in 1941 and Class N-2, road numbers 1228 through 1239 in 1944. These locomotives had 69" diameter drivers, 26" x 34" cylinders, a 245 psi boiler pressure, they exerted 69,350 pounds of tractive effort and each weighed about 278,000 pounds.
After the Pere Marquette was merged into the C&O some of its "Berks" began to carry the C&O name and all were to be renumbered as follows:
PM Class N #1201 - 1215 to be C&O 2685 - 2699
PM Class N-1 #1216 - 1227 to be C&O 2650 - 2661
PM Class N-2 #1228 - 1239 to be C&O 2670 - 2681
However, a stipulation in the merger agreement required that any equipment still not fully paid for had to remain in Pere Marquette livery. As a result, only the older Class N (road numbers 1201 through 1215) locomotives were ever renumbered.
By 1952, most of the "Berkshires" were gone from the former Pere Marquette divisions, with eleven transferred to the Chesapeake Division and the other twenty-eight retired. The Class N locomotives were scrapped in 1954 and some of Class N-2s were scrapped in 1956 and 1957. A total of thirteen were saved and stored at New Buffalo, MI until 1961.
There are two surviving Pere Marquette 2-8-4 "Berkshire" type locomotives. Both are presently in Michigan, with one in full operating condition. They are numbers 1223 and 1225 and are located as follows:
Number 1223 is at the Tri-Cities Historical Society display near ex-GTW coaling tower, in Grand Haven, MI. This locomotive was displayed for many years at the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit, MI, during which time many components were removed for use in the effort to restore sister Berkshire #1225.
Number 1225 at the Steam Railroading Institute facility in the former Ann Arbor Railroad Owosso yard. Restored over a period of 20 years, #1225 is the last operable PM steam locomotive and has been used by the MSTRP on excursions up the former NYC St. Charles branch under the auspices of the Shiawassee Valley Railroad in the early 1990s, as the centerpiece of their "Engineer for an Hour" program, and on mainline excursions in West Virginia as part of the 1991 NRHS National Convention in Huntington, WV. She is an occasional visitor to the Durand Railroad Day Festival.
|Class||Qty.||Road Numbers||Year Built||Builder||Notes|
|N||15||1201-1215||1937||Lima||Numbers 1201-1215 scrapped by 1954|
|N-1||12||1216-1227||1941||Lima||Numbers 1223 and 1225 are preserved. All the others scrapped by 1958.|
|N-2||12||1228-1239||1944||Lima||Numbers 1228-1239 scrapped by 1958|
Firebox had 122 sq ft (11.3 sq m) of syphons and arch tubes. Consisting of three sub-classes, this set of Berkshires made their debut in 1937 when the first 15 N1s arrived.
In 1941, Lima produced 12 more (N-2) and followed with a final batch of 12 in 1944. (NB: The Pere Marquette Historical Society has this comment about the class IDs: "For reasons we have yet to discover, the N-2 class designation was typically hyphenated on the PM, but the the N1 class designation wasn't.")
Michigansteamtrain.com (http://michigansteamtrain.com/sri/our-collection/, last accessed 30 December 2012), owner of the 1225 in tourist service, stated in their description of the engine that it consumed one ton (0.9 tonne) of coal every 12 miles (19.3 km) and 1,800 US gallons (6,813 litres) over the same distance.
|Specifications by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media|
|Railroad||Pere Marquette (PM)|
|Locomotive Length and Weight|
|Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase||0.43|
|Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender)||88.23'|
|Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle)|
|Weight on Drivers||277600 lbs|
|Engine Weight||442500 lbs|
|Tender Light Weight||284800 lbs|
|Total Engine and Tender Weight||727300 lbs|
|Tender Water Capacity||22000 gals|
|Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal)||22 tons|
|Minimum weight of rail (calculated) on which locomotive could run||116 lb/yard|
|Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort|
|Boiler Pressure||245 psi|
|Cylinders (dia x stroke)||26" x 34"|
|Tractive Effort||69368 lbs|
|Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort)||4.00|
|Firebox Area||466 sq. ft|
|Grate Area||90.30 sq. ft|
|Evaporative Heating Surface||4777 sq. ft|
|Superheating Surface||1932 sq. ft|
|Combined Heating Surface||6709 sq. ft|
|Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume||228.64|
|Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)|
|Robert LeMassena's Power Computation||22124|
|Same as above plus superheater percentage||28539|
|Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area||147279|