Philadelphia & Reading 4-2-2 "Bicycle" Locomotives of the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 378 (Locobase 12184)

Data from Baldwin Locomotive Works Specification for Engines as digitized by the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University Vol 20, p. 90. Thanks to Chris Hohl for his 18 January 2015 email correcting the driver diameter.) Works number was 14675 in January 1896.

At the same time Baldwin built the four well-known camelback Atlantic Fliers for the Atlantic City Railroad (Locobase 2562), it added this single engine for the Reading itself. It was a different breed of cat, although the power dimensions were the same. The Wootte3n boiler had more tubes, but they were of a smaller diameter and the result was less heating surface area. Adhesion weight came to a considerably lower figure and the F/A shows this high-drivered racer to be prone to slipping. Firebox heating surface area included the 45.5 sq ft (4.2 sq m) in the combustion chamber.

Perhaps that's why the 317 was rebuilt as a 4-4-0 in March 1904 and placed in the D-10a class. In August 1916, the again-renumbered 252 was rebuilt as a D-10b; see Locobase 10826.

Class 385 / D-10a (Locobase 2563)

Data from DeGolyer, Volume 21, p. 172. See also Alfred Bruce (1952). Works numbers were 14336 in June 1895, 15880-15883 in April 1898.

Strongly resembling the Camelback 4-4-2s of the Atlantic City Railroad, this "Bicycle" was different only in having but one driving axle. Like the Atlantic, this engine was a Vauclain compound and had the camelback layout with the wide Wootten firebox. This accounts for the deceptively low A/S ratio. Its firebox heating surface included 45.5 sq ft (4.2 sq m) in the combustion chamber.

According to Baldwin's own history, the engines ran the 90 miles from Jersey City to Philadelphia in 105 minutes, including stops. Despite the claims for lower friction and freer running, however, the locomotive's low factor of adhesion meant it would be overmatched very soon by heavier rolling stock.

The two engines were rebuilt as 4-4-0s in 1904 and carried on until the 1930s.

Class Lovatt Eames (Locobase 2561)

Data from DeGolyer, Volume 10, p. 34. See also the detailed account of the Eames Vacuum Brake story (which culminated in Eames's shooting death) at the MidContinent Museum's website (, last accessed 30 November 2014.

Although very few "Bicycles" were built for operation by US railroads, this particular engine enjoyed the distinction of being Baldwin's 5,000th (i.e., works number 5000) in March 1880.

It had a very wide anthracite-burning firebox over the trailing axle and the one tall driving axle. Equalizing beams between the single driven axle and the trailing axle operated through a fulcrum that was adustable through a steam cylinder mounted under the boiler. Front truck wheel diameter measured 36" (914 mm) and trailing wheels had 45"(1,143 mm) diameters.

When the Reading proved unable to pay for the engine, the Eames Vacuum Brake Company bought it and took it to England to demonstrate their system. According to the Watertown (NY) Times, the locomotive was to be "named after the late Lovett Eames, father of F. W. Eames, and will be ornamented with a fine portrait of its namesake, and also a landscape view of Black River falls, the Suspension Bridge, and the lower end of BeebeÆs island. showing the works of the Eames Vacuum Brake Company." {reproduced in 14 August 1880 Railway World, p. 773).

While vacuum brakes set the standard for assisted braking in British railroads for many years, Eames's demonstrations attracted little interest, according to MidContinent: "[O]nly two of the English lines made purchases, apparently because there was already a British-made vacuum brake available. And it was an 'automatic' brake: if the train parted or the ejector failed, the brakes were applied automatically."

The engine was soon scrapped, but parts lived on. In the 15 April 1908 issue of The Locomotive Magazine & Railway Carriage & Wagon Review, we learned: "The bell of the Baldwin experimental single- wheeler 'Lovett Eames,' which has been used to ring the men in at King's Cross locomotive sheds since the engine was scrapped, has been replaced by a " buzzer." The old bell has been cleaned up and fitted at Hornsey locomotive sheds."

NB: The direct heating surface (including the firebox heating surface) is an estimate calculated by subtracting the calculated tube heating surface from the reported total evaporative heating surface.

Specifications by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
Class378385 / D-10aLovatt Eames
Locobase ID12184 2563 2561
RailroadPhiladelphia & ReadingPhiladelphia & ReadingPhiladelphia & Reading
Number in Class141
Road Numbers378 /317376-377, 383-384/313-314, 316507
Number Built141
BuilderBurnham, Williams & CoBurnham, Williams & CoBurnham, Parry, Williams & Co
Valve GearStephensonStephensonStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase
Engine Wheelbase22.75'22.75'21.08'
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender)49.42'50'55.17'
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle)48000 lbs48000 lbs45000 lbs
Weight on Drivers48000 lbs48000 lbs45000 lbs
Engine Weight121000 lbs115000 lbs85000 lbs
Tender Light Weight80000 lbs
Total Engine and Tender Weight201000 lbs
Tender Water Capacity4000 gals4000 gals4000 gals
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal)7 tons
Minimum weight of rail (calculated)80 lb/yard80 lb/yard75 lb/yard
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter84.25"84.50"78"
Boiler Pressure200 psi200 psi180 psi
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke)13" x 26"13" x 26"18" x 24"
Low Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke)22" x 26" (2)22" x 26" (2)
Tractive Effort13143 lbs13104 lbs15253 lbs
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.65 3.66 2.95
Heating Ability
Firebox Area184 sq. ft173 sq. ft138 sq. ft
Grate Area76 sq. ft76 sq. ft56 sq. ft
Evaporative Heating Surface1674 sq. ft1466 sq. ft1400 sq. ft
Superheating Surface
Combined Heating Surface1674 sq. ft1466 sq. ft1400 sq. ft
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume419.10367.03198.06
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation152001520010080
Same as above plus superheater percentage152001520010080
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area368003460024840
Power L1636857406919
Power MT292.48263.64338.97


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