4-6-4 "Hudson" Type Locomotives

A New York Central Hudson

The First Hudson, New York Central No. 5200

On January 1, 1926, when Paul Kiefer took over as Chief Mechanical Engineer of Motive Power and Rolling Stock of the New York Central System, the NYC was the nations largest railroad. At that time, its passenger business had grown to a point that many of its main line trains had to be operated in sections because the Class K-5 Pacifics assigned to passenger service could only haul a maximum of 12 cars. It was apparent that a new passenger locomotive was needed, yet no decision had been reached to solve the passenger power crisis.

Kiefer quickly made a decision to proceed with an experimental 4-6-4 locomotive and selected the American Locomotive Company to build it. He followed the example of Lima's William E. Woodard and designed a locomotive with a large grate area and a four wheel trailing truck to support it.

Kiefer's design looked much like a Class K-5, Pacific. It was only 5 inches longer and had the same cylinders (25 X 28) and drivers (79") as the 4-6-2's, but the boiler pressure was increased to 225 psi. The new 4-6-4 locomotive had a slightly larger boiler evaporative heating surface, 24 sq. ft. more of firebox and 14 sq. ft. more of grate area. This new design could produce much more steam per square foot of heating surface and needed a much larger superheater to maintain the same steam temperature as the K-5's. The total weight was about 41,000 lbs more, and with no increase of weight over the drivers. An increase of 3820 lbs in Tractive Effort was obtained with the increase in boiler pressure.

The American Locomotive Company delivered the first Class J-1a (road number 5200) on February 14, 1927 and it was thoroughly tested on the main line between Albany, NY and Syracuse, NY.

After the testing, Paul Kiefer went to see Pat Crowley who was the president of the entire NYC system. He asked Crowley what name the new locomotive should have, Crowley thought for a few minutes and then said "let's call her the Hudson, after the Hudson River" and the name stuck.

Information for this introduction to Hudsons provided by Richard Duley.

Builders of 4-6-4 "Hudson" Type Locomotives (by Richard Duley)

Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe 16 (Baldwin)
Baltimore & Ohio 4 (B&O)
Boston & Albany 10 (ALCO), 10 (Lima)
CCC & St. Louis 30 (ALCO)
Canadian National 5 (MLW)
Canadian Pacific 65 (MLW)
Chesapeake & Ohio 13 (Baldwin), 5 (C&O)
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy 12 (Baldwin) 2(CB&Q)
Chicago, Milwaukee, St Paul & Pacific 6 (ALCO) 22 (Baldwin)
Chicago & North Western 9 (ALCO)
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 5 (ALCO)
Grand Trunk Western 6 (MLW)
Illinois Central 1 (IC)
Maine Central 2 (Baldwin)
Michigan Central 30 (ALCO)
National Railway of Mexico 10 (ALCO)
New York Central 195 (ALCO)
New York, New Haven & Hartford 10 (Baldwin)
New York, Chicago & St. Louis 4 (ALCO), 4 (Lima)
St. Louis-San Francisco 10 (STSF)
Wabash 7 (Wabash)

USA and Canadian Railroads that used 4-6-4 "Hudson" Type Locomotives

Mexican, Central American, and Caribbean Railroads that used 4-6-4 "Hudson" Type Locomotives

Surviving Examples of 4-6-4 "Hudson" Type Locomotives

No. Class F.M. Whyte Gauge Railroad Line Location Status Builder Information Notes
5320 J-1e 4-6-4 16" NYC Panella Pacific Railroad (private), Lodi, CA out of service Mercer Locomotive Works (Hamilton, NJ), 1947
3450 3450 4-6-4 4'-8½" AT&SF Los Angeles Co. Fairplex, Pomona, CA display Baldwin #59993, 1927
5212 4-6-4 15" Traintown Railroad Park, Broadway, Sonoma, CA operational
2839 H1c 4-6-4 4'-8½" Atlantic Central (CPR) The Nethercutt Collection and Museum, Sylmar, CA display Montreal Locomotive Works, 1937 from Allentown, PA
5433 J-3 4-6-4 15" NYC Bell Gardens, Valley Center, CA operational Seymour Johnson
3003 S-4 4-6-4 4'-8½" CB&Q South Main Street, Burlington, IA display Baldwin #61501, 1930
3001 S-4 4-6-4 4'-8½" CB&Q Ballingall Park, Ottumwa, IA display Baldwin #61446, 1930 Wears builder's plate 61522 from CB&Q 4-8-4 5606, scrapped May 1960.
3006 S-4 4-6-4 4'-8½" CB&Q Galesburg Railroad Museum, Galesburg, IL display Baldwin, 1930
3000 S-4 4-6-4 14" CB&Q Dekalb County Fair, Sandwich, IL operational AC Augie, 1973 replica
3007 S-4 4-6-4 4'-8½" CB&Q Illinois Railway Museum, Union, IL display Baldwin, 1930 candidate for restoration
4-6-4 15" Waterman & Western, Waterman, IL stored from Riverside & Great Northern RY shops, Wisconsin Dells, WI
4-6-4 15" Kiddieland Limited LaPorte Co Historical Steam Society, Hesston, IN operational Wagner & Sons Miniature Train Co, 1950 From Kiddieland, Melrose Park, IL
3463 3460 4-6-4 4'-8½" AT&SF Kansas Expocenter, Topeka, KS restoration Baldwin #62086, 1937
490 L1a 4-6-4 4'-8½" C&O B&O Railroad Museum, Baltimore, MD display ALCO (Richmond) #66555, 1926
4-6-4 16" Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad, Fairview, MI operational from Pinconning & Blind River Railroad
5002 4-6-4 15" Ramona & Burley Park Burley Park, Howard City, MI operational Wagner & Sons Miniature Train Co from East Grand Rapids, later Lowell
170 L-1a 4-6-4 4'-8½" NYC&StL Museum of Transportation, St. Louis, MO display ALCO (Brooks) #67211, 1927 Oldest surviving hudson
502 (5313) J-1 4-6-4 4'-8½" TH&B (NYC) Steamtown National Historic Site, Scranton, PA display ALCO, 1927 steam generator car made from NYC Hudson tender 5313
47 (1542) X-10-a 4-6-4T 4'-8½" CNR (GTR) Steamtown National Historic Site, Scranton, PA display Montreal Locomotive Works, 1914
4000 (3002) S-4A 4-6-4 4'-8½" CB&Q Copeland Park, LaCrosse, WI display Baldwin #61500, 1930 Named Aeolus
2708 NR-1 4-6-4 4'-8½" NdeM Plaza de las Tres Centuria, Aguascalientes, AGS display ALCO (Schenectady) #69017, 12/1937 Named La Rielera
M-501 4-6-4 ng Parque Zoologico e Botanico Miguel Angel de Quevedo, Veracruz, VER out of service NdeM (San Luis Potosi), 1982 Named El Jarochito
2816 H1b 4-6-4 4'-8½" CPR Ogden Shops, Calgary, AB operational Montreal Locomotive Works #68535, 1930 Featured in 'Rocky Mountain Express', recently restored at Province of BC, N. Vancouver, BC
2860 H1e 4-6-4 4'-8½" CPR West Coast Railway Heritage Park, Squamish, BC displayed operational Montreal Locomotive Works, 1940 from Province of BC, N. Vancouver
2858 H1d 4-6-4 4'-8½" CPR Canada Science and Technology Museum, Ottawa, ON display Montreal Locomotive Works #69108, 1938
5700 (5703) K-5-a 4-6-4 4'-8½" CNR Elgin Co. RY Museum, St. Thomas, ON display Montreal Locomotive Works #68540, 1930
5702 K-5-a 4-6-4 4'-8½" CNR Canadian Railway Museum, Delson, QC display Montreal Locomotive Works #68396, 1930
2850 H1d 4-6-4 4'-8½" CPR Canadian Railway Museum, Delson, QC display Montreal Locomotive Works #69100, 08/1938
49 X-10-a 4-6-4T 4'-8½" CNR Canadian Railway Museum, Delson, QC display Montreal Locomotive Works, 1914
46 X-10a 4-6-4T 4'-8½" CNR Centre d'Interpretation Ferroviaire, Vallee-Jonction, QC restoration Montreal Locomotive Works, 1914 from Longueil

Web Pages


  • Locomotives in Profile, Volume One by Brian Reed (Doubleday)
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of North American Locomotives by Brian Hollingsworth (Smithmark Publications)
  • The American Steam Locomotive: Vol. 1, The Evolution of the Steam Locomotive by F. M. Swengel (Midwest Rail Publications)
  • The Search for Steam by Joe G. Coaaias (Heimburger House Publishing Co.)

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