4-6-4 "Hudson" Locomotives in the USA

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)

RailroadNumber Build (Builder)
Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe16 (Baldwin)
Baltimore & Ohio4 (B&O)
Boston & Albany10 (ALCO), 10 (Lima)
CCC & St. Louis30 (ALCO)
Canadian National5 (MLW)
RailroadNumber Build (Builder)
Canadian Pacific65 (MLW)
Chesapeake & Ohio13 (Baldwin), 5 (C&O)
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy12 (Baldwin) 2(CB&Q)
Chicago, Milwaukee, St Paul & Pacific6 (ALCO) 22 (Baldwin)
RailroadNumber Build (Builder)
Chicago & North Western9 (ALCO)
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western5 (ALCO)
Grand Trunk Western6 (MLW)
Illinois Central1 (IC)
RailroadNumber Build (Builder)
Maine Central2 (Baldwin)
Michigan Central30 (ALCO)
National Railway of Mexico10 (ALCO)
New York Central195 (ALCO)
RailroadNumber Build (Builder)
New York, New Haven & Hartford10 (Baldwin)
New York, Chicago & St. Louis4 (ALCO), 4 (Lima)
St. Louis-San Francisco10 (STSF)
Wabash7 (Wabash)

Railroads that used 4-6-4 "Hudson" locomotives in the USA (data provided by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media)

Surviving Examples of 4-6-4 "Hudson" Locomotives in the USA

No.ClassF.M. WhyteGaugeRailroad LineLocationStatusBuilder InfoNotes
5320J-1e4-6-416"NYC Panella Pacific Railroad (private), Lodi, CAout of serviceMercer Locomotive Works (Hamilton, NJ), 1947
345034504-6-44'-8½"AT&SF Los Angeles Co. Fairplex, Pomona, CAdisplayBaldwin #59993, 1927
52124-6-415" Traintown Railroad Park, Broadway, Sonoma, CAoperational
2839H1c4-6-44'-8½"Atlantic Central (CPR) The Nethercutt Collection and Museum, Sylmar, CAdisplayMontreal Locomotive Works, 1937from Allentown, PA
3003S-44-6-44'-8½"CB&Q South Main Street, Burlington, IAdisplayBaldwin #61501, 1930
3001S-44-6-44'-8½"CB&Q Ballingall Park, Ottumwa, IAdisplayBaldwin #61446, 1930 Wears builder's plate 61522 from CB&Q 4-8-4 5606, scrapped May 1960.
3006S-44-6-44'-8½"CB&Q Galesburg Railroad Museum, Galesburg, ILdisplayBaldwin, 1930
3000S-44-6-414"CB&QDekalb County Fair, Sandwich, ILoperationalAC Augie, 1973replica
3007S-44-6-44'-8½"CB&Q Illinois Railway Museum, Union, ILdisplayBaldwin, 1930
4-6-415"Waterman & Western, Waterman, ILstoredfrom Riverside & Great Northern RY shops, Wisconsin Dells, WI
4-6-414"Kiddieland LimitedLaPorte Co Historical Steam Society, Hesston, INoperationalWagner & Sons Miniature Train Co, 1950 From Kiddieland, Melrose Park, IL
346334604-6-44'-8½"AT&SF Kansas Expocenter, Topeka, KSrestorationBaldwin #62086, 1937
490L1a4-6-44'-8½"C&O B&O Railroad Museum, Baltimore, MDdisplayALCO (Richmond) #66555, 1926
4-6-416"Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad, Fairview, MIoperationalfrom Pinconning & Blind River Railroad
50024-6-415"Ramona & Burley ParkBurley Park, Howard City, MIoperationalWagner & Sons Miniature Train Co from East Grand Rapids, later Lowell
534 (434)4-6-412"WF&P Wabash, Frisco & Pacific Railroad, Glencoe, MOoperationalK.E. Reynolds , 1955
170L-1a4-6-44'-8½"NYC&StL Museum of Transportation, St. Louis, MOdisplayALCO (Brooks) #67211, 1927 Oldest surviving hudson
5433J-34-6-415"NYC Hiawatha Live Steamers, Tupper Lake, NYoperationalSeymour Johnson, 1968 From Bell Gardens, Valley Center, CA
502 (5313)J-14-6-44'-8½"TH&B (NYC) Steamtown National Historic Site, Scranton, PAdisplayALCO, 1927steam generator car made from NYC Hudson tender 5313
47 (1542)X-10-a4-6-4T4'-8½"CNR (GTR) Steamtown National Historic Site, Scranton, PAdisplayMontreal Locomotive Works, 1914
4000 (3002)S-4A4-6-44'-8½"CB&Q Copeland Park, LaCrosse, WIdisplayBaldwin #61500, 1930 Named Aeolus

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