Champlain & St Lawrence 0-4-0 Locomotives in Canada

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class Dorchester (Locobase 13283)

Data from Q & A, The Locomotive Engineers Journal, Volume 56, No 11 (November 1922), p. 853. See also 29 January 1948 article in The News and Eastern Townships Advocate (archived at [],183909), pp. 24-25. Works number was 127 in 1836.

There's not much here, but it comes from a response to a question in the LEJ about the first locomotive operated in Canada. The Canadian Encyclopedia ([]) reports that the engine was ordered in September 1835 and delivered in Canada in June 1836. "An indentured driver was sent along with the engine," the entry adds, "but since his contract was unenforceable in Canada he deserted soon after arrival." The News reports that he headed south to the US for better pay.

Wikipedia's entry on the Champlain & St Lawrence ([], last accessed 19 October 2011) says that its first public run came on 21 July 1836 and took two hours to go over the 16 miles of iron-topped pine rail from St Johns to La Prairie.

Although it could reach 30 mph pulling US-built rail cars, the Dorchester earned another nickname, that of "Kitten" because of its "skittish" ride, which The News attributed to "...its eccentricities of motion and the difficulties which the various amateur drivers had in starting and stopping." It had a straight boiler with no discernible firebox, tall safety-valve column in the center, small dome over the front driving axle, and even taller stack. Her minute quantity of water (84 imperial gallons/100 US gal) obviously limited her range.

The News account reported that the Dorchester was later rebuilt with a cab, a leading axle, and pilot. A photo shows that the reworking included a new frame that relocated both drivers to the rear so that the firebox now rode between the axles.

It was sold in 1849 to the chief owner of the Lanoirie and Industries Railway Bartolomew Joliette. A Smithsonian survey stated that the Dorchester suffered a boiler explosion in 1864. The News account does not mention an explosion, saying instead that the engine was refurbished and displayed at the Columbian Exhibition. It's possible that the News writer had incorrectly identified the Samson of similar vintage (Locobase 4866), which did appear.

NB: Boiler pressure is an estimate.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Locobase ID13283
RailroadChamplain & St Lawrence
Number in Class1
Road Numbers
Number Built1
Valve Gear
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)12,554 / 5694
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)12,554 / 5694
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)100 / 0.38
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)10 / 5
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)48 / 1219
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)35 / 2.40
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)9" x 14" / 229x356
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)703 / 318.88
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort)17.86
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)64 - 1.625" / 41
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)
Grate Area (sq ft / m2) 5.45 / 0.51
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation191
Same as above plus superheater percentage191
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area
Power L1
Power MT

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Wes Barris