Mexican Railway Articulated Locomotives in Mexico


Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class Fairlie (Locobase 15375)

Data from "Locomotives for the Mexican Railway", The Engineer (9 February 1872), p. 91 and "Fairlie Engine for the Mexican Railway" in Engineering reproduced by Van Norstrand's Engineering Magazine, Vol 10, No LXIV (April 1874), p. 374.

Ordered by Mr G B Crawley, the head of the eponymous contracting firm that was building the railway. The Engineer was quite a booster of the Fairlie design and its gushing report on the trial of the first of the order talks as breathlessly about the luminaries that attended the test as it does about the engine's performance. The report characterizes the day as offering the "most remarkable performance ever accomplished by a locomotive in England," when the Fairlie hauled 371 long tons (408 short tons) up inclines of 1 in 50 and 1 in 32 "utterly unassissted by the momentum to be gained by a run."

Two years later, Engineering (London) reported on the delivery of the fifteenth engine, the "Hidalgo", which had 16" x 20" cylinders, grate area of 29 sq ft (2.7 sq m), and total heating surface of 1,729 sq ft (160.63 sq m).

Meanwhile, the Engineer and America's Railroad Gazette conducted a war of words over the latter's claim that the Fairlie design was not as competent or powerful as a standard American locomotive. See RG (2 March 1872), Engineering, Vol 13 (22 March 1872), pp. 195-196, and RG (12 April 1872), pp. 164-165.


Class R-1 (Fairlie) 1889 (Locobase 6957)

Data from FCM 1920 locomotive diagram book supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange.

The first of three classes of double Fairlies on the Mexican, used to scale some of the most difficult railroad terrain in the world, according to Wiener (1930). He points out that nearly all of the graidents on the 264 miles of railway exceeded 2% and many top 4%. Moreover, it twisted and turned with 320-ft radius curves following one after another. They worked Cordova-Boca del Monte.

The FCM book shows that the first 12 came over a long period from 1889-1901. See Locobase 3634 for the 1904 batch.


Class R-1 (Fairlie) 1904 (Locobase 3634)

Data from FCM 1920 locomotive diagram book supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange.

This batch was the second series of the first Fairlie design and began delivery in 1904; see Locobase 6967 for the first batch supplied by NBLC predecessor Neilson & Company. Many of the power dimensions remained the same or similar and like the earlier engines, these R-1s were oil-burners.


Class R-2 (Fairlie) (Locobase 1362)

Data from FCM 1920 locomotive diagram book supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange.

An example of Robert Fairlie's design, which had two of everything on a single frame. One firebox heated water for two boilers, each of which rode over its own set of cylinders and wheels.

In this instance, the R-2s were the middle batch of three classes of Fairlies bought for the Mexican Railway in the 20th century. They followed the three R-1 classes (ten locomotives) delivered by North British beginning in 1904. (Locobases 3634). Differences included more cylinder volume to go with 6" taller drivers and a considerable weight gain of 23 short tons (21,309 kg or 20.97 long tons).

They were followed by three Vulcan Foundry-built R-3s that were still bigger; see Locobase 1363.


Class R-3 (Fairlie) (Locobase 1363)

Boiler and grate data are from Reder (1974) and Wiener (1930) and describe the last batch delivered in 1911 See also "Heavy Fairlie Locomotive, Mexican Railway", The Locomotive, Vol 17, 227 (15 November 1911), pp. 151-152

Another, larger Fairlie design that ran until the railroad electrified in the 1920s. (See Locobases 3634 and 1362 for the other Mexican Railway Fairlies.)

. A photograph in Wiener shows a pair of boilers and fireboxes that were encased in water tanks along the sides and top. As with all Fairlies, the cylinders were at the extremes of the bogies.

They were later converted to oil-firing, says Tufnell (1986), but were retired in 1923 when the Orizabo-Esperanza line was electrified.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Middle Run Media

ClassFairlieR-1 (Fairlie) 1889R-1 (Fairlie) 1904R-2 (Fairlie)R-3 (Fairlie)
Locobase ID15375 6957 3634 1362 1363
RailroadMexican RailwayMexican RailwayMexican RailwayMexican RailwayMexican Railway
CountryMexicoMexicoMexicoMexicoMexico
Whyte0-6+6-0T0-6-6-00-6-6-00-6-6-00-6-6-0
Number in Class15121023
Road Numbers159-170171-180181-182183-185
GaugeStdStdStdStdStd
Number Built15121023
BuilderAvonsideNeilson & CoNorth BritishNorth BritishVulcan Foundry
Year18721889190219071911
Valve GearStephensonStephensonWalschaertWalschaertWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)17 / 5.1816.50 / 5.0316.50 / 5.0318.50 / 5.6418.50 / 5.64
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)20.46 / 6.2432.45 / 9.8932.45 / 9.8935.50 / 10.8235.50 / 10.82
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.83 0.51 0.51 0.52 0.52
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)20.46 / 6.2435.50 / 10.82
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)132,160 / 59,947216,994 / 98,427221,470 / 100,457268,448 / 121,766309,120 / 140,215
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)132,160 / 59,947216,994 / 98,427221,470 / 100,457268,448 / 121,766309,120 / 140,215
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)132,160216,994221,470268,448309,120
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)2640 / 102850 / 10.802850 / 10.803500 / 13.265760 / 21.82
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT) 1.65 / 21932 / 73131932 / 73131480 / 56029 / 8
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)37 / 18.5060 / 3062 / 3175 / 37.5086 / 43
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)42 / 106742 / 106742 / 106748 / 121948 / 1219
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)140 / 9.70175 / 12.10175 / 12.10180 / 12.40185 / 12.80
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)15" x 22" / 381x559 (4)16" x 22" / 406x559 (4)16" x 22" / 406x559 (4)17" x 25" / 432x635 (4)19" x 25" / 483x635 (4)
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)28,050 / 12723.2839,893 / 18095.1839,893 / 18095.1846,059 / 20892.0459,133 / 26822.31
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.71 5.44 5.55 5.83 5.23
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)284 - 1.875" / 48262 - 1.875" / 48268 - 1.875" / 48338 - 1.875" / 48432 - 1.875" / 48
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)11.02 / 3.3611.66 / 3.5511.60 / 3.5412.92 / 3.9413.02 / 3.97
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)141 / 13.10180 / 16.72180 / 16.72234 / 21.74245 / 22.76
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)26.60 / 2.4733 / 3.0733 / 3.0743.50 / 4.0447.75 / 4.44
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1688 / 156.881712 / 159.111720 / 159.852376 / 220.822984 / 277.32
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1688 / 156.881712 / 159.111720 / 159.852376 / 220.822984 / 277.32
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume187.56167.19167.97180.82181.84
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation37245775577578308834
Same as above plus superheater percentage37245775577578308834
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area19,74031,50031,50042,12045,325
Power L126063125313438863796
Power MT260.83190.50187.18191.48162.44

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