Billerica & Bedford / Bucksport & Bangor 0-4-4 "Forney" Locomotives in the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class Bucksport (Locobase 11761)

Data from Baldwin Locomotive Works Specification for Engines as digitized by the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University Vol 9, p. 196. Baldwin works number was 4818 in October 1879. See the excellent Tap Lines site ([]) for Don Hensley, "The Orange Belt Railway".

An unusual feature of this adhesion-first tank was the relatively wide and short firebox. In fact, Locobase wonders if the specs inadvertently traded the width for the length and that the width should read 24 11/16" and the length 47 5/8"

At the time of its opening in 1873, the B & B was the only railroad in Maine's Hancock county; it served the ice-free port of Bucksport, 18 miles from Bangor. The line remained independent for about 9 years before its foreclosure and reorganization as the Eastern Maine Railroad Company. The EMRC leased the B & B to the Maine Central in 1883.

The MC widened the rail gauge to standard. Eastern Maine retained the narrow gaugers, later selling the skinny-gauge snowbirds to the Orange Belt Railway. The 142-mile OBR served the St Petersburg, Florida area. The OBR standardized in 1894 and changed its name to Sanford & Saint Petersburg; Gene Connelly's Baldwin list doesn't record what happened to the

Class Puck (Locobase 1002)

Data from"A Two-Feet Gauge Locomotive", The Engineer, Volume (15 February 1878), pp. 113-114. See also [] (reviewed 13 February 2004); "The Billeriica & Bedford Two-Foot Gauge Railroad", Railroad Gazette, Volume 10, No 1 (4 January 1878), p. 3; and H[enry] T[emple] Crittenden, The Two-Footers, Boston :Railway & Locomotive Historical Society, Baker Library, Harvard Business School, 1942, pp. 10-11. Works numbers were 1251 and 1261.

Designed by Hinkley's superintendent F D Child and named "Ariel" and "Puck", these two operated on the largest two-foot gauge railroad in US. Although originally delivered to the B&B in Massachusetts, the two little engines traveled in 1879 to the Sandy River Railroad (later the Sandy River & Rangely Lakes) in Maine. That road renamed the two "Dawn" and "Echo". Echo was sold in 1890 to the Phillips & Rangely as their "Isaac Walton".

A Hinkley summary supplied by Allen Stanley in March 2004 on this Matthias Forney patent locomotive, which set the standard for "two-footers" for decades. (For some reason, various compilers of SR&RL rosters claim that these two locomotives were delivered as 4-4-0Ts and only took on Forney form after they were sold, but the Engineer reports shows this to have been incorrect.) Additional information showed that the 70 1 3/4" tubes provided 211 sq ft (19.60 sq m) of heating surface area. (# 3 had 48" drivers.)

For a detailed overview of the B&B upon its completion, see the RG account of 4 January 1878. Locobase only encountered the Engineer report published in February 1878 in 2018 and was immediately humbled by the English writer's evident superiority. The author told his reader (while informing this compiler some 140 years later): "It may interest Mr Forney if we digress to tell him that tank engines with bogies under the tank have long been used in Great Britain." He also expressed indifference at Forney's defense of his decision to run the engines tank first: "We need not follow him in his somewhat elaborate argument, intended to prove what no one disputes -- that a tank engine may be run as well with the bogie in front as not."

Locobase acknowledges the long experience and obvious technical competence informing the Engineer's analysis. He does, however, suggest that Mr Forney's particular argument arises from different considerations, such as ensuring that the drivers always have the all the adhesion weight available from the "permanent and unchangeable" boiler and machinery.

Another consideration for Mr Forney was the need to provide as big a firebox as possible, hence the mounting of the firebox behind and on the same level as the drivers. And, American though as his users may have been, he may nevertheless have taken some solace--despite his relatively ingenuousness--from the remarks offered by the B&B's general manager:

Saying they were a "double success", he claimed that they negotiated the tight curves easily and made "more steam than is wanted and use but little coal." Burning hard coal, the engines reached 35 mph (56 kph) on the B&B's rough track of 30-ft (9.14 m) long jointed rail that weighed 25 lb/yard (12.5 kg/m) while the "side oscillation is done away with entirely." He claimed proudly to run a train "seventy-two miles [116 km] each day, at a cost of 13c a mile."

Crittenden's account of the success enjoyed by the two Forneys deserves

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Locobase ID11761 1002
RailroadBucksport & BangorBillerica & Bedford
Number in Class13
Road Numbers21-2
Number Built13
BuilderBurnham, Parry, Williams & CoHinkley
Valve GearStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m) 6.50 / 1.98 3.50 / 1.07
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)17 / 5.1813 / 3.96
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.38 0.27
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)17 / 5.1813 / 3.96
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)24,000 / 10,88614,350 / 6509
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)38,000 / 17,23723,750 / 10,773
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)38,00023,750
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)550 / 2.08400 / 1.52
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)20 / 1012 / 6
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)41 / 104130 / 762
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)130 / 9120 / 8.30
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)12" x 16" / 305x4068" x 12" / 203x305
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)6210 / 2816.812611 / 1184.33
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.86 5.50
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)78 - 2" / 5170 - 1.75" / 44
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)10.81 / 3.29 6.58 / 2.01
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)38.25 / 3.55
Grate Area (sq ft / m2) 8.10 / 0.75 5.75 / 0.53
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)476 / 44.24
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)476 / 44.24
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume227.75
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation1053690
Same as above plus superheater percentage1053690
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area4973
Power L12836
Power MT521.03

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Wes Barris