Muscle Shoals Canal 0-4-4 "Forney" Locomotives in the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class Yankee (Locobase 13512)

Data from "A Tank Locomotive for Towing Barges", Engineering News, Volume XXV, No 9 (28 February 1891), p. 193. See also John Howe Peyton, The American transportation problem: a study of American transportation (Louisville, Ky: Courier-Journal Job Printing Company, 1909), pp. 97-105. Works numbers were 1233-1234 in December 1890.

Porter supplied these little Forney types to the US Engineer Office for them to use in towing barges along the 15-mile canal; the engine named "Yankee" was matched by the other named "Dixie". The exact method to be used for towing hadn't been worked out at the time of delivery. The engines had 2 heavy towing hooks on each side. Although the report noted that foreign experience suggested a tow car would work better, it also noted that such a tow car would be "inconvenient".

John Howe Peyton wrote in 1909 that the canal was an expensive boondoggle and indeed experience suggested that before the Wilson Dam was completed in 1926, the canal did little to tame the rough and wildly variable Tennessee River. Locomotives were indeed used to tow barges and grew in size to include 2-6-0 tender engines. But traffic was never very robust.

Peyton claimed that the canal would be abandoned in favor of a railroad and thundered: "Probably no other Nation in the civilized world has ever been guilty of such egregious folly abandoned canal, built solely for the purpose of distributing the disgraceful "pork-barrel" political fund, is a disease-breeding eye-sore; a monument to the folly of a Nation and the dishonesty of her politicians." (105).

Reports by engineers stopped short of the "such egregious folly" assertion, but acknowledged that the canal was too shallow for most vessels of any useful size and couldn't be kept filled with water from the river in any case because the shoals covered such a wide area and were so obdurately flinty that the river width and depth couldn't supply enough water to the canal. It was closed to navigation in 1918 when construction of the Wilson Dam began.

NB: The boiler pressure figure is an estimate.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Middle Run Media

Locobase ID13512
RailroadMuscle Shoals Canal
Number in Class2
Road Numbers
Number Built2
Valve GearStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m) 5.25 / 1.60
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)15 / 4.57
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.35
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)15 / 4.57
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)25,000 / 11,340
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)38,000 / 17,237
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)38,000
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)500 / 1.89
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)1 / 1
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)21 / 10.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)20 / 508
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)130 / 9
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)10" x 16" / 254x406
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)8840 / 4009.76
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 2.83
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)63 - 2" / 51
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)8 / 2.44
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)8 / 0.74
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 Computation1040
Same as above plus superheater percentage1040
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area
Power L1
Power MT

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Wes Barris