Chesapeake & Ohio 2-10-4 "Texas" Locomotives in the USA

The Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad designed a new Class of freight locomotive to satisfy its needs for motive power. They tested an Erie Berkshire then basically stretched the Erie design adding one set of drivers, creating a 2-10-4 that was both powerful and fast.

The C&O ordered forty of it new design "Texas" type locomotives from the Lima Locomotive Works in 1930. These locomotives were designated as Class T-1 and were assigned road number 3000 through number 3039. They had 69" diameter drivers, 29" x 34" cylinders, a 265 psi boiler pressure, exerted 93,345 pounds of tractive effort and each weighed 566,000 pounds. The locomotives were equipped with a trailing truck booster that exerted 15,275 pounds of tractive effort. This basic design was used for most 2-10-4s constructed after 1930.

The firebox was 645.3 square feet. The boiler's nine foot diameter was packed with the most heating surface of any 2-cylinder locomotive ever built. The evaporative surface was 6,624 square feet and the superheater added 3030 giving it a combined heating surface of 9,654 square feet.

The C&O ran most of it "Texas" types from Russell, Kentucky to Toledo, Ohio with a few used in eastern Virginia. A typical train pulled by one of the T-1s would consist of 160 loaded cars of coal comprising a trailing load of 13,500 tons.

There are no surviving examples of the C&O Class T-1 locomotives. All were scrapped in the early 1950s.


ClassQty.Road NumberYear Built Builder Notes
  1. Numbers 3000-3039 scrapped in 1952-1953.

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class T-1 (Locobase 95)

Data from tables in 1930 Locomotive Cyclopedia and from C & O 9 - 1936 Locomotive Diagram book supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. (Thanks to Chris Hohl for tracking down the tender's fuel capacity for his 22 September 2017 email reporting unlikely boiler pressure values for 177 entries. A Locobase macro caused the error .) ) Lima works numbers were 7516-7555 in 1930.

These engines, says Drury (1993), "proved the validity of Lima's SuperPower concept: [they] could pull the same train as a 2-8-8-2 -- and do it faster."

Eugene L. Huddleston, writing in the March 2003 Chesapeake and Ohio Historical Magazine, approvingly quotes S. Kip Farrington about the T-1: "This was truly one of the greatest locomotives ever built." (Locobase 52 provides a brief appreciation of William Black, the man credited with designing the lines of the T-1 and several other great superpower locomotives.)

Certainly, Huddleston notes, it was one of the biggest. A 9-foot (2,743 mm) diameter boiler was packed with the most heating surface (evaporative and superheat) of any two-cylinder locomotive ever. Behind the big barrel lay an equally enormous grate. All of the heat engine rode on a built-up frame in which turned five axles of 69" drivers.

Some details worth noting from the C&O's diagram. The 14" (356 mm) piston valves enjoyed long travels of 9" (229 mm) and laps of 1 15/16" (49 mm). Worthington Type 5S feed water heater.

More than 185 tons burdened those axles while the whole engine came in at better than 280 tons! Weight savings were taken anywhere they could be found. When the weight of the alligator-design crosshead originally planned rose to 11,384 lb (5,164 kg) for both sides (crosshead and guides), the team adopted a multi-bearing unit that shaved 4,477 lb (2,031 kg) off the total.

T-1s ran from Russell, Kentucky up through Ohio to Toledo for most of their career, a few ending up in eastern Virginia. Meat and potatoes for this mighty class were 160 loaded cars of coal comprising a trailing load of 13,500 tons (12,270 metric tons). Tractive effort rose to 93,345 lb when working boiler pressure was raised to 265 psi. This was made possible when an enlarged stack design made it possible to increase the limited cutoff of 60% at starting to a "full"-stroke of 85%. (Such concatenations demonstrate the complexity and interconnected nature of a design that puts a large steam generator on wheels and rolls it on 4' 8 1/2" gauge.)

A weak point common to long-wheelbase freights was the difficulty in maintaining a proper counterbalancing scheme as the drivers wore unevenly in service. In the latter part of their careers, this class rode roughly and pounded the track to the point that a special gang stood by at the bottom of one long grade to repair the damage. Huddleston notes that some crews adopted "kidney" belts to cushion their innards.

Add to that an observation that these engines sometimes moved empty coal trains at 50 mph and, says Huddleston, "...the jolting must have been pronounced."

They were retired in 1952-1953.

125 slightly modified 2-10-4s of the basic Chessie design were built by Pennsylvania RR during WW II as the J-1 class; see Locobase 98. These later engines benefited from cast-steel frames with integral cylinders and are regarded by many as the finest steam locomotives ever operated by the PRR.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Middle Run Media

Locobase ID95
RailroadChesapeake & Ohio (C&O)
Number in Class40
Road Numbers3000-3039
Number Built40
Valve GearBaker
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)24.30 / 7.41
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)49.20 / 15
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.49
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)99.50 / 30.33
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)75,000 / 34,019
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)373,000 / 169,190
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)566,000 / 256,734
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)415,000 / 188,241
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)981,000 / 444,975
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)23,500 / 89.02
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)30
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)124 / 62
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)69 / 1753
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)260 / 17.90
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)29" x 34" / 737x864
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)91,584 / 41541.85
Booster (lbs)15,275
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.07
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)58 - 2.25" / 57
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)275 - 3.5" / 89
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)21 / 6.40
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)645.50 / 59.94
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)121.70 / 11.31
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)6624 / 616.64
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)3030 / 281.60
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)9654 / 898.24
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume254.87
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation31,642
Same as above plus superheater percentage41,451
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area219,857
Power L142,706
Power MT1262.07

  • 3000 (Bud Laws Photo)
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Wes Barris