Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf 2-2-2 "Single" Locomotives in the USA

The Choctaw Oklahoma & Gulf 2-2-2T inspection engine "Arapahoe" with pilots at both ends was built by Baldwin (#16027) in 1898 for $3500. When built it had 8" x 12" cylinders and 42" drivers. It had vacuum brakes and a toilet at the rear of the passenger compartment ahead of the sliding door on the right side. It was the second such locomotive built by Baldwin. The first was the "Black Diamond," built in 1889 for the Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron Company. Both had driving wheels without flanges, which made them able to run on very sharp curves at coal mines or construction sites. At some point on the CO&G its boiler was replaced with a longer one that put its smokebox door and stack outside the body, which made maintenance easier. The CO&G was taken over by the Rock Island in 1904. It was sold on November 7, 1905 and went to a dealer in used equipment. It was then sold to the Due West Railway in South Carolina but was not a success and replaced by a former elevated line Forney in the following month. This and the "Texas" of the MKT are thought to have been the only inspection engines in the Southwest.

A Rock Island diagram for this locomotive dated July 27, 1904, that was discovered at the Lake States Archive shows it was modified while in use on the CO&G. It was given a new and longer boiler. This extended the smokebox and smokestack outside the body for easier maintenance, which may have been a reason for making the change. The body was also modified with the toilet moved back into the cab area with a door into the front compartment. The sliding door to the cab on that side was removed. And a funnel arrangement for watering the locomotive was added at the rear. This may have been removable and kept in the cab instead of a permanent fixture. The diagram is marked to indicate the locomotive was sold on November 27, 1905 and then scrapped. But it wasn't scrapped and was sold through a dealer to the Due West Railway in South Carolina. (Lake States Archive, Rock Island Collection, #2012-012)

Differences from the Baldwin specs show that the boiler was replaced. According to the Record of Recent Construction (above) as well as its specifications from the Baldwin collection at the DeGolyer Library at SMU show its original boiler had 33 two-inch flues and four 1 3/4" ones. These were 6'-8 1/2" long. The new boiler also had 37 tubes, all 2" ones that were 9'-2" long. The boiler diameter and firebox dimensions are also different. The original one had a rear end diameter of 21 1/4" and on the new one this was 26". The grate area of the firebox changed from 9.17 to 9 square feet. Its total heating surface changed from 159.34 to 177 square feet. The wheelbase is also different, as it changed from 9'-7 1/2" to 9'-8 1/4". The difference was how far the front axle was moved towards the front. The weight on the drivers changed from 13,000 to 14,000 pounds.

Information provided by Ronald Goldfeder.

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class Arapahoe (Locobase 12283)

Data from Baldwin Locomotive Works Specification for Engines as digitized by the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University Volume 21, p. 214. (Many thanks to Ron Goldfeder for his 21 January 2017 email reporting on the Arapahoe's later career, which he considerably amplified in February 2017 with pages 266-267 from the Baldwin Record of Recent Construction, No 9 and his own October 2016 compilation of the Arapahoe's history. Thanks also to Chris Hohl for his 26 February 2018 email reporting the coal weight.) Works number was 16027 in July 1898.

Although this inspection engine resembled the kind of steam dummy used by street railways, there were no couplers on either end. Moreover, when it was ordered, the specs included the requirement to travel up a 1%, 4-mile (6.4 km) grade at 35 mph (56 kph), a figure never achieved by tram engines.

Specs showed that the cab had a clerestory and an interior finish of quartered oak. One door opened from the front platform to the passenger compartment with the other (left side) having a large window. Below the two fixed step treads on either side of the platform was a drop step that could be lowered to ease access from rail level.

Slide doors on either side opened into the engineer's compartment. The fireman's space held the toilet. Crystal plate glass cab windows were spring balanced and were to be able to take E J Barron Curtain fixtures, but not the fixtures themselves. All the finished hardware in the cab was to be nickel plated.

The October 1899 edition of the railroad's house organ (The Choctaw) proudly saluted the opening of the last segment, which connected Howe, Indian Territory with Little Rock, Ark. The Arapahoe brought a party of luminaries to the City of Roses for what the headline described as "a Warm Reception for the Railroad which Saved the State."

Five years later, the CO&G sold the Arapahoe through a broker to the Due West Railroad as their #1. The Due West connected the South Carolina town and its Erskine College with Donalds, SC. Ron Goldfeder found that the Arapahoe only lasted less than two months on the Due West Ry. "On January 27, 1908 the first freight was carried by the Due West Ry, a car of cotton. By the end of February a former elevated Forney had replaced it."

Its failure was its mismatch with the service. Goldfeder explains that the Due West, while short, "was located in the piedmont area with rolling terrain and there was a 62 foot [18.9 m] difference in elevation between the two end points.Whatever the grades were the locomotive could not handle them pulling cars." (A factor of adhesion of 7.24 lb/lb of tractive effort underscores the locomotive's feeble power. Goldfeder notes that adding pilot beams and couplers only exacerbated the problem.)

Goldfeder adds key information about the Arapahoe's further adventures as well as giving us a capsule description of its new operator:

The Arapahoe was "then sold to the El Paso Suburban outside of El Paso, TX, where it remained in service from late 1908 until January 1914 when the equipment was offered for sale. The El Paso line was part of a real estate development called Tobin Town and when its main sponsor Frank R. Tobin died in January 1914 it faded away. In El Paso, the Arapahoe took the name "Jack Tobin,"for the son of the promoter."

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Locobase ID12283
RailroadChoctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf (CRI&P)
Number in Class1
Road Numbers
Number Built1
BuilderBurnham, Williams & Co
Valve GearStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m) 9.62 / 2.93
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m) 9.62 / 2.93
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)18,000 / 8165
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)32,000 / 14,515
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)32,000
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)500 / 1.89
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT) 0.65
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)30 / 15
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)42 / 1067
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)160 / 11
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)8" x 12" / 203x305
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)2487 / 1128.09
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 7.24
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)43 - 1.75" / 44
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flue/Tube length (ft / m) 6.71 / 2.05
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)32.34 / 3
Grate Area (sq ft / m2) 9.17 / 0.85
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)159 / 14.77
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)159 / 14.77
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume227.14
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation1467
Same as above plus superheater percentage1467
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area5174
Power L15131
Power MT628.44

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Wes Barris