Metropolitan Elevated Railway 2-4-2 "Columbian" Locomotives in the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class G, I, H (Locobase 16366)

Data from "Locomotive for the Metropolitan Elevated Railways of New York", Engineer, Volume 46 (8 November 1878), p. 333. See also Locobase 11577 for a detailed 1889 assessment that reinforced the judgement described below.

This engine was laid out as a "steam dummy" that had its boiler and firebox housed within a standard elevated-railway coach body. The cylinders were outside and drove on the rear adhesion axle. The outside slide valves were actuated by inside link motion.

The Engineer's report expressed what would prove to be well-founded skepticism about the wisdom of running steam locomotives over city streets in terms as acrid as the output of the engine: "[T]he system is said to constitute an efficient dirt, oil, steam, and cinder distributor on a scale more costly and much more noisey [sic] than such purposes demand."

Acknowledging that such railways could "in many situations be of much service," the report noted an undeniable antipathy to such railways, pronouncing them "not without good reason." A steel structure with "widely separated rafters" presented an "inefficiency of protection", allowing "everything from the engine to fall to the ground and upon the by-passers." Moreover, such a network formed "a rattling noise magnifier and distributor, which must be exceedingly difficult to tolerate." He couldn't stop there, of course, but had to add "even in a country proverbially new 'notions'."

Soon after delivery, the Metropolitan Elevated's lines were leased beginning 20 May 1879 by the Manhattan Railway. The new operator added 200 to each of the road numbers.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

ClassG, I, H
Locobase ID16366
RailroadMetropolitan Elevated Railway
Number in Class
Road Numbers1-45/201-245
Number Built
Valve GearStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)15.50 / 4.72
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)15.50 / 4.72
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)24,070 / 10,918
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)29,910 / 13,567
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)300 / 1.14
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)20 / 10
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)28 / 711
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)130 / 9
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)10" x 16" / 254x406
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)6314 / 2863.99
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.81
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)125 - 1.5" / 38
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flue/Tube length (ft / m) 6.83 / 2.08
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)
Grate Area (sq ft / m2) 7.60 / 0.71
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 Computation988
Same as above plus superheater percentage988
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area
Power L1
Power MT

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Wes Barris