Standard Soapstone 2-4-2 "Columbian" Locomotives in the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 5 (Locobase 12876)

Data from "Built for the Standard Soapstone Corporation," posted Tuesday, October 05, 2010. Image from ALCO Light Locomotive Parts and General Products Catalog No. 10057. Archived at American Locomotive Company Photos from the Joseph A. Smith Collection. [], last accessed 15 July 2011. See also "Narrow Gauge Railroads" on the Davis-Murdoch Stone Company website at [], especially the August 2023 post, last accessed 2 February 2024.

Works number was 66310 in February 1926.

The Davis-Murdoch Stone Company is a model-railroad layout inspired by a defunct soapstone mill in on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The author traces his persistent search for the railroad that served the mill. In his multi-post account, he guides us to the narrow-gauge railroad that likely connected the mill to the Chesapeake & Ohio junction in Norwood, Va at the confluence of the Tye and James Rivers.

In 1926, Thomas Fortune Ryan (whose middle name fit his millionaire status) decided to spend the money it would take to reopen the Oliver Brother Phoenix Stone's mill as Standard Soapstone. One decision concerned track gauge. Oliver Brothers had operated a narrow gauge line, but Ryan rebuilt the 5-mile (8 km) line to the standard gauge. The 5 filled the bill for the one rod-driven engine he would use along with a used two-truck Heisler geared locomotive.

Unfortunately for Standard Soapstone, it didn't survive its owner's death just two years later. The buildings were razed and the track lifted in 1929. D-M Stone Company survived the demolitions and was photographed around the time an auction disposed of such movable items as small locomotives, the 5 being so new as to likely attract a buyer..

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Middle Run Media

Locobase ID12876
RailroadStandard Soapstone
Number in Class1
Road Numbers5
Number Built1
Valve GearStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m) 6.25 / 1.90
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)20.33 / 6.20
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.31
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)20.33 / 6.20
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)56,000 / 25,401
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)76,000 / 34,473
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)76,000
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)1600 / 6.06
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT) 1.50 / 1
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)47 / 23.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)36 / 914
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)180 / 12.40
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)13" x 20" / 330x508
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)14,365 / 6515.86
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.90
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)100 - 2" / 51
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)10 / 3.05
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)53 / 4.93
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)12 / 1.12
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)577 / 53.62
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)577 / 53.62
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume187.95
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation2160
Same as above plus superheater percentage2160
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area9540
Power L12962
Power MT233.22

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Wes Barris