Sumter & Choctaw 2-6-2 "Prairie" Locomotives in the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 103 (Locobase 15305)

Data from Baldwin Locomotive Works Specification for Engines as digitized by the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University, Vol 73, pp. 201. See also Mississippi Rails' entry at [] and the Hawkins Rails' entry at [] and Howard Pincus's account on the 103's latest move at Railway Preservation News, [], last accessed 15 July 2013. Works number was 58754 in October 1925.

[See biography of Evan Allison and the town of Bellamy at Locobase 15306.]

When the ALC of Bellamy, Ala bought the 103, it was only the second new rod-driven locomotive to serve this southern Alabama line. The 22 mile main line ran from Lilita southwest first to Whitfield (which opened in 1904) and later to Choctaw City, which saw its first service on 1 October 1911. While primarily a freight line serving the ALC, a schedule shows that the S&C hauled two trains each way each day for local passenger traffic and mail. It's likely that this 2-6-2 or a used 2-6-0 was the primary passenger hauler.

It's often true that what we save as railroad mementos are the objects that are still on hand while most of the rest have been discarded and scrapped. Timing matters a great deal so a Baldwin logging Prairie from the mid-1920s would seem a likely candidate. Still, the 103 was not an inappropriate acquisition when Allison Lumber Company sold it to the Empire State Railway Museum of Middletown, NY in 1962.

Placed in storage in 1975, the 103, still owned by the ESRM, moved in 1970 to the Valley Railroad tourist line in Essex, Connecticut, where it ran for five years before being placed on display. In 1986, the ESRM tranferred ownership to the Railroad Museum of New England (RMNE), the latter then operating the Naugatuck Railroad. In 2009, Pincus reported, the 103 was trucked up the road at 50-55 mph, "[g]oing faster than it ever had on rails" to be cosmetically restored and placed on display.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Locobase ID15305
RailroadSumter & Choctaw
Number in Class1
Road Numbers103
Number Built1
Valve GearWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m) 9.17 / 2.80
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)23.75 / 7.24
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.39
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)45.23 / 13.79
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)68,000 / 30,844
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)89,000 / 40,370
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)65,000 / 29,484
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)154,000 / 69,854
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)3000 / 11.36
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)6 / 6
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)38 / 19
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)44 / 1118
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)180 / 12.40
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)15" x 20" / 381x508
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)15,648 / 7097.82
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.35
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)147 - 2" / 51
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)11.87 / 3.62
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)87 / 8.08
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)14.10 / 1.31
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)995 / 92.44
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)995 / 92.44
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume243.28
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation2538
Same as above plus superheater percentage2538
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area15,660
Power L14615
Power MT448.87

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Wes Barris