Isthmian Canal Commission/Panama 2-6-4 "Adriatic" Locomotives in the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 101 (Locobase 11459)

Data from "Locomotive Building," The Railroad Gazette, Vol XXXIX, No 16 (20 October 1905), p 124, updated and corrected by "Panama Canal Engines", Railway and Locomotive Engineering (December 1905), p 537. See also Alexander Saunders, Locomotives of the Panama Railroad, The Railway and Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin, No. 80 (May, 1950), pp. 57-66 (19 pages). Works numbers were 38174-38197 in late December 1905-January 1906.

Photographs suggest that this small tank was a Mogul with a permanent bunker and tank. Additional water rode in the side tanks that ran forward from the roomy cab to just over the front driving axle. They were used as passenger locomotives during the construction of the Panama Canal to move the thousands of workers to and from their jobs.

The perils of contemporary sourcing become apparent when comparing this set of specifications from the 20 October 1905 RG with those published in the same journal on 2 May of the same year. At that time they were projected to have 236 tubes and a total evaporative heating surface of 1,598 sq ft, but put less weight on the drivers and on the track as a whole. The December issue of R&LE, but says that the boiler will hold 320 tubes, a considerable overstatement.

Alexander Saunders noted "Great results were expected of these engines", but "the frames extending the full length of the engine and tenders made them so rigid that they would not stay on the rough track of the diggings." He added that "they were a failure in passenger services."

But 24 of any type of locomotive often represents a significant presence in a railway. After only three years in service as 2-6-4Ts, they entered the ICC shops to be turned into 2-6-0 Moguls with trailing tenders. Most or all were disposed of once the canal was opened in 1914. The Genesee & Wyoming operated #105 as 2-6-0 tender engine #15 on the standard gauge. The G&W website -- [] -- reports that this locomotive may never actually have served in Panama, but was sold to A B Shaw in 1905. Saunders concluded that the ICC sold at least 20 of the Moguls to the Chili [sic] Exploration Company. 101 went to the United States Engineers.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Locobase ID11459
RailroadIsthmian Canal Commission/Panama
Number in Class24
Road Numbers101-124
Number Built24
Valve GearStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)13.17 / 4.01
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)32.67 / 9.96
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.40
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)32.67 / 9.96
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)124,000 / 56,246
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)183,500 / 83,234
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)183,500
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)3700 / 14.02
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)5 / 5
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)69 / 34.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)54 / 1372
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)180 / 12.40
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)19" x 26" / 483x660
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)26,594 / 12062.85
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.66
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)220 - 2" / 51
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)12 / 3.66
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)125.10 / 11.62
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)26.20 / 2.43
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1497 / 139.07
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1497 / 139.07
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume175.50
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation4716
Same as above plus superheater percentage4716
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area22,518
Power L14031
Power MT215.00

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Wes Barris