US Army Transportation Corps 2-8-0 "Consolidation" Locomotives in the USA

During the 1930s, the US Army updated a Baldwin 2-8-0 design from World War 1 (Pershing). It was initially kept on the shelf as a contingency, but an order was placed in August 1941 for eight locomotives. Baldwin records show that representatives from all three major US locomotive manufacturers attended a conference with Major Marsh to clarify design details before bidding to build them for the US War Department.

They were produced by Lima to order number 1161 dated 8/15/41 and delivered in February-March 1942. There was no class number or name listed on the order, and extensive research of available records has not produced any official references. One name used for this Class is S179, which relates to engine weight as with the S160 Liberty Class. However, the official Lima weight was 180,000lbs and probably 179,000 lbs without the Coffin feedwater heater. R Tourret called them the S159 Class, probably because they immediately preceded the S160. Opinions vary about what to call them, but for reference purposes USATC 2-8-0 21x26 Lima 1942 is a reasonable description to differentiate between other 2-8-0s of the US Army.

All had Coffin feed water heaters when delivered although these were subsequently removed. Two were originally built as oil burners (C&P #10 & 11) and it is unlikely that they would have been converted to coal burning when transferred from the C&P after August 1945. The Class was unusual for a consolidation design in 1942 because they had small drivers, and outside bearings on the locomotive truck. There are numerous reports from Alaska Railroad archival documents posted at of these locomotives being prone to derailments of the locomotive truck. Another report stated that these locomotives were unpopular with crews at Camp Claiborne and mainly used as switchers.

Of the eight locomotives produced, two were allocated to Camp Claiborne, LA in 1942 for the Claiborne-Polk Railroad of the US Army which trained personnel in railway operations during WWII. Another two were sold new from the Lima factory by the War Department to the Alaska Railroad for the unit cost price of $69,600. The other four were sent to Holabird Ordnance Depot, MD for assignment to US Army units.

In 1958 the Alaska Railroad S179 Class locomotives were all sold to Sold to Ferrocarrilles Langreo Spain which modified them for the reduced loading gauge. Several photographs show them in operation with reduced profile cabs and tenders. However, the #401 was not modified and only used for spare parts. They were scrapped soon after steam operations ended in 1968.

A photo of the cab of C&P #10 (ARR #403 ) taken about the year 2000 shows it laying on a wrecked ex Panama flat car dumped as rip rap beside the Matanuska River, AK. The effects of time have worn away layers of paint to reveal the number 10. The numbers 160 21/26 are also visible along the bottom of the other side of the cab. The tender accompanying S160 consolidation ARR #556 in an Anchorage, AK park is probably from an S179. It is likely that it is the tender from the ARR #403. ARR #556 was heavily damaged in the same roundhouse fire at Anchorage that destroyed ARR #403.

Much of the above information was provided through John Combs & Dick Morris ( from original Alaska Railroad business file archives from the U.S. National Archives, the Southern Forest Heritage Museum in Long Leaf, LA (Everett Lueck), and also from Don Ross, Allen Stanley, and Johnathan Smith (Steam Locomotive Rosters).

Introduction by Steve Low


US Army No.Lima Const. NoDispositionNotes
69947875olabird Depot - Ft Belvoir, Va -ARR #505 (#405)1, 6, 10
69957876olabird –Fort Richardson, AK - ARR #406 in 19491, 6
69967877Holabird - Cape Fear Rwy - ARR #504 to #4041, 6, 10
69977878Fort Eustis Va2
69987879Alaska RR #501 to #4015, 10
69997880Alaska RR #502 to #4021, 5, 10
TC 107881Camp Claiborne-ARR #503 to #4033, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10
TC 117882Camp Polk, LA to Fort Eustis #6987 then #6444, 9, 11
  1. Sold to Ferrocarrilles Langreo Spain 1958 modified for reduced loading gauge. Reference.
  2. Became #620 in 1954 Scrapped 1966 Newport News VA (Don Ross)
  3. Lost in roundhouse fire 1951
  4. Produced as oil burners
  5. Acquired by Alaska Railroad 1942
  6. Acquired by Alaska Railroad 1946-47
  7. In 1947, the #503 had Coffin FWH at Alaska RR
  8. Used mainly at Camp Claiborne
  9. Used mainly at Camp Polk
  10. Renumbered as 400 Class to avoid confusion with 500 Class S160s.
  11. No record found after 1947, and was not at Fort Eustis in May 1952.
Roster by Steve Low

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class Lima 21" x 26" 1942 (Locobase 6426)

Data from [] (visited 22 December 2004) and from the US Military Railway Service's Locomotive Diagram book supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley and Alaska RR Steam Locomotive Diagrams supplied in August 2013 from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. See also the history of the engines sent to the FC de Langreo by Guillermo Bas Ord='ez at [], last accessed 22 November 2013.

Additional information in a report prepared by Stephen Low and attached to his 3 January 2018 email. He cites as his sources: "Much of the above information was provided through John Combs & Dick Morris ( from original Alaska Railroad business file archives from the U.S. National Archives, the Southern Forest Heritage Museum in Long Leaf, LA (Everett Lueck), and also from Don Ross, Allen Stanley, and Jonathan Smith (Steam Locomotive Rosters)." See also Colonel Howard G. Hill, US Army, "Built for Battle", Trains Magazine (December 1964). Works numbers were7875-7878 in February 1942 and 7879-7882 in March.

According to Steve Low's report, the US Army ordered this octet of Consolidations from Lima in August 1941, thus this Consolidation design preceded the Standard 160 (Locobase 433) and was built in response to a request for a 2-8-0 updated from the World War I Pershing. Its cylinders are larger by 2" in diameter, the grate had 2 sq ft (0.18 sq m) greater area, and the boiler was slightly larger as well. Firebox heating surface area included 18 sq ft (1.67 sq m).

A standard class number appears not to have been assigned and source have suggested S159 (to mark its precedence over the more numerous S160 [for which, see Locobase 433], or S180 (the Lima engine's tractive effort in thousands of pounds) or S179 (same, but minus the feed water heater).

Works numbers are consecutive as were the USATC numbers. Six went to the Alaska Railroad.


7875 6994 505

7876 6995 506

7877 6996 504

7879 6998 501

7880 6999 502

7881 10 503.

The MRS diagram for the TC 10 shows that the class had 10" (254 mm) diameter piston valves. This diagram states that the tractive effort at 77% was 37,100 lb, which is true only if the driver diameter is 50" - the sketch shows 57". In addition the driving wheelbase measures 15' 6" (4.72 m) . Could Lima have built the last two locomotives as a variant with taller drivers?

Apparently the last locomotive came later, in 1946-1947, possibly as a replacement for 6997? In any case, the 503 was destroyed in a fire in 1951.

Spain's Ferrocarril de Langreo bought several cast-off ARR steam locomotives. Except for ARR 503, this entire class was sold to the FC de L and arrived at Gijon on 25 February 1958 and renumbered 401-406. 401 was kept as a spare, but the other four were quickly found to be too big for the Langreo's loading gauge, wrote , and the railway had to rework the locomotives: "Modifications included cut tender tops, cabs with lowered roofs and slope sides and front pilot substituted by Langreo hook couplings and buffers."

So converted, the locomotives went into service one by one with 404 starting in April 1960 and finishing with 402 ending its mods in March 1963. All ran up service "mileage" (kilometrage?) exceeding 36,700 km each (22,791 miles) with 405 accumulating 38,089 km (23,653 miles). All were withdrawn in 1968 when steam operations ended and were soon scrapped.

Class Pershing (Locobase 431)

Data from Bruce (1952), Atlantic Coast Line Locomotive Data- 1942 (p 95-A) supplied by Allen Stanley in May 2005 from his extensive Rail Data Exchange collection; and "American Locomotives for tbe American Forces in France", Engineer, Volume 124 (23 November 1917), p. 458-. See also DeGolyer, Volume 57, pp. 191+ (7 July 1917), 199+ (13 October 1917), 205+ (13 February 1918), 211+ (17 July 1918), and 217+ (29 August 1918), 222+ (5 October 1918); and James Patton,, "Supplying Locomotives for the AEF", posted 20 July 1920 on the Roads to the Great War blog at [], last accessed 24 November 2023. Locobases 13381, 13383-13389 present the entries for the individual French railroads and describe their careers.

Works numbers were:


August 46096-46105, 46125-46127, 46138-46149, 46162, 46182-46193, 46202-46207, 46223-46244

September 46285-46312, 46315-46337, 46361-46362, 46364-46395, 46457-46471

October 46567-46576, 46594, 46663-46671, 46721-46727, 46739-46746

November 46853-46861, 46919-46930, 47021-47033, 47109-47111

December 47187-47206, 47269-47280, 47372-47384, 47425-47431, 47476-47185


January 47546-47570, 47587-47602, 47653-47669, 47727-47728

February 47763-47767, 47835-47844, 47877-47890, 47940-47945

March 48000-48004, 48036-48050, 48109-48123, 48185-48189

April 48230-48243, 48313-48343, 48415-48418, 48421-48465

May 48511-48520, 48541-48566, 48644-48667, 48700-48724, 48748-48772

June 48865-48885, 48918-48937, 48965-48989, 49046-49070

July 49132-49149, 49246-49265, 49268-49287, 49367-49379, 49413-49422

August 49489-49495, 49547-49551, 49620-49634, 49668-49677

September 49693-49717, 49736, 49795-49824, 49838-49847, 49861-49920, 49981-49999, 50001-50050

October 50067-50127, 50136-50200, 50210-50308, 50332-50343, 50376-50430

November 50432-50444, 50483-50546. 50555-50575, 50601-50614, 50637-50667, 50695-50728

December 50742-50762, 50769-50776, 50817-50819, 50864-50873, 50890-50935, 50952-50985


January 51012-51027, 51050-51074, 51092-51107, 51133-51141, 51186-51190

February 51204-51223, 51236-51251, 51280-51298, 51319-51338, 51349-51368, 51408-51427

March 51453-51472, 51492-51506, 51539-51548

Standard Consolidation built for the US Army's Transportation Corps just before World War I. Unlike the British MOD 2-8-0s, these engines were superheated and used piston valves that measured 10" (254 mm ) in diameter. Not as powerful as many similar locomotives on private roads. The Engineer commented that the firebox differed from the usual American practice in having its bottom fit between the frames.

Most operated in France and many remained in that country after World War One. This duty explains Supplement 68 on page 228 of Volume 57: "The coupled springs to be compensated with the pony springs as these locomotives will have to run on very uneven track."

Wikipedia in French helpfully offers a list of how these locomotives were distributed during and after the war, identifying subgroups as "Pershing" (delivered during the war), "Felton" (ordered or delivered after the Armistice of 11 November 1918), and "Slade" (ordered on 10 January 1919) to flesh out the depleted stocks of the major railroads

296 Pershing, 119 Felton and 40 Slade (410 Pershing, 45 Alco) to la Compagnie des chemins de fer de l'Etat--the Pershings were numbered 140.1101 to 140.1510. Note: 45 of these were Brooks-built engines with more cylinder volume; see Locobase 432

106 Pershing, 32 Felton and 15 Slade (153 Pershing) to la Compagnie des chemins de fer du Midi , where they took numbers 4201-4353

132 Pershing, 80 Felton and 30 Slade (242 Pershing) to la Compagnie des chemins de fer du Nord, which numbered them 4.1301-4.1542

388 Pershing, 127 Felton and 63 Slade (549 Pershing, 29 Alco) to la Compagnie du chemin de fer Paris-Lyon-Mediterranee. The Pershings took 501 a 969. See Locobase 15481 for the Alcos.

156 Pershing, 62 Felton and 27 Slade (169 Pershing, 76 Alco) to la Compagnie du chemin de fer de Paris a Orleans, the Pershings taking 7101 a 7349.

And 7001-7076 pour the ALCo batches.

61 Pershing and 22 Slade (83 Pershing) to le Reseau ferroviaire d'Alsace-Lorraine, which designated them G14 5701-5761, G14 5801-5822

160 Pershing and 50 Felton (210 Pershing) to la Compagnie des chemins de fer de l'Est and placed in class serie 12s 40.101 a 40.310.

James Patton's 1920 blog post described the initially long delays in getting the French locomotives into service, which threatened to greatly adulterate their value to the war effort. 64-year-old Samuel Morse Felton Jr, director-general of the Military Railways, leaped out of the box to find a solution. He believed the answer lay in delivering the locomotives fully assembled by Baldwin at Eddystone.

Now he needed ships that could carry sufficient quantities to step the pace. They had to have quite large hatches and a search turned four ore carriers that fit the requirement being built at Bethlehem Steel's Sparrows Point (east Baltimore) shipyard. Not only were they available and, after some trials, capable of taking 36 locomotives at a time, Sparrows Point operated a crane capable of lifting a 75 ton locomotive. Ultimately sixteen ships--the four Feltore-class carriers and 12 more able to transport smaller quantities each.

Resourceful adaptation paid--average time to put the locomotives in service in France fell from 33 days to 8 hours.

Upon the formation of the SNCF in 1937, they were grouped under the class 140C (later 140G). According to "Des Surnoms Pour La Vapeur," Rail Magazine, No 7 (November 1977), p.13, this design attracted several nicknames including Americaines, TP, Pershing, and Boiled-Beef. TP stood for Travaux Publics (Public Works).

After the war, a few others moved onto private railroads such as the Atlantic Coast Line (L-4).

Class S160 / Liberty (Locobase 433)

Data from US Military Railway Service diagram book supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. See also the listing at [], which shows many illustrations of the basic design as it appeared in England and Tomas Galka's Polish Steam Locomotives website ([], last accessed 21 December 2011). See also Colonel Howard G. Hill, US Army, "Built for Battle", Trains Magazine (December 1964). (Thanks to Chris Hohl for his October 2020 email correcting the coal tonnage.)

Standard Consolidation built by Alco, Baldwin , and Lima for the US Army's Transportation Corps in World War II. Baldwin's works numbers were 64641-64665 in September 1942; 67561-67685

Credited to a committee headed by Major JW Marsh of the US Army and composed of design engineers from all three US locomotive builders, the S160's design was limited only by loading gauge limitations in Britain and Europe.

Compared to the World War I era Alco, this engine had a little higher superheat ratio, 10" (254 mm) piston valves, three arch tubes in the firebox, Hulson rocking grate, but otherwise was a relatively austere, straightforward design. When used for oil, the tender's capacity was 1,800 US gallons (6,813 litres).

[] (site owner:Alexandros C. Gregoriou ), last accessed 4 March 2006, says that 2,120 were produced overall, most of the S160 (Standard gauge) subclass, although some S161s went to Jamaica and S162 and S166 went to the Soviet Union. (See also Tomasz Galka, Standard-Gauge Locomotives in Poland, [], last accessed 4 March 2006)

The result, says the SPS Limited's account of the type ([]), was a big success. "Everywhere they went the S160s were well received and proved to be rugged, reliable workhorses, strong and easy to maintain, with the bonus that they were not fussy about how or with what they were fired."

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway museum website ([]) gives the Great Western Railway drivers' perspective:

"The locomotives must have been a shock to GWR crews as they were quite unlike anything that had ever run on the system before. But while GWR sensibilities may not have led them to be liked, in practice they proved to be extremely powerful, surprisingly economical and entirely suitable for heavy freight traffic. They also enjoyed rapid acceleration and were also often used for troop trains and, occasionally, ordinary passenger traffic."

Technical reasons for the class's satisfactory performance include the generous heating surface to cylinder volume ratio and the relatively high superheat percentage.

But according to John D. Blyth ([]), the first batches suffered from a design fault that led to a series of boiler explosions that wrecked several locomotives and killed some crew members as well. Blyth adds that they had an intended working lifetime of about 90 days after which they were expected to be damaged one way or another.

As GWR notes: "[T]hey did suffer a high failure rate - they tended to develop hot driving axle boxes while those fitted with thermic siphons tended to suffer leaks and tubeplate cracks. The locomotive steam brake was very poor - particularly when working unfitted trains. In the boilers, a major weakness was excessive corrosion and fatigue of the firebox crown bolts, especially if the boiler water level was allowed to fall too low or there was an accumulation of scale on the firebox crown. As a result, there were five incidents of the crown collapsing while in UK use ..."

Tomasz Galka provides additional insights on these locomotives: "In Poland S160s were considered modern and efficient engines with good steaming capacity, but their shortcomings, resulting from simplified design, were obvious; in general, British wartime Liberation locomotives, designated Tr202, were viewed superior, particularly due to higher manufacturing quality and high-grade materials used. Running qualities left something to be desired and engines were prone to derailing. In PKP service, boiler pressure was reduced to 13 bar and maximum speed was set at 65 km/h."

Data from another website ([]) gives details of the Alco spec for Peruvian S160s built in 1943. These had 15 sq ft (1.39 sq m) of arch tubes.

S160s went all over the world. 800 alone went to the United Kingdom where 400 were placed in storage in anticipation of the European invasion and the other 400 did very good work in Britain itself. These were distributed mostly to two of the grouped railways: GWR (174) and the LNER (168). The LMS operated 50. The Southern Railway made almost no use of the design, rostering only 6.

The others eventually went to France, where they acquired the nickname of Front Francaise. Some of the S160s originally shipped to North Africa spread throughout the Mediterranean as result of US landings in Italy and France and postwar distributions.

Only 260 of the 2,100 built ran on other than standard gauge -- 200 on the Soviet Union's 5' gauge (1,524 mm) and 60 on the 5'6" gauge.

After World War II, S160 war survivors as well as the hundreds supplied by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) and the Marshall Plan of 1947 ran on railways in several continents. Gregoriou and Tomasz Galka are the sources for the following:

Algeria (10 140U),

Austria (30 956.0 class),


China ( KD6 461-KD6 500),

Czechoslovakia (80 as the 456.1 class - 456.101-180 - "UNRRAs"),

France (121 140U),

Greece (27 THg - THg 521-537, 551-560 and 25 ex-FS 736 from Italy),

Hungary (510 411 class of which 26 supplied spare parts and the others received road numbers 411.001-484),

Italy (243 FS 736.001-243),

Jamaica (S161 as Class 60)

Korea (SORI-2),

Mexico (10 GR-28 delivered directly from Baldwin in 1946),

Morocco (5 or 6 140B),

the Netherlands,

Peru (2 Class 80 delivered directly from Baldwin in 1943),

Poland (575 - 75 Tr201from UNRRA and 500 Tr203 shipped directly from the US Army TC),

Soviet Union (90 ShA from Baldwin, 110 from Alco - 7 were lost or retained in the US)

Tunisia (6 140-250), and

Turkey (50 TCDD 45.171-231),

Yugoslavia (65 Class 37)

Some of these saw steam out in several countries in the 1970s and 1980s.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Middle Run Media

ClassLima 21" x 26" 1942PershingS160 / Liberty
Locobase ID6426 431 433
RailroadUS Army Transportation CorpsUS Army Transportation CorpsUS Army Transportation Corps
Number in Class815702100
Road Numbers6994-6999, TC 10-TC11652
Number Built815702100
Valve GearWalschaertWalschaertWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)14.50 / 4.4215.50 / 4.7215.50 / 4.72
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)23.08 / 7.0323.67 / 7.2123.25 / 7.09
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.63 0.65 0.67
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)56.74 / 17.2957.41 / 17.5051.67 / 15.75
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)35,280 / 16,003
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)161,300 / 73,165150,000 / 68,039140,000 / 63,503
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)180,000 / 81,647166,400 / 75,478161,000 / 73,028
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)124,700 / 56,563109,000 / 49,442115,000 / 52,163
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)304,700 / 138,210275,400 / 124,920276,000 / 125,191
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)6500 / 24.625400 / 20.456500 / 24.62
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)10 / 9910 / 9
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)67 / 33.5063 / 31.5058 / 29
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)50 / 127056 / 142257 / 1448
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)210 / 14.50190 / 13.10225 / 15.50
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)21" x 26" / 533x66021" x 28" / 533x71119" x 26" / 483x660
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)40,934 / 18567.3735,611 / 16152.9031,493 / 14285.00
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.94 4.21 4.45
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)173 - 2" / 51165 - 2" / 51150 - 2" / 51
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)30 - 5.375" / 13726 - 5.375" / 13730 - 5.375" / 137
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)13.50 / 4.1113.75 / 4.1913.35 / 4.07
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)156 / 14.50181 / 16.82128 / 11.89
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)43 / 432.70 / 3.0441 / 3.81
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1937 / 180.021862 / 173.051765 / 163.97
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)467 / 43.40420 / 39.03471 / 43.76
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)2404 / 223.422282 / 212.082236 / 207.73
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume185.89165.95206.92
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation903062139225
Same as above plus superheater percentage10,746733111,162
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area38,98440,58034,848
Power L111,62210,34816,649
Power MT635.39608.361048.71

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