The Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad began with the merger of the Virginia Central and the Covington & Ohio Railroads. It later acquired the Chicago, Cincinnati & Louisville Railroad, the Pere Marquette and the B&O. By 1987 when it was taken over by CSX it also had incorporated the Western Maryland Railroad.
During World War II, the C&O turned to the 2-8-4 wheel arrangement to handle the fast freight schedule demanded by the war-time needs. The C & O had watched the development of the 2-8-4 on the Nickel Plate Road and the Pere Marquette through the "Advisory Mechanical Committee" which was common to the four railroads controlled by the Van Sweringens. It based its 2-8-4 design on the NKP and Pere Marquette "Berkshires". However it chose to name them "Kanawhas" after the Kanawha River, which paralleled its main line.
Between 1943 and 1947, the C & O purchased ninety, Class K-4, 2-8-4 "Kanawhas", twenty from the Lima Locomotive Works and seventy from the American Locomotive Company. These locomotives were numbered 2700 through 2789. All of these locomotives had 69" diameter drivers, 26" x 34" cylinders, a 245 psi boiler pressure, they exerted 69,350 pounds of tractive effort and each weighed about 292,500 pounds.
By mid 1952, the C & O had received enough diesels that it began to retire even the "Kanawhas", which still had service time, and by 1957 all were retired. All but the thirteen that were donated to various cities were scrapped by May 1961.
The City of Buffalo, NY received number 2701 and placed it on display near the waterfront where vandals wrecked it and it was scrapped. There are twelve surviving C&O 2-8-4 "Kanawha" type locomotives.
|Class||Qty.||Road Numbers||Year Built||Builder||Notes|
Data from tables in 1947 Locomotive Cyclopedia and from C&O - 4 - 1947 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. (Thanks to Chris Hohl for the tip about the Baker gear and for catching an error in the 1st built date and his 22 September 2017 email reporting unlikely boiler pressure values for 177 entries. A Locobase macro caused the error .) The first 40 came from Alco in 1943 and 1944, Lima supplied the next 20 in 1945 and 1947, and Alco finished the class with 30 more in 1947.Firebox had 103 sq ft (9.5 sq m) in two thermic syphons and 19 sq ft (1.75 sq m) in arch tubes. Long-stroke cylinders were served by 14" (356 mm) piston valves. All axles turned inside Timken roller bearings, feed water heaters were Worthington Type 5 1/2 S SAs, and the coal moved through Standard HT automatic stokers. Called "Kanawhas" by the railroad, "Big Mikes" by the Chessie drivers. Very similar to Pere Marquette N-1s but heavier and pulling immense tenders. In fact, these K-4s were among the heaviest and longest 2-8-4s in service and were known for good performance. Farrington (1976) notes a run from Stevens to Russell (95/4,845 tons), then from Russell to Hinton (61/3,170 tons) in which the engine consumed 49,500 gallons of water and 25 tons of coal.
Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media
|Railroad||Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O)|
|Number in Class||90|
|Locomotive Length and Weight|
|Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)||18.20 / 5.55|
|Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)||42 / 12.80|
|Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase||0.43|
|Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)||93.17 / 28.40|
|Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)||73,800 / 33,475|
|Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)||292,000 / 132,449|
|Engine Weight (lbs / kg)||460,000 / 208,653|
|Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)||388,000 / 175,994|
|Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)||848,000 / 384,647|
|Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)||21,000 / 79.55|
|Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)||30 / 27|
|Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)||122 / 61|
|Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort|
|Driver Diameter (in / mm)||69 / 1753|
|Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)||245 / 16.90|
|High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)||26" x 34" / 660x864|
|Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)||69,368 / 31464.83|
|Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort)||4.21|
|Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)||73 - 2.25" / 57|
|Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)||202 - 3.5" / 89|
|Flue/Tube length (ft / m)||19 / 5.79|
|Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)||462 / 42.92|
|Grate Area (sq ft / m2)||90.30 / 8.39|
|Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)||4773 / 443.59|
|Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)||1932 / 179.55|
|Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)||6705 / 623.14|
|Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume||228.48|
|Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)|
|Robert LeMassena's Power Computation||22,124|
|Same as above plus superheater percentage||28,539|
|Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area||146,015|
Later, 2700 was stored on a siding blocked by several baggage cars near the Dennison Railroad Museum in Dennison, OH. She had been completely stripped of all the gauges, valves, name plates, windows, bell, whistle and anything else you can think of. Many of these items were donated by individuals during the campaign to restore her back in the 70s. Unfortunately, she was in worse shape than after enduring years of vandalism in Coonskin Park.
In August, 2001, the Dennison Depot Museum was making preparations to put 2700 next to the depot. The museum is planning on restoring the cars but the future of 2700 doesn't look good. In 2002 I was told that the parts that were taken off of 2700 (including the side rods) are being used in restoration effort on the 2716. In 2009 I was told that cosmetic restoration of 2700 would begin in 2010.
2700 was finally restored in 2017 and looked better then any time she had been on display.
In 1975, the balance of the steamers at Russell were moved to the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, where they all reside today, with the exception of 614. 2705 was repainted sometime around 1996.
Upon retirement, 2756 was sent to the scrap lines behind the diesel shops at Russell, KY. As far as I can determine, 2756 was removed from the scrap lines and placed in Huntington Park on August 25, 1963 (dedicated on Labor Day 1963) while the remaining three sister 2-8-4s remained in Russell and survived into the mid 1970s (see the notes on 2705 for more details). As you can see from the photo, 2756 received a good cosmetic restoration in 1997 - 1998. The cab windows have been replaced with plexiglass and the locomotive is illuminated at night. The number plate was stolen but replaced by a sheet metal copy.
In 2004 an elementary school teacher and the local Kiwanis Club began a "Save the Train" campaign. They planned on cosmetically restoring the locomotive over the following two years.
In September of 2004 restoration work had began at Riverside Park. The attached passenger car and caboose have received some attention although the passenger car may have to be scrapped. 2760's tender has been sandblasted and primered. Work had also begun on the locomotive. The city planed to cover the locomotive once restoration is completed. Photo courtesy Pete Page.
In 2018 it was reported that the cosmetic restoration of 2760 has been completed. It now sits in a covered and fenced area.
2776 is in remarkably good condition. Paul Keller has been the self appointed caretaker of 2776 for over 30 years. He oils and greases and paints everything on a regular basis on the off-hand chance that it will be revived to life some day. He has removed and stored all of the valuable parts such as gauges and windows.
It is interesting that the city of Washington Court House was never a C&O town, so why a C&O engine? The Pennsy and DT&I railroads serviced Washington Court House. It was the DT&I line on which 2776 was delivered some 30 years ago.