Old Colony 4-4-0 "American" Locomotives in the USA

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 132/C-2 (Locobase 16312)

Data from "Passenger Locomotive, Old Colony Railroad", Railroad Gazette, Volume 19 (25 February 1887), pp. 125-127; and "Passenger Locomotive, Old Colony Railroad (America)", Railway Engineering, Volume VIII, pp. 146-147. See also Angus Sinclair, "At the Birth of the Brick Arch", Railway and Locomotive Engineering, Volume 26, No 8 (August 1913), p. 295.

James N Lauder addressed the need for increased speed between New York and Boston on the OCRR's Shore Line route with this design. RE's editor Lawrence Saunders found much to admire in it. Starting tractive effort was more than adequate as was a 40 psi mean effective cylnder pressure at 50 mph moving a 400 gross ton train on level track. "This great power makes the engine capable of doing most of the work while well linked back [i.e., cutting off steam through the valves early in the stroke], an arrangement that reduces the consumption of coal to the lowest possible limit." Heavy steamboat trains, for example, made their time while consuming 30 lb/train mile (8.45 kg/train km). Saunders found the boiler and the aggregate firetube opening more than adequate for the piston area. Inside link motion was "well-designed" as it gave "a very even distribution of steam."

(Locobase has to comment on the unusually favorable review of an American locomotive by a British journalist in 1887. Truly a generous chap for his time.)

By 1900, the quartet of locomotives had their driver diameters reduced by 3" (76.2 mm) to 66" (1,676 mm).

1700, 1699 were retired in February 1917 and 1698, 1701 stayed in service until June 1923.

The Old Colony proved to be the testing ground for the British idea of a brick arch in the firebox. Angus Sinclair was an emigre from Scotland who had seen Thomas Yarrow's experiment with the idea of a brick arch on the Scottish Northeastern Railway. Its effectiveness in preventing smoke, which was accompanied by lower firing rates and hence cost savings, was proven by the time he came to the United States.

But in the US, smoke prevention itself was a rare practice, let alone the use of a brick arch, whatever that was. (Locobase imagines Sinclair's Scottish brogue was a distancing factor as well.) Moreover, the few attempts at trying the concept fell victim to an unwise economy in the kind of brick being used.

But Sinclair persevered and at his first Master Mechanics Association meeting in 1883, he championed the brick arch. James N Lauder, the OCRR's mechanical superintendent. Lauder immediately challenged Sinclair's advocacy of any "additional appliance that ...makes an additional chance of failure." Therefore, Lauder concluded, "I have no use for the brick arch."

Lauder brought another consideration to the table, however, and said to Sinclair that anything that might improve the working of the locomotive was worth a try. So he put a brick arch in one of two identical locomotives that hauled the boat train from Boston to Fall River and gave the two locomotives equal chances to outdo the other. After three months, says Sinclair, Lauder was satisfied that the brick-arch engine used 20% less coal.

First in New England and eventually across the US, brick arches came to be accepted as a basic addition to the plain firebox. Supported by water tubes, the system was credited with a dual benefit of lengthening the fire's path, thus improving combustion, and heating the water in the tubes.

Class 232/ C-2 (Locobase 14734)

Data from James Dredge, A Record of the Transportation Exhibits at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1894), pp. 241+. Manchester works numbers were 1531-1540 (road 239-248) in 1892, 1571-1575 (249-253) in 1893. Old Colony shops produced the other twelve.

It's not clear why Old Colony Railroad thought it necessary to send the 256 of this class to the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, except to show the very latest in OCRR passenger locomotive. It wasn't unusual in its size or capability--thousands like it were in service across North America. So we can view it as representative of one of the most widely distributed designs in the steam locomotive era--a North American Eight-wheeler.

The engine was shown just as the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad took out a 99-year lease on the entire system of 617 route miles (993 km) throughout eastern Massachusetts. As a result, the New Haven completed its shore route between New York City and Boston.

At that point, the 27 engines built to the same design fell into class C-2. Of that variegated class, approximately twenty had been built in the Old Colony's shops.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class132/C-2232/ C-2
Locobase ID16312 14734
RailroadOld Colony (New Haven)Old Colony (New Haven)
Number in Class427
Road Numbers132-133, 136-137/732-733, 736-737/1700-1701, 1698-232-258/1659-
Number Built427
BuilderOld Colonyseveral
Valve GearStephensonStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)9 / 2.749 / 2.74
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)23.50 / 7.1623.50 / 7.16
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.38 0.38
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)46.21 / 14.0846.21 / 14.08
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)61,700 / 27,98764,000 / 29,030
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)96,000 / 43,54599,000 / 44,906
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)67,000 / 30,39167,000 / 30,391
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)163,000 / 73,936166,000 / 75,297
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)51 / 25.5053 / 26.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)69 / 175369 / 1753
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)175 / 12.10160 / 11
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)18" x 24" / 457x61018" x 24" / 457x610
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)16,763 / 7603.5815,327 / 6952.22
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.68 4.18
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)224 - 2" / 51211 - 2" / 51
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)11.50 / 3.5111.25 / 3.43
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)138 / 12.82138 / 12.82
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)19.20 / 1.7819.25 / 1.79
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1448 / 134.521373 / 127.55
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1448 / 134.521373 / 127.55
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume204.81194.20
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation33603080
Same as above plus superheater percentage33603080
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area24,15022,080
Power L160865369
Power MT434.92369.89

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