Pittsburgh & West Virginia 4-6-2 "Pacific" Locomotives in the USA

The P&WV is one of the smaller class 1 railroads and is easy to over look. It is most famous for owning the first 2-6-6-4's in the world, and for dieselizing exclusively with Fairbank Morse H-20-44 jumbo switchers. It was folded into the Norfolk & Western in 1964, along with the Wabash, Nickel Plate, and the equally obscure Akron, Canton & Youngstown.

The P&WV was not a major passenger carrier. It never scheduled more than three trains a day, in each direction between Wheeling, WV and Pittsburgh, PA. Before 1921, it was able to cover its passenger train needs with four Atlantics, leased from its primary western connection, the Wheeling & Lake Erie. Yet, in 1921 the railroad had accumulated enough money to buy its own passenger locomotives. It bought two 4-6-2's from Alco, Brooks, and they were among the lightest Pacifics ever built. Indeed, many railroads had Pacifics with more weight on their drivers than the entire locomotive weight of the P&WV K-1 class. Considering they pulled passenger trains that were only three cars long, over a well engineered line that had minimal grades, the P&WV could get away with their compact sized Pacifics.

In 1924, a third Pacific, class K-2, was bought from Alco, Richmond. It weighed two tons more, but the tractive effort of the #202 was only slightly higher than the first two P&WV Pacifics. Passenger train service was discontinued on the P&WV November 1, 1931. K-1 #201 was scrapped in 1941, but the #200 and #202 lasted until 1947. The locomotives were used in milk train service after passenger train operations ceased.


ClassRoad NumberYear BuiltBuilder
K-1200, 2011921ALCO, Brooks
K-22021924ALCO, Richmond

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class K-1/K-2 (Locobase 7876)

Data from P & WV 12 - 1937 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. Brooks works numbers were 63104-63105 in September 1921, Richmond delivered 65547 in May 1924.

Diminuitive, graceful, high-boilered Pacifics with relatively low cylinder volume for the wheel arrangement on an American railroad. They also had among the smallest grates owned by a Pacific in North America.

The K-2's biggest difference from the K-1 was its year of construction (1924) and its builder (Richmond).

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Locobase ID7876
RailroadPittsburgh & West Virginia
Number in Class3
Road Numbers200-201, 202
Number Built3
BuilderAlco - multiple works
Valve GearBaker
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)11 / 3.35
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)30.33 / 9.24
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.36
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)61.27 / 18.68
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)117,000 / 53,070
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)181,000 / 82,100
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)128,600 / 58,332
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)309,600 / 140,432
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)6500 / 24.62
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)10 / 9
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)65 / 32.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)63 / 1600
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)180 / 12.40
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)20" x 26" / 508x660
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)25,257 / 11456.40
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.63
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)136 - 2" / 51
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)24 - 5.375" / 137
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)18 / 5.49
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)147 / 13.66
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)39.26 / 3.65
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)2025 / 188.20
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)523 / 48.61
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)2548 / 236.81
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume214.29
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation7067
Same as above plus superheater percentage8551
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area32,017
Power L114,934
Power MT844.20

All material Copyright © SteamLocomotive.com
Wes Barris