Chicago & North Western 4-6-4 "Hudson" Locomotives in the USA

The Chicago & North Western bought nine Class E-4 oil burning Hudsons in 1938 from the American Locomotive Company and numbered them 4000 through 4008.

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class E-4 (Locobase 180)

Data from tables in 1947 Locomotive Cyclopedia; see also C&NW 10-1952 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in August 2013 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Collection. See also "Chicago & North Western Installs Heavy 4-6-4 Locomotives", Railway Mechanical Engineer, (August 1938), pp. 287-289. (Many thanks to Chris Hohl for his 22 September 2017 email reporting unlikely boiler pressure values for 177 entries. A Locobase macro caused the error.) Works numbers ran 68982-68987 in March 1938; 68988-68989 and 69028 in April.

Firebox heating surface included 140 sq ft (13 sq m) in two thermic syphons (119 sq ft/11.06 sq m) and two arch tubes (21 sq ft/1.95 sq m). Developed for the Chicago-Minneapolis run (400 miles in 400 minutes) in competition with the Milwaukee Road's Hiawatha, which was pulled by either the A-class 4-4-2s or the F-7 class 4-6-4s. The C&NW locomotives were streamlined in a shroud with sloping nose and an open view of the running gear and painted green and yellow.

Their "physical attributes" were very similar to the Milwaukee's F-7s, which were also built by Alco in the same year (Locobase 183). One striking internal difference: The E-4 had only eight 2-inch tubes, which together with the 196 3 3/4" flues, made up much of her heating surface. This ratio of tube to flue is almost as far away from the usual balance as a standard boiler could get. By comparison, the F-7s had 220 more square feet, divided among 60 2 1/4" tubes and 164 3 1/2" flues, a more typical arrangement. The E-4s also had a 9% larger grate.

The E-4s used Baker valve gear to operated piston valves (12"/305 mm diameter in seven engines or 14"/356 mm in the other two.). In 1946-1947, they were converted to oil-firing and trailed tenders carrying 20,000 US gallons (75,700 litres) of water and 6,000 gallons (22,710 litres) of oil fuel. They weighed 379,500 lb (172,139 kg).

Despite the difference between the two designs, however, there appears to have been little difference in how these engines steamed, which underscores the custom-build tendency of steam locomotive manufacturers that ill-fitted them to compete with the standardized diesels. In fact, the E-4s were soon displaced by diesels and ran the transcontinental route from Chicago to Omaha.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Middle Run Media

Locobase ID180
RailroadChicago & North Western (C&NW)
Number in Class9
Road Numbers4001-4009
Number Built9
Valve GearBaker
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)14.67 / 4.47
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)42.33 / 12.90
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.35
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)88.98 / 27.12
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)216,000 / 97,976
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)412,000 / 186,880
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)360,000 / 163,293
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)772,000 / 350,173
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)20,000 / 75.76
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)25 / 23
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)120 / 60
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)84 / 2134
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)300 / 20.70
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)25" x 29" / 635x737
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)55,022 / 24957.59
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 3.93
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)8 - 2" / 51
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)196 - 3.5" / 89
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)19 / 5.79
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)507 / 47.10
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)90.70 / 8.43
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)3958 / 367.71
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)1884 / 175.03
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)5842 / 542.74
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume240.17
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation27,210
Same as above plus superheater percentage35,917
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area200,772
Power L159,761
Power MT1829.87

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Wes Barris