Central Vermont 4-8-2 "Mountain" Locomotives in the USA

Canadian National

The Canadian National Railways was formed in 1923 to rescue several financially troubled rail lines. At the time of the merger new motive power was badly needed and the CNR's first order for new locomotives was given to the Canadian Locomotive Company to build sixteen "Mountain" type locomotives.

This batch of sixteen 4-8-2s were delivered in 1923 and was designated as Class U-1-a and assigned road numbers 6000 through 6015. These locomotives had 26 x 30 cylinders, 73" drivers, a 210 psi boiler pressure and exerted 49,588 lbs of tractive effort. They weighed 354,110 lbs and were used on express passenger trains between Montreal and Toronto.

Twenty-one more "Mountains" were delivered from the Canadian Locomotive Company during 1924 and 1925. These locomotives were designated as Class U-1-b and given road numbers 6016 through 6036. They were similar to the Class U-1-a "Mountains" and were added to the passenger motive power roster.

Five more 4-8-2s (Class U-1-d, road numbers 6042 through 6046) from the Canadian Locomotive Company and twelve more 4-8-2s (Class U-1-e, road numbers 6047 through 6058) from the Montreal Locomotive Works were delivered in 1929 and 1930. These last two groups had minor improvements but were essentially the same as the sixteen delivered in 1923.

A final batch of twenty "Mountains" were delivered by the Montreal Locomotive Works in 1944. This group was designated as Class U-1-f and assigned road numbers 6060 through 6079. These very heavy (416,500 lbs) locomotives were semi-streamlined and intended to be used primarily for fast passenger service. Some were also used in a dual freight and passenger capacity. They were capable of reaching speeds up to 100 miles per hour.

The U-1-f class locomotives had a distinguishing conical nose which housed the headlight and the number lamps. The stack was flaired after the British style. They were normally painted in CNR's passenger colors of black with green board skirts, cab and tender. Some of them were eventually converted to burn oil.

There are five surviving CNR "Mountains".

Central Vermont

The Central Vermont Railroad purchased four Class U-1-a "Mountains" from the American Locomotive Company in 1927. These locomotives were assigned road numbers 600 through 603 and had 26 x 28 cylinders, 73" drivers, a boiler pressure of 200 psi, a total weight of 325,000 lbs and a tractive effort of 44,000 pounds. Later,the boiler pressure was raised to 200 psi and the tractive effort increased to 46,300 pounds.

On the Central Vermont, the "Mountains" were used on through trains and regularly led the "The Ambassador", "The Montrealer", "The New Englander" and "The Washingtonian". Occasionally, they were used in freight service. Number 602 was the last steam locomotive to pull a freight train on the Central Vermont Railroad.

Numbers 600, 601 and 603 were retired on 7/31/56 and number 602 on 6/1/57. There are no surviving Central Vermont "Mountains".

Grand Trunk Western

The Grand Trunk Western Railway's passenger traffic had increased on its Chicago Division to the point that it had to double-head its "Pacifics" to keep to its scheduled running times. Taking the lead from its parent, the Canadian National Railway, the GTW ordered five "Mountains" from the Baldwin Locomotive Works and took delivery of them in 1925. These locomotives were designated as Class U-1-c and assigned road numbers 6037 through 6041.

By 1929, the Grand Trunk Western Railroad (as it was known by then) was using these five 4-8-2s for fast freight as well as for the passenger trains that they originally bought them to lead.

There is one surviving GTW "Mountain", number 6039, at Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, PA.


ClassQuantityRoad NumbersYear BuiltBuilder
U-1-a166000 - 60151923CLC
U-1-b216016 - 60361924-1925CLC
U-1-d56042 - 60461929-1930CLC
U-1-e126047 - 60581929-1930MLW
U-1-f206060 - 60791944MLW

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class U-1-a (Locobase 7102)

Data from CV 1957 Locomotive Diagrams supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. (Thanks to Chris Hohl for noting the original boiler pressure and tender data.) Works numbers were 67335-67338 in May 1927.

These Mountains were owned by the CV's parent Canadian National Railway and leased to the Vermont railroad. The firebox heating surface included a combustion chamber, 14 sq ft (1.30 sq m) (in two arch tubes, and 76 sq ft (7.05 sq m) in Nicholson thermic syphons. They also mounted Coffin feedwater heaters.

Relatively small and light as North American 4-8-2s went, the U-1s were charged with moving The Montrealer over the CV's portion of the New York-Montreal express. Drury (1993) comments that they "were about the same size as the Florida East Coast 400 series ..." (See Locobase 1348). Indeed, a comparison of the specs shows them to have been virtually identical in every respect except for the CV engines having a higher boiler pressure.

Chris Hohl provided a builder's card for the U-1s that showed the original tender held 10,000 US gallons (37,850 litres) and 14 tons (12.7 metric tons) of coal; it weighed 191,500 lb (86,863 kg). The later tender shown in the specs carried 500 fewer gallons (1,893 litres), but four more tons (3.6 metric tons) of fuel.

Retirements came only in the late 1950s.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Locobase ID7102
RailroadCentral Vermont (CNR)
Number in Class4
Road Numbers600-603
Number Built4
Valve GearWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)19.58 / 5.97
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)42.08 / 12.83
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.47
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)76.96 / 23.46
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)215,500 / 97,749
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)326,100 / 147,917
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)200,060 / 90,746
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)526,160 / 238,663
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)9550 / 36.17
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)18
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)90 / 45
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)73 / 1854
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)210 / 14.50
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)26" x 28" / 660x711
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)46,283 / 20993.64
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.66
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)181 - 2.25" / 57
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)36 - 5.5" / 140
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)22 / 6.71
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)384 / 35.69
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)66.80 / 6.21
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)3856 / 358.36
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)968 / 89.96
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)4824 / 448.32
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume224.06
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation14,028
Same as above plus superheater percentage16,834
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area96,768
Power L121,509
Power MT880.17

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