Central of Georgia 4-8-4 "Northern" Locomotives in the USA

The Central of Georgia, like most railroads, found itself short of passenger motive power during World War II. However, the War Production Board requirements only permitted dual service or freight locomotives to be constructed and only in existing designs. Therefore, the Central of Georgia chose to purchase eight copies of Southern Pacific's Class GS-2.

In 1943, the Lima Locomotive Works delivered the eight Class K Northerns (road numbers 451 through 458) and C of G put these 73" driver 4-8-4s to work on its passenger trains like the "Dixie Flyer" and the "Seminole". They became known affectionately as "Big Apples".

These locomotives weighed 447,200 lbs, had 27 x 30 cylinders, 250 lbs psi boiler pressure and a tractive effort of 62,300 lbs.

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class K (Locobase 245)

Data from tables in 1947 Locomotive Cyclopedia and the CofGa 9 - 1950 Locomotive Diagram book supplied in May 2005 by Allen Stanley from his extensive Rail Data Exchange. Thanks to Chris Hohl for asking the questions that led to a substantial revision. Works numbers were 8254-8255 in August 1943, 8256-8258 in September, and 8259-8261 in October.

Firebox heating surface included 70 sq ft (6.5 sq m) of thermic syphons and 15 sq ft (1.4 sq m) of arch tubes. Drury (1993) notes that these wartime engines are often described as near-duplicates of the Espee's GS-6 (Locobase 282). The boiler layout differed, however, as the Ks had more small tubes and fewer flues that had 1/2" (12.7 mm) greater outside diameter. Another principal difference was the use of the Elesco feedwater heater. Piston valves measured 12" (305 mm) in diameter.

On the Central of Georgia, the class was nicknamed the "Big Apples." Alexander (American Locomotives, 1950) adds that they cost $178,000 each and could "maintain fast schedules between Macon [Georgia] and Atlanta with 22 passenger cars northbound or thirty cars southbound." Their coal consumption was measured at 100 lb for every 1,000 gross ton miles or 11.4 lb/passenger-car mile.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Locobase ID245
RailroadCentral of Georgia (CofGa)
Number in Class8
Road Numbers451-458
Number Built8
Valve GearWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)20 / 6.10
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)45.83 / 13.97
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.44
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)83.50 / 25.45
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)65,000 / 29,484
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)260,000 / 117,934
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)447,200 / 202,847
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)246,600 / 111,856
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)693,800 / 314,703
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)13,000 / 49.24
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)21 / 19
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)108 / 54
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)73.50 / 1867
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)250 / 17.20
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)27" x 30" / 686x762
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)63,230 / 28680.68
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.11
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)56 - 2.25" / 57
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)159 - 4" / 102
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)21.50 / 6.55
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)435 / 40.41
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)90.40 / 8.40
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)4705 / 437.11
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)2059 / 191.29
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)6764 / 628.40
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume236.67
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation22,600
Same as above plus superheater percentage29,380
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area141,375
Power L139,145
Power MT1327.69

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