Motive Power of the
Lehigh Valley Railroad. January,
From "Development of the Locomotive."
By Angus Sinclair.
When Hannibal undertook to cross the Alps with a great
army, he entered upon an achievement in travel of unparalleled
difficulty. If the great Carthaginian general had advisers they
doubtless did their best to deter their chief from his purpose,
and the lower elements of the army, who had not reached the dignity
of being advisers, no doubt sneered at and criticised the enterprise,
which they felt certain would end in disaster. Such is the reception
given to all uncommon projects.
Early in the year 1852 a group of enterprising men entered
upon the work of constructing a railroad through the Alps of America,
from Mauch Chunk to Easton, Pa., an undertaking much more formidable
than the work of transporting 100,000 soldiers over the Italian
Alps. The railroad project was embarked in for the purpose of
gathering some of the natural riches of the Lehigh Valley, but
the ambition of the promoters received scant sympathy and small
financial support. Building railroads through mountain obstacles
had not yet become popular. A recent writer recalling the discouragement
that depressed this enterprise, says:
GENESIS OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY RAILROAD.
"The early days of the Lehigh Valley Railroad
were days of tribulation. There was lack of encouragement and
lack of financial help. Skepticism of the feasibility of the project
ruled in Lehigh Valley communities, and both skepticism and ridicule
were meted out to its projectors by outside critics. Expressions
of good will and wishes for success were not entirely absent,
but the helping hand was withheld."
The original preliminary survey of the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill
and Susquehanna Railroad, under which name the Lehigh Valley Railroad
was incorporated in 1846, was made by Roswell B. Mason for a number
of citizens living in New Jersey. There was a vague idea among
them that the railroad would be used to convey coal and merchandise
to the four rivers named in the charter for transport to the ocean,
thence to the world of commerce. When, however, the incorporators
came to investigate the character of the country to be traversed
by their railroad, they lost courage, and the scheme was abandoned
and lay dormant for several years.
In 1852 the charter was secured by Asa Packer, who had an unwavering
faith in the resources of the Lehigh Valley, with the inflexible
determination to utilize them. His foresight. and faith in the
enterprise in the face of difficulties that would have appalled
most men, were backed by, splendid courage and, a tireless energy,
which won victory for him and the faithful band of brave spirits
who co-operated with him. The name of the road was changed by
act of legislature in 1853 to the Lehigh Valley Railroad.
Asa Packer and the Chief Engineer Robert H. Sayre were the
active powers of the road. Upon their shoulders rested the responsibility
and work. The two represented the functions of all the departments
that make up a railway organization of to-day; the one, the executive
and financing, departments, the other, the construction and operating
departments. The little, as well as the big things, demanded their
personal attention, exacting of them eternal vigilance.
MAUCH CHUNK INCLINED PLANE.
New England is proud to claim the honor of having had
within its borders the first railroad in America to carry wheeled
vehicles. Pennsylvania comes next with its famous gravity railroad,
opened in 1827, from the Lehigh River to Mount Pisgah, a peak
1,500 feet above sea level, in the heart of a rich anthracite
region. This inclined plane railroad was built for the transportation
of coal to the river. It is now operated as a scenic railroad
and draws multitudes of visitors every summer.
When we come to regard its oldest member as an integral part
of a consolidated railroad system we have to credit the short,
tortuous, inclined plane of Mauch Chunk as being the most ancient
part of the Lehigh Valley Railroad.
Here is a view of the Mt. Jefferson Plane.
BEAVER MEADOW RAILROAD.
Another possession of ancient origin was the Beaver
Meadow Railroad, which was projected in 1830 and put in operation
in 1836. That was a famous little railroad in its day. Its purpose
was to transport anthracite coal from the mines rear Beaver Meadow
in the Mauch Chunk region for shipment on the Lehigh Canal. Its
location was through a remarkably rugged mountain district, where
it wound by steep hillsides, over torrential streams, through
swamps and forests by a route that involved the greatest difficulties
of construction then encountered in railroad building. Although
there was no direct connection between the undertakings the construction
of the Beaver Meadow Railroad was a fitting introduction to the
building of the Lehigh Valley Railroad.
The Beaver Meadow Railroad was as famous for different locomotives
it possessed as was the Lehigh Valley for the novel forms its
people produced in developing locomotives adapted to hauling heavy
loads over steep grades.
The first locomotive that belonged to the Beaver Meadow Railroad
was called, the Samuel D. Ingham, after president of the company,
and was notable among the railroad motive power of that time.
It was built by Garrett & Eastwick, of Philadelphia, was of
the eight-wheel type, had a peculiar valve motion designed by
Andrew M. Eastwick, reversing being done by a block sliding on
the valve seats, and it was the first locomotive in Pennsylvania
to be provided with a cab for sheltering the engine crew.
EXTENSION AND CONSOLIDATION.
The first section of the Lehigh Valley Railroad was
no sooner opened than the company was flooded with business far
beyond the most sanguine expectations of the promoters. At the
head of the company were men of a pushing, enterprising character,
who perceived the golden opportunities that their inroad into
virgin territory had brought forth and they proceeded to make
the best of them. A policy of extension and consolidation was
adopted, and the management proceeded gradually to the absorbing
of fragmentary roads calculated to be worked up into a great trunk
In 1864 the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company absorbed the Beaver
Meadow Railroad, an important move, for it took away a competitor
and seemed a valuable feeder from the richest anthracite regions.
A few months later a consolidation was effected with the Penn
Haven and White Haven Railroad. In 1866 another consolidation
was effected, and the Lehigh and Mahonoy Railroad became part
of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. This consolidation gave the name
to the type of eight-wheel connected and leading pony truck locomotive
designed by Alexander Mitchell and built that year. At the same
time was purchased the North Branch Canal, extending from Wilkes-Barre
to New York State line, a distance of 105 miles, with the privilege
of laying a track the whole distance. Other consolidations and
absorptions followed, and now, the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company
operates about 1,400 miles of track, with about 800 locomotives
and 40,000 cars.
GRICE AND LONG LOCOMOTIVES.
The principal freight handled by the Lehigh Valley
Railroad Company has always been coal and other minerals. The
mechanical officials from the first displayed a leaning toward
heavy motive power that would handle economically heavy freight
over the steep grades. Before discussing particulars of their
progress in this line, I wish to allude to a peculiar type of
mine locomotives used on some of the branches. Fig. 1 illustrates
one of these Grice and Long locomotives, which was at work at
Packer No. 4 Colliery as late as 1901.
This was a four-wheeled locomotive, with built up frame. The
boiler, which is of the internally fired, return tubular type,
is placed over the front pair of wheels. The cylinders, which
are placed nearly vertical over rear axle, are in the rear of
the boiler. The connecting rods drive a cranked shaft on which
a gear is placed. This gear in turn drives a pinion on rear axle.
The wheels are inside the frame, and axles are cranked for parallel
rods. Only the rear pair of wheels are equipped with springs.
Shifting or so-called Stephenson link motion was used, and the
lost motion in parallel rods was taken up on one end by taper
key, on the other by a set bolt lock nut.
In spite of very persistent search, I have been unable to find
out who designed these extraordinary locomotives, but it certainly
was a man with some engineering ideas, the leanings being towards
marine practice. They were evidently patterned somewhat after
the Baltimore and Ohio Grasshopper engines, being made so short
and compact that they would go round any curve, but the boiler
was of a decidedly better form and the engine was likely to do
its work on less steam, while it was very convenient for repairing.
EARLY FOUR CYLINDER ENGINES.
Among curious locomotives possessed by the Lehigh Valley
were two called the "Defiance" and the "Champion,"
built by the Niles Locomotive Works of Cincinnati, and purchased
by the Beaver Meadow Railroad Company in 1857. They were designed
for service on an inclined plane and had cog gearing for working
on a rack rail. There were four cylinders, two inside and two
outside, had four pairs of driving wheels connected outside, but
no truck. They were equipped with the Walschaerts valve motion,
which was used all the time the engines were kept in service,
probably twenty years. The engines were bought in Cincinnati at
Sheriff's sale, and were taken by river and canal to Penn Haven,
thence to Weatherly by rail.
This information came to me from Alexander Mitchell, of Wilkes-Barre,
Pa., who was long an official of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, and
put a permanent imprint upon the motive power of the world.
The first passenger engines belonging to the Lehigh Valley
from 1855-1859 were wood burners; all freight engines burned coal.
Wood burning locomotives were in use on that system as late as
1869, a curious practice to exist on a strictly coal carrying
In 1856 three engines with Phlegers patent boilers and Norris
cut-off valve motion were purchased of Norris & Son, of Philadelphia.
As an evidence of the satisfactory performance of these engines
a record of tonnage hauled is taken from the president's report
for the year ending January, 1858: "During the six months
from April to September, inclusive, the engine 'Catasauqua' ran
11,236 miles and hauled 11,231 loaded and 11,246 empty cars of
5 tons each. In the month of July the engine 'Lehigh' made 26
round trips, with an average load of 535 tons of coal per day."
It is interesting to compare the performance of these engines
with the present rating of freight engines over this same division.
The "Catasauqua" and the "Lehigh" were
six-wheel connected drivers with a four-wheel leading truck, and
weight about 46,000 lbs.
NORRIS AND MASON ENGINES.
In 1856 the E. A. Packer was purchased from Wm. Mason,
of Taunton, Mass., and that builder continued to supply locomotives
to the road as long as he lived. This engine was used in passenger
service and was equipped with the Boardman boiler. The peculiar
construction of the Boardman boiler required the use of eccentrics
on a return crank attached to the main pin. This engine was also
equipped with a "Low Moor Iron" firebox, which was in
constant use for eleven years without renewal. This was considered
at that time the best obtainable material for fireboxes.
From 1855-66 the majority of the engines in use were either
from Norris or Mason. There were some Baldwins, and a very few
Brandt engines, built at Lancaster, Pa. James A. Norris was proprietor
of the Lancaster Locomotive Works and John Brandt superintendent.
The Mason engines were favorites among the enginemen. They
had the main wheel forward, which made them flexible on curves
and free from nosing. They were very good steamers and powerful
engines for their weight, the draw bar between engine and tender
being offset so that in starting a heavy train part of the weight
of the tender was thrown on the drivers.
The Norris engines, and also the Brandt engines, were equipped
with the Hinkley cut-off, which had to be thrown in and out while
the engine was in motion.
READY TO ADOPT IMPROVEMENTS.
All throughout the history of the Lehigh Valley Railroad
it may be noticed that the men in charge of the rolling stock
were always ready to adopt improvements and this company was among
the first to reap the saving from a variety of inventions whose
purpose was to reduce the cost of fuel and repairs, to prevent
accidents, and to increase the comfort of train men.
By the time that the year 1865 opened the company possessed
a rather heterogeneous supply of locomotives, the aim evidently
being to try all sorts to find out which kind produced the best
results. R. Norris, Baldwin and Mason had been the principal builders,
but there were engines from Brandt, of Lancaster, Pa.; Trenton
Locomotive Works; Niles Locomotive Works, Cincinnati, Ohio; New
Jersey Locomotive Works, Paterson, N. J.; Danforth & Cooke,
Paterson, N. J.; A. Pardee & Co., and J. A. Norris.
MASTER MECHANICS INVITED TO DESIGN LOCOMOTIVES.
About this time the management put upon the master
mechanics the responsibility of producing locomotives especially
adapted for the peculiarities of the system. The first result
of this movement was the designing of the consolidation form of
engine (Fig 2) by Alexander Mitchell, master mechanic of the Mahanoy
Division. That was in 1866. The engine was built by the Baldwin
Locomotive Works and was a striking success from the first. Within
a very few years it became one of the most popular locomotives
all over the world.
COMPANY BUILDS THEIR OWN LOCOMOTIVES.
In 1867 the Lehigh Valley Railroad began the practice
of building their own locomotives as far as their shop facilities
would permit. Engines were built at Delano, Weatherly, Wilkesbarre,
Sayre, and at the So. Easton shop.
This practice adopted by the company to build their own engines
as far as possible furnished abundant opportunity to develop individual
ability, a practice that had decided disadvantages. Every division
master mechanic became a law unto himself concerning what form
of locomotive he should build. The theory was that each master
mechanic was the best judge of the kind of engine best adopted
for the physical characteristics of that part of the line where
he had charge.
The result was great rivalry among the different master mechanics
with train men active partisans ready to abuse or praise the engines,
and frequently to put at a disadvantage those they disliked. There
were Hoffecker engines, Campbell engines, Michell engines, Clark
engines, and Kinsey engines, all differing from each other, the
motive of difference sometimes being merely dread of imitation.
An undeniable result of the system of making every master mechanic
independent of the others was the accumulation of an assortment
of patterns such as no other railroad company ever possessed.
There was quite a variety of odd locomotives built by the Lehigh
Valley people, some of them marking progress, others marking things
and practices that ought to be avoided.
CLARK'S INDEPENDENT CUT-OFF LOCOMOTIVES.
Prominent among those oddities were certain locomotives
built by David Clark, with a link motion and independent cut-off
valve. This gear had six eccentrics, straps and rods, four rock
shafts, two reverse levers and rods, two additional valves, valve
seats, valve stems and stuffing boxes. The motion is illustrated
in Fig. 3. The engines produced what were probably the finest
indicator diagrams ever made by a locomotive, but it did not effect
any saving of fuel over a common link motion engine of the same
In 1871 the company purchased. Mason's "Janus" (Fig.
4), a double-headed engine of the Fairlie type. It did good work
as a pusher, and was popular with the engineers, but it never
Alexander Mitchell tried to advance on the consolidation with
two engines called the "Ant" and the "Bee"
(Fig. 5), which had five pairs of drivers connected and a pony
truck in front. The engines gave some trouble on curves, so the
back pair of drivers were taken out and a pair of small carrying
wheels substituted, making the first of the 2-8-2 or Mikado type.
Two engines were built by the Norris Locomotive Works, Lancaster,
Pa., in 1867. Quite a number of this kind of engine is now used
in mountain service.
SEARCHING FOR THE FITTEST.
Master Mechanic Philip Hoffecker attempted to improve
on Mitchell's 2-10-0 engines by applying a four-wheel truck with
all the wheels in front of the cylinders. Some of that class of
engines are still in service, but they display no superiority
over the consolidation engine.
Rogers people built some Moguls with a four-wheel truck in
front of the cylinders, but they never achieved popularity. Hoffecker
also built 4-8-0 engines afterwards, known as twelve-wheelers
the search for a passenger locomotive which could make time over
mountain grades, and also haul a heavy train, the famous "Duplex"
No. 444, was developed. This engine was built at Wilkesbarre in
1886. It was the first engine equipped with the Strong twin fireboxes
for burning anthracite coal. The boiler was 33 ft. long, and was
composed of an outer shell in combination with a firebox of two
Fox corrugated flues side by side, joining into a combustion chamber.
Although the Fox corrugated flue was found very frequently in
marine practice, and had been to a limited extent adapted to locomotives
in Germany. The total length of firebox and combustion chamber
was 16 ft. 4½ inches. The smallest diameter of flue was
38¼ inches. The length of firebox was 8 ft. 9 ins.
The engine was a failure and was a good illustration of what
an amateur will do when he undertakes to design a locomotive.
Another engine with a modification in the link motion
was built at Hazleton in 1886. This was an 8-wheel engine, the
"Audenried," later changed to "John Campbell,"
intended for passenger service, was a sister engine to that with
the independent cut-off built by David Clark, and had his cut-off
valve placed above the slide valve. By means of this valve the
cut-off could be varied. When it was not in use, the cut-off valve
traveled the same path as the main slide valve. This cut-off valve
rested on top of the main valve, which had steam passages through
it, and was operated by an extra eccentric placed on each side
of the engine. The motion was transferred to the valve through
the medium of a radius bar and slide block. This slide block on
radius bar was connected to a lever in the cab by means of a lift
shaft and reach rod. Here by means of a notched quadrant, the
point of cut-off could be changed at will.
The engine, like Clark's, was celebrated for the beautiful
indicator diagrams it produced, but it did not pull any more cars
or burn less fuel than the other engines, so the independent cut-off
with its extra attachments was allowed to fall into innocuous
Since that time the Lehigh Valley Railroad people have been
contented to follow the beaten path in locomotive designing. No
better power is to be found in the country, and the company may
of late years apply to itself the aphorism "happy is the
country that has no history."
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