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In the Whyte notation, a 2-8-4 is a railroad steam locomotive that has one unpowered leading axle followed by four powered driving axles and two unpowered trailing axles. This locomotive type is most often referred to as a Berkshire, though the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway used the name Kanawha for their 2-8-4s. In Europe, the wheel arrangement was mostly seen in main line passenger express locomotives and in certain countries, in tank locomotives.

Other equivalent classifications are:

History in United States

In the beginning of the 20th century, the United States Railroad Administration (USRA) was formed to manage American railroads during World War I. The USRA was a short-lived and expensive experiment in nationalization, but out of it came many standard steam locomotive designs that proved enormously successful long after the end of the war. The most successful of these types was the 2-8-2, but American railroads soon found that a locomotive with even greater steam heating capacity was necessary.

To produce more steam, one of the first experiments was to increase the size of the locomotive's firebox, but the 2-8-2 wheel arrangement left locomotive designers with a limitation. The single axle trailing truck could only support so much weight from the firebox and cab of the locomotive. It was only natural to add a second trailing axle to spread the increased weight of a larger firebox over a greater surface area on the rails.

Six years after the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway experimented with the first 2-10-4, the first 2-8-4s were built in 1925 by Lima for the Boston & Albany (B&A). The railroad's route over The Berkshires was a substantial test for the new locomotives, but the type proved its worth, outpacing the 2-8-2s already in use there. It is this mountain range that provided the name for the locomotive type, Berkshire. Buoyed by the success of the demonstrations on the B&A, Lima and ALCO both sold a few hundred of the new locomotive type.

The Berkshire's most substantial boost, however, came in 1934. It was that year that the Nickel Plate Road received its first Berkshires based on a new design from the Advisory Mechanical Committee (AMC) of the Van Sweringen empire. Under the Van Sweringen umbrella were the Nickel Plate Road, Erie Railroad, Chesapeake and Ohio Railway and Pere Marquette Railroad. The AMC's design generated 64,100 lbf (285 kN) of tractive effort and almost immediately became the standard design for subsequent Berkshires. The Erie Railroad purchased the greatest number of 2-8-4s, in all rostering 105 of this locomotive type.

Swengel wrote that last USA Berkshire was built by Lima in 1949 for the Nickel Plate Road (No.779), and it had the dubious honour of being the last steam locomotive built by Lima (p.224). In all there were a total of some 700 of the 2-8-4s built for US service which represented only 2% of the existing steam fleet prior to dieselization, but which delivered in excess of 5% of the nation's freight ton-miles (ibid.).


Many of America's larger railroads rostered 2-8-4s. The following table lists data on the locomotives as they were built:

2-8-4 construction roster
Railroad (quantity) Road numbers Builder Build year
Lima Locomotive Works (1) A1 (demonstrator) Lima 1924
Boston and Albany Railroad (55) 1400 – 1444 Lima 1926
1445 – 1454 Lima 1930
Illinois Central Railroad (50) 7000 – 7049 Lima 1926
Erie Railroad (105) 3300 – 3324 Alco 1927
3325 – 3349 Lima 1927
3350 – 3384 Baldwin 1928
3385 – 3404 Lima 1929
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (15) 4101 – 4115 Baldwin 1927
Chicago and North Western Railway (12) 2801 – 2812 Alco-Dunkirk 1927
Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo Railway (2) 201 – 202 Montreal 1928
Boston and Maine Railroad (25) 4000 – 4019 Lima 1928
4020 – 4024 Lima 1929
International Great Northern Railroad (5) 1121 – 1125 Alco 1928
Missouri Pacific Railroad (25) 1901 – 1925 Lima 1929
Nickel Plate Road (80) 700 – 714 Alco 1934
715 – 729 Lima 1942
730 – 739 Lima 1943
740 – 769 Lima 1944
770 – 779 Lima 1949
Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad (6) 700 – 703 Lima 1935
704 – 705 Lima 1939
Pere Marquette Railway (39) 1201 – 1215 Lima 1937
1216 – 1227 Lima 1941
1228 – 1234 Lima 1944
1235 – 1239 Lima 1942
Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway (32) 6401 – 6410 Alco 1937
6411 – 6415 Alco 1938
6416 – 6422 Alco 1942
6423 – 6432 Alco 1943
Norfolk Southern Railway (former) (5) 600 – 604 Baldwin 1940
Louisville and Nashville Railroad (42) 1950 – 1963 Baldwin 1942
1964 – 1969 Baldwin 1944
1970 – 1991 Lima 1949
Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad (10) 571 – 580 Lima 1943
Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (90) 2700 – 2739 Alco 1943
2740 – 2749 Lima 1944
2750 – 2759 Lima 1945
2760 – 2789 Alco 1947
Virginian Railway (5) 505 – 509 Lima 1946
Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad (7) 9400 – 9406 Alco 1948


With the success of AMCs design, the Nickel Plate Road (NKP) became synonymous with the Berkshire locomotive type. One of this class, 765, is preserved in operating condition and is operated occasionally on the mainlines of Class I railroads around the United States. NKP 779 is preserved as a static display in Lincoln Park, in Lima, Ohio. Parts from the 779 were used in the general overhaul of the 765, which was completed in 2006. In addition, 759 is stored at the Steamtown National Historic Site.

In January 2007, the Ohio Central Railroad purchased NKP 763 from the Virginia Museum of Transportation. Ohio Central intends to bring the 763 back to operating status.

Twelve of the Chesapeake and Ohio's "Kanawha" 2-8-4 locomotives are still in existence, with one notable example being 2716. In the early 1980s the engine was rebuilt and briefly operated by the Southern Railway in excursion service, and is today displayed at the Kentucky Railway Museum.

Three other Chesapeake and Ohio Kanawhas are displayed in Virginia; 2732 in Richmond, 2756 in Newport News, and 2760 in Lynchburg. In addition, 2707 is at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois. 2789 is being restored at the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum, and #2755 is on static display in Chief Logan State Park in Logan, West Virginia. The remaining survivors can be found in various states served by the C&O.

Another 2-8-4, Pere Marquette Railroad #1225, which occasionally runs in the upper Midwestern US, was used as the basis for the locomotive in the 2004 CGI-animated movie The Polar Express. A sister engine, Pere Marquette #1223, is on display in Grand Haven, Michigan. Because 1223 provided parts in the restoration of 1225, 1223 is no longer operable.


The Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Railway TH&B was the only Canadian Railway to operate 2-8-4 (1D2-h2) type Berkshires. Only two locomotives were ordered and they were the last new steam locomotives ordered by Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Railway. They had TH&B road numbers 201 - 202. Equipped with ATC (Automatic Train Control) in 1929 they were the only TH&B freight locomotives which were allowed to run on New York Central rails on Welland - Buffalo line after 1929. Both locomotives were fitted with Coffin feed water heaters and duplex stokers. Both were withdrawn from service due dieselization in June 1953.

Builder details:

  • 201 - 202 2-8-4S (1D2-h2) 28x30 63 (711x762 1600) 282.000 lb (128.0 Tons ) ALCo-MLW 67573 - 67574 / 1927 + 6.1953


FC Nacionales de Mexico bought from Norfolk & Southern Railroad in 1951 five 1D2-h2 (2-8-4S) type locomotives which had come redundant due dieselization. Before arrived to Mexico all five went through complete major overhaul in USA. They arrived to Mexico in late 1951 and received FC Nacionales de Mexico numbers 3350 - 3354. They were used up to late 1960s, being thus the last US built Berkshires in the revenue earning common carrier service in the world.

Builder details:

  • FCNdeM 3350 - 3354 1D2-h2 597x762 1600 Baldwin 62322 - 62326 / 1939

Austrian 1D2 passenger express train locomotives

The heavy 1D2-h2 two cylinder simple expansion express locomotive class 214 (numbered by DRB to class 12.0 from 1938 on) was developed in Austria in 1927. They were designed by engineers of the Florisdorf Werke. It was the largest Austrian steam locomotive and the most powerful 1D2-h2 locomotive to run in Europe. In 1936 the 214.13 reached 156 km/h, the highest speed ever attained by an Austrian steam locomotive - regular speed limit was 120 km/h. They were designed for the Westbahn express train service to haul 580 tons express trains from Wien Westbahnhof (Vienna) 317 km (197 miles) to Salzburg. This main line has three approximately 11.3 km (7 miles ) long banks with gradients between 1 in 91 to 1 in 125. Two prototypes were built, a two cylinder and a three cylinder versions. When tested the two cylinder version proved to be better than the three cylinder version (Class 114), and eventually 12 more two cylinder Class 214 locomotives were built. In summer 1939 they hauled 600 tons express trains out of Vienna over Wienerwald at speed 65 kph (40 mph) and reached 120 kph (74.6 mph) over level stretches. A typical schedule for Class 12.0 locomotives was (as an example) heavy (up to 600 tons) D140 combined Bucharest / Istanbul - Budapest - Vienna - Salzburg - Innsbrück - Paris Express train. The schedule allowed 53 minutes for 60.6 km (37.7 miles) to St. Pölten. From St.Pölten to Amstetten 64.0 km (39.8 miles) 48 minutes at average speed from start to stop of 80 kph (49.7 mph). Amstetten - Linz Hbf 63.9 km (39.7 miles) in 50 minutes at average start to stop speed of 76.7 kph (47.7 mph). Linz Hbf - Attnang-Puchheim 54.8 km (34.1 miles) in 46 minutes at 71.5 kph (44.4 mph). Attnang-Puchheim - Salzburg Hbf 70.2 km (43.6 miles) start to stop in 60 minutes at 70.2 kph (43.6 mph). The return workings followed simialar pattern. D139 Salzburg - Attnang-Puchheim in 57 minutes. Attnang-Puchheim - Wels (30.5 km / 19 miles) in 24 minutes. Wels - Linz Hbf (24.5 km / 15.2 miles) in 23 minutes. Linz Hbf - Amstetten in 60 minutes. Amstetten - St.Pölten in 59 minutes. St.Pölten - Wien Westbahnhof in 54 minutes. In 1945 seven locomotives were taken over by the Soviet Military Administration when they occupied their zone in Austria. These locomotives, 12.002, 005, 006, 007, 009, 013, and 12.101 had T (Trofya) painted before their running numbers and marked CCCP. The Russians did not transfer these locomotives out from Austria and when they withdrew their Occupying Forces in 1955 the locomotives were returned to ÖBB in September 1955. When the main line west of Vienna was electrified, all ÖBB 1D2 locomotives were out of suitable work for them. They were taken out from service and were written off from books.

Builder details:

  • 114.01 -> 12.101 1D2-h3 Wiener Neustadt 5817 / 1928 -> (12.101) + 14.03.1953
  • 214.01 -> 12.001 1D2-n2 Florisdorf 2970 / 1928 + 05.09.1961
  • 214.02 - 214.07 -> 12.002 - 12.007 1D2-h2 Florisdorf 3030 - 3044 / 1931 + 1961
  • 214.08 - 214.13 -> 12.008 - 12.013 1D2-h2 Florisdorf 3099 - 3104 / 1936 + 1962

After the World War Two 12.001 - 12.013 were renumbered to ÖBB Class 12.01 -12.13.

Locomotive 12.10 (Florisdorf 3101 / 1936) was preserved as museum locomotive on 15.02.1962.


CSD Czechoslovak State Railways ordered three Class 486.1 1D2-h3 type locomotives based to BBÖ three cylinder Class 114 locomotive. These locomotives had Krauss - Helmholz leading truck and diameter of driving wheels was 1830 mm. Total weight in working order was 107.6 tons of which 63.9 was adhensive weight. All three cylinders were 550x680 mm. The heating surface of boiler was 253.2 sq.metre of which 105.6 sq.metre was superheated. Grate area was 5.0 sq.metre and the locomotives were designed for possible coal dust firing. They had Class 926.0 tenders which were rebuilt from Class 623.0 tenders. These locomotives were hand fired.

One of the Class was tested against Class 486.0 2D1-h3 locomotive on the former KBD Kosice - Bohumin Drahy (Kassa - Oderbergi Vasut) 248 km (154.1 miles) hilly main line Zilina - Kosice and proved to be inferior to its opponent both in speed and power.

All three locomotives were allocated at Brno (Brünn) shed for most of their active service. During 1938 - 1945 they belonged to BMB-CMD (Böhmisch - Mährisch Bahn - Protektorátni Drahy Cech a Moravy) locomotive stock. They were not so successful as expected and were withdrawn from service as small non standard class in 1967 and 1968. Later they were used as mobile heating boilers.

Builder details:


The NSB, Norwegian State Railways ordered 18 powerful 1D2-h4v (superheated 4-cylinder compound) passenger type locomotives for express and passenger train service for its 553 km (343.7 miles) single main line Oslo - Trondheim. These Class 49 locomotives become known as "Dovregubben" (Dovre Giant). They were the only true compounds which NSB owned. They were provided with four long-travel valves and a large receiver. Unfortunately the dream of 18 class 49 locomotives never materialised. Those under construction at Krupp Works, Essen, were damaged by Allied bombing in October 1943, so badly that they were never completed. In addition, Thune's Works could not carry on the construction of its share of the order because war time lack of high quality steel and other materials.

Only seven Class 49 locomotives were placed into service. On test one of them hauled 350 tons at 60 kph (37.5 mph) up a gradient of 1 in 55, developing 2.650 indicated horse power. Despite of the 1525 mm diameter driving wheels a speed of 115 kph (71.5 mph) was reached with the same load on level track. In ordinary service their maximum speed was limited to 80 kph (50 mph) on account of the light track then in use, and they hauled 280 tons at 60 kph (37.5 mph) up long 1 in 55 gradients. The main line between Trondheim and Dombås, 210 km, (130.5 miles) surmounts an altitude of 1041 metres (3.415 ft) over the Dovre mountain with gradients of 1 in 46 to 1 in 56 with curves of 200 to 300 metres (650 to 980 ft). The maximum axle load was (then) limited to 15.5 tons. Great skill was shown on the design of these 4-cylinder compound 1D2-h4v locomotives, built specially to operate 300 ton trains under these conditions. Weight reduction was a major problem, the frames being only of 255 mm (1 inch) plate but strongly braced and the platform was of aluminium. When compared to other NSB steam locomotives these engines had a short life, all were written off from books in 1958.

In summer 1939 the NSB timetable allowed for Class 49 locomotives:

  • Trondheim - Storen 52 km (32.3 miles) 58 minutes with day express train and 54 minutes with sleeping car night express train.
  • Storen - Opdal 71 km (44.1 miles) 93 minutes and 80 minutes.
  • Opdal- Dombås 97 km (60.3 miles) 112 minutes and 91 minutes.

Hauling the northbound express trains (Oslo - Trondheim):

  • Dombås - Opdal 82 minutes with sleeping car night express train and 88 minutes with day express train.
  • Opdal - Storen 69 minutes and 74 minutes.
  • Storen - Trondheim 54 minutes and 63 minutes.

Builder details:

  • NSB 463 Class 49a 1D2-h4v HP 465x650, LP 720x700 1525 100.0 tons Hamar & Thune 377 / 1935 + 16.12.1958
  • NSB 464 Class 49aa 1D2-h4v HP 465x650, LP 720x700 1525 100.1 tons Hamar & Thune 378 / 1935 + 20.06.1958
  • NSB 465 Class 49b 1D2-h4v HP 465x650, LP 720x700 1525 100.1 tons Hamar & Thune 379 / 1936 + 16.12.1958
  • NSB 470 Class 49c 1D2-h4v HP 465x650, LP 720x700 1525 100.4 tons Krupp 2152 / 1940 + 16.12.1958
  • NSB 471 Class 49c 1D2-h4v HP 465x650, LP 720x700 1525 100.4 tons Krupp 2153 / 1940 + 16.12.1958
  • NSB 472 Class 49c 1D2-h4v HP 465x650, LP 720x700 1525 100.2 tons Thune 409 / 1941 + 16.12.1958
  • NSB 473 Class 49c 1D2-h4v HP 465x650, LP 720x700 1525 100.1 tons Thune 410 / 1941 + 16.12.1958


When the Romanians looked for powerful passenger locomotive to serve CFR main lines between the Hungarian border and Wallachia over the Carpathian mountains on the way to Bucharest, they decided upon the BBÖ Class 214 and purchased the drawings from Austria and built 79 locomotives of the same type under licence as class CFR 142.001 -079 in their modern new Malaxa and Resita Works in Romania. These locomotives proved to be suitable for Romanian conditions, being of ample dimensions, moderate axle load and a straightforward two-cylinder (650x720 mm) engines with 1940 mm diameter driving wheels. Total weight in working order was 123.5 tons of which adhension weight was 72.1 tons. Nearly all were still in service in late 1960s. In 1939 a batch was built with Caprotti instead of Lentz poppet valves, including 142.049, 052, 053. But as 142.049 and 051 were later noted with Lentz poppet-valves the Italian gear has been presumably removed. Class 142 locomotives hauled the principal CFR express trains on main lines and were able to provide good performances like their Austrian cousins.

Builder details:

  • 142.001 - 142.005 1D2-h2 Malaxa 240 - 244 / 1937
  • 142.006 - 142.010 1D2-h2 Resita 400 - 404 / 1937
  • 142.011 - 142.022 1D2-h2 Malaxa 245 - 256 / 1938
  • 142.023 - 142.038 1D2-h2 Resita 405 - 420 / 1938
  • 142.039 - 142.042 1D2-h2 Malaxa 257 - 260 / 1938
  • 142.043 - 142.051 1D2-h2 Resita 421 - 427 / 1939
  • 142.052 - 142.065 1D2-h2 Malaxa 390 - 402 / 1939
  • 142.066 - 142.074 1D2-h2 Resita 476 - 484 / 1939
  • 142.075 - 142.079 1D2-h2 Malaxa 381 - 385 / 1940

At least two has been preserved for museums. Locomotives 142.008 and 142.072.

Australian 2-8-4s

In Australia, only one state system, South Australian Railways, operated 2-8-4s. Fleet construction commenced in 1930 and by the end of 1943 seventeen locomotives were in service, on the broad gauge system. These engines were all based on the American practices. Withdrawn from service by 1958, they were all scrapped. (Oberg, p. 157)

South Africa

The 1D2-h2 (2-8-4) type was introduced in South African Railways to replace aging Classes 6 and 7 which were used on lines - including the whole South West Africa - which were railed with rails 22 kg / metre or less. It was a light engine designed specially for South African lines with rails weighing only 30 kg / metre. An order (L976) for one hundred new 1D2-h2 (2-8-4S) locomotives was placed to North British Locomotive Company in 1947. The result was SAR Class 24 built with cast steel beds being specified for the first time on a South African locomotive. Designed in South Africa by the SAR by Dr. Loubster and purchased from North British Locomotive Company in 1947, these locomotives originally saw service in South West Africa (Namibia) until 1961. One engine, Nr.3675, of Class 24 was the 2000th locomotive supplied by this firm to the SAR. Dieselization and rapid replacement of 22 kg / metre rails made many Class 24 locomotives redundant without any job in 1970s, but several were still at work in 1980. Later in South Africa the Class 24 engines became famous on the George - Knysna scenic route. Following the demise of steam in 1990, several of these engines are kept in operating condition and worked at least in 2005 this 67 km (41.65 miles) Eastern Cape tourist route from George via Wilderness to Knysna which was operated with two daily (Mo-Sa) return workings by MUS = Transnet Heritage Foundation - Outeniqua_Choo_Tjoe.

Builder details:

Soviet Union

2-8-4 (1D2-h2) were relatively common in the former Soviet Union from the latter thirties until their replacement by diesel locomotives. These locomotives were named, when built, class IS (for Iosif Stalin) and were used as express passenger locomotives on the main lines which had type Ia rails 43.567 kg / metre. Later they were classified FDp (FD Passenger ). One locomotive, (IS20-16) was streamlined and achieved speed of 155 kph (96.3 mph) during test runs in 1937. IS20-241 was presented in Paris World Exhibition in 1938, where it presented the Soviet Union Locomotive Production. The IS locomotive was the passenger derivative of FD freight locomotive. Many parts were common with Class FD 1E1-h2. Only one such locomotive is preserved, IS21-578, at Kiev (outside the Kiev Main Railway Station), Ukraine.

Kolomna Locomotive Works built the first four locomotives. In 1935 production was transferred to enlarged and modernised former Lugansk/Luhansk Works which was renamed Voroshilovgrad Locomotive Works. The lotal of 649 locomotives of classes IS20 and IS21 were built for MPS in 1932 - 1942.

The first four were at first allocated to October Railway and run between Moscow and Leningrad hauling heavy night passenger trains. Later, when upgraded with heavier rails, transferred to Moscow - Kursk - Kharkov - Sinelnikovo line. When more class IS locomotives started to roll out from Voroshilovgrad production lines, they were used on upgraded Moscow - Smolensk - Minsk, Moscow - Valuiki, and Mitchurinsk - Rostov on Don main lines.

After the Germans attacked to Soviet Union on 22.06.1941 the Russians evacuated all half completed class IS21 locomotives, then under construction, from Voroshilovgrad. The Ulan Ude Locomotive Works completed the last eleven built in 1941 and 1942.

On January 1, 1941 class IS20 and IS21 locomotives were allocated to:

Despite Class IS20 and IS21 moderate size, compared to US and Canadian built 2-8-4s the Soviet built 1D2-h2 type with 7.04 sq.metre grate, 15 kg / sq.cm. boiler pressure, 295.2 sq.metre heating surface of the boiler of which 148.4 sq.metre was superheated and only 20 or 21 tons maximum axle load was a good example of 1D2-h2 type which was designed to heavy express and passenger train service. The driving wheels of 1850 mm and 670 x 770 mm cylinders with total weight of 133.0 tons of which 80.7 tons was adhensive, produced easily maximum permitted speed of 120 kph (74.6 mph) with 700 - 800 tons behind the tender. Usually the maximum speed was about 100 kph (62.1 mph) with occasional need of 115 kph (71.5 mph).

Builder details:

  • IS20-1 Kolomna ? / 1932 (delivered on 07.10.1932)
  • IS20-2 Kolomna ? / 1933
  • IS20-3 - IS20-4 ? - ? / Kolomna ? - ? / 1934
  • IS20-5 - IS20-6 ? - ? / Voroshilovgrad / 1935
  • IS20-7 Voroshilovgrad / ? / 1936 (not on MPS books)
  • IS20-8 - IS20-10 / Voroshilovgrad 1936
  • IS20-11 - IS20-115 / Voroshilovgrad 1937
  • IS20-116 - IS20-247 / Voroshilovgrad 1938
  • IS20-248 - IS20-384 / Voroshilovgrad 1939
  • IS20-385 - IS20-558 / Voroshilovgrad 1940
  • IS20-559 - IS20-632 / Voroshilovgrad 1941
  • IS21-633 (Voroshilovgrad) / 1941 (completed by Ulan Ude Works)
  • IS21-634 (Voroshilovgrad) / 1941 (completed by Ulan Ude Works)
  • IS20-635 - IS20-641 Voroshilovgrad / 1941
  • IS21-642 - IS21-647 (Voroshilovgrad) / 1941 (completed by Ulan Ude Works)
  • IS21-648 (Voroshilovgrad) / 1942 (completed by Ulan Ude Works)
  • IS21-650 (Voroshilovgrad) / 1941 (completed by Ulan Ude Works)

Class IS20 / IS21 (later FDp) was the largest single class built in world representing 1D2-h2 (2-8-4) steam locomotives. Unfortunately when the Soviet Union collapsed, the former management destroyed all documents of locomotive production. At the moment (2008) only few Voroshilovgrad works numbers for Class IS20 and IS21 are known.


Japanese National Railways JNR rebuilt from its older 1D1-h2 classes D50, D51, and D52 a total of 104 locomotives to 1D2-h2 classes:

  • D60 Nr.1 - 78 in 1951 - 1956 1D2-h2 550x660 1400 81.56 tons (rebuilt at JNR Hamamatsu, Nagano and Tsuchizaki Works)
  • D61 Nr.1 - 6 in 1959 - 1960 1D2-h2 550x660 1400 79.42 tons (rebuilt at JNR Hamamatsu and Koriyama Works)
  • D62 Nr.1 - 20 in 1950 - 1951 1D2-h2 530x660 1400 87.93 tons (rebuilt at JNR Hamamatsu Works)

Some locomotives survived in service up to the end of steam traction on JNR in 1974.


The French state owned sales consortium Groupement d´Exportation de Locomotives en Sud - Amérique GELSA, delivered 66 1D2-h2 two cyminder simple expansion ultra modern 1000 mm (metre) gauge locomotives for Brazilian Railways in 1951 - 1952. They were built by Société Francaise de Construction Mécaniques, (Cail), Société des Forges et Ateliers de Creusot, (Schneider), and Compagnie de Fives - Lille.

Designed under the direction of engineer Andre Chapelon, this class represented the steam locomotive class how large and powerful 1000 mm gauge steam locomotives could run on the lightly laid down rails of 22 kg / metre. Their maximum axle load had been reduced to 10 tons. All were fitted with double Kylchap exhaust devices. Fore and rear trucks had Athermos axleboxes. Three forms of tenders were coupled to them, one heavy, and two light, for work in different areas. All locomotives were fitted with double Kylchap exhaust device.

  • Six wheel bogies, 12 tons of coal and 17.8 cubic metre water capacity.
  • Four wheel bogies, 7 tons of coal and 6.9 cubic metre water capacity.
  • Four wheel bogies, 7 cubic metres of fire wood and 6.4 cubic metre water capacity.

All were delivered to Brazil by the end of 1952.

Some of those locomotives which worked in Southern Brazil were later leased to Bolivian Railways in 1960s. Some still existed in 2004 as wrecks in a locomotive dump in Bolivia near Santa Cruz.

Builder details:

  • 142 D 1 - 11 Fives Lille 5235 - 5255 / 1951
  • 142 D 12 - 22 Fives Lille 5246 - 5256 / 1952
  • 142 D 23 - 25 Cail 4473 - 4475 / 1951
  • 142 D 26 - 47 Creusot 4938 - 4959 / 1951
  • 142 D 48 - 66 Cail 4476 - 4494 / 1952

When arrived to Brazil locomotives were renumbered to Brazilian numbering schemes by the Brazilian Railways on which they were allocated.

1D2t (2-8-4 Tank) locomotives in Europe


Bulgarian State Railways BDZ ordered 20 3-cylinder superheated 1D2-h3 tank locomotives as part of their modernizing and standardization program in 1941. Because of World War II the German locomotive builders were fulfilled with their own domestic locomotive production and Krupp, where this Bulgarian order was placed, could not build than only 10 new BDZ Class 36 tank locomotives. They were indented to replace older 1D-h2 locomotives on local passenger train services. The axle load was kept below 16 tons. Large coal and water capacities made them also available for a wider range of duties if required. They were fitted with small smoke deflectors on the top of the smokebox. When they arrived in Bulgaria in 1943 they were at first allocated to Sofia depot. In 1961 five were allocated at Varna depot and the other half at Plovdiv depot for Svilengrad service, including also international express trains to and from Turkey in 1953-1957, in addition to local passenger train workings. They remained on these local passenger train duties well into the 1970s, being only then ousted by diesel locomotives and diesel motor trainsets. Some are preserved.

Builder details:

  • 36.01 - 36.10 1D2t-h3 3x440x700 1550 109.9 tons Krupp 2272 - 2281 / 1943

For further details see various numbers of Continental Railway Journal from 1969 to 2007.


The Czechoslovak State Railways CSD was one of the main residual tank locomotive users in Europe. Dense railway network in Bohemia and Moravia made ideal background for local short distance passenger train workings provided with numerous classes of tank locomotives. On 31.12.1937 CSD had on books no less than 1250 tank locomotives of which 385 were eight coupled tank locomotives, much higher number than any US railroad could ever provide. The first Czechoslovakian 1D2t-h2 was derived from CSD Class 455.1 1D-h2 tender locomotives. Tanks, bunker and a trailing bogie were added to make a 1D2t-h2 locomotive. Apart from changing the drive from the second to the third coupled axle, and increasing the superheating surface of boiler, these haughtily handsome engines were the same mechanically as the tender engines. The 16 ton axle load proved to be too great for (then) most of the of the lines where they were intended to run. Originally intended to be used on 167 km (Prague) - České Budějovice (Böhmisch Budweis) and on local branch line diverting from main line local train service. For this reason only 27 locomotives were built in 1928 - 1932. The first thirteen were turned out as Class 446.0, but a promortion in maximum permitted speed for them, 80 km/h, caused the Class to be numbered 456.001-027. These locomotives were powerful tank locomotives. When tested one hauled 900 ton train at level reaching maximum speed of 90 km/h and up gradient 1 in 100 was climbed at main speed of 32 km/h. They were nicknamed "Krasin" after explorer General Nobileh who reached North Pole in 1928. In 1938 - 1945 all remained on BMB-CMD lines in Bohemia and Moravia. All survived the WW2. In early 1960s Class 456.0 locomotives were spread very thinly over most of the country, having been allocated from Plzen in west (Pilsen) to Banska Bystrica in Slovakia. All were withdrawn from service in 1968-1972. One, 456.011, went to industrial service and three others (456.015, 024, 026) were used later as mobile heating boilers. The remainders were scrapped.

Builder details:

  • 456.001 - 456.002 1D2t-h2 600x720 1624 109.3 tons Ceskomoravska-Kolben-Danek CKD 1100 - 1101 / 1928
  • 456.003 - 456.008 1D2t-h2 600x720 1624 109.3 tons Ceskomoravska-Kolben-Danek CKD 1434 - 1439 / 1928
  • 456.009 - 456.013 1D2t-h2 600x720 1624 109.3 tons Ceskomoravska-Kolben-Danek CKD 1469 - 1473 / 1929
  • 456.014 - 456.023 1D2t-h2 600x720 1624 109.3 tons Ceskomoravska-Kolben-Danek CKD 1545 - 1554 / 1931
  • 456.024 - 456.027 1D2t-h2 600x720 1624 109.3 tons Ceskomoravska-Kolben-Danek CKD 1608 - 1611 / 1932

For more details see: Jindrich Bek and Karel Kvarda Atlas Lokomotiv 1 Nadas-Praha 1970.

East Germany Deutsche Reichsbahn

The East German version Pt47.18 1D2t-h2 locomotives were designed derived from West German Pt.47.17 1D2t-h2 Class 65. The DR locomotives become Class 65.10. They were capable of developing and run at 90 km/h on level hauling 350 tons passenger trains. Their maximum 17.5 axle load restricted them to main line service. They were intended to haul heavy suburban trains around Berlin, Leipzig, Halle and Magdeburg and replacing the older Prussian T12 and Prussian T18 classes. A total of 88 Class 65.10 locomotives were built in 1954 - 1957. These locomotives had DR version of small "Witte" type smoke deflectors. Many were in service still in 1970s and some survived still in early 1980s.

Builder details:

These were the last new built 1D2t-h2 standard (1435 mm) gauge locomotives in the world.

For branch line service DR designed a small wheeled Gt47.15 1D2t-h2 version of Class 65.10. This type had only 15 ton axle load and become DR Class 83.10. Only 27 locomotives were built in 1955. The maximum speed in both directions was 60 km/h. Also these locomotives were fitted with DR version of " Witte type " small smoke deflectors, the only tank locomotive designed for freight service which had them.

  • 83.1001 - 83.1027 1D2t-h2 500x660 1250 92.4 tons LOWA Lokomotivbau Karl Marx (LKM) 122001 - 122027 / 1955

For more details see: Dirk Endsich: Neubau - Dampfloks der Deutschen Reichsbahn, Transpress Verlag, Stuttgart

West Germany Deutsche Bundesbahn

After WW2 the recovering West Germany needed some economical help in form of new locomotive orders for German locomotive industry to keep this industry going in hard competited world markets. New tank locomotive type was designed by Krauss-Maffei. The firm built 18 locomotives of new Pt47.17 DB Class 65 1D2t-h2 locomotives in 1951 and 1955. These locomotives saw service in local passenger train service around big cities and on branch lines which could bear the 17.5 ton axle load. In test these locomotives hauled 800 tons on level track and in up gradient 1 in 100 they managed to reach 50 km/h with 400 tons behind the bunker. All locomotives had small " Witte " type smoke deflectors. Their maximum speed was 85 km/h in both directions, even running bunker first. They were found to be economical in service and served well the short period they spend in service, being ousted by expanding elecrtification and by diesel locomotives and diesel motor trainsets in late 1960s and early 1970s.

Builder details:

  • 65.001 - 65.013 1D2t-h2 570x660 1500 107.6 tons Krauss-Maffei 17661 - 17673 / 1951
  • 65.014 - 65.018 1D2t-h2 570x660 1500 107.6 tons Krauss-Maffei 17893 - 17897 / 1955

More details are found in many articles in German books and magazines. Too many to be detailed here as sources but for short look see classic : Klaus Gerlach: Dampflok-Archiv published by transpress Berlin (Ost) 1968.

New Zealand

In 1904 the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company ordered from Baldwin an 2-8-4 Tank locomotive for banking duties on the 1 in 40 (2.5 per cent) gradients from Wellington to Johnsonville. Locomotive received WMR (2nd) Nr.3. The locomotive was nicknamed "Jumbo". When New Zealand Government purchased the WMR Nr.3 was renumbered by New Zealand Government Railways to Class Wj Nr.466. Nr.466 had a tendency for breaking its bar frames on this heavy duty. By 1920 was waiting to go to the Petone Works with yet another break in the frame, and did not see much service after that. The solitary 2-8-4 Tank in New Zealand was written off the books in 1928. The boiler was sent to the Taumarunui locomotive depot for use as a washout boiler.

Builder details:

  • NZGR 466 Baldwin 23596 / 1904 2-8-4T 17x20 43


In United States Railroads and in Canada the tender locomotives of 2-8-4 (1D2-h2) wheel arrangement were designed mainly for heavy freight service, hauling fast express freight trains and also to replace older 2-8-2s (1D1-h2) on hardest duties which called extra power at tender drawbar compared to 2-8-2 Mikado locomotives. But in general 2-8-4s were soon replaced on many railroads by more powerful 2-10-4 Texas type locomotives.

The JNR followed closely in post WW2 years American practice and used its 1D2-h2 locomotives mainly in heavy freight service like hauling heavy coal trains over JNR 1067 mm gauge lines. This type presented the heaviest Japanese steam locomotives to run in Japan.

In South Africa type 1D2-h2 (2-8-4) was chose as "standard" post WW2 branch line locomotive hauling everything on light track behind tender. A really "general purpose" steam locomotive which served well SAR and being very cheap in maintenance and repair costs.

In Brazil Double Kylchap fitted 1D2-h2 locomotives were idented to haul everything on lighty railed poor condition track with limited speeds, then in force, when they arrived to Brazil. Local railway locomotive personnel took these, peharps most modern ever built 1D2-h2 locomotives in world, with great suspection. They had been used to work with old simple out-datad British built locomotives, often built more than 40 years earlier. There was also great anti-propaganda campaign against the French built steam locomotives, lead by diesel locomotive salesmen who tried desperatively to sell their own internal combustion locomotives to Brazil. They pointed out strongly the steam locomotive as obsolate motive power from days of the past. This attitude spread among some middle ranking railway staff who did everything to have these modern steam locomotives replaced by internal combustion engines on rails. This doomed the French built locomotives in Brazil to early withdrawals from service in 1960s when the locomotives had hardly been drove in.

In Europe 1D2-h2 (2-8-4) tender locomotives were designed mainly for passenger express train service. In addition to passenger express train haulage, they were also used in fast long distance freight express train haulage as fulfill runs to achieve better utilization.

The 1D2t (2-8-4 Tank) locomotives in Europe were a logical step from 1D1t (2-8-2 Tank) locomotive types (which were built in thousands) as next step to ultimate European 2D2t type modern steam locomotives. They were mainly used in heavy suburban service in tightly populated areas around big cities, rarely on sparsely populated areas long distance railway lines. The only exception was in the former East Germany, where DR specially designed its small-wheeled Gt47.15 class BR 83.10 for short branch line freight and mixed train workings and used them also on mountain area branch lines with sharp curvatures combined with steep (more than 1.5 per cent or 1 in 67) gradients, lines where 60 km/h was enough high speed due overall speed restrictions.

2-8-4s in fiction

In the movie The Polar Express, the "know-it-all" boy identifies the train's locomotive as a Baldwin 2-8-4 built in in 1931, although the actual model for the film's locomotive was a Berkshire built by the Lima Locomotive Works in 1941.

In the Transformers series and toyline, the Decepticon triple changer Astrotrain's locomotive mode is a Japanese D62 2-8-4.

In the movie Digimon: Runaway Locomon Locomon is a 2-8-4 type locomotive.


  • Farrell, Jack W. (1989). North American steam locomotives: The Berkshire and Texas types. Edmonds, WA: Pacific Fast Mail. ISBN 0-915713-15-2.
  • Oberg, Leon. Locomotives of Australia, Reed, London, 1975. (plus reprints)
  • Swengel, F.M. The American Steam Locomotive, Vol .1, the evolution of the steam locomotive, Midwest Rail Publication, Iowa, 1967.

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