Definitions

2-8-2

4-8-2

Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, a 4-8-2 locomotive has four leading wheels (generally arranged in a leading truck), eight coupled driving wheels and two trailing wheels (often but not always in a trailing truck). This type of steam locomotive is also known as the Mountain type.

Other equivalent classifications are:
UIC classification: 2'D1' (also known as German classification and Italian classification)
French classification: 241
Bulgarian classification: 2-4-1
Turkish classification: 47
Swiss classification: 4/7

The first 4-8-2

The 4-8-2 type, like the 4-6-2, originated in New Zealand. The first of 18 X class 4-8-2 De Glehn compound locomotives were designed by A. L. Beattie and built by New Zealand Railways Department's Addington Workshops in Christchurch in 1908. It was designed to haul heavy freight trains on the mountainous central section of the North Island Main Trunk Railway. It is possible that this was the source of the "Mountain" nickname that was applied to the 4-8-2 type, though it is often said the name originates from the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad in the United States, who named the type "Mountain" after the Allegheny Mountains their first 4-8-2s were built to tackle.

One member of the pioneering X class survives and is currently located at the depot of the Feilding and District Steam Rail Society. Although the X class was the first 4-8-2 locomotive, it is perhaps not a classic example of the type. The X class' trailing truck was positioned well behind a narrow firebox which itself sat above the driving wheels, necessitating the same design compromise between driving wheel diameter and boiler/grate size as a 2-8-0 or 4-8-0 design. Later, more successful 4-8-2 designs were a progression of the classic 4-6-2 layout, which featured a wide firebox positioned above the trailing truck and behind the driving wheels, allowing for a large firebox as well as large driving wheels.

North America

The 4-8-2 was most popular on the North American continent, where Pacifics were becoming over-burdened as passenger trains grew in length and weight. The first North American 4-8-2 locomotives were built by ALCO for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad in 1911. ALCO combined the traction of the eight-drivered 2-8-2 "Mikado" with the excellent tracking qualities of the Pacific's four-wheel leading truck.

Although the C&O intended their new Mountains for passenger service, the type proved ideal for the new, faster freight service the railroads were introducing. Many 4-8-2s were built for dual service.

Mountain type locomotives were built for 41 American railroads; approximately 2200 were built. The largest users were the New York Central Railroad with 435 of what they named the Mohawk type (the Water Level Route had no need for "Mountains", after all!); the Pennsylvania Railroad with 224 class M1, M1a and M1b locomotives, used mostly for fast freight service; the Florida East Coast with 90 passenger locomotives; the New Haven with 70; and the Southern Railway with 58.

In Canada, the Canadian National Railway operated 4-8-2 for passenger service:

  • U1 class - 79 (#6000-6079)

European use

Britain

Britain's population of Mountains consists entirely of two 15 inch (381 mm) gauge locomotives on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, though a number of double-Mountain (4-8-2+2-8-4) Garratts were built for export.

Bulgaria

In 1941 Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ) placed order against Henschel & Sohn - Kassel (Germany) for building of 50 standard gauge (1435mm) express passenger locomotives of type 2'D1'h3S (wheel arrangement 2-4-1, simple steam expansion, superheating, 3-cylinder, fast train service), capable to haul heavy passenger trains through highly varied, often severe profiles of Bulgarian main lines with gradients up to 28‰ (1 in 35.7). First two engines delivered by the end of 1941 very quickly proved their perfect qualities as well as the correctness of the specification made by BDZ engineers, already having experience with insufficient power and some constructive problems of classes 01 (1'D1'h2S) and 02 (1'D1'h3S). Next year the mass production began, but alas, was interrupted by war restrictions introduced by German authorities, and subsequently the delivery was totally canceled. Only 10 engines were built and delivered in the end of 1942 - beginning of 1943, so the total number of the new BDZ class 03 remained 12 engines (03.01 - 03.12). After 1958 all of them gradually were converted to mixed fuel oil and coal firing, which resulted in improved steam production and facilitated service especially on mountainous lines. For about 35 years of use they showed excellent performance and minor problems (oval wearing of leading axle's inside crank). One of these machines, 03.12 (serial No. 26575) after factory repair was preserved in perfect condition in the depot of Gorna Oryahovitsa and is to be returned to operation under steam for tourist trains.

Technical specifications:

Class 03
Numbers 03.01 - 03.12
Gauge, mm 1435
Type (UIC) 2'D1'h3S
Type (BDZ) Б2-4-117
Builder Henschel & Sohn - Kassel
Year 1941-42
Steam pressure, kg/cm2 16
Superheater area, m2 81.91
Heating area, m2 224.07
Grate area, m2 4.87
Cylinders no. x dia. x stroke, mm 3 x 500 x 700
Driving wheels diameter, mm 1650
Axleload, t 17.3
Adhesive weight, t 69.2
Total weight, t 179.18
Tender type 2'2'T28
Coal, t 13
Water, m3 28
Total length, mm 23105
Total height, mm 4580
Tractive effort, starting, kN 221
Tractive effort @ 20km/h, kN 191
Train haulage rates, t:
On level 1930
On 10‰ (1 in 100) gradient 825
On 25‰ (1 in 40) gradient 390
Max speed, km/h 100

Czechoslovakia

The CSD introduced the 498.0 class 4-8-2 express passenger locomotive in 1938 after successful trials in the Tatra Mountains against an alternative 2-8-4 prototype. The design was further developed in 1954 into the 498.1 class. These technically sophisticated locomotives were reputedly capable of 11% thermal efficiency.

France

In France, these locomotives (known as the 241 type) were used on more mountainous routes as increasingly heavy loads began to overtax the capabilities of the existing 4-6-2 locomotives.

  • The PLM introduced a bullet-nosed class 241A in 1925 to accelerate trains over the Seuil de Bourgogne incline. This four cylinder compound locomotive was unusual in having short connecting rods for the outside cylinders pivoted on the first driving axle, rather than the second as is typical of most six or eight coupled wheel locomotives. Perhaps as a result of this, the locomotive did not run smoothly at speeds of greater than 100km/h (63mph). However, true to the "Mountain" type it was able to haul heavy passenger trains over gradients at speed, taking an 800 tonne load over a 1 in 200 gradient at 90 to 100km/h (56 to 63mph).
  • A revised 241C class from the PLM had connecting rods linking the second and third driving axles.
  • The Etat railway built a prototype 3 cylinder simple-expansion 4-8-2 which was an embarrassing failure for the company, but which was later converted by André Chapelon into the legendary 242A1 4-8-4 locomotive.
  • The SNCF, with design input from André Chapelon, developed the earlier PLM 241C into the 241P class in 1948. These locomotives, although prone to axlebox problems caused by a frame not rigid enough for the (4000 indicated horsepower) output of the cylinders, were nevertheless very effective and some were still running into the early 1970s.

Spain

Spain saw over 200 of these locomotives, also known as a 2-4-1, in five classes.

African Use

The South African Railways (SAR/SAS) employed a wide variety of classes of locomotives with this wheel arrangement; in fact, locomotives with this wheel arrangement were the mainstay of the fleet. SAR also utilised a large number of 4-8-2+2-8-4 garratts.

Australia

Unlike other countries which utilised the 4-8-2 design for heavy passenger use, in Australia the 4-8-2 was more typically a heavy freight locomotive with small driving wheels and a very large firebox.

The 3 cylinder NSWGR D57 class of 1929 was one of the largest and most powerful locomotives ever built in Australia. With a large 65 ft² (6.03 m²) grate and 64,327 lb (29,030 kg) tractive effort , they were put to good use on the steep 1 in 40 gradients leading out of Sydney on NSW's mainlines. The design was further developed in 1950 with the smaller cylindered D58 class. However, this class proved to be less successful, suffering reliability problems attributed to the rack and pinion valve gear for the third cylinder used instead of the D57's Gresley/Holcroft valve gear.

The Western Australian Government Railways introduced two classes of 4-8-2 locomotive for freight haulage on the state's 3 ft 6 in (1067 mm) network, the S class of 1943 and W class of 1951. The 4-8-2 layout allowed for the weight of these relatively powerful locomotives to be spread over a number of axles (the W class had a maximum axle load of just 10 tons) and also enabled the incorporation of a wide firebox for burning poor quality coal.

References

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