The reference for locomotives and railcars
Camden & Amboy Railroad “John Bull”
United States | 1831 | only one produced
“John Bull” after installing the leading truck, but still without the driver's cab
“John Bull” after installing the leading truck, but still without the driver's cab
Library of Congress

The “John Bull” was a locomotive built by Robert Stephenson & Co. in England and was among the first to be used in the United States. It was built in 1831, initially as a 0-4-0 and was shipped disassembled to New Jersey. There it was reassembled by the Camden & Amboy and christened “John Bull”, which was a personification of England. Since only horses were used in the construction of the railroad, the locomotive was not used until 1833, after it opened.

It initially had no cab and the tender was a home-made design that used a whiskey barrel as a water tank. After it derailed several times on the cheaper laid American tracks, a leading axle including a cow catcher was added, which gave it its well-known, distinctive appearance. The coupling rods were removed, meaning only the last axle was powered. Later it received a real tender and then a cab.

Drawing of the original appearance with two cars
Drawing of the original appearance with two cars
Railway and Locomotive Engineering, March 1891

This nickname was soon officially adopted, so the name “Stevens” fell out of use. Its active service with the Camden & Amboy lasted until 1866. After the PRR purchased the C&A in 1871, it was restored and used for various public demonstrations. It came into the possession of the Smithsonian in 1884 and was not moved for a long time. After the PRR had a working replica built in 1939, the original was moved again under its own power in 1981 for its 150th birthday, making it the oldest operational locomotive in the world.

Variantas builtrebuilt
ManufacturerRobert Stephenson & Co.Camden & Amboy
Axle config0-4-0 (Four-coupled) 4-2-0 
Gauge4 ft 8 1/2 in (Standard gauge)
Dimensions and Weights
Wheelbase4 ft 11 in
Fixed wheelbase4 ft 11 in
Service weight20,000 lbs
Fuel capacitywood
Power sourcesteam
Estimated power50 hp (37 kW)
Optimal speed31 mph
Starting effort1,020 lbf
Power Plant
Driver diameter54 in
Boiler pressure40 psi
Expansion typesimple
Cylinderstwo, 9 x 20 in
Grate area10.1 sq ft
Firebox area34.8 sq ft
Tube heating area262.2 sq ft
Evaporative heating area297 sq ft
Total heating area297 sq ft
Calculated Values
steam locomotive
last changed: 03/2024

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