The reference for locomotives and railcars


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Albion Mines “Samson”, “Hercules” and “John Buddle”
Canada | 1838 | 3 produced
“Samson” with a passenger coach on a postcard from around 1880
“Samson” with a passenger coach on a postcard from around 1880

The “Samson” and its two sisters were among the first steam locomotives in Canada. They had been ordered from the Albion mines in Nova Scotia and built by Hackworth in Durham. In May 1839 they arrived disassembled by ship in Canada and were then taken to their destination and assembled.

The three coupled axles were driven by vertical cylinders. The boiler had a return flue, meaning the firebox and chimney were both at the front. Thus, the positions of engine driver and fireman were at opposite ends.

Despite its primitive design, the “Samson” remained in regular service with the Albion Mines until 1867, during which time it also had to pull passenger trains. Up until 1885, it was used to provide reinforcement when needed and had a higher tractive effort than more modern, faster locomotives. In 1883 it made a trip to the Chicago Railroad Fair.

Only in 1893 it was rescued from the junkyard and preserved with a passenger car by the Baltimore & Ohio until it came back to Canada in 1927. Today it can be seen in the museum in Stellarton, Nova Scotia. This makes it the oldest surviving locomotive in Canada and also is almost in its original condition.

ManufacturerTimothy Hackworth
Axle config0-6-0 (Six-coupled) 
Gauge4 ft 8 1/2 in (Standard gauge)
Dimensions and Weights
Wheelbase8 ft 8 in
Fixed wheelbase8 ft 8 in
Service weight37,920 lbs
Adhesive weight37,920 lbs
Axle load12,640 lbs
Water capacity540 us gal
Fuel capacitycoal
Power sourcesteam
Estimated power80 hp (60 kW)
Optimal speed13 mph
Top speed8 mph
Starting effort3,954 lbf
Power Plant
Driver diameter48 in
Boiler pressure60 psi
Expansion typesimple
Cylinderstwo, 15 1/4 x 16 in
Calculated Values
steam locomotive
Timothy Hackworth
last changed: 04/2023

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