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Chesapeake & Ohio classes J-1 and J-2
United States | 1911 | 3 produced
No. 540 in 1934 in Columbus, Ohio
No. 540 in 1934 in Columbus, Ohio
Railway and Locomotive Engineering, October 1911

When hauling the new steel passenger cars over the Allegheny Mountains, the class F-15 Pacific locomotives quickly reached their limits, so that the trains could not consist of more than six cars. As a remedy, a new type of locomotive was designed in which, compared to the Pacific, a fourth coupled axle was added and the diameter of the wheels was slightly reduced in order to obtain more adhesive weight and to be able to install a larger boiler. Since this was the first locomotive with a 4-8-2 wheel arrangement in North America, the C&O gave the design the name “Mountain”.

Compared to the F-15, the tractive effort was almost doubled and the indicated power increased to almost 2,500 hp. Ten steel cars with a total weight of around 600 tons could now be hauled over the Alleghenies without any problems. With this load, you could reach 25 mph at 2.52 percent, and even 70 mph were reached on the flat. However, a disadvantage of the smaller coupling wheels and the special design of the Heusinger valve gear was that the engines exerted a very high hammer blow on the rails. As a result, only three class J-1 locomotives remained and from then on significantly more powerful Pacific class F-16 and F-17 locomotives were procured for the same task.

During World War I, the J-1 had to haul heavy freight trains across the Alleghenies. After the end of the war, seven examples of the USRA Heavy Mountain were procured and designated Class J-2. These put less strain on the rails with larger coupling wheels and Baker valve gear and, due to the increased boiler output, were able to generate approximately the same tractive effort.

In the 1920s, the J-1's valve gear was optimized with the help of new knowledge in order to reduce the known problems. In addition, the J-2s were soon fitted with Heusinger valve gear and were then referred to as the J-2a. In the 1930s and 1940s they were overtaken by the new J-3 and L-2 class locomotives, which initially led to the J-1 being phased out by 1948. Shortly thereafter, the C&O passenger trains were converted to diesel traction, which also meant that the J-2 was retired by 1952.

Built1911-19121918-1919, 1922
ManufacturerALCOALCO, Baldwin
Axle config4-8-2 (Mountain) 
Gauge4 ft 8 1/2 in (Standard gauge)
Dimensions and Weights
Length87 ft 11 1/8 in
Service weight330,000 lbs363,550 lbs
Adhesive weight238,000 lbs246,850 lbs
Total weight549,100 lbs663,550 lbs
Axle load59,500 lbs61,800 lbs
Water capacity12,000 us gal16,000 us gal
Fuel capacity30,000 lbs (coal)2,016 us gal (oil)
Power sourcesteam
Starting effort58,110 lbf57,948 lbf
Power Plant
Driver diameter62 in69 in
Boiler pressure180 psi200 psi
Expansion typesimple
Cylinderstwo, 29 x 28 intwo, 28 x 30 in
Grate area66.5 sq ft76.2 sq ft
Firebox area338 sq ft438 sq ft
Tube heating area3,770 sq ft4,289 sq ft
Evaporative heating area4,108 sq ft4,727 sq ft
Superheater area850 sq ft1,085 sq ft
Total heating area4,958 sq ft5,812 sq ft
Calculated Values
steam locomotive
last changed: 05/2022

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