Spirit of America Bookstore

Railroad  Equipment

            Walschaerts valve gear on the right side of British L.N.E.R. Peppercorn Class A1 locomotive #60163 'Tornado'             here on page 1:
short history
Whyte's notation system

locomotive power
steam locomotives

top of page 2
articulated locomotives
geared locomotives
diesel locomotives
electric locomotives

top of page 3
gasoline-powered
streetcars, subways & interurban
other designs

          

top of page 4
rolling stock

passenger trains
private railcars
freight cars
maintenance equipment

stations, tunnels & bridges

books

videos & other media

image gallery

links


"There was a time when nothing moved faster than a train . . ." — Michael Gillespie

The equipment used by railroads in America has evolved over time, from tiny steam-driven locomotives to giant diesel-electric units,
from wooden passenger cars to Amtrak train sets, and from horse-powered trolleys to high-speed light rail.

Spirit of America Bookstore's American Railroads Pages

Spirit of America Bookstore's Railroad Film Festival Pages

Spirit of America Bookstore's 'Non-Fiction Books About Railroads' Pages

Spirit of America Bookstore's 'Railroads in Fiction' Pages
Spirit of America Bookstore's Railroads in Fiction - Books For Young Railfans Page

America's Shortline Railroads Page

Spirit of America Bookstore's Scale Model & Toy Trains Page

G.E. Nordell's California Travel / Railroads Links Page
G.E. Nordell's Colorado Travel / Railroads Links Pages
G.E. Nordell's Nevada Travel / Railroads Links Page
G.E. Nordell's New Mexico Travel / Railroads Links Page
G.E. Nordell's Utah Travel / Railroads Links Page

G.E. Nordell's Travel U.S.A. / Railroad Museums Page


               The first commercial steam engine was invented by James Watt [1736-1819] in Great Britain in 1781; his machines produced ten horsepower. The first full-scale working railway steam locomotive was built by Richard Trevithick of Britain in February 1804. Britain's Stockton & Darlington Railway [1825-63] was the first public railway to use steam locomotives. The 1829 Rainhill Trials contest was won by 'The Rocket', built by George Stephenson.
               In the United States, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was founded in 1827 to carry freight & passengers from Baltimore's busy harbor westward to the Ohio River; the B&O at first used horse-drawn cars, but then imported the test locomotive 'Stourbridge Lion' from Britain and demonstrated the American-built 'Tom Thumb' in August 1830.
               Philadelphia jeweller and silversmith Matthias W. Baldwin [1795-1866] made a small steam locomotive for his own use; word spread and the Baldwin Locomotive Works began filling orders for new railroads, including the Cambden & Amboy Railroad in New Jersey, starting in 1832. (B.L.W. built 70,000 railroad locomotives before closing in 1972 due to competition from diesel-electric power.)
               Railroad technology improved and was standardized - the track gauge of 4 feet 8½ inches, couplers, steel rail - as more railroads were constructed from the East Coast toward the Mississippi River. The first railroad bridge across the Mississippi was built at Rock Island, Illinois and opened in April 1856. The secession of the Southern states in 1861 prompted Congress to pass the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 (plus changes in 1863, 1864, 1865 & 1866) which encouraged private development of the First Transcontinental Railroad from Council Bluffs, Iowa to Sacramento, California; the Golden Spike completion ceremony took place in Utah on 10 May 1869. The Southern route of the Second Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1881.

               By the time of the American Civil War [1861-65], the railroads were an important segment of the national economy and of military strategy. Many of the 'robber barons' of the latter XIXth Century were railroad tycoons. The Silver Rush to the Comstock in Nevada and a gold rush to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado pushed rapid development of railroad technology, including many narrow-gauge lines. The needs of small logging and mining railroads brought development of geared steam locomotives beginning in the 1890s.
               Up until the Turn of The Century, locomotives were fueled by either wood or coal (depending on local availability), but with parallel development of the petroleum and automobile industries, the railroads began converting to oil fuel (from around 1910). The United States nationalized the railroads during World War I, which included more efficient and safer operation, standardization of railroad equipment, and increases in wages and rates. The U.S. Railroad Administration existed from December 1917 to March 1920; the U.S.R.A. ordered 1,930 steam locomotives and 100,000 railroad cars at a cost of $380 million; the equipment was leased to the railroads, then sold off in 1920.

               The Great Depression and the end of the gold standard affected the railroad industry; some railroads prospered, many small railroads closed down. Bigger locomotives were built for the national freight lines and then preparation for World War II swelled business on the railroads for the aircraft and war supplies industries. After World War II, the railroads looked for more efficient motive power, and electric locomotives and diesel-electric locomotives (especially for freight) moved to the forefront. (The steam locomotives reached the limits of physical size; double-heading of steamers still required two men per engine; two and three and even four diesels required only one employee.) By 1960, almost no steam locomotives were operating in Class I service, having been replaced by diesel power. AT&SF began Super Chief streamliner passenger service from Chicago to Los Angeles in May 1937, using iconic F-3 diesels built by General Motors’ Electro-Motive Division and painted in 'warbonnet' colors. Competing railroads followed suit.
               After the wartime breakthroughs in aircraft technology, long-distance passengers took to the airlines; the availability of personal automobiles and the new interstate freeway system shifted commuter and short intercity traffic away from the railroads. All United States passenger train service was taken over by Amtrak™ in May 1971.

               Once relieved of the 'burden' of passenger service, the mainline railroads organized intermodal traffic - piggyback cars, containers, whole trains of automobile transport cars, mile-long trains of uncovered coal hoppers - and reduced the romance. All that civilians now see is a hundred near-identical cars (except for the spray-painted graffiti) pulled by two to five boxy diesel units. Diesels have their fans, but for the public, the romance of the railroad locomotive ended with the Steam Era.
               We cannot expect much further in the way of new railroad equipment technology in the near future – except maybe nuclear power, but that is very much a long shot.

'History of Rail Transport in the U.S.' page at Wikipedia

Encyclopedia of Trains and Locomotives book by C.J. Riley  "The Encyclopedia of Trains and Locomotives" [1995]
by C.J. Riley

Metro Books 11½x8¾ hardcover [8/2000] out of print/many used
Metro Books 12¼x9¼ hardcover [3/95] out of print/90+ used
Encyclopedia of Trains & Locomotives book by edited David Ross  "Encyclopedia of Trains & Locomotives: The Comprehensive Guide To Over 900 Steam, Diesel, and Electric Locomotives, From 1804 To The Present Day" [2003]
Edited by David Ross

Amber Books 11x10 pb [12/2007] out of print/used
Thunder Bay Press 12¼x9 hardcover [12/2007] out of print/used
Gardners Books 11½x9¼ hardcover [10/2004] out of print/used
Thunder Bay Press 11¾x9¼ hardcover [9/2003] out of print/many used

Whyte's  Notation  System
Frederick Methvan Whyte [1865-1941] was a mechanical engineer for the New York Central Railroad; he devised a notation system in 1900
to describe the different wheel arrangements of steam locomotives. There are several suffixes in use: T for tank engine (sometimes ST for saddle tank),
CA for compressed air, and F for fireless. Listed here are some of the more common wheel configurations.
Whyte notation chart at Steam locomotive website • Whyte notation page at Wikipedia

  diagramWhyte      name/s
Porter 0-4-0T switcher0-4-0 Porter 0-4-0T switcher
Virginia & Truckee RR locomotive #9 'I.E. James' (drawing)2-4-0 Virginia & Truckee RR
2-4-0 #9 'I.E. James'
Atlantic Coast Line 2-4-2 locomotive 2-4-2 Columbia
Maine 2-foot gauge Sandy River & Rangely Lakes RR #10 2-4-4T (drawing) 2-4-42-ft. SR&RL #10 2-4-4T
Pennsylvania RR 4-4-0 American locomotive 4-4-0 American
Golden Gate & Southern Pacific 4-4-2 Atlantic locomotive #47 (drawing) 4-4-2 Atlantic
Union Pacific RR 0-6-0 switcher #4466 (drawing) 0-6-0 0-6-0 switcher
1881 DSP&P RR 2-6-0 Mogul steam locomotive #35 'Dillon' 2-6-0 Mogul
Great Northern RR 2-6-2 steam locomotive #1520 2-6-2 Prairie
Illinois Central RR 4-6-0 Ten-Wheeler steam locomotive #382 4-6-0 Ten-Wheeler
Southern Pacific RR 4-6-2 Pacific steam locomotive #2479 (drawing) 4-6-2 Pacific
photo? 4-6-4 Hudson, Baltic
photo? 0-8-0 switcher
photo? 2-8-0 Consolidation
photo? 2-8-2 Mikado, MacArthur
Nickel Plate RR 2-8-4 Berkshire 2-8-4 Berkshire
photo? 4-8-0 Twelve-Wheeler
photo? 4-8-2 Mountain, Mohawk
photo? 4-8-4 Northern, Niagara
photo? 2-10-0 Decapod
Frisco RR 2-10-2 Santa Fe steam locomotive #25 2-10-2 Santa Fe
photo? 2-10-4 Texas, Selkirk
photo? 4-10-0 Mastodon, Gobernador
photo? 4-10-2 Southern Pacific
photo? 2-12-0 Centipede
photo? 4-12-2 Union Pacific
Little River Lumber Co. 2-4-4-2 articulated locomotive #148 (drawing) 2-4-4-2 articulated locomotive
photo? 0-6-6-0 B&O Mallet articulated
photo? 2-6-6-0 Titan articulated
Uintah Railway 2-6-6-2T articulated locomotive #50 (later went to Sumpter Valley RR) 2-6-6-2articulated locomotive
Norfolk & Western RR 2-6-6-4 articulated steam locomotive 2-6-6-4 articulated locomotive
photo? 4-6-6-2 Mallet S.P. cab forward
photo? 4-6-6-4 Mallet U.P. Challenger
photo? 2-8-8-4 Mallet Yellowstone
Southern Pacific Lines 4-8-8-2 cab forward articulated steam locomotive 4-8-8-2 Mallet S.P. cab forward
photo?       4-8-8-4   Mallet U.P. Big Boy
      2-10-10-2   Mallet AT&SF (10 units) and
Virginian RR (10)
      2-8-8-8-2   Mallet Erie Triplex (3 units)
      2-8-8-8-4   Mallet Virginian Railway
XA-class Triplex #700


Books  About  Locomotive  Power  (mixed types)

Illustrated Guide To Locomotives of The World book by Colin Garratt  "Illustrated Guide To Locomotives of The World: A Comprehensive History of Locomotive Technology From The 1950s To The Present Day, Shown In Over 300 Photographs" [2000] by Colin Garratt
Southwater 12x9¼ pb [4/2011] for $14.80
Lorenz Books 12x9¼ hardcover [12/2013] for $13.16
Anness Books 12x9¼ hardcover [3/2000] out of print/used
World Encyclopedia of Locomotives book by Colin Garratt  "The World Encyclopedia of Locomotives: A Complete Guide To The World's Most Fabulous Locomotives" [2000] by Colin Garratt
Anness Books 12x9½ hardcover [4/2000] out of print/many used
Modern Marvels episode Locomotives (generic cover)  "Modern Marvels: Locomotives" Season 14, Episode 11 [History April 2008]
50-minute color documentary, details absent
A&E Direct color DVD [5/2009] for $24.98
credits at IMDb • watch full episode [44:56] free online at History Channel
Complete Encyclopedia of Locomotives book by Micro De Cet & Alan Kent  "The Complete Encyclopedia of Locomotives" [2009]
by Micro De Cet & Alan Kent

Organized by country, lots of photos with some text. CAVEAT: Not as 'complete' as title suggests; one Amazon reviewer cites as missing the GG-1 electrics, U.P. Mallet articulated Big Boys, E.M.D.'s SD70/80/90 series, and G.E.'s Evolution Series units.
Rebo 9½x7¼ hardcover [1/2009] out of print/50+ used
Illustrated Encyclopedia of World Railway Locomotives book edited by P. Ransome-Wallis  "Illustrated Encyclopedia of World Railway Locomotives" [2012]
Edited by P. Ransome-Wallis

Kindle Edition from Dover Publns [4/2013] for $21.49 {sic}
Dover Publns 11x8 pb [8/2012] for $31.62
Classic Locomotives / Steam & Diesel Power book by Brian Solomon  "Classic Locomotives: Steam and Diesel Power in 700 Photographs [2013]
by Brian Solomon

Voyageur Press 8¼x6½ pb [10/2013] for $17.01

animated valve rods of a steam locomotive

Steam  Locomotives
In 1835, there were 175 steam locomotives in service in the United States; by 1900, that number had increased to 37,663.
Fewer than 30 full-size steam locomotives built prior to 1880 exist in the United States; the California State Railroad Museum has five of them.

Locomotive Builders fanpage at SteamLocomotive.com
Locomotive Manufacturers fanpage at TrainWeb
Wes Barris's Steam Locomotives website

New York Central System Presents "The Steam Locomotive" short film [1938]
b&w promotional film featuring Hudson-type locomotives, including #5226, #5235, #5238, #5252, #5262, #5281, #5302 & #5314
watch full movie [18:46] online at YouTube

Short History of American Locomotive Builders book by John H. White  "A Short History of American Locomotive Builders
In The Steam Era" [1982] by John H. White

Bass, Inc. pb [1982] out of print/used
Bass, Inc. hardcover [1982] out of print/used

Top 15 Extinct American Steam Locomotives slideshow/video  "Top 15 Extinct American Steam Locomotives" [2015]
very educational slideshow/video written, narrated & edited by Christopher Kovacs; featuring #15) 1939 Pennsylvania RR Class S1 6-4-4-6 duplex #6100; #14) Norfolk & Western RR Class Y6b 2-8-8-2; #13) 1914 Erie RR and Virginian RR 2-8-8-8-2 triplexes; #12) 1939 Southern Pacific RR Class AC-9 2-8-8-4; #11) Pennsylvania RR Class J1 and Chesapeake & Ohio RR Class T1 2-10-4; #10) New Haven RR Class I-5 4-6-4; #9) Milwaukee Road 'Hiawatha' streamliner Class F-7 4-6-4 & Class A 4-4-2; #8) 1923 Florida East Coast Rwy 4-8-2 Mountain; #7) Western Maryland RR Class J1 4-8-4 Potomac; #6) Baltimore & Ohio RR Class EM-1 2-8-8-4; #5) Reading RR G-class & Central RR of New Jersey 4-6-2 Pacific; #4) Pennsylvania RR shark-nose Class T1 4-4-4-4 duplexes; #3) New York Central RR 1927 4-6-4 Hudson & 4-8-4 Niagara; #2) 1943 Central of Georgia RR Class K 4-8-4 Big Apple; and #1) steam turbine locomotives of the Union Pacific, Chesapeake & Ohio, Norfolk & Western, and Pennsylvania RRs • watch full 8/2015 video [32:12] online at YouTube


number plate from Baldwin Locomotive Works           modern logo for The Baldwin Group
Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, PA [1831-1972]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baldwin_Locomotive_Works
http://www.amazon.com/Baldwin-Locomotive-Works-Catalogue-Locomotives/dp/1935700022/
http://www.amazon.com/Baldwin-Locomotive-Works-Illustrated-Catalog/dp/1935327437/
http://www.amazon.com/History-Baldwin-Locomotive-Works-1831-1920/dp/193570009X/
http://www.amazon.com/History-Baldwin-Locomotive-Works-1831-1920/dp/1935327542/
"History of the Baldwin Locomotive Works, 1831-1923" (Old Line Publishers, 1971)
"The Story of Eddystone: The Baldwin Locomotive Works, Philadelphia" (Glenwood Publishers, 1974)

Locomotives That Baldwin Built book by Fred Westing  "The Locomotives That Baldwin Built: Containing A Complete Facsimile of The Original History of The Baldwin Locomotive Works, 1831-1923" [1966]
by Fred Westing

Superior Publishing 9x6½ hardcover [1987] out of print/used
Bonanza Books 10½x8½ hardcover [4/82] out of print/40+ used
Bonanza Books 10½x8½ hardcover [1966] out of print/70+ used
Bonanza Books 10½x8½ hardcover [1966] out of print/50+ used
Baldwin Locomotive Works, 1831-1915 book by Prof. John K. Brown  "The Baldwin Locomotive Works, 1831-1915" [1995]
by John K. Brown

Johns Hopkins Univ Press 10x7 pb [8/2001] for $25.20
Johns Hopkins Univ Press 9¾x8 hardcover [9/95] out of print/40+ used


ALCO simple logo in a box            ALCO fancy script logo
American Locomotive Works [1901-1969]
The American Locomotive Company was founded in 1901 by the merger of eight manufacturers (including Schenectady, Brooks & Cooke) and was based in Schenectady, New York; ALCO purchased Montreal Locomotive Works in 1904, and Rogers Locomotive Works of New Jersey in 1905, and became the second largest manufacturer of locomotives in the United States, behind Baldwin. ALCO built and sold steam locomotives (over 75,000 engines), diesel-electric locomotives, diesel engines & generators, specialized forgings, high quality steel, armed tanks, automobiles (1905-13), and produced nuclear energy (1954-62). Renamed Alco Products, Inc. in 1955, purchased by the Worthington Company in 1964, and defunct in 1969.
American Locomotive Works entry at Wikipedia
"Illustrated Treasury of the American Locomotive Company" by O. M. Kerr (Delta Publications, 1980)


Davenport Locomotive Works of Iowa [1901-?]


Lima Locomotive Works of Ohio [1901-?]


simple logo for H.K. Porter Company of Pittsburgh, PA
H.K. Porter Company, Inc. of Pittsburgh, PA [1866-1950]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._K._Porter,_Inc
http://www.catskillarchive.com/rrextra/porter.Html
http://www.over-land.com/rrporter.html = LH's H.K. Porter Locomotives fansite
http://www.steamlocomotive.com/lists/searchdb.php?str=porter&country=USA


cover page for 1875 'Catechism of The Locomotive' book by M.N. Forney  
"Catechism of The Locomotive" [1874]
by M.N. Forney, Mechanical Engineer

Univ California Libraries (Blue Cover) 8½x5½ pb [1911 facsimile] for $20.89
Hard Press 1874 edition 9x6 hardcover [11/2007] for $25.56
Univ Michigan Library 2nd edition 9x6 hardcover [2001] for $35.96
Locomotive Dictionary book by George L. Fowler  "Locomotive Dictionary: An Illustrated Vocabulary of Terms Which Designate American Railroad Locomotives" [1906 classic] by George L. Fowler
Nabu Press 690-page 9¾x7½ pb [3/2014] for $48.75
Periscope Film LLC 10x8 pb [2/2010] for $37.46
N.K. Gregg facsimile hardcover [1972] out of print/used
cover page for 1875 'Catechism of The Locomotive' book by Robert Grimshaw  "The Locomotive Catechism" [1908]
by Robert Grimshaw, Mechanical Engineer

Kessinger Publng 1911 edition 9x6 pb [9/2010] for $40.28
Kessinger Publng 1911 edition 9x6 hardcover [9/2010] for $51.08
Engineman's Manual classic 1919 book by W.P. James  "The Engineman's Manual: The Classic Locomotive Text From 1919 - Intended For The Engineer, Fireman, or Mechanic Who Wishes To Extend His Knowledge of The Locomotive" [1919] by W.P. James
Periscope Film LLC 10x8 pb [12/2009] for $29.96
Iron Horses / American Locomotives book by E.P. Alexander  "Iron Horses: American Locomotives, 1829-1900" [1941]
by Edwin P. Alexander

Kindle Edition from Dover Publns [12/2012] for $9.99
Dover Publns 11x8¼ pb [1/2003] out of print/used
W.W. Norton & Co. 11x8½ hardcover [1941] out of print/many used
Pictorial Record of Steam Power book by Edwin P. Alexander  "American Locomotives: A Pictorial Record of Steam Power, 1900-1950" [1950]
by Edwin P. Alexander

Bonanza Books 10x7½ hardcover [1950] out of print/many used
Steam Locomotive in America book by Alfred W. Bruce  "The Steam Locomotive In America: Its Development In The 20th Century" [1952]
by Alfred W. Bruce

W.W. Norton & Co. hardcover [1952] out of print/used
100 Years of Steam Locomotives  "100 Years of Steam Locomotives: Collectors Edition" [1957]
by Walter A. Lucas

Simmons Boardman 11¾x9 hardcover [6/57] out of print/used
Collector's Book of the Locomotive book by Edwin P. Alexander  "The Collector's Book of The Locomotive" [1966] by Edwin P. Alexander
with over 150 b&w illustrations and 44 in full color
Bramhall House 11x8¾ hardcover [1966] out of print/60+ used
American Locomotives Engineering History book by John H. White, Jr.  "American Locomotives: An Engineering History, 1830-1880" [1968, rev 1997]
by Prof. John H. White, Jr.

Johns Hopkins Univ Press 10¼x9½ hardcover [12/97] out of print/used
Johns Hopkins Univ Press 9¾x8 hardcover [5/68] out of print/used
Steam Locomotive Engineering History book by Ken Gibbs  "The Steam Locomotive: An Engineering History" [2013]
by Ken Gibbs

Kindle Edition from Amberley Publng [8/2013] for $9.99
Amberley Publng 9¾x6¾ pb [8/2013] for $25.63
Loco Motion, The World's Oldest Steam Locomotives book by Michael R. Bailey  "Loco Motion: The World's Oldest Steam Locomotives" [2014]
by Michael R. Bailey

covers pioneer railroad equipment from 1809 to 1850, with visits to museums
in Britain, Europe, and North & South America
The History Press 9x9¾ hardcover [8/2014] for $30.56

Railroad Equipment Pages at Spirit of America Bookstore

here on page 1: top of page • short history • Whyte's notation system • locomotive power • steam locomotives

top of page 2 • articulated locomotives • geared locomotives • diesel locomotives • electric locomotives

top of page 3 • gasoline-powered locomotives • streetcars, subways & interurban • other designs

top of page 4 • passenger trains • freight cars • maintenance equipment • stations, tunnels & bridges •
books • videos & other media • image gallery • links

Spirit of America Bookstore's American Railroads Pages

on page one:  top of page • links • museums • Class I railroads • Class II railroads • shortline railroads

on page two:  top of page • games • RR history • narrow gauge RRs • historic RR lines

on page three:  top of page • transcontinental railroads • railroad moguls • railroad recordings

Spirit of America Bookstore's 'Railroads in Fiction' Pages
Spirit of America Bookstore's Railroads in Fiction - Books For Young Railfans Page

Spirit of America Bookstore's 'Non-Fiction Books About Railroads' Pages

Spirit of America Bookstore's Railroad Film Festival Pages

Railroad Equipment Pages at Spirit of America Bookstore  « « you are here
Spirit of America Bookstore's Geared Steam Locomotives Page
Spirit of America Bookstore's Private Railcars Page

America's Shortline Railroads Page

Spirit of America Bookstore's Scale Model & Toy Trains Page

G.E. Nordell's California Travel / Railroads Links Page
G.E. Nordell's Colorado Travel / Railroads Links Pages
G.E. Nordell's Nevada Travel / Railroads Links Page
G.E. Nordell's New Mexico Travel / Railroads Links Page
G.E. Nordell's Utah Travel / Railroads Links Page

G.E. Nordell's Travel U.S.A. / Railroad Museums Page

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