American High-Pressure Locomotives

Gallery opened Jan 2003

Updated: 16 Feb 2014

More on the NYC HS-1a loco
Hello to Robert Hord Jr, who inspired this page.
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Contents of this page:
The Baldwin No.60000 4-10-2 350psi 1926 Updated
The NYC HS-1a 4-8-4 850psi 1931 Updated
No 1400 Horatio Allen 2-8-0 350psi 1924
No 1401 John B Jervis 2-8-0 400psi 1926
No 1402 James Archbald 2-8-0 500psi 1930
No 1403 L F Loree 4-8-0 500psi 1933


Left: Baldwin No. 60000 of 1926.

This 4-10-2 locomotive was built in 1926 by Baldwin to celebrate the construction of their 60,000th locomotive.

Builders photograph

The watertube boiler generated steam at 350 psi, feeding the central HP cylinder, which fed the two outer LP cylinders. All three cylinders were the same size, which gave good load-balancing between the cylinders and gave vibration-free running under test at the Pennsylvania Railroad's test facility in Altoona. Using cutoffs of 50 to 90% on the HP cylinder, and 20 to 70% on the LP cylinders, between 1500 and 4515 horsepower could be obtained, the latter being the limit of the test facility; this had never been reached before. Walschaerts valvegear was fitted. The tender had two six-wheeled trucks, and carried 12,000 gallons of water and 16 tons of coal.

The 60000 then embarked on an ambitious program as a demonstrator, eventually covering 100,000 miles. It began by working on the Pennsylvania Railroad between Enola and West Morrisville, where it proved it could haul a 7000-ton train up a 26-mile long incline. It then went to Chicago, where it was displayed to more than 20,000 spectataors, and then worked on Southern Illinois coal trains, then moving to the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad at Fort Madison. Dynamometer tests on the same line between Clovis and Belen, New Mexico, showed that the 60000 used between 20 and 25% less fuel and water than the 3800-series 2-10-2's of the AT&SF. The 60000 was then converted to oil-firing at Sacremento and worked on the Southern Pacific Railroad; it was reconverted to coal at Minot, North Dakota, and ran back via Chicago to Philadephia in 1927. The 60000 received glowing reports as it proceeded on this odyssey, and Baldwin waited for the orders to roll in, being so confident that they began to order materials for the water-tube fireboxes.

But the orders never came. J Parker Lamb in Perfecting the American Steam Locomotive attributes this partly to conservatism on the part of railway operators, who were wary of the radical change involved in a water-tube firebox working at 350 psi. There was a particular suspicion that cleaning scale out of the water tubes would be difficult and costly, and a general feeling that the economies gained by high-pressure and compounding would be more than cancelled by higher maintenance costs and poor reliability. The axle loadings on the drivers were also too great for any but the heaviest of track.

The 60000 was eventually put to use as a stationary power source at Baldwin's Pennsylvania works.

Left: The boiler of No. 60000

The boiler barrel was conventional, with 206 2.25-in firetubes, and superheater elements housed in 50 5.5-in tubes.

The watertube section surrounded the firebox. Each side consisted of 48 tubes 4 inches in diameter connecting to a cast steel mud-ring at the bottom, and to one of the two horizontal steam drums at the top. The sides, the front and back walls of the firebox and the gap at the top between the two steam drums were all covered with firebrick.

Uniquely among the locomotives on this page, the 60000 still survives. In 1933 it was installed in the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where it still remains.

Left: No. 60000 in the Franklin Institute

The end of the central HP cylinder, together with its valve-chest, can just be seen behind the white flag in the foreground.

There is a short Wikipedia article on the 60000.

DATA FOR THE 60000 Boiler pressure: 350 psi HP Cylinder: 27x32 inches LP Cylinders: 27x32 inches Boiler diameter: 84 inches Driver diameter: 63.5 inches Weight on drivers: 338,400 lbs Total engine weight: 457,500 lbs Total weight: 700,900 lbs Tractive effort: 82,500 lbs


Left: The NYC HS-1a of 1931. No.800

This 4-8-4 compound locomotive was an experiment built in 1931 by ALCO for the New York Central Railroad. It carried road number 800 and was designated Class HS-1a. It did poorly on test runs and was used only as a hump shunting engine at Selkirk yard until it was scrapped in 1939.

The HS-1a used the Schmidt High-pressure System, in which a sealed (and hence scale-free) ultra-high-pressure steam circuit transferred heat to a high-pressure boiler, by means of heating coils inside it. The hot gases from the HP boiler were then passed through a conventional fire-tube low pressure boiler.

The HP boiler generated steam at 850 psi, feeding the central cylinder. The LP boiler generated steam at 250 psi and fed the two outer cylinders.

DATA FOR THE NYC 800 HS-1a Builder: ALCO (Schen.) 1931. Scrapped 1939 Order No. 68055 Cylinders size: Outside 23"x30" Center 13.25"x 30" Driver Size: 69" Pressure: HP boiler & outside cylinder: 850 psi LP boiler & centre cylinder: 250 psi Tractive Effort: Engine - 66000 lbs. Booster- 13750 lbs. Total - 79750 lbs. Total Engine Weight: 435000 lbs
Information on the NYC HS-1a is very scarce. There is no Wikipedia entry.


The Horatio Allen was the first of a series of three remarkable high-pressure locomotives with watertube boilers built by the Delaware & Hudson Railroad between 1924 and 1930.

Left: No 1400 2-8-0 'Horatio Allen'

Built 1924 by the Delaware & Hudson Railroad. It was then the largest 2-8-0 in the world. The watertube boiler designed by D&H consultant John Muhlfeld generated steam at 350 psi.

#1400 was a 2 cylinder cross-compound with a two-axle booster at rear of tender.

The large pipe draped over the top of the smokebox carried the exhaust from the HP cylinder to the LP cylinder on the other side.

DATA FOR THE HORATIO ALLEN Engine Weight: 174 tons Tender Weight: 99 tons Total Weight: 273 tons Boiler pressure: 350 psi Driver Diameter: 57 in Tractive Effort:(simple) 91,565 lbs Tractive Effort:(compound) 68,920 lbs Tender booster effort: 19,700 lbs
The most unusual feature of the Horatio Allen was its high operating pressure, made possible by the use of the Muhlfeld watertube boiler. The boiler barrel was conventional with fire tubes and a superheater, but the firebox was enclosed by four steam drums, two at the top and two at the bottom, with five vertical watertubes connecting the top and bottom drums at each side of the firebox. The bottom drums extended only for the length of the firebox, but the top steam drums extended farther forward, over the boiler barrel. There was no transverse tube connection between the two top drums

Another unusual feature was the use of Young valve gear. This gear can provide a maximum cutoff of greater than 90%, whereas most valve gears can only give up to 85% cutoff.

The Horatio Allen was said to have given good fuel economy, but required a lot of maintenance.

Left: Side view of No 1400 'Horatio Allen'

Left: Another view of No 1400

Picture by kind permission of Darren E. Hadley.

Left: The boiler of No 1400

I appreciate that it looks as though the boiler had been at the bottom of the sea for a considerable period, but this is really due to the poor quality of the original image, and the way that it is liberally studded with rivets.


Left: No 1401 John B Jervis 2-8-0

Built in 1927 by the Delaware & Hudson Railroad.

#1401 closely resembled #1400, having a water-tube boiler and a 2-axle booster at the rear of the tender.
Boiler pressure was higher at 400 psi, and the cylinders were slightly smaller.

Left: The John B Jervis in 1927

Pictured before the boiler was fully enclosed. The round thing at the front of the firebox housing is the end of one of the upper steam drums. The cylinder visible is the LP one, fed by the big pipe curled over the smokebox.

Left: The John B Jervis again.

Pictured after the boiler was fully enclosed.

Not, in my view, an attractive effect.


Left: No 1402 2-8-0 "James Archbald"

Built in 1930 by the Delaware & Hudson Railroad.

#1402 was another 2-cylinder compound, this time with a 500 psi water-tube boiler. The driving wheels were slightly larger at 63in.

Obtaining a picture of the James Archbald was not easy. This one is by kind permission of Darren E. Hadley. See

By 1935, #1400, #1401 and #1402 were out of use and in storage in Oneonta. Their maintenance had proved burdensome and they were also victims of a general change in American locomotive policy. The "superpower" era brought with it the concept that it was better to pull lighter (though still very heavy) loads at faster speeds. On the D&H this led to high-speed 4-8-4s and Mallet 4-6-6-4s.


Left: The L F Loree 4-8-0 locomotive at the Century of Progress Exposition, held in Chicago in 1933.

Built for the Delaware & Hudson Railroad; it was noted as being the only locomotive built in the USA in 1933. Such was the Slump.

This was the fourth locomotive of the D&H high-pressure series.
It was a remarkable triple-expansion engine with a water-tube boiler. Sadly it was not sucessful.

Picture above by Cecil Wickham. Used by courtesy of Dr Richard Leonard, whose Steam Locomotive Archive site can be seen at His page on the L F Loree is at

The boiler was a water-tube design working at 500 psi, the steam feeding an HP cylinder under the right side of the cab, then an intermediate-pressure (acronym IP or MP to taste) cylinder under the left of the cab, and finally the two LP cylinders at the front. Both front and rear cylinders acted on the second driving axle. The LP exhaust went out through the chimney blastpipe as usual. Dabeg poppet valves were fitted, driven by rotary cams.
The rear of the tender was carried by a 6-wheel Bethlehem "Auxiliary Locomotive" (or booster), which operated at the full boiler pressure of 500 psi to give extra effort for starting.

The locomotive was named after L F Loree, who was the D&H president from 1907 to 1938. He is credited with originating the phrase "This is a helluva way to run a railroad!".

Regrettably the L F Loree proved unreliable- one long-suffering D&H employee is recorded as saying "Every time we sent her out a machine shop had to go with her".

Left: Another view of the L F Loree 4-8-0.

Note HP and LP cylinders powering the second driving wheel through two connecting rods. The rotary drive to the rear poppet valves can be seen running backwards and slightly upwards from the second driver.

The large pipe visible below the boiler carries the steam from the superheater header to the HP cylinder.

DATA FOR THE L F LOREE Configuration. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-8-0 Weight on engine truck, pounds . . . . . . 69,000 Weight on drivers, pounds . . . . . . . 313,000 Weight of engine, pounds . . . . . . . . 382,000 Weight of tender loaded, pounds . . . . 287,000 Weight of engine and tender, pounds . . . 669,000 Boiler pressure, psi . . . . . . . . . 500 {1 High pressure . . . . . . 20" x 32" Cylinders {1 Intermediate pressure 27.5"x 32" {2 Low pressure . . . . . . 33" x 32" Driver diameter . . . . . . . . . . . . 63" Tractive effort, triple, pounds . . . . . 75,000 Tractive effort, simple, pounds . . . . . . . 90,000 Tractive effort, auxiliary locomotive, pounds . 18,000 Tractive effort, maximum, pounds . . . . 108,000 Grate area, square feet . . . . . . . . . . 75.8 Valves and motion . . . . Poppet, Rotary Cam Feed water heater . . . . . . . . . . Dabeg Tank capacity . . . . . . 14,000 Gallons, 17.5 Tons Fuel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bituminous coal Track gauge . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4' 8.5"
Left: Another picture of the L F Loree.

Left: The second driving wheel, with its two connecting rods.

The shaft running upwards to the left from the centre of the wheel is the rotary drive to the poppet valves on the front two LP cylinders.

Left: The front end of the L F Loree.

The drive to the poppet valves is in the centre of the cylinder cover.


J Parker Lamb Perfecting the American Steam Locomotive Indiana University Press 2003

Jim Shaughnessy Delaware & Hudson Syracuse University Press 1997

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