Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives by wheel arrangement, 4-6-0 represents the configuration of four leading wheels on two axles in a leading bogie, six powered and coupled driving wheels on three axles and no trailing wheels. In the mid 19th century, this wheel arrangement became the second most popular configuration for new steam locomotives in the United States of America, where this type is commonly referred to as a Ten-wheeler.As a locomotive pulling trains of light weight all wood passenger cars in the 1890-1920s, it was exceptionally stable at near 100 mph speeds on the New York Central's New York to Chicago Water Level Route and on the Reading Railroad's Camden to Atlantic City, NJ, line. As passenger equipment grew heavier with all steel construction, heavier locomotives replaced the Ten Wheeler.
During the second half of the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries, the 4-6-0 was constructed in large numbers for passenger and mixed traffic service. A natural extension of the 4-4-0 American wheel arrangement, the four-wheel leading bogie gave good stability at speed and allowed a longer boiler to be supported, while the lack of trailing wheels gave a high adhesive weight.
The primary limitation of the type was the small size of the firebox, which limited power output. In passenger service, it was eventually superseded by the 4-6-2 Pacific type whose trailing truck allowed it to carry a greatly enlarged firebox. For freight service, the addition of a fourth driving axle created the 4-8-0 Mastodon type, which was rare in North America, but became very popular on Cape gauge in Southern Africa.
The 4-6-0T locomotive version was a far less common type. It was used for passenger duties during the first decade of the twentieth century, but was soon superseded by the 4-6-2T Pacific, 4-6-4T Baltic and 2-6-4T Adriatic types, on which larger fire grates were possible. During the First World War, the type was also used on narrow gauge military railways.
In 1907, five 6th Class locomotives of the Cape Government Railways were sold to the 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) Benguela Railway (CFB). These included one of the Dübs-built locomotives of 1897 and two each of the Neilson and Company and Neilson, Reid and Company-built locomotives of 1897 and 1898. (Also see South Africa - Cape gauge)
In the mid-1930s, in order to ease maintenance, modifications were made to the running boards and brake gear of the CFB locomotives. The former involved mounting the running boards higher, thereby getting rid of the driving wheel fairings. This gave the locomotives a much more American rather than British appearance.
In April 1951, three Class NG9 locomotives were purchased from the South African Railways for the Caminhos de Ferro de Moçâmedes (CFM). They were placed in service on the Ramal da Chibía, a 600 mm (1 ft 11 5⁄8 in) gauge branch line across 116 kilometres (72 miles) from Sá da Bandeira to Chiange. The locomotives were observed dumped at the Sá da Bandeira shops by 1969 and the branch line itself was closed in 1970. (Also see South Africa - Narrow gauge)
In 1897, three Class 6 4-6-0 locomotives were ordered by the Cape Government Railways (CGR) from Neilson and Company for use on the new Vryburg to Bulawayo line of the fledgling Bechuanaland Railway Company (BR). The line through Bechuanaland Protectorate was still under construction and was operated by the CGR on behalf of the BR at the time. The locomotives were eventually returned to the CGR.
The Finnish State Railways (Suomen Valtion Rautatiet or SVR, later the Valtionrautatiet or VR) operated the Classes Hk1, Hk2, Hk3, Hk5, Hv1, Hv2, Hv3, Hv4, Hr2 and Hr3 locomotives with a 4-6-0 wheel arrangement.
Numbers 291 to 300 and 322 to 333 were built by the Richmond Locomotive Works in 1900 and 1901. The 22 Richmond locomotives were originally designated H2 class and were nicknamed Big-Wheel Kaanari. One of them, no. 293, the locomotive that brought Lenin from exile in August–September 1917 prior to the Russian Revolution, was presented by Finland to the Soviet Union on 13 June 1957 and is preserved at the Finland Station in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Another 100 of these locomotives were manufactured in Finland from 1903 to 1916, numbered in the range from 437 to 574 and initially designated H3 to H8 classes.
The Class Hk5 was numbered from 439 to 515. One, no. 497, is preserved at Haapamäki.
The Class Hv1 was built from 1915 by Tampella and Lokomo. They were nicknamed Heikki and were numbered 545 to 578 and 648 to 655. The class remained in service until 1967. One, no. 555 named Princess, is preserved at the Finnish Railway Museum.
The Class Hv2 was built by Berliner Maschinenbau and Lokomo in the years between 1919 and 1926. They were numbered 579 to 593, 671 to 684 and 777 to 780. One, no. 680, is preserved at Haapamäki.
The Class Hv3 was built by Berliner, Tampella and Lokomo in the years from 1921 to 1941. They were numbered 638 to 647, 781 to 785 and 991 to 999. Three Class Hv3 locomotives were preserved, no. 781 at Kerava, no. 995 at Suolahti and no. 998 at Haapamäki.
The Class Hv4 was built by Tampella and Lokomo in the years from 1912 to 1933 and were numbered 516 to 529, 742 to 751 and 757 to 760. Two, numbers 742 and 751, are preserved at Haapamäki.
The Swedish State Railways (Statens Järnvägar or SJ) sold its Class Ta and Tb locomotives to Finland in 1942. At the time, they were not in traffic in Sweden and, since they were purchased by Finland, they were not considered as war assistance. The Class Ta was designated Class Hr2 in Finland while the Class Tb was designated Class Hr3.
Two 4-6-0 tank locomotive types saw service in France.
The Réseau Breton tank locomotives were a class of 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) metre gauge locomotives of which five were built in 1904 for the Réseau Breton railway by Société Franco-Belge at its Raismes factory. A further seven locomotives were built by Société Alsacienne de Constructions Mécaniques (SACM) at its Belfort plant in France in 1909.
The Baldwin Class 10-12-D 600 mm (1 ft 11 5⁄8 in) gauge pannier tank locomotives were built in the United States of America by Baldwin Locomotive Works for the British War Department Light Railways, for service in France in 1916 and 1917 during the First World War. A further batch was built by the American Locomotive Company. After the war, many of these locomotives were sold to work in France, Britain and India.
The 4-6-0 wheel arrangement was very popular on the railroads of German states from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, when they gradually replaced 4-4-0 American type locomotives, initially especially on hilly terrain. In 1925, after the creation of the Deutsche Reichsbahn (DRG), express 4-6-0 passenger locomotives were classified under group 17, while regular 4-6-0 passenger locomotives were classified under group 38.
In 1894, Baden adopted its IVe class passenger locomotives of Alfred de Glehn design, the first four-cylinder compound 4-6-0 locomotive ever. Altogether 83 were built and later became the DRG class 3870.
Bavaria only began using 4-6-0 passenger locomotives in 1905.
The most numerous 4-6-0 series in the world was the Prussian P 8 passenger locomotive, later the DRG class 3810-40, of which 3,556 were built for the Prussian state railways and German railways between 1906 and 1923. Of these, 627 locomotives were given to other countries after the First World War. When exports and licensed production in Romania are included, their number reached almost four thousand. (Also see Poland)
From 1906, Saxony used 4-6-0 express freight locomotive classes XII H, XII HV and XII H1, of which 6, 42 and 7 were built respectively. They later became the DRG classes 176, 177 and 178 respectively. All were superheated steam locomotives, differing mostly in engine arrangements.
The only Irish railways to use the 4-6-0 type were the Great Southern & Western Railway (GS&WR) and its larger successor, Great Southern Railways (GSR). The GS&WR had 4-6-0s for both fast freight and express passenger service. The culmination of Irish 4-6-0 design was the GSR Class 800 or B1a class, introduced in 1939. Three of these locomotives were built for top express passenger work on the Dublin-Cork mainline, coincidentally resembling the United Kingdom's Royal Scot Class as rebuilt. They were the last new steam locomotives to be built for the GSR.
The New Zealand Railways Department built its first home-built tender locomotives in 1894, using the 4-6-0 wheel arrangement. Designated U class, they were supplemented by units built in the United Kingdom, which were sub-classed Ua.
More were built in two batches in the United States of America by Baldwin and ALCO, arriving in 1898 and 1901. The American locomotives were sub-classed Ub. With the exception of a once-off ALCO Richmond type, the American batches were considered highly successful.
A third batch of U class locomotives were imported from the United Kingdom, intended for provincial routes and sub-classed Uc. These locomotives were costly to operate, but could be worked hard and found use on the South Island's west coast, where blue bituminous coal was plentiful.
In 1879, the Norwegian State Railways, the Smaalensbanen and Merakerbanen, received four ten-wheelers with three-axled tenders from Baldwin Locomotive Works which were supposedly the first ten-wheeler tender locomotives in Europe.
The Polish State Railways (PKP) used several classes of Prussian and other German 4-6-0 locomotives. The most significant of these was the Prussian P 8, classified in Poland as the PKP class Ok1. After the First World War, Poland received as reparations and also bought altogether 257 of these locomotives. After the Second World War, their number rose to 429 locomotives, which made it the most numerous passenger locomotive in Poland. A few were preserved and kept in working condition, including Class Ok1 no. 359. (Also see Germany - Prussia)
During the inter-war period, a PKP class Ok22 locomotive was designed in cooperation with German builders Hanomag. It was basically an improved class Ok1 with a more efficient boiler. Altogether 190 of them were produced for the PKP, of which all but five were manufactured in Poland.
4-6-0 passenger locomotives became quite popular in Russia at the turn of the 20th century. While the locomotives originally had separate class designations on each Russian railroad, common Russian class designations were introduced in 1912. The Russian 4-6-0s were the A, ADK, AD, AV, V, Zh, Z, G, U, K, B and KU classes.
Eighteen classes of 4-6-0 locomotives saw service in South Africa, sixteen on 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) Cape gauge and two on 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge. Of these, only two were conventional tank locomotives, while two others were delivered as tank-and-tender locomotives with optional tenders.
Between 1879 and 1885, the Natal Government Railways (NGR) placed 37 4-6-0 tank locomotives in service. Of these, 18 were built by Kitson and Company and 19 by Stephenson. On the NGR they were designated Class G. When the SAR was established in 1912, the 15 unmodified survivors were designated Class C. The last one was withdrawn from service in the mid-1980s, after more than 105 years in service.
In 1880 and 1881, the Cape Government Railways (CGR) placed 18 4th Class tank-and-tender locomotives in mainline service on its Midland System working out of Port Elizabeth and Eastern System working out of East London. Four of these locomotives were still in service when the South African Railways was established in 1912.
In 1882 and 1883, the CGR placed 68 4th Class 4-6-0 tank-and-tender locomotives in mainline service on all three systems. It was an improved version of the 4th Class locomotives of 1880 with larger coupled wheels, built by two manufacturers. Robert Stephenson and Company built 33 with Stephenson valve gear, while Neilson and Company built 35 with Joy valve gear. Of these locomotives, 26 were still in service when the South African Railways was established in 1912.
Four tank-and-tender locomotives of the CGR’s Experimental 4th Class were supplied by Neilson in 1884, built to the design of J.D. Tilney, Locomotive Superintendent of the Cape Eastern System at the time, to be able to use low-grade local coal. They had Joy valve gear and unusual six-wheeled tenders, with the leading axle mounted in a rigid frame and the other two axles mounted in a bogie. One of the locomotives survived until 1912 and was designated SAR Class 04 as an obsolete locomotive.
The first twenty of the CGR 5th Class tender locomotives were delivered from Dübs and Company in 1890. In 1891, the CGR placed a second batch of thirty 5th Class tender locomotives in mainline service on all three Cape Systems. They were similar to the previous batch of 1890, but differed in respect of the diameter of their coupled wheels, the length of their smokeboxes and their tractive effort. In 1912, when the South African Railways (SAR) was established, the survivors were considered obsolete and designated Class 05. Nevertheless, some of the Class 05 locomotives survived as shunting engines in SAR service for another four decades. They were the last obsolete locomotives to be still in service when they were eventually withdrawn in 1953.:20
The Cape 6th Class passenger locomotive was designed at the Salt River works of the CGR according to the specifications of Michael Stephens, then Chief Locomotive Superintendent of the CGR, and under the supervision of H.M. Beatty, then Locomotive Superintendent of the Cape’s Western System. It was to become one of the most useful classes to see service in South Africa. In 1912, when they came into SAR stock, the 6th Class 4-6-0 family was reclassified into twelve separate classes.
In 1897, the Pretoria-Pietersburg Railway in the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (Transvaal Republic) purchased a 35 Tonner tank locomotive with a 4-6-0 wheel arrangement from the Lourenco Marques, Delagoa Bay and East Africa Railway in Mozambique. The locomotive was not classified, but named Portuguese and referred to by name.
In 1903, the CGR placed six Type B 4-6-0 locomotives with eight-wheeled bogie tenders in service on the Avontuur narrow gauge line in the Langkloof. They were built by W. G. Bagnall and had bar frames, copper fireboxes and Stephenson valve gear. In 1912, they came into SAR stock and, in 1914, a further three locomotives with slightly longer boilers were acquired by the SAR. One of these was also built by Bagnall while the other two were built by Kerr, Stuart and Company. These three were commonly referred to as the Improved B. When a system of grouping narrow gauge locomotives into classes was eventually introduced somewhere between 1928 and 1930, they were to be classified as Class NG8 but had already been withdrawn from service.
During 1915 and 1916, the SAR placed six locomotives in service in the Langkloof, built by Baldwin Locomotive Works. They were very similar to the Bagnall built Type B, except that they were equipped with Walschaerts valve gear. They were later designated Class NG9. Three of them survived in SAR service until April 1951, when they were sold to the Caminhos de Ferro de Moçâmedes (CFM) of Angola. (Also see Angola - Narrow gauge)
During the Second World War, sixteen of the South African Railways (SAR) Classes 6 to 6D were transferred to the Middle East to assist with the war effort during the North African Campaign. The group consisted of seven Class 6, four Class 6A, two Class 6B, one Class 6C and two Class 6D locomotives. They were sold to the Sudan Railways Corporation in 1942. (Also see South Africa - Cape gauge)
The first 4-6-0 locomotive to be introduced in the United Kingdom was the Highland Railway’s Jones Goods class of 1894. Within five years, however, the wheel arrangement was being used primarily on passenger service, since British heavy freight trains were generally too slow to require a locomotive with a four-wheel leading bogie. Between 1906 and 1925, the 4-6-0 became the most common express passenger locomotive type in everyday use in the United Kingdom, as a logical development from the 4-4-0 type that was previously used. The 4-6-0 type continued to be used as mixed traffic locomotive until the end of steam in the United Kingdom in 1968.
During the pre-grouping era, from 1899 to 1923, Wilson Worsdell of the North Eastern Railway (NER) used the type for his express passenger locomotives, the S and S1 classes of 1899 and 1900 that became the B13 and B14 classes of the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) in 1923. Soon afterwards, these were followed by the appearance of other designs.
Two notable 4-6-0 express passenger designs appeared in 1906. One was the Caledonian Railway’s Cardean Class which was, at the time, the most powerful locomotive in Britain. The other was Churchward’s four-cylinder GWR Star Class, which was developed and enlarged by Charles Collett as the GWR 4073 Castle class in 1923 and later also as the GWR 6000 King class in 1927.
Other significant early express 4-6-0 designs included:
Robert Urie of the London and South Western Railway (LSWR) introduced three successful classes, the H15 class mixed traffic locomotives, introduced in 1914 and built until 1924, the N15 King Arthur class, with 74 locomotives built between 1919 and 1926, and the S15 class, with 45 locomotives built between 1920 and 1936.
During the post-grouping era from 1923 to 1948, the 4-6-0 wheel arrangement was used extensively by all of the Big Four British railway companies, especially by the Great Western Railway (GWR) and the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS), who continued to develop new designs.
However, from the early 1930s, demands for more power and improved performance from express passenger locomotives led to the widespread introduction of 4-6-2 Pacific locomotives, where the trailing axle could support a larger firebox. Since the reduced traction of the driving wheels was not a big disadvantage with relatively light passenger trains, the 4-6-0 was displaced from top-rank express services on most of the railways where they had been used, with the exception of the GWR who continued to build both mixed-traffic and express passenger 4-6-0s until nationalisation in 1948. The GWR’s 4073 Castle Class eventually consisted of 171 express passenger locomotives, built between 1923 and 1950. The design was enlarged as the GWR’s 6000 King Class, with thirty locomotives built between 1927 and 1930.
Several new mixed traffic 4-6-0s were also introduced:
Charles Collett of the GWR developed Churchward’s 1902 Saint class design into three further classes:
Frederick Hawksworth later developed the Saint class design further, first with his GWR 6959 Modified Hall Class, with 71 locomotives built between 1944 and 1950, and then with his GWR 1000 County Class, with thirty locomotives built between 1945 and 1947.
The LNER inherited large numbers of 4-6-0 locomotives from its constituent companies, many of which were subsequently rebuilt, so that the company ultimately had sixty different classes and sub-classes with this wheel arrangement. In addition, the company also introduced two new 4-6-0 classes.
Following the formation of British Railways in 1948, two further 4-6-0 classes were introduced, both in 1951.
The first 4-6-0 locomotive built in the United States of America was the Chesapeake, built by Norris Locomotive Works for the Philadelphia and Reading railroad in March 1847. There are still conflicting opinions as to who the original designer of this type was. Many authorities attribute the design to Septimus Norris of Norris Locomotive Works, but in an 1885 paper, George E. Sellers attributes the design to John Brandt who worked for the Erie Railroad between 1842 and 1851.
A few days after William Norris completed the Chesapeake, Hinkley Locomotive Works completed their first 4-6-0 locomotive, the New Hampshire, for the Boston and Maine Railroad. The first 4-6-0 from Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works was the already mentioned Susquehanna for the Erie Railroad. Baldwin's first 4-6-0 locomotive did not appear until 1852.
Through the 1860s and into the 1870s, demand for locomotives of the 4-6-0 wheel arrangement grew as more railroad executives switched from purchasing a single, general-purpose type of locomotive such as the 4-4-0 American at that time, to purchasing locomotives designed for a specific purpose. Both the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) were early adopters of the 4-6-0, using them for fast freight as well as heavy passenger trains.
There were also two 3 ft narrow gauge 4-6-0 steam locomotives, numbers 274 and 275, built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in May 1925 for the United Railways of Yucatán in Mexico, where they were withdrawn in the 1960s. Both locomotives were rescued and purchased by Disney imagineers Roger E. Broggie and Earl Vilmer for $8,000 each to operate the Walt Disney World Railroad circling around the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Bay Lake, Florida. No. 274 became no. 1 Walter E. Disney and no. 275 became no. 3 Roger E. Broggie.
Probably the most famous American ten-wheeler is the Illinois Central Railroad’s no. 382, the locomotive driven by Casey Jones in the wreck with a freight train that was immortalized in Wallace Saunders’ song. A locomotive of the 4-6-0 type is on display at the Casey Jones museum in Jackson, Tennessee.
As far as is known, the heaviest 4-6-0 ever built was Southern Pacific no. 2371. According to R&LHS Bulletin no. 94, its engine weight was 242,500 pounds (109,996 kilograms).
One of the B&O's 4-6-0s, built in 1869, is preserved at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore. Another is at the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis. A third, The Great Northern Railway’s GN 1355, built in 1909 as a 4-6-0 but rebuilt to a 4-6-2 Pacific in 1924, is in Sioux City, Iowa. And the Jackson, TN., Casey Jones display.
The only surviving locomotive of the 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad (ET&WNC) is no. 12, a coal-fired 4-6-0 built in 1917 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works. It was originally used to haul passengers and freight over the ET&WNC's 66-mile (106-kilometre) line running from Johnson City over the Appalachian Mountains to Boone, North Carolina. Since 1957, it has been in operation at the Tweetsie Railroad theme park in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.
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