June 2009 Article

This Months' Article - June 2009:
Hard pressed to find detail on early locomotives of the N&A, I recently had an opportunity to find what would have appeared to be a limited resource on 2  specific locomotives purchased secondhand from a used equipment dealer that became N&A #'s 5 & 6.  Under the"Publications about Nelson & Albemarle" link on the sidebar, I've added the Railroad & Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin, Railroad History 162,  from Spring 1990 which has a 2 line reference to N&A locomotives 5 & 6 that were Forney-designed Pittsburgh-built 0-4-4T class K2 of the Manhattan Railway as #60 (Built 1/1894) and #56 (Built 12/1893).  There were 20 locomotives of the K2 class built.  Alden Dreyer was my contact for the purchase of the publication and he noted the limited reference.  Alden is the official distributor for the R&LHS Bulletins (see "Publications about Nelson & Albemarle" noted above for his contact information).  What wasn't apparent until receiving Volume 162 was that the entire story of the Manhattan Railway was very informative and expressed issues with such items as vacumn brakes rather than air brakes, no front pilot or steps, and the obvious Forney design.  Without a photo taken while on the N&A property, changes to those items by the secondhand dealer, P. McManus of Cape Charles, Virginia, cannot be determined.  However the publication provided some very important details that were not available elsewhere.  First, there was a builders diagram of the series noted on page 50.  Helping modelers build specific prototypes is also a goal of this site so that is very beneficial to that community.  Also, though not of either engine #56 or #60 (those engines purchased secondhand from the broker), page 57 had a photo of #54 which, in a sequence of this size built by the same builder, should be accurate for those ending up in Schuyler.  Pages 60-61 have complete specifications of the K2 series.  And finally on page 79, the listing of the K2 locomotives and dispositions.  The good part of this from the specifications was the driver size listing (42"), cylinders (12x16), engine weight (48,200#) and weight on drivers (33,000#), tractive effort 48,200# noted for the K2 class of 0-4-0T locomotive.  Wheel base was 16' 1" and there were 183 tubes with a grate area of 14 SF and heating surface of 546 SF.  The boiler diameter of 42" (Belpaire Firebox) and water capacity of 512g fill out the specs.  I'm always amazed at the way you might learn from a article about the person who photographed a series of engines, or how the characteristics of a certain engine performed for one railroad and might have been effective for the same reason on another with tight radius curves.  How certain appliances on a locomotive might be changed out to another type (or not) to fit the specific needs of that railroad.  From other writings it's apparent that the vacuum brakes were not changed out, limiting (officially) the use of these locomotives on the Nelson & Albemarle as mill switchers though likely finding their way onto the main as a resource to be used.  One of them may also have attained a nickname of  "Spunky Sally" according to report referenced in Garth Groff's Soapstone Shortlines book but it's a guess which of the original several locomotives that the N&A operated had this name reference.  The builders numbers from Pittsburgh were 1508 (#56 - N&A #6) and 1510 (#60 - N&A #5) and while there are likely no photos from the secondhand dealer (#60 purchased 12/1904; #56 purchased 5/1905) of these locomotives (as I'm sure that with over 300 of these engines to sell off, any dealer wasn't stopping for too long to have a photograph prepared but was concentrating on making the sales to every shortline or industrial rail company they could), I'm still looking for records of the secondhand dealer to determine what permanent archival documents might have been maintained.  In an unusual twist, the 2 locomotives were resold to P. McManus, the dealer who had arranged their original resale from the New York EL line to Alberene Stone Company.  So, Alden, for your benefit, this was a great reference to an early pair of locomotives and the story of the Manhattan Railway provided some well needed background into how the evolution of the K2 came about.   Please note any comments on "This Months' Articles" in the comments section either on the MAIN page or in the sidebar archives section.  Copyright 2009 - Nelson & Albemarle Railway Historical Society.