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PHOTOGRAPHS OF STEAM LOCOMOTIVES BUILT IN PROVIDENCE BY THE
RHODE ISLAND LOCOMOTIVE WORKS
 
A Mogul type locomotive built by the Rhode Island Locomotive Works for the New York, New Haven & Hartford in 1903.  K-1-d 392 is at Hawleyville, CT, November 4, 1940. 
 
         In September 1866 the Rhode Island Locomotive Works delivered its first locomotive to the Providence & Worcester Railroad.  The new 4-4-0 type engine was named after General Burnside, a founder of the plant located on Valley and Hemlock Streets in Providence less than a mile west of the state house and downtown.  Over the next 42 years slightly over 4,000 steam locomotives would be constructed by the works.  Because of its location, a large portion of the production would be sold to New England railroads but Rhode Island locomotives would also be purchased by hundreds of railroads in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The Rhode Island Locomotive Works was situated on the Woonasquatucket River.  The bridge in the foreground is Hemlock Street while to the left a railroad spur crosses the river on a bridge that was frequently used to pose new locomotives for their builder's portraits.  Valley Street is to the rear.  Kinsley Avenue parallels the river in the foreground outside the photograph.

 

The Rhode Island Locomotive Works in 1895.  The short rail spur originally connected the works to the Boston, Hartford & Erie Railroad which ran parallel to the Woonasquatucket River at this point.  In later years the plant was served by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad which had consolidated the railroads in Rhode Island.

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        The Burnside Rifle Company was converted into a locomotive manufacturer when the end of the Civil War sharply reduced the demand for arms.  The locomotive business was as perilous as the arms business because it was feast or famine.  When the economy was strong and railroads were being expanded, they were hard pressed to transport the output of goods and consequently they ordered more locomotives.   When economic output slowed the railroads had sufficient locomotives and orders for new locomotives became scarce.  The Rhode Island works were prosperous for the first several years and about a hundred locomotives a year were being produced by about 300 employees.  But in 1873 the country suffered a finacial panic and from November 1873 to May 1874 the plant in Providence closed due to troubled times in the railroad industry.  The next twenty years were again good, production high and employment about 1,300.  Again a depression struck the country and from mid-1896 to mid-1899 shipments of locomotives stopped.  Finally, in 1899 the works were sold to the International Power Company, a new company with interests in other manufacturing companies.  The International Power Company had some success and built about 250 locomotives over the next two years.
CONSTRUCTION NUMBER 3030 WAS AN 0-4-0T BUILT FOR MATHESON ALKALI WORKS
       
       At the start of the twentieth century the locomotive business consisted of many competitors, most relativly small but sufficiently large enough to create excess capacity when times were hard.  In 1901, the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) was formed to consolidate several of the builders.  The new company acquired the Schenectady, Brooks, Richmond, Manchester, Cooke, Dunkirk, Pittsburgh, Rogers and Rhode Island works, leaving only Baldwin as a significant competitor.   About 600 locomotives were built at ALCO's Providence plant.  However, the Rhode Island works were too small to deal with the growing size of locomotives and production ceased in 1907.  ALCO used the facility to construct automobiles until about 1914 but the business failed to prosper and the works manufactured munitions during the war.   In 1918 the property was sold to the U.S.Rubber Company which was active in Providence until the mid-twentiethe century.  Most recently the site has been redeveloped under the name American Locomotive Works.
Maine Central 367 was built by the Rhode Island Locomotive Works in 1906.  The 4-6-0 type is doubleheading a freight train with 2-8-2 type 624.  On the right is St. Johnsbury & Lake Champlain 39 with a milk train.
Photographed at St. Johnsbury, Vermont, August 14, 1946.
 
 
THIS SITE IS NOT A TEXTUAL HISTORY OF THE RHODE ISLAND LOCOMOTIVE WORKS
The site is a portfolio of nearly four hundred fifty photographs of locomotives built by the company offering a visual history of the production.  The next page provides an overview of the types of locomotives built by Rhode Island.  Suceeding pages provide a more comprehensive look at individual locomotive types.   There are one or more pages of
4-4-0's, 4-6-0's, 2-6-0's, 2-8-0's etc.   Some photographs show the locomotives when new, while others depict locomotives that have been in use for some time and possibly modified or rebuilt.  Because I mainly collected photographs of New England steam locomotives, not Rhode Island built ones specifically, the content is weighted more heavily with New England steam than is representative of the output of the works.
 
THE TYPE OF PLATE THAT WAS ATTACHED TO THE STEAM CHEST OF MANY LOCOMOTIVES BUILT IN PROVIDENCE
 
NAVIGATING THIS SITE - PLEASE READ
To go to a specific page:
Click the site map in the upper left corner.  Next click the box with the horizontal lines.  This will bring-up a list of pages that show specific types of locomotives.  Click the type of locomotive type desired.
You may also scroll from page to page.
 
 New Haven K-1-d Class 2-6-0 363 was built by Rhode Island in 1904.   Photo at Rocky Neck, CT, August 1946
 
 PLEASE VISIT MY OTHER SITES WHICH FOLLOW:
 
SITE CONSTRUCTED BY EDWARD J. OZOG
 
 
Subpages (1): a. OVERVIEW