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The Atlantic Class of Steam Locomotives

The Atlantic class of steam locomotives were widly used all over the world, but they were developed in the United States by the Hinkley Locomotive Works in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Atlantic class of steam locomotives having a wheel arrangement of 4-4-2 was originally developed by the Hinkley Locomotive Works from a design by their engineer George Strong. The first engine using this design did not prove successful and was soon scrapped. This wheel arrangement was adopted by the Baldwin locomotive Works who built a successful engine in 1894 that was used then the Atlantic City line of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad. Once this locomotive was proved to be successful The Pennsylvania Railroad built up a vast fleet of what they called that E class Atlantics. The E class locomotives were in service on the Pennsylvania until the end of steam after World War II in the 1960s.

It was the regional intent of the builders of these locomotives that they should be used to haul wood framed passenger cars. For this reason a variety of configurations were developed on this theme that included the four-cylinder Vauclain compound having four cylinders that have been previously used on some express 4-4-0s and some other locomotives of 4-4-0 and 4-6-0 and even some 2-4-2 engines. In the early 1910s to roll roots started adding steel passenger trains that precipitated the intervention of a new class of railroad locomotive that was configured with the 4-6-2 that was designated the Pacific type of engine that was supposed to be the standard express passenger engine. This engine in previously been used as a mountain engine. There were some railroads like the Chicago and Northwestern, Pennsylvania, the Southern Pacific, and the Santa Fe that stayed with it Atlantic type locomotive into the end of steam during the 1950s. During their heyday some of these locomotives were even being used as switch engines moving around some light local freight.

Even though these engines were intended for passenger service before the first world war they were often pressed into service as mountain helpers even though they were not suited for this kind of work or long-distance operations either. These engines had driving wheels or often over 6 feet in diameter making them adequate for high speed pulling a passenger train at speeds up to 100 mph. Limit their bad habits that high-speed was a condition called chopping that made one of these locomotives unstable. Although they were used in some mountain work as a helper because the large diameter of their driving wheels they were really not suited for this service; by climbing any railroad grade they really needed smaller driving wheels for adhesion to the rails and for driving wheel traction.

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Comments (1)

Excellent and informative article..thanks for sharing