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4-6-4 locomotive, in the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, has four leading wheels (generally arranged in a leading truck), six coupled driving wheels and four trailing wheels (often but not always in a trailing truck).

Other equivalent classifications are:

UIC classification: 2C2 (also known as German classification and Italian classification)

French classification: 232

Turkish classification: 37

Swiss classification: 3/7

The type is sometimes called the Hudson or Baltic.

The 4-6-4 is best seen as combining the basic nature of the 4-6-2 'Pacific' type with an improved boiler and larger firebox that required extra support at the rear of the locomotive. Generally the available tractive effort was little different from that of the Pacific, but steam-raising ability was increased, giving more power at speed. 4-6-4s were best suited to high-speed running across flat country. The type has fewer driving wheels than carrying wheels and thus a smaller percentage of the locomotive's weight is available for traction compared to other types. For starting heavy trains and slogging on gradients, a 4-6-4 really needs a booster engine, but for sustained long grades, more pairs of driving wheels are better.

The world speed record for steam locomotives was at least twice held by a 4-6-4; the Milwaukee Road's class F6 #6402 in 1934 with , and German 05 002 in 1936 with 124.5 mph (200.4 km/h).

4-6-4 was also a fairly common wheel arrangement for a passenger tank locomotive. As such it was essentially the equivalent of a 4-6-0 locomotive with the tender replaced by a tank and bunker carried by a four-wheel truck.

North America

The first 4-6-4 tender locomotive in North America was built in 1927 by ALCO for the New York Central Railroad, and to the NYC's design. The locomotive proved very successful and was named the Hudson type after the Hudson River. The NYC and its Boston & Albany, Big Four and Michigan Central, subidiaries acquired 275 Hudsons, the largest fleet in North America, of several different types.

The Milwaukee Road could have produced the first American 4-6-4; its design was earlier than the NYC's, but financial constraints delayed the project, and Milwaukee's locomotives emerged later. The Milwaukee called them Baltics, following European practice started in France. The initial order of 14 class F6 locomotives was joined by 8 more of class F6a a year later in 1931, and in 1938 the road acquired 6 streamlined F7 Baltics with shrouds designed by noted industrial designer Otto Kuhler. These took over the Milwaukee's crack Hiawatha expresses from the class A 4-4-2 Atlantics, and were among the fastest steam locomotives of all time. Schedules of many of these trains required extended running substantially above .

The second-largest buyer of the type in North America was the Canadian Pacific Railway, which bought 65 (numbered 2800-2864). designated "H1" class and were highly successful in improving service and journey times on the CPR's transcontinental routes. The newer CPR Hudsons were called Royal Hudsons (numbered 2820-2864) and were semi-streamlined. Royal permission was given for these locomotives to bear the royal crown and arms after locomotive 2850 hauled King George VI across Canada in 1939. A total of five CPR Hudsons survive today, Canadian Pacific 2816 (H1b) is the sole remaining non-streamlined CPR Hudson remaining. 2816 is operational and pulls excursions for CP and was repatriated to CP in 1998. The other remaining H1 Hudsons are the famed royal hudsons. As of 2008 numbers 2839, 2850, and 2858 are on display in museums in California (2839), Quebec (2850) and Ontario (2858). 2860, the first CPR Hudson built Royal, is operational and based in British Columbia. The CP Hudsons are, as of 2008, the only Hudsons operational in North America.

Twenty railroads in North America owned 4-6-4s; these include, as well as the foregoing, the Santa Fe (16 locomotives), Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (4), Canadian National (5), Chesapeake & Ohio (18), Burlington (14), Chicago & North Western (9), Lackawanna (5), Illinois Central (1 — the only example of a Hudson designed for freight haulage), Maine Central (2), Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México (National Railways of Mexico — 10), New Haven (10), Nickel Plate (8), Frisco, and Wabash (7).

Many 4-6-4s were similar in concept to the NYC's Hudsons, with driving wheels, but most of these were a little larger than the NYC's locomotives. Included in this group are the Milwaukee's F6 and F6a, the Canadian National K-5-a and Canadian Pacific locomotives, the Burlington's S-4, the New Haven's I-5, and the Lackawanna's 1151 class.

A group of railroads ordered larger, faster 4-6-4s with drivers; these included the Milwaukee's F7, the Santa Fe's 3460 class locomotives, and the Chicago and Northwestern's class E-4. The Milwaukee and CNW locomotives were all streamlined, while one of the Santa Fe's was.

The other main grouping of North American 4-6-4s are the lightweights, which include the Nickel Plate's L-1 class locomotives, the Maine Central's class D, and the Nacionales de México class NR-1. In these, the extra wheels were used to reduce the axle load in comparison to a 4-6-2 "Pacific".

Finally, there were many one-off and experimental 4-6-4s. A number were rebuilds from Pacifics, or in some cases other designs. Baltimore & Ohio built four examples as experimentals, using Colonel Emerson's water-tube fireboxes, but eventually turned to diesels instead. The Illinois Central rebuilt a 2-8-4 into its only Hudson; Illinois Central No. 1 was not a success, and was not repeated. The Wabash had rebuilt its class P1 from 2-8-2 Mikados

North American 4-6-4 locomotives (in first order sequence)
Railroad (quantity) Class Road numbers Builder Build year Notes
Grand Trunk Railway (6)
X-10-a
1540–1545
Montreal
1914
Tank engines. Later CN 45–50
New York Central Railroad (195)
J-1
5200–5344
ALCO
1927–31
J-3a
5405–5454
ALCO
1937–38
NYC (Boston and Albany Railroad (20)
J-2a
600–604
ALCO
1928
Renumbered NYC 5455–5459
J-2b
605–609
ALCO
1930
Renumbered NYC 5460–5464
J-2c
610–619
Limamarker
1931
Renumbered NYC 5465–5474
NYC (Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad) (30)
J-1d
6600–6619
ALCO
1929
Renumbered NYC 5375–5394
J-1e
6620–6629
ALCO
1931
Renumbered NYC 5395–5404
NYC (Michigan Central) (30)
J-1b
8200–8209
ALCO
1927
Renumbered NYC 5345–5354
J-1c
8210–8214
ALCO
1929
Renumbered NYC 5355–5359
J-1d
8215–8229
ALCO
1930
Renumbered NYC 5360–5374
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (16)
3450
3450–3459
Baldwinmarker
1927
3460
3460–3465
Baldwin
1937
One streamlined (#3460)
Nickel Plate Road (8)
L-1a
170–173
ALCO
1927
L-1b
174–177
Lima
1929
Canadian Pacific Railway (65)
H1a
2800–2809
Montreal
1929
H1b
2810–2819
Montreal
1930
H1c
2820–2849
Montreal
1937
Streamlined
H1d
2850–2859
Montreal
1938
Streamlined
H1e
2860–2864
Montreal
1940
Streamlined, oil burner
Canadian National Railway (5)
K-5-a
5700–5704
Montreal
1930
Milwaukee Road (28)
F6
6400–6413
Baldwin
1930
Renumbered 125–138
F6-a
6414–6421
Baldwin
1931
Renumbered 142–146, 139–141
F7
100–105
ALCO
1938
Streamlined
Maine Central Railroad (2)
D
701–702
Baldwin
1930
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (4)
V-1
5047
B&O, Mount Claremarker
1933
Rebuilt from P-1 class
V-2
2
B&O, Mount Clare
1935
New; renumbered 5340
V-3
5350
B&O, Mount Clare
1935
New
V-4
5360
B&O, Mount Clare
1936
New
Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad (5)
1151
1151–155
ALCO
1937
Illinois Central Railroad (1)
1
IC
1937
Rebuilt from 2-8-4 #7038
Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México (10)
NR-1
2700–2709
ALCO
1937
New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad (10)
I-5
1400–1409
Baldwin
1937
Semi-streamlined
St. Louis-San Francisco Railway (10)
1060
1060–1069
SLSF
1937–41
Rebuilt from 4-6-2s
Chicago and North Western Railway (9)
E-4
4000–4008
ALCO
1938
Streamlined
Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (18)
L-2
300–307
Baldwin
1941
L-1
490–494
C&O
1946–47
Rebuilt from 4-6-2; four streamlined
L-2-A
310–314
Baldwin
1948
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad (14)
S-4
3000–3011
Baldwin
1930
S-4
3012
CB&Q
1935
New
S-4A
4001
CB&Q
1938
New, streamlined, named Æolus
Wabash Railroad (7)
P-1
700–706
WAB, Decatur
1943–47
Rebuilt from 2-8-2s


Because the 4-6-4 design was really only good for express passenger trains, which dieselized early, Hudsons were early candidates for withdrawal and scrapping. None of the NYC's locomotives survive; neither do the Milwaukee's. Five Canadian Pacific Hudsons survive, these include four Royal Hudsons, along with the non-streamlined Canadian Pacific 2816 which was restored by the Canadian Pacific railway in 2001. Four of the Burlington's, two each of the Santa Fe's and Canadian National's, and single examples from the C&O, NdeM and Nickel Plate.While the Pennsylvania Railroad didn't have any 4-6-4 steam locomotives the PRR had a fleet of 4-6-4 electrics classified P5a.

Japan

The Japanese National Railways built three classes of rather advanced, American style gauge Hudsons, classes C60 (47 built), C61 (33 built) and C62 (49 built). The C60 and C61 were smaller and the C62 was a larger locomotive, filling the small Japanesemarker loading gauge. All were officially rebuilt from earlier locomotives of different arrangement, but it is believed that this was for accounting purposes rather than any real cost saving; the parts re-used appear to have been minimal. They were all equipped with disk drivers and much in the way of American-style appliances, although they had British-style smokebox doors.

France

232 U 1, as preserved in the SNCF Musée de Mulhouse
The first 4-6-4 tender locomotives in the world were the two four-cylinder compounds designed by Gaston du Bousquet for the Chemin du Fer du Nord and built at the company's workshops in 1911.

They were allegedly designed to pull the Paris - St Petersburg express, and hence the title Baltic. But the name was obviously a logical extension of the convention started with 'Atlantic' and 'Pacific'.

Their most remarkable feature was perhaps the arrangement of the two low-pressure inside cylinders en echelon so as to accommodate the very large bore. One had a water-tube firebox. They were not multiplied, but gave place to the highly successful Nord Pacifics and Super-Pacifics which followed.

One survives, in sectioned form in the Cité du Train at Mulhouse in France. See http://www.railfaneurope.net/pix/fr/steam/misc_Nord/pix.html

France also produced some of the last Baltics. In 1938 Marc de Caso, the last CME of the Nord, originated the construction of eight Baltics, all delivered to the newly-created SNCF, the nationalised French railway system. Of these eight, four were built as four-cylinder compounds, with rotary cam poppet valve gear, later replaced by Walschaerts gear driving oscillating cams; three were built as three cylinder simples, also with rotary cam poppet valve gear. The compounds clearly outperformed the simples.

The eighth, and final, French Baltic completed in 1949 as 232 U 1, and is also preserved in Mulhouse. This was another four-cylinder compound with Walschaerts valve gear, but in this final form driving very large and light piston valves. It proved capable of more than 4000 i.h.p.

One of those engines was the theme of a fashion photoshot in Stanley Donen's movie Funny face (1957)

There would have been further classes of French 4-6-4s had either Chapelon's pre-war (four-cylinder compound) or post-war (three-cylinder compound) schemes gone ahead.

British Isles

A number of 4-6-4 tank locomotives were built for various Britishmarker railway companies. The first and longest-lived were two built by Nasmyth Wilson in 1904 for the narrow-gauge County Donegal Railways. Both later superheated, one lasted (derelict) until 1967.

The first standard-gauge examples were Robert Harben Whitelegg's design for the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway in 1912. The London, Brighton and South Coast Railway built seven L Class tank locomotives between 1914 and 1922. The first examples suffered from instability problems until rebuilt with well-tanks. These high-speed tank locomotives hauled the famous Southern Belle until electrification of the Brighton Main Line in 1933, after which they were converted into N15X class 4-6-0 tender locomotives, remaining in service until 1957.

The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, Furness Railway, Belfast and County Down Railway and the Glasgow and South Western Railway (Whitelegg's second attempt) also had classes of this wheel arrangement. Of these the LYR examples were very rare in having four cylinders, but were too large and too complex for the duties they performed; the BNCR unsuperheated tanks were spectacularly unsuccssful because of poor valve settings; while the Furness tanks, also unsuperheated and almost uniquely with inside cylinders, were very popular with their crews. Beyer, Peacock built some inside-cylinder Baltic tanks for Holland which were commandeered by the British Government and saw service on the Western Front in the Great War.

The only 4-6-4 tender locomotive in Great Britain was LNER No. 10000, built in 1930 as an experimental high-pressure compound locomotive with an experimental water-tube boiler, and known as the "hush-hush" locomotive on account of the great secrecy with which it was built. The experiment proved much less successful than hoped, and in 1936 it was rebuilt along the lines of a streamlined LNER Class A4 Pacific, though it retained its unique wheel arrangement. It was the only locomotive of Class W1. Its trailing wheels were arranged uniquely; instead of being in one 4-wheel trailing truck, the first pair were instead a Cartazzi axle, as typical of LNER Pacific practice, being mounted in a rigid frame but allowed sideways deflection against a centering force. The second pair were in a two-wheel trailing truck. After its rebuild, the W1 was easily distinguishable from an A4 at a glance, without looking for the extra trailing wheels, by the fact that it was never named; it was therefore known to train spotters as "the no-name streak".

However the London Midland and Scottish Railway seriously considered a 4-6-4 development of its Coronation Pacific for Anglo-Scottish services in the years just before the Second World War.

This would have had 300 psi boiler pressure, four cylinders, mechanical stoking and many features in common with a 4-8-4 fast freight engine. But the advent of the war prevented this entirely practical proposition from ever seeing the light of day.

Germany

05 001 as preserved in the DB Museum, Nuremberg
In addition to a number of 4-6-4 tank locomotives (the best known being the K.P.E.V. T18, later numbered as class 78), three 4-6-4 tender locomotives were built in 1935. Classified as Class 05, they were designed for high speed running; they were 3-cylinder locomotives, with giant 90½ inch driving wheels and powerful clasp brakes on all wheels. The first two locomotives, 05 001 and 05 002 were conventional locomotives, but the third, 05 003 was built as a cab forward, burning pulverised coal. All were built streamlined, in shrouds that covered the locomotives almost to the railhead. In 1936, 05 002 set a world speed record of 124.5 mph (200.4 km/h) which soon afterwards was beaten by the LNER's famous Mallard.

All three survived World War II and were rebuilt as conventional, unstreamlined locomotives in 1950 with new boilers, in which form they worked until 1957 when electric locomotives took over the high-speed routes. The first locomotive, 05 001, was restored to its original streamlined configuration and placed into a museum in 1961.

India

There were two classes of 4-6-4 tender engines in India, both very early in the history of the configuration, and also of unusually narrow gauge. The 2-foot-6 gauge G class were built 1928-39; the 2-foot gauge ND class were built in 1928.

Australia

Seventy R class "Hudson" 4-6-4 tender locomotives, the only class of this configuration in Australia, were introduced by the Victorian Railways in 1951 for mainline express passenger operations. However, the introduction in 1952 of B class diesel electric locomotives saw the R class almost immediately relegated to secondary passenger and freight use, with many put into storage at depots around the state. A number were preserved and some of these continue to operate on special excursion trains.

With the privatisation of regional passenger operations in Victoria in the mid-1990s, two R class locomotives were brought into normal revenue service for regularly scheduled mainline passenger trains between Melbournemarker and Warrnamboolmarker. The locomotives featured a number of modifications to allow for reliable high speed operation, including dual Lempor exhausts, oil firing, and the addition of a diesel control stand for multiple unit operation. The use of these R class locomotives on the Warrnambool line did not continue after the demise of the private operator in 2004.

The 4-6-4T tank locomotive configuration was a popular type with the Western Australian Government Railways. The D class and its successors, the Dm and Dd Class all featured this arrangement.

New Zealand



The New Zealand Railways Department did not use the 4-6-4 arrangement for any tender locomotives, but it was the wheel arrangement for a number of tank locomotive classes. The first such examples were built in 1902, when three B class tender locomotives entered the Addingtonmarker and Hillsidemarker workshops and emerged rebuilt as tank locomotives and classified as the WE class. In 1910, the Railways Department's Chief Mechanical Engineer A. L. Beattie designed a number of original 4-6-4T locomotives, the WG class, and two further classes with the 4-6-4T arrangement followed in later years, the WAB/WS class and the WW class.

Soviet Union

Only 3 prototype Hudsons were built in the former Soviet Union in 1937-1938. They all were streamlined. 2 were built in Kolomna (2-3-2K series, internal designation P12, chief designer Lev Lebedyanskii) and were used to haul "Red Arrow" passenger train between Moscow and Leningrad. There were plans to build up to 10 2-3-2K locomotives to haul all express passenger trains between Moscow and Leningrad, but these plans were interrupted by World War II. Their power was up to . One was built in Voroshilovgrad (2-3-2V locomotive, number 6998). This locomotive was never used for the mainline service. All were scrapped in the fifties.

See also



References

  1. Sagle, Laurence, B&O Power
  2. Reed, Brian, Loco Profile, Nord Pacifics
  3. Ransome Wallis (ed), Concise Encyclopedia of World Railway Locomotives
  4. Chapelon, Andre La Locomotive a Vapeur
  5. Patterson, Edward M, The County Donegal Railways
  6. Bradley, D.L., Locomotives of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (RCTS) Vol 3
  7. Fryer, C.E.J.,British Baltic Tanks
  8. Cox, Stewart, Locomotive Panorama Vol 1


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