|The History of Steam Locomotive #614.
The peak of the locomotive industry saw
27 manufacturers in business throughout America. By the 1920's, the
field had narrowed to just four prominent locomotive builders. Of
these, the Lima Locomotive Works in Lima, Ohio, was recognized as the
builder of the "Cadillac" of all steam engines.
Based on the high quality of its
engines, Lima was the last surviving locomotive shop and produced the
final commercially built mainline passenger steam locomotive to be
built in America. It was the Number 614. Number 614 had its last bolt
tightened to roll out of the Lima shops in June of 1948.
Locomotive #614 was designed and
built to pull the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad's premier express
passenger trains, The George Washington and The Fast Flying Virginian
between Richmond and Chicago over the eastern continental divide
formed by the Allegheny Mountains.
An instant success, 614's
reliability, power and speed enabled the railroad to increase the size
of the trains she pulled and at the same time shortened scheduled
running times between destinations.
In 1945, the American railroads'
locomotive fleet was comprised of about 40,000 steam locomotives and 500
of the new diesel-electric engines. Repeated strikes by the coal
miners' union forced railroads to transform their fleets. Just eight
years later, there were 32,000 diesel-electrics compared to just 300
steam locomotives in operation.
#614 was retired from service in 1952
and was relegated to a storage track in a Kentucky roundhouse, where
she sat for more than two decades.
IIn 1976, she was cosmetically restored and donated to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.
THE RESURRECTION OF THE #614
In 1979, #614 was sold to railroad
enthusiast and entrepreneur Ross E. Rowland, Jr., who oversaw a crew of
15 mechanics and some 100 volunteers to completely rebuild her: a
project that took 18 months to complete at a cost of $1.5 million.
During the rehabilitation process, her fuel capacity was doubled from
25 to 50 tons - carried in the traditional tender behind the
locomotive. An auxiliary tender was added to attend to her thirst,
doubling her water-carrying capacity from 25,000 to 50,000 gallons.
All modifications made to #614 were aimed at enabling her to pull a
25-car, half-mile-long passenger train all day without having to stop
for any type of service.
In so doing, the #614 today equals the range of a modern diesel-electric locomotive.
TALL, LONG, HEAVY, POWERFUL & FAST
Locomotive #614 is 16 feet tall, 112
feet long and weighs-in at 434 tons. She develops approximately 5,000
horsepower and, at her peak, is capable of running at 120 miles per
BLACK SILVER ... AND PROVEN
#614 was accorded the singular honor
of being the only steam engine ever leased by Amtrak in its 25-year
history. For a portion of its run through West Virginia, she pulled The
Cardinal, on schedule and at speeds approaching 80 miles per hour.
During America's energy crises in the early 80's, #614 served as a
test-bed locomotive, pulling coal trains on the C.S.X. railroad as
part of a program to design a new-generation coal-fired locomotive.
614's most recent assignment has been
powering a series of excursions from Hoboken, NJ to Port Jervis, NY
over NJ Transit's Mainline and Conrail's Southern Tier Mainline. These
180 mile round-trip "Iron Horse Rambles" have carried nearly 17,000
people some of whom have come from as far as New Zealand, Australia
and Japan for the chance to ride behind this magnificently restored
engine. As Iron Horse CEO, Ross Rowland states "the Port Jervis
excursions are the only place in the free world where one can ride
behind steam (with no diesels anywhere in the consist) at speeds up to
79 M.P.H. and be afforded open-air space to really soak in the sound
and fury of this magnificent example of the steam locomotive builder's
art running at speed."
He goes on to say "the 180 mile round
trip to Port Jervis is an ideal excursion in that it allows us to run
at sustained high speeds, gives the 614 a real challenge in bringing
the 24 car long train up the 1%, 13 mile long grade coming home out of
Port Jervis, gives the customers the thrill of a 20 square mile vista
from the 3,000 foot high Moodna Viaduct (the train stops briefly on
the viaduct to allow everyone to get great photo's etc.). If you love
steam, this is as good as it gets."
SELF-RELIANT AND READY TO TRAVEL
Fully-equipped with the latest
communications gear and supported by a shop tool/service car that
carries all necessary tools, parts and supplies for an extended road
tour, #614's superb condition, robust stature, and dedicated crew
insure that she will provide reliable - and inspirational - service
regardless of her destination.
THE PROOF IS IN THE PULLING
There were no tourist steam-train
operations in 1960. Today, there are 275 throughout the 50 states,
attracting more than 15 million visitors yearly. And these are
stationary attractions drawing ridership from virtually the same
geographic regions. One of these excursion lines reports that when the
steam locomotive is pulling the train, ridership and revenues
increase by 100% over ridership and revenues when the motive power is
In the words of a veteran showman and
major entertainment producer, "With a diesel, it's another train; with a
steam locomotive, it's a happening!"
Indeed, it has been the demonstrated
experience of mainline steam excursions - when the steam locomotive
heads a train - - that not only do hundreds of thousands of people
line the tracks, but major media coverage is a given.
||Lima-Hamilton Corporation, Lima, Ohio U.S.A.
||Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad
|Month / Year Built:
|C&O Railroad Class:
|C&O Railroad Road Number:
|Length, including tender:
||112' - 3"
|Weight on Drivers:
|Locomotive & Tender Weight:
||100.3 sq ft
|Cylinders (dia x stroke):
||27.5" x 30"
|Tender Capacity as built 1948:
||water: 21,500 gals
coal: 25 tons