0-4-0 "Four Coupled"
The first locomotive in America came from England in 1829, an 0-4-0 built by Foster, Rastrick & Co. of Stourbridge, and named the Stourbridge Lion. Built for the Delaware & Hudson Canal Co., its intended use was to haul coal wagons on D&H's gravity railroad between Carbondale and Honesdale, Pa. However, after only two trial runs, it became painfully evident that the seven-ton engine was too heavy for D&H's track, and it was set aside.
Lighter 0-4-0s that could manage the rickety track of America's earliest railroads were quickly built for the D&H and other new lines. At first the engines came from England, but within a few short years America developed its own locomotive industry. Thereafter, domestic companies became the dominant suppliers to U.S. railroads.
These early engines were built with both vertical and horizontal boilers. Many of them, with names such as Tom Thumb, DeWitt Clinton, and Best Friend of Charleston became synonymous with American railroad history.
Mohawk & Hudson Railroad's 0-4-0 DeWitt Clinton had a horizontal boiler, 54-inch cast-iron driving wheels, and weighed 3.5 tons. Built in 1831 by the West Point Foundry at a cost of $3,200, it was the first steam locomotive to haul passengers in New York state (Albany to Schenectady in August 1831). In 1948, owner New York Central brought it to the Railroad Fair pageant in Chicago.
At first, almost any locomotive that could stay on the track and pull a few cars found work. But once trains started rolling on a regular basis, the railroads began to analyze their operations and quickly recognized the benefits of running trains at more than a snail's pace. This was a problem for the 0-4-0. It was an engine that needed good track - and good track back then was something in short supply.
The early 0-4-0s' had an un-equalized suspension system that could not transfer weight from one wheel to another as the undulating track dipped or rose. Four pedestals attached to the locomotive frame independently supported the ends of each axle. On wobbly track, this was akin to placing a four-legged stool on uneven ground - it was unstable. Locomotive speeds had to be restricted to avoid derailments.
To overcome this drawback, the 4-2-0 and then 4-4-0, were developed. These locomotives employed a better suspension system that could handle the poor track at higher speeds. With their introduction in the late 1830s, the 0-4-0 was phased out as a road engine.
However, around 1870 the 0-4-0 reappeared, this time as a switch engine. These engines were newly designed locomotives, with horizontal boilers and an improved suspension system capable of handling irregular track. They readily found a home in railroad yards and in the logging industry.
At the height of their popularity over 1,200 were in service.
There are two working 0-4-0's at the Fort Humboldt State Museum in Eureka. These two locomotives are the property of the Timber Heritage Association. If you go to this page on their site and click on "Falk" and "Gypsy" you can read the story of these two 0-4-0's. For more of their history and photos of club members' models of these two locos click here.
As trains grew heavier, the 0-4-0 again lost favor to another engine with more power, the 0-6-0, which by the turn of the century had become the standard yard engine. While it could not compete with the 0-6-0 in tractive effort, the 0-4-0 was still very flexible and could accommodate tight curves and clearances and, therefore, remained popular within the logging industry. Smaller locomotive builders such as Porter and Davenport built many 0-4-0 tank engines for short lines and for private industrial applications. Several of these locomotives lasted late into the diesel era.
The H. K. Porter Co. was the leading exclusive builder of light locomotives in the U. S. "Porter dinky" became the term in practice among hundreds of contractors and industrial customers, for it was the four-driver saddletanker, quality-built in numbers, that made the Porter reputation. Tiny, homely, dirty, and as faceless as the thousands of obscure, often times temporary railroads on which it ran, the dinky nevertheless deserves some study and recognition, if only for the job it did. The Davenport Locomotive Works, of Davenport, Iowa, built locomotives from 1902 until 1956. The company acquired the locomotive business of H. K. Porter Co. in 1950 and from then on produced Porter designs as well as its own.
In all, about 1500 North American 0-4-0, four-coupled locomotives were built.
Whilst there is nothing to see at Glen Blair there is a relic of the logging operations that took place there that you can still see in the form of an 0-4-0 loco. Prior to the scrap drive in WWII a crew from the ULC went to Glen Blair to photograph what was there. In a shed they found an abandoned Shay locomotive and abandoned outside was the "Dinkey".
The Shay was scrapped but the Dinkey (see pictures below) was hauled into Fort Bragg and was refurbished. Dinkey had a history before she got to Glen Blair. She originally belonged to the Navarro Railroad. When she was being unloaded she fell through the wharf. She was hauled out and ran just fine. She was sold to the Glen Blair Mill in 1904. You can see her in the Depot store in Fort Bragg. She sits in the north side corridor.