• Last NEW steam built in US?

  • Discussion of steam locomotives from all manufacturers and railroads
Discussion of steam locomotives from all manufacturers and railroads

Moderators: slide rules, Typewriters

  by D Alex
I've heard a story that the NYC bought a few 'el-cheapo' Berkshires in the early 50's, due to there being a backlog in orders for EMD diesels. Would these be the last NEW steam locomotives built in the US?
  by amtrakhogger
Fwik, the last new steam were built by N&W were 0-8-0’s in Roanoke shops around 1950-51.
  by NorthWest
Those NYC (P&LE) 2-8-4s were the last steam locomotives built by Alco, in 1949. Baldwin and Lima also built their last domestic steam in 1949, while N&W kept building 0-8-0s until 1953.
The last steam locomotives built in the USA during the steam era was an order of Indian Railways WGs (I think) built by Baldwin in 1954/1955.
  by Allen Hazen
Minor correction: the P&LE Berkshires, 9400-9406, were built in 1948: last one outshopped in June. Baldwin and Lima finished production of (conventional: Baldwin built a steam-turbine-electric for N&W in 1954) steam locomotives for (domestic: note the Baldwin export order reported in NorthWest's post) customers in 1949. Lima's last (NKP Berkshire 779) was built in May, I think, Baldwin's (C&O 2-6-6-2 mallets 1300-1309) were delivered late in the year (delivery starting in September according to one source), but I assume were built before the Lima engine, which is usually cited as the last built. (Because of strikes in the coal industry, C&O may have asked Baldwin to delay delivery.) The Norfolk and Western and a few other railroads built many of their steam locomotives in their own workshops, and, as Amtrakhogger and NorthWest have pointed out, they continued for a few years more. I think David P. Morgan, the editor of "Trains" magazine, noted that 1953 was the first year since the early 19th C. in which no new steam locomotives were <i>ordered</i> for use on the U.S. railroad network.

The P&LE Berkshires are puzzling: it's not clear why they were ordered (the New York Central, P&LE's corporate parent, had already taken delivery of freight diesels from both EMD and Alco (& maybe Baldwin and FM) in 1947). It's not because they were cheap: in fact, the order was reduced from 10 to 7 because of cost.

NorthWest's "during the steam era" is a nice way of limiting the question and ruling out irrelevant counterexamples. I believe there have been a few full-scale operating replicas of 19th C. steam locomotives built in recent years for museum/tourist railroads, and the Mt. Washington Cog Railroad (not exactly standard gauge, but within an inch or two) built a new steam locomotive in its own shops in, I think, the 1970s!
  by Gadfly
NW 611 was built in 1950. As a kid, I saw NW steam in Salisbury as late as 1959 near an interchange track and close to the big Salisbury, NC (Southern) station.

  by Pat Fahey
I would like to add this since the post is dealing with last new Steam built in the US.

Here is my question, what was the last, NEW Steam Build for a New England RR,in the United States What Year, What Road.
  by edbear
Would the last new built locomotives for a New England railroad be the Rutland's 90 series 4-8-2s? About 1946 or so.
  by Pat Fahey
Edbear you are correct, the Rutland the Green hornets.Pat
  by Engineer Spike
Years ago, Trains Magazine did an article on some of the ugliest steamers built. To keep a positive spin on things, I’ll say that the Rutland L1 class was one of the best looking steamers. They have the powerful looking late Alco lines. They looked clean, and didn’t have apparatus hung about so it looked like an afterthought.