It's all about class.....

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by steamhead, May 31, 2008.

  1. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    I've been reading lately (as if I didn't have a layout to work on...wall1) about different steam locomotives in different RR's...All have one thing in common: they all have a "Class" designation. There are R-1', S-2's, Y2a's, H-8's...the list goes on and on....I see no rhyme or reason as to how class designations were arrived at. Can someone shed a little light on this mistery..?? :confused:
  2. ScratchyAngel

    ScratchyAngel Member

  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Classes were determined by the railways for their own purposes. They did not consult with each other unless there was a factor like common ownership.
    (I think the Long Island and Pennsylvania systems overlapped.)
    A lot of early railways designated class by the number or name of the first locomotive built. This give rise to names like 269 class.
    My favourite example is the LNER A1 class. A was a Pacific (4-6-2 or the tank version) as the premier locomotive. When the grouping happened in 1923, Gresley became Chief Engineer so his pacific was designated A1 and others became up to A5. A1 included Flying Scotsman. His streamliners became A4.
    The A1s were rebuilt and became class A10. When Thompson replaced Gresley, he rebuilt the first of Gresley's pacifics :curse: and gave it class A1. When Thompson gave way to Peppercorn, Peppercorn designed a new series that were designated A1.
  4. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    the only thing I can add is what I have heard not officially read or any thing. The C&O used letters as H8 that were supposed to be in order. the only one that is out of order is the T1. It supposedly was the first classification after a big wig engineer(not train driver)came to C&O from the Reading R.R. He gave it the T because the Readings next letter for classification was T. I don't know how accurate this is but it makes a good story.
  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    As has been noted, the railroads themselves determined the classification of a particular locomotive. Interestingly, the NYC was just plain stubborn about not allowing any of their locomotives to be referred to as a type named by another railroad. A 4-8-4 might be called a "Northern" on any other railroad, but on the NYC they were "Niagara's." I don't if it has changed since the SF-BN merger, but I remember meeting an engineer on the Santa Fe a few years ago. He could not tell you what an Sd40-2 was, or even the difference between an Sd40-2 and a Gp50. They were classified by the Santa Fe according to the number of the first locomotive in the class thus a Gp40x was known as a 3801 class.
  6. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    as les said the C&O engines class went in the 2-6-6-2's which went from H-4,H-5 (which were usra),H-6,then 2-8-8-2's which are H-7 then alleghany's H-8.there are other examples but this is just one that i know well :D.--josh
  7. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    PRR designations used letters, apparently in the order the wheel arrangements were introduced. A(number) were 0-4-0s, B(number) were 0-6-0s, up to T(number) for 4-4-4-4s. In each letter, numbers were assigned to each successive variant of that wheel arrangement. Their two classes of 2-10-2 were N1 and N2.

    It appears that some other roads may have used the same system, but independently. Another road might have had a K4, but K wasn't necessarily for Pacifics on that road.

    Just as steam locomotive designs weren't standardized between roads, nor were class designations.
  8. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    Rio Grande had a letter classification, followed by a number indicating tractive effort. I.e. K-27 was a Mikado with 27,000 lbs tractive effort, K-63 was also a mike, but with 63,000 lbs tractive effort.

    Of course, this particular classification nomenclature gives no hint that one is narrow gauge, the other standard gauge!

    Rio Grande Steam Locomotive Classification
  9. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    As Fluesheet mentioned...the D&RGW used a letter to designate the class and a number to designate tractive effort...after 1925.

    Before 1925, they typically designated class based off of the engine that the C-16s were originally Class-60s.

    The Colorado and Southern designated based off of the number of wheels...
    B-3-Cs were the legendary Cooke Moguls...B for 2-X-X, 3 for the sets of drivers, C designated the pulling power relative to other B-3s. The smaller Brooks moguls were B-3-Bs. The 2-8-0 in Blackhawk, #71, was a B-4-E.

    On the Nickel Plate, 2-8-4s were the Ss. The classes were S (ALCO, 700-714), S-1 (composite frames, 715-739), S-2 (war babies, 740-769), S-3 (slightly modified S-2s, 770-779), and the S-4 (the Wheeling Berks, 801-832). The S-2s had a reputation for being the best...especially the second batch: 755-769...which is part of the reason that 5 of the 6 survivors were from that class (755, 757, 759, 763, 765). If two orders were identical, they received the same class designation (the two batches of S-2s varied in that the first 15 arrived without illuminated number boards...something irrelevant to the class designation). If there was some small improvement, they'd receive an "a" or "b" designation such as the second batch of hudsons being L-1bs. A significant modification...such as the switch from composite to cast frames would be denote with a different class.

    One of the most intriguing class designations I've seen was that of the British Railway LMS...which was adopted by British Rail...5MT, 9F...the number designated the power...and the letter designated if it was for freight, passenger, or mixed traffic.

    As a footnote...the PRR designation for a 4-6-0 is "G". Can you guess where the GG-1 designation came from?
  10. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    wasnt that the electric motor arrangement? s in the letter series and im guessing the 1 was for the first type of it.just a wild guess :D --josh
  11. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think the GG1 would have been a 4-6+6-4 (non articulated) if it had been steam, hence 2 G's back to back. I'm going to guess the 1 is because it was the first of it's kind.
  12. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Note that multiple designs of engine for equivalent service could have the same designation!

    It was common in Britain for at least passenger locomotive classes (and all locomotives in the class) to be named, not unlike ships.
  13. puddlejumper

    puddlejumper Member

    Indeed the GG1 designation (4-6+6-4) came from the G class 4-6-0. The HH1 (2-8-8-2 steam) from the H class 2-8-0. The DD1 electric (4-4+4-4)
    from the D class 4-4-0.
  14. acsoosub

    acsoosub Member

    CN (and VIA) and CP both had their own classification systems for diesel locomotives as well.

    CP's were based on type and HP (eg. DRF-30 for an SD40 - Diesel, Road Freight 3000 HP)

    CN's were based on builder, type, horsepower and a subletter indicating which batch or order. VIA also uses CN's classification system. CN's system is fully described here: CN Diesel Locomotive Classification - CN Lines SIG
  15. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    South Africa is pretty straight forward.

    Classes 1 - 26 (None articulated locos).

    Tank locos with a used letters. A - J

    GA - GO (Articulated Garrett type locos- also assume that the "G" stands for Garrett in front of all the letters of this class.

    MA - MJ (Articulated Mallet locos- M for Mallett)

    31 - 39 (Diesel Electric locos- was at first DE1)

    61 (Diesel Hydraulic Loco- was)

    1E - 18E (Electric locos- No 13E though, think they forgot and 15E - 17E A-B sets of 6E1 Locos).

    You get locos that have been upgraded in a certain class or are slightly different e.g.: 6E was the first series and 6E1 is a second series where they added dampers to the side of the bogies. Note that not all classes are upgraded.

    EDIT: A similar thing for our steam locos.

    E.G.: You get a class 19 up to 19D

    Class 19 to 19C had box tenders and 19D had Vanderbult tenders (torpedo type). You had a class 19A and 19AR the R meaning it was reboilered from the square top firebox to round top firebox (the proper names escape me at this time). So any steam loco with the R prefix meant that it was rebnoilered.

    You get a 25 and 25NC- The original 25's were condensing locos (they had tenders which converted the steam back to water saving 80% of the water, didn't make a chuffing sound but sounded like a jet engine).

    The "NC" prefix stands for None Condenser which came at a later stage.
  16. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    I wrote to the New Haven Railroad Historical And Techinical Association and asked how the New Haven classed their steam.
    Here's the answer I got from them:

    Wheel Ar: Class No.
    4-4-0 A-1
    4-4-0 A-1
    4-4-0 A-1
    4-4-0 A-1
    4-4-0 A-1a
    4-4-0 A-3
    4-4-0 A-3a
    4-4-0 A-3a
    4-4-0 B-1
    4-4-0 B-2,3,4
    4-4-0 C-1
    4-4-0 C-2,4,6,7,9
    4-4-0 C-3d
    4-4-0 C-3e
    4-4-0 C-5
    4-4-0 C-10,11,12,13,14
    4-4-0 C-15
    4-4-0 C-16,17,18
    4-4-0 C-19,20,21
    4-4-0 C-22
    4-4-0 'D-1 to 6
    4-4-0 'D-7 to 13
    4-4-0 'D-14
    4-4-0 'D-15,16,17
    4-4-0 E-1,2,3
    4-4-0 E-4,5,6,7
    4-4-0 E-8
    4-4-0 E-9,10
    4-4-0 E-11,12
    4-4-0 E-13
    2-8-0 F-3
    2-8-0 F-5
    4-6-0 G-1,2
    4-6-0 G-3
    4-6-0 G-4a
    4-6-0 G-4b
    4-4-2 H-1
    4-6-0 H-2
    4-6-0 H-3
    4-6-0 H-4
    4-6-2 I-1
    4-6-2 I-2
    4-6-2 I-3
    4-6-2 I-4c
    4-6-2 I-4d
    4-6-2 I-4e
    4-6-2 I-4f
    4-6-4 I-5
    2-8-2 J-1
    2-8-2 J-2
    2-6-0 K-1a
    2-6-0 K-1b
    2-6-0 K-1c
    2-6-0 K-1d
    2-6-0 K-2
    2-6-0 K-3
    2-6-0 K-4
    2-6-0 K-5
    2-6-0 K-6
    2-10-2 L-1
    2-10-2 L-1a
    2-10-2 L-1b
    2-10-2 L-1c
    2-6-0 M-1
    2-6-0 M-2 to M-8
    2-6-0 N-1 to N-3a, b
    2-8-0 P-1
    2-8-0 P-2
    2-8-0 P-3
    2-8-0 P-4
    2-8-0 P-4a
    2-8-0 P-5
    4-8-2 R-1
    4-8-2 R-1a
    4-8-2 R-1b
    4-8-2 R-2
    4-8-2 R-2a
    4-8-2 R-3
    4-8-2 R-3a
    0-4-6T S-1
    0-4-4T S-2
    0-4-4T S-3
    0-4-4T S-4
    0-4-4T S-5
    0-4-4T S-6
    0-4-4T S-8
    0-6-0 T-1
    0-6-0 T-2a
    0-6-0 T-2b
    0-6-0 T-3
    0-6-0T T-4
    0-6-0 U-1a
    0-6-0 U-1b
    0-6-0 U-1c
    0-6-0 U-2
    0-6-0 U-3
    0-6-0 U-4
    0-6-0 U-5
    0-6-0 V-1
    0-6-0 V-2
    0-6-0 V-3
    0-6-0 V-4
    0-6-0 V-5
    0-4-0 X-1
    0-4-0 X-2
    0-4-0 X-4
    0-4-0 X-5
    0-4-0 X-6
    0-4-0 X-7
    0-4-0 X-8
    0-4-0 X-9
    0-4-0 Y-1
    0-4-0 Y-2
    0-4-0 Y-3
    0-4-0 Y-6
    0-4-0 Y-7
    0-8-0 Y-2
    0-8-0 Y-3
    0-8-0 Y-4a
    2-4-6T Z-1
    The numbers and small letters are mods from both the manufactuer and when the loco was shopped, and mods were done .

    I'm guess, this is the same system that a lot of other railroads used.
    Just a guess though.
  17. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    WoW....This is even more confusing...!! I would have thought that wheel arrangement would be one of the principal basis for class designation. But here I see that the same arrangement (4-4-0) has up to 5 different classes...And different wheel arrangements share the same class (4-4-2 & 4-6-0)....

    I guess trying to make sense of class designations is pretty much a futile endeavor....wall1

    Thanks to all for your info....I'm going to start assigning classes to the locos on my roster...I'm going to try to make them as confusing as some of the prototypes...:eek:
  18. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Not too confusing though.

    While the Nickel Plate had both P and R class 4-6-0s...their were designated by different letters because they were very different designs...the R's were passenger engines with 72" drivers while the P's were freight engines. There was almost always a system to the madness. Even though the Pennsy never seemed (to me) to have a system for the madness that was their numbering...their class designations were clear.

    On the Pennsy, the Q-1 and the Q-2 had different wheel did the S-1 and the S-2. The Q-1, S-1, and S-2 were all prototypes. The Q-2 was the production version of the Q1...even though its wheel arrangement changed.

    On the C&O...2-6-6-2s, 2-8-8-2s, and 2-6-6-6s were all Hs...but recognize that they were all articulates intended for coal it there was a method to the madness behind them all being Hs.
  19. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    On the Rio Grande, M was assigned to Mountains (4-8-2s). Simple enough... but then they got Northerns (4-8-4s) and assigned M to them as well!

    At one time, they would reuse numbers from recently retired power, whatever that happened to be, on new engines.
  20. puddlejumper

    puddlejumper Member

    Would you believe there WAS a system for the Pennsy numbering? There was! The PRR used numbers by divisions. There was no rhyme or reason as far as wheel arrangement or class as far as numbering went, but there was division assignment. For example, PRR 10 was an A5 0-4-0, 11 was an L1 Mikdao 2-8-2, 12 a K4 4-6-2 Pacific, 13 was an E6s Atlantic 4-4-2, and PRR 14 an L1 Mike. These were all on the Chesapeake? or Atlantic? Division (new Jersey, Delaware, Baltimore, Washington D.C.) And like was previously stated, when these locos were retired the numbers would be reused by new engines assigned to said division.

    PRR did finally begin using a numbering system by class with the introduction of the M1 class 4-8-2s in the 6700-6800 class.

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