The net result of this editorial policy is not an all-time compendium of every bendable locomotive in North America; such an endeavor would easily be 10 times as large as this illustrated volume. Nevertheless, all the Mallets, double-truck Fairlies and various freaks are represented. But in the realm of the geared-truck locomotives and the single-truck Fairlies, only significant examples are shown—first, biggest and last of the two-truck, three-truck and four-truck models—yet, even this kind of sifting left a surprisingly great number of locomotives for inclusion. In this first volume of Articulated Steam Locomotives, the motive power is classified by railroad, and the story is that of each railroad's involvement with articulateds, regardless of variety.
The author's efforts to locate suitable photographs to illustrate this chronicle have been remarkably successful—and there have been few locomotives whose portraits have been completely elusive. Considering the objective was to obtain views of every kind of articulated steam locomotive on every major railroad, this was no easy task. However, the end result is a dazzling collection of over 600 photographs—including more than 32 color views—some of them quite rare.
THE ARTICULATED STEAM LOCOMOTIVE
The meaning of articulated does not lack precision; it means jointed, and implies mechanical flexibility. But when it is added to the term steam locomotive, the combination embraces such a host of physical variety that personal opinion finally decides what is, and what is not, an articulated steam locomotive.
The origin of the articulated locomotive, as well as its further development, can be traced to the need for more tractive effort produced by a single locomotive operated by one crew. More power required more driving wheels; more drivers resulted in more length; and more length was possible only by the introduction of horizontal flexibility. Articulated steam locomotives were constructed by no less than 18 commercial builders in the U.S.A., each specializing in its own proprietary design almost exclusively. Baldwin produced the greatest variety of major types; Lima built two kinds, and all others concentrated on but one kind of articulated machine.
Four railroads—Canadian Pacific, Great Northern, Norfolk & Western and the Pennsylvania—built entire Mallet locomotives, and nine others possessed shops capable of major rebuilding and modification, but only five of them—Baltimore & Ohio, Great Northern, Southern, Southern Pacific and Union Pacific—indulged in this practice to a significant extent. Four commercial companies built but a single engine, and five others turned out fewer than 10 examples of their own mechanical concepts. Seven plants—American, Baldwin, Climax, Heisler, Lima, Mason and the Norfolk & Western's shops—produced the great majority of North American articulateds. With three exceptions, American built Mallets only, as did the N&W shops. Climax and Heisler manufactured only geared locomotives, and Lima constructed both varieties. Except for one double-truck Fairlie, the single-truck Fairlie was Mason's entire contribution. Nearly all of Baldwin's production was comprised of Mallets, although it did build half-a-dozen other types in insignificant quantities.
Unfortunately, the history of the articulated steam locomotive was a relatively short one. By mid-century, the North American articulated steam locomotive was on its way out—displaced by diesel-electric units. At the end of the 1950 decade, none could be found in service on any U.S. common-carrier railroad. Yet, Mallets could be found at work in Mexico until the mid -1960's, and three species of geared articulateds clanked through the woods of the Appalachians and the forests of the Northwest in the U.S.A. and Canada.
articulated steam locomotive may have been considered extinct for
all practical purposes by 1970, the articulated was certainly not dead.
have been preserved by railroads themselves or by various
organizations, and a few are
actually in service hauling tourists every day (in season). Beyond
that, the Cripple Creek
& Victor in Colorado imported a German-built Mallet from Mexico
and a single-expansion
articulated from South Africa to run on its 24-inch-gauge rails. Other
Mallets have been
rescued from the forests, together with assorted Climax, Heisler and
Shay engines, and all
of them can be seen pulling trainloads of happy people who probably
never experienced the
incomparable thrill of watching and hearing and smelling and feeling a
articulated at work on a railroad anywhere.