N&W locomotive fuel coal

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Tue Jul 25 07:13:53 EDT 2017

Good morning,


This sounds like fighting talk! 


I think the UP tried oil firing on one of the Big Boys but this created problems with leakages inside the firebox as a result of the intensity of the fire. It seems to be less of a problem with the Challenger and 844/8444. I’m not sure what the firing intentions are with the Big Boy which is being re-commissioned.


Had steam been retained on the N&W would any follow-on designs have adopted a double stack. This technology was being adopted widely elsewhere  plus some other adaptations (Giesel Ejector) to allow the locomotives to “breathe” more easily. Ditto poppet valves. Would these have been up to the job of slugging along with very long heavy trains?




Phil Mortimer

Bognor Regis (yes that is the real name of the town!)

West Sussex



From: NW-Mailing-List [mailto:nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org] On Behalf Of NW Mailing List
Sent: Monday, July 24, 2017 4:59 PM
To: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Subject: Re:N&W locomotive fuel coal


Thanks to all who answered my question regarding N&W fuel coal BTU content. And thanks to Harry for the ash content.  I had been reading a couple of Union Pacific books on the Challenges and the Big Boys. Several notations in the books caught my eye. The first was that both locomotives were designed to burn 11,800 BTU coal. Second, that primarily,  the Challenges suffered from sever cinder cutting on the tubes and flues, and the front end.  I never recall cinder cutting being a problem with the N&W A's or Y6's.   The UP used both Hanna and Rock Springs coal as locomotive fuel. The Hanna coal was said to contain a high ash content and the Rock Spring coal burned too fast. (Burning too fast seems to me to be a strange problem).  Both the Big Boys and the Challenges had drafting problems when working at any rate other than wide open.  UP experimented with single stacks on both class of locomotives but came back to the twin stack in both cases. There are a number of details on UP's finest in the material, all of which make the N&W A look even better. Harold Davenport    

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