Atlantic Coast Line R-1 4-8-4's

nw-mailing-list at nw-mailing-list at
Mon Oct 24 13:29:38 EDT 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I'd think that N&W's K-3 counterbalancing problems were far more a factor in
lessons learned when designing the J than anything that occurred on the ACL
with their Baldwin R-1's (or any other non-N&W designed locomotive for that

Ed Painter Jr ; Narrows, Va (currently Russellville, AR)

----- Original Message -----
From: <nw-mailing-list at>
To: <nw-mailing-list at>
Sent: Sunday, October 23, 2005 7:12 PM
Subject: Atlantic Coast Line R-1 4-8-4's

> Hi All,


> Just joined the list after running across the archives of this list and

> the thread a couple of months ago on the ACL R-1 4-8-4's.


> I won't by any means try to say that the R-1's were equal to the N&W's J's

> in power, but I do want to correct a point that was made against them.


> Much has been made of the 1800's poor counter-balancing, but it should be

> noted this was in their as-built configuration. The locomotives were

> balanced to the latest AAR guidance at the time they were built, but this

> guidance was found to be woefully incorrect for modern steam power.

> Baldwin and the ACL spent a considerable amount of time diagnosing the

> problem and as a result removed a significant amount of counter-balance

> material from the drivers of the 1800's which corrected this fault.

> Arthur Bixby briefly mentioned his experiences with the road-testing of

> the 1800's in his "Trains" article on the New Haven 4-6-4's.


> After these modifications, the 1800's were officially rated for 90 MPH in

> passenger service on the ACL's Richmond to Jacksonville mainline. Later,

> some of the 1800's were fitted with Timken light weight pistons, piston

> rods, crossheads, and main rods (which evidently had friction bearing big

> ends and roller bearing wrist pins). This was priobably an effort to

> improve the balance of the R-1's even further.


> It seems pretty certain that the N&W's design team paid close attention to

> the counter-balancing problems with the ACL 1800's, and made certain to

> learn from the ACL's lesson. I think it's fair to say that the success of

> the N&W J's is at least in part owed to the ACL R-1's.


> For any of you interested in the ACL R-1's, I have a webpage on them at:




> Good Steaming,

> Hugh Odom

> The Ultimate Steam Page


> ________________________________________

> NW-Mailing-List at

> To change your subscription go to



More information about the NW-Mailing-List mailing list