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WheelArrangement 0-8-0.svg
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad "Memnon" #57, an 0-8-0 built in 1848, now at the B&O Railroad Museum

Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 0-8-0 represents the wheel arrangement of no leading wheels, eight powered and coupled driving wheels on four axles, and no trailing wheels. Locomotives of this type are also referred to as eight coupled.

Other equivalent classifications are:


Examples of the 0-8-0 wheel arrangement were constructed both as tender locomotives and tank locomotives. The earliest locomotives were built for mainline haulage, particularly for freight, but later the configuration was also often used for large switcher (shunter) types.

The wheel arrangement provided a powerful layout, with all weight as adhesive weight and thus tractive effort and factor of adhesion were maximised. The layout was generally too large for smaller and lighter railways, where the more popular 0-6-0 wheel arrangement would often be found performing similar duties.



Two 0-8-0 locomotives were delivered from Andre Koechlin & Cie in Mulhouse to the Austrian Southern Railway in 1862. They were later sent to Italy and worked over the Apennines between Bologna and Pistoja.[1]


Kriegsdampflokomotive HF 160 D

Freight engines with an 0-8-0 wheel arrangement were once very popular in Germany. The Prussian state railways had several types of 0-8-0s that were all classified as G7, G8 and G9.

The latest of these, the Prussian G 8.1, was the most numerous German state railway locomotive with over five thousand examples being built between 1913 and 1921. They remained in service with the Deutsche Bundesbahn until 1972.

The narrow gauge Heeresfeldbahn class HF 160 D were developed for wartime service during the Second World War. The engines were also classified as "Kriegsdampflokomotive 11" (Military steam locomotive 11) or "KDL 11". After the war the locomotives were put to use for civilian purposes.


Russian class O 0-8-0 Ov 7024, Moskva-Ryazanskaya, Sortirovochnaya depot, Moscow

In Russia the 0-8-0 class locomotives were represented by the various O-class (Osnovnoj- mainline) freight locomotives. They were built from the end of the 19th century until the 1920s. They were commonly called the "Sheep" (Ovechka) and were the most common freight locomotives in Tsarist Russia. Some are still preserved in working order.

South Africa[edit]

On the South African Railways (SAR), shunting was traditionally performed by downgraded main line locomotives. When purpose built 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) shunting locomotives were eventually introduced in 1929, the SAR preferred to adhere to the American practice of using tender locomotives for shunting, rather than the European practice of using tank locomotives. Three classes of 0-8-0 shunting steam locomotives were introduced between 1929 and 1952.[2]

In 1929 fourteen Class S locomotives were placed in service. They were built by Henschel and Son in Germany, designed to SAR specifications. The top sides of the tender’s coal bunker were set inwards and the water tank top was rounded to improve the crew’s rearward vision.[3][4][5]

NBL built SAR Class S1 3819

The second type, the Class S1, was designed by Dr. M.M. Loubser, chief mechanical engineer of the SAR from 1939 to 1949. Twelve of these locomotives, a heavier version of the Class S, were built at the Salt River workshops in Cape Town with the first being delivered in October 1947. A further twenty-five Class S1 locomotives were ordered from the North British Locomotive Company in Glasgow in 1952 and delivered in 1953 and 1954. The Class S1 was noted for its efficiency and economy and could cope with block loads of up to 2,000 long tons (2,000 tonnes).[2][4][5][6]

To meet the need for shunting locomotives with a light axle load for harbour work, these were followed in 1952 and 1953 by one hundred Class S2 locomotives, built by Friedrich Krupp AG of Essen in Germany. In order to adhere to the specified weight limit, the Class S2 was built with a small boiler, with the result that it had the appearance of a Cape gauge locomotive with a narrow gauge boiler, particularly when viewed from the front. Also to reduce the axle load, it had Vanderbilt type tenders that rode on Buckeye three axle bogies.[2][4][5][7]

United Kingdom[edit]

Two examples of 0-8-0T tank locomotives were built by Archibald Sturrock of the United Kingdom’s Great Northern Railway in 1866, but the design was not perpetuated. A tender locomotive version was introduced on the Barry Railway Company in 1889 to haul coal trains.

Webb Compound 0-8-0 of 1892

Francis Webb of the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) built 282 examples of a compound 0-8-0 locomotive between 1892 and 1904. A further 290 examples of a simple expansion version were built by his successor between 1910 and 1922.

In 1929 R.E.L. Maunsell of the Southern Railway designed and built eight "Z" class side tank engines.

John G. Robinson of the Great Central Railway introduced his Class "8A" tender engines in 1902 ("Q4" class under the London and North Eastern Railway). From 1934 the class was replaced by the Robinson 2-8-0's and their scrapping began, but between 1942 and 1945 Edward Thompson converted thirteen into side-tanks, becoming LNER Class Q1.

Under the grouping of 1923 the LNWR became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS). Henry Fowler designed an inside cylinder engine in 1929 to replace the LNWR examples, but they proved to be unsatisfactory and they ended up having shorter lives than the LNWR ones.

In 1914 Manning Wardle of Leeds built a side-tank engine called "Katharine" for the Bridge Water Collieries system. On the Kent & East Sussex railway the "Hecate" was built for colonel Stephens by Hawthorn Leslie in 1904, but the branchline that it was built for was never finished and since it was too big for his other railways, it was swapped in 1932 for a smaller engine with the Southern Railway. Hecate ended up as a motive power depot shunter at Nine Elms shed, and was scrapped in 1950.

Peckett & sons of Bristol built a 0-8-0 tender locomotive for the Christmas Island Phosphate Company in 1931.

United States of America[edit]

USRA 0-8-0

The 0-8-0 wheel arrangement appeared early in locomotive development in the United States, during the mid-1840s. The configuration became popular and was more commonly constructed as a tender locomotive. It saw extensive use as a heavy switcher and freight engine.

Beginning in 1844, Ross Winans developed a series of 0-8-0 types for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, starting with a vertical-boiler design where the crankshaft was directly above and geared to the rear driving wheel.[8] With a horizontal boiler, this became the "Mud Digger" class of engines on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, of which 12 were built. In late 1847, the B&O moved to abandon geared drives and, in 1848, Baldwin delivered the first of a series of 0-8-0 freight engines.[9]

The USRA 0-8-0 was a USRA standard class, designed by the United States Railroad Administration during World War I. This was the standard heavy switcher of the USRA types, of which 175 examples were built by ALCO, Baldwin and Lima for many different railroads in the US. After the dissolution of the USRA in 1920, an additional 1,200 examples of the USRA 0-8-0 were built.

External links[edit]


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  1. ^ Hamilton Ellis, The pictorial history of railways, Hamlyn, 1968, p.57.
  2. ^ a b c Durrant, A E (1989). Twilight of South African Steam (1st ed.). Newton Abbott, London: David & Charles. pp. 120–123. ISBN 0715386387. 
  3. ^ Henschel-Lieferliste (Henschel & Son works list), compiled by Dietmar Stresow
  4. ^ a b c Holland, D.F. (1972). Steam Locomotives of the South African Railways, Volume 2: 1910-1955 (1st ed.). Newton Abbott, Devon: David & Charles. pp. 63–65, 103–104, 108–109. ISBN 978-0-7153-5427-8. 
  5. ^ a b c Paxton, Leith; Bourne, David (1985). Locomotives of the South African Railways (1st ed.). Cape Town: Struik. pp. 80–81. ISBN 0869772112. 
  6. ^ North British Locomotive Company works list, compiled by Austrian locomotive historian Bernhard Schmeiser
  7. ^ South African Railways and Harbours Locomotive Diagram Book, 2’0” & 3’6” Gauge Steam Locomotives, 15 August 1941, as amended
  8. ^ Ross Winas, Locomotive, U.S. Patent 3,201, granted July 28, 1843.
  9. ^ J. Snowden Bell, Chapter IV: The Eight-Wheel Connected Freight Engines -- Type 0-8-0, The Early Motive Power of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Sinclair, New York, 1912; pages 55-86.