Chicago and North Western Class E-2

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CNW class E-2
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Builder American Locomotive Company
Serial number 64463–64474
Build date 1923
Total produced 12
 • Whyte 4-6-2
 • UIC 2′C1′ h2
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Driver dia. E-2: 75 in (1,905 mm)
E-2-a/b: 79 in (2,007 mm)
Adhesive weight 178,500 lb (81.0 tonnes)
Loco weight 295,000 lb (133.8 tonnes)
Total weight E-2-a: 529,000 lb (240.0 tonnes)
Fuel type E-2, E-2-b: Coal;
E-2-a: Oil
Fuel capacity E-2-a: 5,000 US gal (19,000 l; 4,200 imp gal),
E-2-b: 32,000 lb (14.5 tonnes)
Water cap E-2-a: 15,000 US gal (57,000 l; 12,000 imp gal)
E-2-b: 10,000 US gal (38,000 l; 8,300 imp gal)
 • Firegrate area
63.1 sq ft (5.86 m2)
Boiler pressure E-2: 210 psi (1.45 MPa);
E-2-a/b: 225 psi (1.55 MPa)
Heating surface 3,235.2 sq ft (300.56 m2)
 • Heating area 882 sq ft (81.9 m2)
Cylinders Two
Cylinder size 26 in × 28 in (660 mm × 711 mm)
Valve gear Walschaerts
Valve type Piston valves
Performance figures
Tractive effort E-2: 45,050 lbf (200.39 kN),
E-2-a/b: 45,800 lbf (203.73 kN)[1]
Operators Chicago and North Western Railway
Numbers 2901–2912
Scrapped 1954–1956[2]
Disposition All scrapped

The Chicago and North Western Railway's Class E-2 was a 4-6-2 "Pacific" type locomotive built by the American Locomotive Company in Schenectady, New York in 1923.[1] Twelve were originally built, and all were later converted. Four of these locomotives gained the Class E-2-a designation in late 1934 when they were converted to burn oil instead of coal, upgraded with larger drivers, and had other changes made in order to run at higher speeds in preparation for pulling the Twin CitiesChicago 400 the next year. The other eight were converted to Class E-2-b, which was similar except they remained coal-fired.

The E-2-a was among the fastest steam locomotives in the world in 1935. It was recorded running in excess of 108 miles per hour (174 km/h) on a fall evening that year as it raced the 85 miles (137 km) from Milwaukee to Chicago in 65 minutes, attaining its highest speeds between Highland Park and Evanston. While fast for its day, it was not quite a match for the Milwaukee Road class A and later F7 engines, which ran the rival Hiawatha.

Unlike the Hiawatha engines, the E-2s never ran with streamlined shrouds, though it appeared for a time that they would be replaced by streamlined Class E-4 4-6-4 "Hudson" locomotives on the 400 route. C&NW ordered eight E-4s in 1937, later adding one more order to the total. However, the railway decided instead to use diesel-electric EMD E3 locomotives for the 400, which replaced the E-2-a engines on the route in 1939.


  1. ^ a b Scribbins, Jim (2008) [1982]. The 400 Story. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 9780816654499. OCLC 191760067. 
  2. ^ "Chicago & North Western Class E-2 4-6-2s". Don's Rail Photos. August 6, 2008. Retrieved December 30, 2009.