Chesapeake and Ohio class H-8

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Chesapeake and Ohio H-8 class
Chesapeake and Ohio Lima 2-6-6-6 locomotive.jpg
Builder's card for the Chesapeake and Ohio's 2-6-6-6 "Allegheny" locomotives.
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
BuilderLima Locomotive Works
Serial number7820–7829, 7883–7892, 8613–8622, 8799–8813
Build date1941–1948
Total produced60
 • Whyte2-6-6-6
Gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Driver dia.67 in (1,702 mm)
WheelbaseLoco & tender: 112.92 ft (34.42 m)
Height16 ft 7 in (5.05 m)
Axle load86,700 lb (39,300 kilograms; 39.3 metric tons)
Adhesive weight507,900 lb (230,400 kilograms; 230.4 metric tons)
Loco weight771,300 lb (349,900 kilograms; 349.9 metric tons)
Tender weight428,100 lb (194,200 kilograms; 194.2 metric tons)
Total weight1,199,400 lb (544,000 kilograms; 544.0 metric tons)
Fuel typeCoal
Fuel capacity25 t (25 long tons; 28 short tons)
Water cap.25,000 US gal (95,000 l; 21,000 imp gal)
Sandbox cap.12,000 lb (5,400 kilograms; 5.4 metric tons)
 • Firegrate area
135.20 sq ft (12.560 m2)
Boiler109 in (2,769 mm)
Boiler pressure260 lbf/in2 (1.79 MPa)
Heating surface:
 • Firebox
762 sq ft (70.8 m2)
 • Heating area3,186 sq ft (296.0 m2)
Cylinder size22.5 in × 33 in (572 mm × 838 mm)
Valve gearBaker
Valve typePiston valves
Performance figures
Maximum speedAt least 60 mph (97 km/h)
Power output6,700 hp (5,000 kW) to 6,900 hp (5,150 kW)
Tractive effort110,211 lbf (490.24 kN)
Factor of adh.4.61
OperatorsChesapeake and Ohio
PreservedTwo preserved (Nos. 1601 and 1604)
DispositionChesapeake and Ohio 1601 and 1604 on display, remainder scrapped

The Chesapeake and Ohio H-8 was a class of 60 2-6-6-6 steam locomotives built by the Lima Locomotive Works in Lima, Ohio between 1941 and 1948 and operated until the mid 1950s. The locomotives were among the most powerful steam locomotives ever built and hauled fast and heavy freight trains for the railroad and two have been preserved, Nos. 1601 and 1604.


Built for hauling freight through the Allegheny Mountains, the locomotives were given the nickname "Alleghenies". Each H-8 cost around $230,000. They could operate an 11,500-ton coal train at up to 45 mph and up to 60 mph pulling passenger trains. They also had the heaviest axle load of any steam locomotive, with a maximum axle load of 86,700 lbs.[1] Gene Huddleston's book, "C&O Power", reports tests of the C&O with a dynamometer car indicating momentary readings of 7,498 hp (5.6 MW) with readings between 6,700 to 6,900 hp (5.0 to 5.1 MW) at about 45 mph (72 km/h). No one has published a higher dynamometer horsepower for any steam locomotive. The locomotive was built to power coal trains on the 0.57% eastward climb from White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia to Alleghany, Virginia. With one at the front and another at the back, 11,500-ton coal trains left Hinton, WV and were at full throttle from White Sulphur Springs to the top of the grade at Alleghany. C&O's 2-6-6-6s also handled coal trains from West Virginia to Columbus, Ohio. Huddleston says that 23 locomotives were equipped with steam piping for heating passenger trains. Upon dieselisation, retirement started in 1952 and by 1956, all of the Alleghenies have been retired.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

No. 1642 suffered a crown sheet failure and subsequent boiler explosion at Hinton, WV in June, 1953. The crew did not survive the blast.


Two Alleghenies have been preserved:

  • No. 1604 was initially sent to C&O's scrap lines behind their diesel shops at Russell, Kentucky upon retirement. It was then donated to the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke in 1969 where it was displayed next to N&W 1218. On November 4th, 1985, it was partially damaged by a flood, which washed away the ground under it and nearly turned the locomotive over. In 1987, parent company Norfolk Southern did a cosmetic overhaul on it at their Roanoke Shops before it was sent to Baltimore to be displayed as the centerpiece of the then Mount Clare Junction shopping center which was adjacent to the B&O Railroad Museum. In 1989, the shopping center donated it to the museum, where it presently resides.[2]


  1. ^ "Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-6 "Allegheny" Locomotives in the USA".
  2. ^ "Allegheny". Archived from the original on 2008-01-27. Retrieved 2005-05-11.