Steam dummy

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This article relates to U.S. engines. For European engines see Tram engine
Mammoth Cave Railroad steam dummy engine.

A steam dummy or dummy engine, in the United States and Canada, was a steam engine enclosed in a wooden box structure made to resemble a railroad passenger coach.[1] Steam dummies had some popularity in the first decades of railroading in the U.S., from the 1830s but passed from favor after the Civil War. In Europe, locomotives of this type were described as Tram engines.


It was thought that the more familiar appearance of a coach presented by a steam dummy, as compared to a conventional engine, would be less likely to frighten horses when these trains had to operate in city streets.[2][3] Later it was discovered that it was actually the noise and motion of the operating gear of a steam engine that frightened horses, rather than the unfamiliar outlines of a steam engine.


Baldwin Locomotive Works manufactured Steam Dummy or Steam Motors for many American tramways and exported to places such as Australia and New Zealand, where two both built in 1891 survive at Museums today.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Debra Brill (2001). History of the J.G. Brill Company. Indiana University Press. pp. 15–. ISBN 0-253-33949-9. 
  2. ^ Ralcon Wagner (3 October 2016). Nashville's Streetcars and Interurban Railways. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 7–. ISBN 978-1-4671-1686-2. 
  3. ^ Jeff Suess (22 June 2015). Lost Cincinnati. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 41–. ISBN 978-1-62619-575-2.