The American Steam Locomotive in the Twentieth Century


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About the Book

Between 1900 and 1950, Americans built the most powerful steam locomotives of all time—enormous engines that powered a colossal industry. They were deceptively simple machines, yet, the more their technology was studied, the more obscure it became. Despite immense and sustained engineering efforts, steam locomotives remained grossly inefficient in their use of increasingly costly fuel and labor. In the end, they baffled their masters and, as soon as diesel-electric technology provided an alternative, steam locomotives disappeared from American railroads. Drawing on the work of eminent engineers and railroad managers of the day, this lavishly illustrated history chronicles the challenges, triumphs and failures of American steam locomotive development and operation.

About the Author(s)

Mining engineer Tom Morrison has written technical histories on mining and aviation. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Bibliographic Details

Tom Morrison

Format: softcover (8.5 x 11)
Pages: 636
Bibliographic Info: 582 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019 [2018]
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7900-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2793-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface • 1
Introduction • 3
Part One: Background to Locomotive Development
Chapter 1. The American Railroad Industry • 12
Part Two: Compounds and Mastodons, 1895–1905
Chapter 2. General Steam Locomotive Development, 1895–1905 • 64
Chapter 3. Locomotive Engineering, 1895–1905 • 76
Chapter 4. Locomotive Construction, 1895–1905 • 133
Chapter 5. Traction Other Than Steam, 1895–1905 • 186
Part Three: Transformation, 1905–1920
Chapter 6. General Steam Locomotive Development, 1905–1920 • 190
Chapter 7. Locomotive Engineering, 1905–1920 • 200
Chapter 8. Locomotive Construction, 1905–1920 • 254
Chapter 9. Traction Other Than Steam, 1905–1920 • 340
Part Four: Superpower, 1920–1930
Chapter 10. General Steam Locomotive Development, 1920–1930 • 346
Chapter 11. Locomotive Engineering, 1920–1930 • 359
Chapter 12. Locomotive Construction, 1920–1930 • 394
Chapter 13. Traction Other Than Steam, 1920–1930 • 432
Part Five: Finest and Final, 1930–1950
Chapter 14. General Steam Locomotive Development, 1930–1950 • 438
Chapter 15. Locomotive Engineering, 1930–1950 • 454
Chapter 16. Locomotive Construction, 1930–1950 • 491
Chapter 17. Traction Other Than Steam, 1930–1950 • 543
Conclusion • 553
Appendix A: Thermodynamics and Dimensions • 555
Appendix B: Railroad Gazette/Railroad Age Gazette/Railway Age Locomotive Type Articles • 558
Appendix C: The Cole Ratios • 571
Chapter Notes • 574
Bibliography • 610
Index • 612

Book Reviews & Awards

• Choice Outstanding Academic Title

• “Generously illustrated… Meticulously documented, this work of both love and precision is an essential addition to transportation libraries…highly recommended”—Choice

• “Stunningly comprehensive…those engaged in exploring the intermingled evolution of the various modes of transportation, their societal and economic impact on one another, and on the broader society, can gain much from what’s written in this book.…Making Morrison’s writings all the more worthwhile are the detailed and careful annotations throughout the entire book, leaving a clear trail to origins and sources of all information…If you’ve even a modicum of interest in steam locomotives and their concomitant history, do not deny yourself a copy of this book.”—SAH Journal

• “This book captures not only the changes in American steam locomotive development, but also the why that it happened. And that makes it worth reading”—The Santa Fe Railway Historical and Modeling Society

• “Do not deny yourself a copy of this marvelous book”—SpeedReaders