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The Illinois Central Railroad's sole 4-6-4 Hudson type steam locomotive, originally Illinois Central No. 1 and later No. 2499.

Illinois Central No. 1 4-6-4 Hudson Steam Locomotive
The Illinois Central Railroad's No. 1 was the railroad's only 4-6-4 "Hudson" type locomotive and the only 4-6-4 in North America built for freight service. It was rebuilt in the railroad's own shops from Illinois Central 7000 class 2-8-4 "Berkshire" No. 7038 in 1937 as an experiment to haul fast freight trains, which were growing too large for 4-6-2 "Pacific" types and required more speed than the road's 2-8-2 locomotives could manage.

The experiment was not successful. The locomotive proved prone to slippage due to a very low factor of adhesion; in simple terms it was too powerful for its ability to grip the rails. John L. McIntyre, the road foreman of engines at Clinton, Illinois where the locomotive was assigned during the 1938–1939 period, made some modifications to the locomotive, including equilizing the weight across the locomotives' wheels and reducing the cylinder diameter from 27 to 24 inches (686 to 610 mm). The latter was to reduce the starting tractive effort to a level the locomotive's grip on the rails could handle. The improvements were successful, but not to the degree that the railroad ordered any further conversions.

In 1945, the locomotive was renumbered 2499 and assigned to passenger service between Louisville, Kentucky and Fulton, Kentucky. It was retired from service in 1949 and soon after scrapped.

Illinois Central No. 1 Overview
Type and origin
Power type: Steam
Builder: Lima Locomotive Works
Build date: 1926
Rebuilder Illinois Central Railroad
Rebuild date: 1937
Number rebuilt: 1
Configuration: 4-6-4
UIC class: 2′C2′ h
Gauge: 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Driver diameter: 73-1⁄2 in (1,867 mm)
Adhesive weight: 248,000 lb (112,000 kilograms; 112 metric tons)
Loco weight: 388,000 lb (176,000 kilograms; 176 metric tons)
 • Firegrate area: 100 sq ft (9.3 m2)
Boiler pressure: 270 lbf/in2 (1.86 MPa)
Heating surface: 5,164 sq ft (479.8 m2)
 • Firebox: 414 sq ft (38.5 m2)
​ • Heating area: 2,111 sq ft (196.1 m2)
Cylinders: Two
Cylinder size: 27 in × 30 in (686 mm × 762 mm), later 24 in × 30 in (610 mm × 762 mm)
Valve gear: Baker
Performance figures
Tractive effort: 68,288 lbf (303.8 kN), later 53,956 lbf (240.0 kN)
Factor of adhesion: 3.63, later 4.60
Operator: Illinois Central Railroad
Numbers: Original number 1, renumbered 2499 in 1945
Retired: 1949
Disposition: Scrapped

See Also:

Steam Locomotives

4-6-4 Hudson Locomotives

Steam Locomotives

Lima Locomotive Works

Illinois Central


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The Illinois Central Railroad's sole 4-6-4 Hudson type steam locomotive, originally Illinois Central No. 1 and later No. 2499.

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