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Virginian Railway 2-10-10-2 class AE steam locomotive No. 802. Builder's photo, 1911.
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 Virginian Railway 2-10-10-2 class AE steam locomotive No. 802. Builder's photo, 1911.

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Virginian Railway Class AE 2-10-10-2 Articulated Mallet Locomotive
The Virginian AE class was a 2-10-10-2 articulated steam locomotive. Ten locomotives of the AE class were built in 1918 by ALCO for the Virginian Railway. Overall width was 144 inches (3,658 mm), so they were delivered without their cabs and the front, low-pressure cylinders and were assembled after arrival. The 48-inch (1,219 mm) low-pressure cylinders (on 90-inch or 2,286-mm centers) were the largest on any US locomotive; the cylinders had to be inclined a few degrees to provide clearance. The boiler was also the largest diameter of any locomotive; Railway Mechanical Engineer noted "the outside diameter of the largest course is 112-7⁄8 inches (2,867 mm)." however, the drawing shows 118 1⁄2 inches (3,010 mm) diameter at the rear tube sheet.

As seen in the photograph, the tenders were small so they could use the Virginian's existing turntables.

The locomotives in this class were compound Mallet locomotives: as well as being articulated between the forward, swinging engine unit and the rear fixed one, they were compound locomotives. The rear, high-pressure cylinders exhausted their steam into the huge front cylinders. Like many compound locomotives, they could be operated in simple mode for starting; reduced-pressure steam could be sent straight from the boiler to the front cylinders at low speed, for maximum tractive effort.

Calculated in the usual way the tractive effort was 147,200 lb (66,800 kg) in compound; or 176,600 lb (80,100 kg) in simple for the Virginian locomotives.

Unlike some other giant locomotives of the period, the immense boilers could generate enough steam to make them a success on the slow (8 mph or 13 km/h) coal trains for which they were built. They remained in service until the 1940s and could be called the ultimate drag era locomotive. No locomotive example of this type survived into preservation.

Virginian Class AE Overview
Type and origin
Power type: Steam
Builder: American Locomotive Company
Build date: 1918
Total produced: 10
​ • Whyte 2-10-10-2
Gauge: 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)
Driver diameter: 56 in (1,422 mm)
Wheelbase: 64.25 ft (19.58 m)
Width: 12.0 ft (3.658 m)
Height: 16.7 ft (5.090 m)
Adhesive weight: 617,000 lb (279,866 kg; 280 t)
Locomotive weight: 684,000 lb (310,257 kg; 310 t)
Tender weight: 231,000 lb (104,780 kg; 105 t)
Total weight: 915,000 lb (415,037 kg; 415 t)
Fuel type: Coal
Water capacity: 13,000 US gal (10,825 imp gal; 49,210 L)
Tender capacity: 12 tons (10.7 long tons; 10.9 t)
 • Firegrate area: 109 sq ft (10 m2)
Boiler: 119 in (3,023 mm)
Boiler pressure: 215 psi (1 MPa)
Heating surface: 8,606 sq ft (800 m2)
​ • Heating area 2,120 sq ft (197 m2)
Cylinders: 4
Front cylinder: 48 in × 32 in (1,219 mm × 813 mm)
Rear cylinder: 30 in × 32 in (762 mm × 813 mm)
Locomotive brake: Air
Train brakes: Air
Performance figures
Tractive effort Compound: 147,200 lbf (655 kN)
Simple: 175,000 lbf (778 kN)
Factor of adhesion: 4.2
Operator: Virginian Railway
Number in class: 10
Road Numbers: 800-809
Disposition: All scrapped

See also:

Santa Fe 3000 Class 2-10-10-2 Locomotives

2-10-10-2 Locomotives

Steam Locomotives

American Locomotive Company

Virginian Railway