The Cincinnati Northern Locomotive Roster – Early Americans (4-4-0) on the CNor
I’ve been working on the CNor roster for a while now. The roster during the early period – prior to the CNor’s existence, and during the time the CNor was independent, was relatively easy to pull together. When the New York Central bought out the stock in 1904, the CNor was leased to the Big Four. During the Big Four operations, the CNor kept its identity. So while locomotives were moved from the CCC&StL to the CNor, it was not too difficult to follow the roster.
I decided it was time to put together the story of the CNor’s locomotives starting with the early locos brought in from predecessors of the CNor. So here’s a pictorial version of the progression of the CNor roster.
The earliest built steamers on the Cincinnati Northern were four Americans (4-4-0) built by Brooks Locomotive Works in 1883. I’m not sure who first acquired Brooks #970, but the Michigan & Ohio received it in 1886, and it became M&O #1. Roughly a year later, 1887, the M&O was bought by the Cincinnati, Jackson & Mackinaw, and M&O #1 became CJ&M #16. In 1897, the CJ&M tracks were split into the Michigan Central and the Cincinnati Northern (at it’s founding). CJ&M #16 became CN #111. Later, after the CCC&StL took over operations of the CNor, CN #111 ended up being renumbered NYC #7035 in 1905. NYC #7035 remained in service until 1921 – a total of 38 years of service. Though I haven’t found enough data to verify this, but I suspect #7035 was in passenger service most of its career.
Here’s an early photo of M&O #1.
Note the large 68” drivers. #1 carried 75,500 lbs over it’s drivers making it the heaviest of the CNor Americans as well as the loco with the largest drivers until a NYC Hudson and a few Mohawks appeared briefly on CNor track in the ‘40s. Here’s a pic where she’s numbered as CNor loco #111. Note that the stack has been changed out for the coal fuel (rather than the wood fuel as an M&O loco). The steam and sand domes have also been updated as well as the pilot and headlight.
Finally, we see her as NYC #7035.
At the same time in 1883, Brooks built #971, 973, & 974. While these three locos were near identical to one another, recorded data shows them a little smaller than #970 with smaller drivers and less weight over the drivers. They also followed the same path as #970 becoming M&O locos #2, 4, & 5. Then CJ&M #17, 25, 28, followed by CN #109, 112, &110 in 1897. And finally, in 1905 they were numbered NYC #7032, 7033, & 7034. As NYC locos, these three Brook locomotives were classified as C-61. (NYC #7035 was a class C, but I’m not sure of its subclassification because of the larger drivers and weight.) I could only find a pic of CN #110.
In 1884, Pittsburg Locomotive and Car Works built their #680 & 752. I believe these were bought new by the Cincinnati, Van Wert & Michigan and numbered #6 & 7. The CJ&M acquired the CVW&M and renumbered these two as #14 & 15 in 1887. And once again, as the CNor took over part of the CJ&M, they numbered these to locos CN #108 & 107. When the CCC&StL renumbered locos in 1905, they became NYC #7031 & 7030. (Again, these were NYC class Cs, but I was unable to determine the subclass.) These were smaller and lighter than the Brooks steamers. Both were retired in the late teens, though that was still 32 & 34 years of service. First we’ll get a look at NYC #7030.
Though it’s tough to find major differences, you can see minor differences between the Pittsburg and the Brooks locos. The cab windows especially show the differences between the two manufacturers. This pic of NYC #7030 shows its arrival at the CNor Rockford station. #7030 sports an electric headlight in this pic.
Moving to NYC #7031, we see a photo of it as CN #108 in the blown out roundhouse of Van Wert yard. I don’t have the date of the roundhouse explosion handy (obviously before 1905), but the roundhouse crew left for lunch only to return to this scene. Apparently one of the steamer’s boilers blew. No one was in the roundhouse (out to lunch) and its said that no one was injured by the blast. CN #108 survived and later became NYC #7031, in 1905. She wasn’t retired until 1916, so she survived at least 11 years after the roundhouse explosion. (The roundhouse was rebuilt and stood for many years after the disaster.
Rhode Island Locomotive Works built #1789, 1790, 1791, & 1792 in 1887. The CJ&M acquired them new and numbered them #10, 11, 12, & 13. On acquisition by the CNor in 1897, they became CN #113, 114, 115, & 116. With the CCC&StL renumbering in 1905, they became NYC #7036, 7037, 7038, & 7039. For the NYC, these were listed as Class C-62. Here’s a great pic of the front end of NYC #7036. Notice the air lines on the pilot. All these early Americans had to have air pumps added in the 1890s to meet air brake requirements. When you look at the early M&O, CVW&M, and CJ&M photos you notice the lack of air pumps while the CN and NYC pics show air pumps. I noticed several of these Americans with air pumps on the engineers side.
Going all the way back to CJ&M ownership we find #12 which ended up NYC #7038.
I found a photo of one more of the CNor Americans listed after the 1905 renumbering as NYC #7088. I’m not sure of its builder or the path it made onto the Cincinnati Northern. One interesting feature I noticed in this photo – the steam and sand domes look like originals from the 1880’s, similar to the M&O #1 Brooks locomotive above. All the other later photos show changes to more modern steam and sand domes. Another of the interesting points of the pic is that it’s pulling a one car passenger train. Passenger service declined rapidly in the 20th century on the CNor. Four doodlebugs were brought in to handle passenger service as it declined. By 1929, only one CNor locomotive was listed for passenger service – likely one of the doodlebugs. The Americans were mostly retired by the early’20’s except NYC #7036 – retired in 1926, and NYC #7037 – retired in 1928.
All of these 19th century Americans seemed to have long lives even though the age of modern steam improved locos rapidly after the turn of the century. You notice changes in some of the features of these locos throughout their service. I’ve identified 11 of the Americans, and feel that is nearly a complete list of the CNor 4-4-0s. But there still could be one or two I haven’t found yet. Fun project!
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I have a builder’s plate from one of the four 1887 Rhode Island Locomotive Works 4-4-0s from the CJ&M, it was dug out of an ash pit at the Van Wert roundhouse site in the 1960s or 70s and has been in my collection for 30 years. I’ve been researching it lately, I’m assuming the engine was scrapped here, I’ll probably never know exactly which of these engines the plate is from, however I’m trying to discover the meaning of “M.C.B ST’D” on the plate. The plate has only 3 lines, aside from this it has “R.I.L.W” at the top and “1887” at the bottom. Maybe someone who sees this will recognize the encrypted message.