Kevin’s Komments 07/27/2022

I’m still stuck on the locomotive shops that built and maintained the steam locomotives.

I believe this is a large milling machine. The site is the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Eddystone, PA, 1937. When I zoomed in on the item(s) being milled, it appears to be the chassis framing that holds the driver bearings – not sure, just guessing by the two opposite shapes.

These shots at Baldwin were taken by Lewis Wickes Hine.  You can check out his photography at the International Center of Photography (ICP) website  : .  In this photo, a machinist is finishing an axle on a 80” diameter driver.

A Boilermaker and assistant assemble part of a boiler – the pic is probably showing the stay-bolts at the firebox.

This machinist is shaping part of the “drive shaft” of one of the “largest” locomotives. Contemplating the era of these photos, the location at Baldwin Locomotive, and the bar stock on what I think is a milling machine, I have trouble with the term “drive shaft”. I’m thinking this may be either the drive rod of a large steamer, or possibly this is late enough in the ‘40s to be part of a steam turbine where “drive shaft” may be an appropriate term. It could also be part of a diesel loco, but then the term “largest” becomes iffy with a ‘40s diesel. So I’m going with the drive rod.

The next few pics show toolmakers at the Baldwin plant making parts for the tooling needed to build the locos.  First, we find a toolmaker forming a bushing for an engine lathe spindle.

A blacksmith and forger are hammering tools at Baldwin.

Still at Baldwin in Eddystone, a toolmaker works the lathe forming a taper sleeve-gauge from a taper reamer.  …Okay – I wish I could tell you exactly what the taper sleeve-gauge was used for on the loco or loco tooling!

Moving past the Lewis Wickes Hine’s collection, I came across this pic and couldn’t verify much on it.  The individual that posted this was John Abbott who was posting to “Industrial History, Big Machine Tools”.  The caption read, “Steam engines in the late 1800s became quite large with big flywheels. I assume this is the type of machine that made those flywheels. I remember the Ford Museum had some engines with really big flywheels when I visited it decades ago.”

We’ll go overseas for a quick look at a very large locomotive shop grinding wheel – caption: “Worker using a grind stone at the London & North Western Railway’s Crewe works 1913.”

While we’re in the UK, we’ll visit Prince’s Dock in Govan where locomotives are loaded onto ships.  (Sorry – not in the loco shop, but just down the road!)

The North British Locomotive Co was founded by the amalgamation of three of Glasgow’s leading locomotive builders in 1903.  It was reputedly the world’s largest locomotive builder, with large works at Springburn and at Polmadie.  Locos bound for overseas markets were hauled through the city streets and loaded on to ships using giant dock-side cranes.

William Kerr & Co was one of the haulage firms employed to haul locos to the docks, using steam traction engines for the job. Two of the engines can be seen here

How about another image of loading steam locomotives onto ships near Glasgow? This is just a cool pic!

Going back to Baldwin, but again outside of the shops (and a few decades earlier than the ‘40s photos), here is a trades exhibit from Baldwin for the Constitutional Centennial Celebration. This rather large sturdy cart for hauling an American locomotive, was certainly pulled by a team of…horses. Just a bit of a paradox.

Here’s a group of small switchers outside a locomotive works in Philadelphia. The locos, mostly saddletankers, look like Porters, but HK Porter was in Pittsburg. That leaves likely Baldwin or Norris as the two potential sites. Norris, I believe was shut down by the 1870s. This could be in the 1870s, but I’m thinking slightly later and hence Baldwin.

I believe this is the Chicago & North Western locomotive shops – caption reads, “Working on a locomotive at the 40th Street railroad shops, Chicago, Ill. 1942.”  If I had to guess, I’d say the locomotive is probably a light Pacific.  The imagery of the details is fantastic.  Check out the sanding valves on the side of the sand dome.  The rivet linkages in the Walschaerts valve gear and power reverse are clearly visible.  The front and back drivers are spoked while the center driver is box pok (which gave them better balance with the heavy side rod and driver rod linkages on the center drivers).  You can see the elbows and pipe rack details on the air cooling coil above the drivers.

Still at the C&NW shops in Chicago, this pic shows steam locomotives under various states of heavy repair, 1942. Immediately visible in the foreground is one of the streamlined 4-6-4’s, #4001 (E-4), which was only about four years old at the time.  The photographer is Jack Delano.

I’m not as much of a PRR fan as some of these sets of pics would depict. But seeing an I1s Decapod flying at the Altoona shops – maybe I am a fan!

In this pic, there’s a row of mill machines or vertical lathes forming locomotive wheels.

…more drivers…big drivers!

Now, if we go back to our club’s steam locomotive clinic a few weeks back, we discussed eccentrics in the axles of Americans and Ten Wheelers in the 19th century.  The front driver axle typically had two eccentrics, 90 degrees apart, to drive the Stephenson valve gear between the front axle and the cylinders.  There was no caption on this photo, but that’s likely what we are seeing in assembly.  Notice how each offset arm of the eccentrics appears to have equal material weight opposite the eccentric to balance the wheel set.  For me, this is a fascinating pic because I had never seen the actual eccentrics used for Stephenson valve gear.  Another detail to note:  This set of drivers have not received it’s tires yet (no outside rim with flanges).  The picture is great quality for a 19th century photo – I wonder if this is actually a 20th century renovation photo.

L&N #418, an L-1 class Mountain, 4-8-2, is still in the Corbin, KY shop for a heavy overhaul, 1946. The front truck has been pulled and is in the foreground. You can see the loops at the front of the pilot truck frame where the safety chains are attached.  The leave springs just appear between the wheels. The valve gear and cylinder heads have been pulled for new rings and boring. All four driver sets have also been dropped. The 418 was infamous for having derailed at Highcliff, TN, on the Knoxville & Atlanta Division just two years earlier. The engine was leading a southbound troop train, and it derailed as it entered the tight curves of the “Narrows,” near Jellico, TN. Thirty four were killed in the derailment, most of whom were Army recruits headed for basic training. While excessive speed was officially cited as the cause, many informed sources faulted the engine’s pilot truck for not “slewing” into the curve as designed.

Here’s a Jack Delano photo – AT&SF shops in Topeka, 1943. Notice the suit & hat of the shop foreman as he directs the raising of a 275,000 lb. locomotive with a single finger on his left hand! Like the previous loco, all wheels have been remove and the cylinders opened. AT&SF #3261 is a Mikado 2-8-2, class 3160, built by Baldwin sometime between 1917 and 1920.

I threw these last three photos in for Mark & Jeremy, though a lot of the guys in the club will appreciate these pics. (Talk about shop tools!)

This is a 1950 Chevy 3100 truck front end toolbox – all steel construction (except the tires). You can get two optional remote controls with 12 functions each – open the hood, turn on the headlights, marker lights, LED under the hood lighting, and optional Bluetooth w/ USB/AUX jack for a soundsystem. (Play some good ‘50s tunes!)

…And yes – you can order one of these at: .  (So far, I’m not getting any kickback!)

I wonder if they can do one of these like a steamer pilot (!!!)?



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