It appears the Van Sweringens' were quick to recognize the inherent advantages of the new 2-8-4 and impressed with Lima Locomotive Works' "Super Power" design. As Mr. Dixon points out in his book, "Chesapeake & Ohio K-4 Class 2-8-4 Steam Locomotives," only a few years later the Advisory Mechanical Committee was formed in 1929. Over the next two decades the AMC refined a range of powerful new locomotives, perhaps the most best remembered of which were the so-called 2-8-4 "Van Sweringen Berkshires" found in service on all of their railroads. The C&O's 2-10-4's rolled out within a year of the committee's formation, working with Lima in doing so.
By creating the C&O's Class T-1's, AMC and Lima based the design from Erie's successful Class S 2-8-4's (totaling 105 units they were manufactured by all three major builders between 1927-1929 and continuing moving freight until 1957), essentially stretching the locomotive by adding an additional driving axle (the very first 2-10-4s appeared on the Santa Fe in 1919). Per the AMC's recommendations the C&O ordered 40 new 2-10-4's from Lima in 1930, numbered 3000-3039. Not only were these locomotives powerful, able to exert tractive efforts of nearly 94,000 pounds, but with drivers of 69 inches could clip along at 50 mph with a trainload of empty coal hoppers. Both the railroad and its employees were very impressed with the 2-10-4's. As C&O historian Eugene L. Huddleston notes, "This was truly one of the greatest locomotives ever built."
In his book, "Chesapeake & Ohio Railway: A Concise History And Fact Book," Mr. Dixon points out that the T-1's were the largest and most powerful non-articulated locomotives ever manufactured when they first entered service in 1930. The C&O normally assigned them west of the Ohio River where they found themselves working between Russell, Kentucky and Toledo, Ohio via Columbus largely handling 14,000-ton, 160-car coal drags to the docks along Lake Erie and other points across Ohio. Sometimes they would also venture east but this was rare. The T-1's operated without major changes or upgrades throughout most of their careers although they did see an increase in boiler pressure to 265 psi, witnessing a slight increase in tractive effort.
The locomotives were not particularly old by any standards when their retirement came in 1952-1953. As a major shipper of coal the C&O was a staunch proponent of steam power, so much so that it continued acquiring new locomotives through the late 1940s. It also took the bold step of testing experimental steam-turbine technology, which ultimately proved unsuccessful. As the secondary steam market faded away during the 1950s the C&O realized diesels were here to stay as main line motive power and began the process or retiring its steam fleet. While the company preserved many examples of various wheel arrangements none of the 2-10-4's were ever saved.
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