Tag Archives: Iron Horse

An Iron Plate on an Iron Horse.

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Photocopy of an engraving–ca, 1850-1859 Danforth, Cooke, & Co’s. Locomotive & Machine Works: Paterson, New Jersey

Stories exist behind every picture.  Sometimes these stories are mere fantasies and artistic escapes, but other times, the stories ring true with a unique view of the historical past.  This work of the front plate of Engine 316 of the Texas State Railroad is a charming example of that form of historically significant art.

 

The chipped paint and the dirty appearance of the lettering and numbers show the age and wear that this locomotive has experienced.  This image elevates the industrial beauty of the iron horses of the great steam locomotive period.   The plate itself, especially shot in a tight close-up, provides a sense of permanence of the industrial revolution and the role that steam engines played in it.

 

Perhaps we can alter our perceptions of the time period more by looking into the history of the Cooke Works that produced this star of the yesteryear.   The Cooke Locomotive and Machine works factory, erected in the early 19th century in Patterson, NJ, started to manufacture steam engines as early as the 1850’s.

 

The company also had the names of Danforth, Cooke, & Company, Cooke Locomotive & Machine Works and, thanks to a merger in 1901, the ALCO or American Locomotive Company.  The plant was in full operation until the 1920’s when it shut down operations in the Patterson area.

 

This means that our valuable engine 316 is one of the last steam locomotives produced by the Cooke Company before it merged with the ALCO in 1901-1902. Engine 316 not only provides a group of tourists with a glimpse of the years of East Texas railroading.  She also provides an inspirational ride through the history of American engineering and manufacturing for the mid 1800’s to the 20th century.

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Engine 300: History Rides the Rails in Texas.

 

Come one!  Come all!  Any railroad tycoons out there?  Locomotives and trains have long been a favorite hobby of people since their beginning.  There is something about these mechanical monsters that just defines raw power.  Maybe it’s the iron exterior, maybe the belching steam and smoke.   No matter, these behemoths of days gone by live on in our imagination and our fine art.

Engine 300 is a 2-8-0 Consolidation steam engine built back in 1917.  According to the Texas State Railroad, this engine saw domestic action in WWI and WWII.  Eventually it came into the care of the Texas State Railroad and is now fully restored and works transporting tourists instead of freight.

 

Referred to as the Consolidation class, because of the lack of trailing wheels in the back of the engine, these locomotives became popular in the United States after the Civil War.   Because there is no trailing wheels, this means that the front wheels or guide wheels occupy a single axle in the front.  The 8 drive wheels follow them immediately on 4 separate axles of their own. The design was first manufactured as early as the late 1860’s by the Baldwin Locomotive Works and used primarily for freight and goods transportation.

 

The Consolidation class engines saw work internationally in portions of Europe. Indeed, the two most common places outside the United States these capable steam engines worked were in the United Kingdom and eventually Australia.  However, they did see use in Turkey, South Africa, and even Finland.

 

Interestingly, the Russian designation for this engine class was the 1-4-0.  They counted the number of axles, not the number of wheels.

 

It is also worthy to note that Engine 300 uses oil as a fuel, not coal or wood.  The burning of oil provides a nice benefit for this tough little engine.  This working museum piece hauls passengers looking for an adventure with a minimum of black soot and none of the burning embers usually found in coal or wood burning engines.  This small fact makes everyone much more comfortable.

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Here is the link to the more technical specifications on this particular engine.  https://www.texasstaterr.com/engine_info.php