Locomotives / Train Sets

4-4-2 (Atlantic) Steam Locomotive

Steam Locomotive

Series: "Atlantic"

Entry Last Edited: 01/17/2024 | Content ©www.RailRoadJunction.net
The 4-4-2 Atlantic steam locomotive proved an adept high-speed passenger hauler for its time.
The 4-4-2 "Atlantic" wheel arrangement of steam locomotives found at the turn of the last century offered improved stability over previous designs and brought with it a deeper, wider firebox when compared to the earlier 2-4-2 locos it succeeded. 2-4-2 "Columbia" locos dated back to the 1860s-1870s, showcasing two large drive wheels to a frame side with a smaller set of forward and rearward wheels for balance / displacement. The newer approach of the 4-4-2s retained the larger pair of drive wheels at center but added an additional pair of smaller wheels to the front (leading bogie) - retaining the smaller, single-axle pair under the rear of the frame.

The first "tank" version of this locomotive was seen in the United Kingdom as early as 1880 and built by Sharp, Stewart & Co as well as Nasmyth, Wilson & Co for the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway. The formal, classic "tender" engine versions appeared in the United States in 1888. Designed by one George Strong, this was built by Hinkley Locomotive Works. While pioneering for its time, the design was not an outright success in these early stages.

In its classic, finalized form the locomotive continued the proven design arrangement seen in earlier approaches: the crew cabin was set over the rear of the frame with the cylindrical component taking up the middle-front. Aft of the loco was the eight-wheeled tender, giving the operating crew clear access to the supply when feeding the steam unit.

Once in wider-spread circulation, the 4-4-2 Atlantic was used to succeed the aging 4-4-0 "American" steam locomotives in the United States (these being detailed elsewhere on RailRoadJunction.net). The Atlantic name emerged from the second 4-4-2 tender version constructed by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1894, the unit intended for operations along the American East Coast (Atlantic Ocean side).

The Atlantic proved a popular steam-based locomotive design to the point it was copied overseas across Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Africa. In the United States, they made their history primarily on passenger rail lines as they proved less effective on routes with steeper grades. Blessed with good acceleration, the loco could reach speeds between 80 miles-per-hour and 100mph with average reliability for their time. Peak usage was reached between 1902 and 1929 at which point more powerful, reliable designs had become available.

Beyond their better known "Atlantic" nickname, the type also came to be known as the "Milwaukee" for its high-speed, passenger-hauling use in the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (CMStP&P) operations.

Atlantics were followed by the revolutionary 4-6-2 "Pacific" passenger-hauler type first appearing in tank form in Australia in 1896. Tender versions appeared in the United States in 1887 and first true-types were seen in New Zealand in 1901. A steam traction world speed record of 126mph was reach in Britain with a Pacific loco.

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Specifications [ 4-4-2 (Atlantic) ]

1888 - 1929
Production Run

13,600 units
Production Total
Train driver seating position graphic

Driver Position
15.3m | 50.3 ft
NOTE: May include length of entire train set
58,795 kg
(129,643 lb | 65 US Tons)
Locomotive power source graphical icon
Power Source
Coal-fired steam-based system.
Engine / Drive Source
160.0 kph
(99.4 mph)
Max Speed
Wheel Arrangement
(Loco Facing Left)

Operating Countries
Austria-Hungary; Belgium; Germany; India; Japan; Mozambique; Philippines; South Africa; United Kingdom; United States

National flag of Austria National flag of the Austro-Hungarian Empire National flag of Belgium National flag of modern Germany National flag of Hungary National flag of India National flag of modern Japan National flag of Mozambique National flag of the Philippines National flag of South Africa National flag of the United Kingdom National flag of the United States
Customers / Operators:
Austrian Northwestern Railway; Cape Government Railways; Chicago and Northwestern Railway; Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad; Grand Duchy of Baden State Railways; Great Central Railway; Great Northern Railway; Imperial Royal State Railways; Japanese Railways; Hungarian State Railways; Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway; London and Northwestern Railway; London, Brighton and South Coast Railway; London, Tilbury and Southend Railway; National Railway Company of Belgium; North British Railway; Palatinate Railway; Pennsylvania Railroad; Philippine National Railways; Prussian State Railways; Royal Bavarian State Railways; Royal Saxon State Railways; Santa Fe Railway; Southern Pacific Railway
NOTE: Includes both past and present
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