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Canadian Pacific Railway 2929

Whyte System Type: 4-4-4
Class: F-1-a

Builder: Canadian Locomotive Company
Date Built: March 1938
Builder's Number: 1943

Cylinders (diameter x stroke in inches): 16.5 x 28
Boiler Pressure (in lbs. per square inch): 300
Diameter of Drive Wheels (in inches): 75
Tractive Effort (in lbs.): 25,900; also reported as 26,000

Tender Capacity:
    Coal (in tons): 12
    Oil (in gallons): Not applicable
    Water (in gallons): 7,700 (Imperial gallons)

Weight on Drivers (in lbs.): 111,000 (another source claims 111,250)

Remarks: Sold June 1959 to Edaville.

Canadian Pacific Railway 4-4-4 Locomotive No. 2929

History: Canadian Pacific Railway Locomotive No. 2929 constituted the last in a series of twenty locomotives, Nos. 2910 through 2929, built by the Canadian Locomotive Company, Limited, expressly for service on streamlined "lightweight" passenger trains, a then-recent development. This particular specimen of Class F-1-a locomotive was outshopped by the Canadian Locomotive Company in March 1938. Actually, this class of 4-4-4 "Jubilee" type locomotives followed five earlier locomotives of Class F-2-a. Those earlier 4-4-4s were slightly larger and more powerful locomotives. Both classes of 4-4-4s featured streamlined exteriors appropriate for their service. The streamlined design of No. 2929 is somewhat reminiscent of streamlining used on a Delaware, Lackawanna & Western locomotive of a different wheel arrangement once photographed in the Scranton yard.

Canadian Pacific historian Omer Lavallée provided the context for the design of these locomotives under the supervision of long-tenured motive power chief Henry Blaine Bower:

Despite the effects of the Depression, many railways found the resources to experiment with then-new concepts such as diesel motive power and high-speed, lightweight trains, usually in articulated, fixed-length consists as on the Burlington, Union Pacific and Boston & Maine. Other lines, including the Baltimore & Ohio and the Milwaukee Road, continued to think in terms of steam motive power and variable-length trains composed of individual cars, as did Canadian Pacific.

Brilliant steam locomotive advocate though he may have been, Bower proved no accurate prognosticator of the future when he wrote, "The Diesel engine of today, wonderful as it is, is doubtful as a lasting standard and it seems a reasonable prediction that it will be considered obsolete in a short period of years." Lavallée continued:

So wrote Bowen in 1935, as his drawing office was engaged in designing a number of new lightweight trains which were to be hauled by 4-4-4 type semi-streamlined locomotives equipped with 80-inch driving wheels having disc, rather than spoked, centers, and boilers carrying steam at 300 pounds pressure per square inch. Emphasis was placed on semi-streamlining:". . . no extremes (have) been resorted to from a streamlining point of view, and yet it is felt that the same results will be accomplished in diminishing head-end resistance as with the more extreme designs which have been resorted to by . . . other railroads . . . (which) . . . will not meet safety appliance requirements and make parts very inaccessible for repairs."

The first of the new class F2a 4-4-4 locomotives made its appearance at 1130 on Monday, 27 July 1936. III No. 3000 emerged under steam from the erecting shop at Montreal Locomotive Works, tearing through a canvas mural carrying a drawing of the front of Brown class S.C. 4-4-0 I No. 371, which had been built fifty years before, in 1886. The dignitaries, headed by CPR chairman and president Sir Edward Beatty; W.C. Dickerson, president of MLW, and Camillien Houde, mayor of Montreal, learned that as a publicity gesture, the 4-4-4 wheel arrangement had been given the type name "Jubilee" by the CPR to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the inauguration of its transcontinental service. The second locomotive of this class, No. 3001, was soon on its way to western Canada heading an exhibition train, going as far as Vancouver on the main line and returning via the Kettle Valley and Kootenay route through southern British Columbia before being placed in regular service between Calgary and Edmonton. Nos. 3000 and 3002 were assigned to service between Toronto and Windsor, Ont., while Nos. 3003 and 3004 were put into operation between Montreal and Quebec. All remained in their respective areas until withdrawal twenty years later.

The class F2 4-4-4s featured nickel steel boilers and the extensive use of high strength alloys in construction. Interestingly, the main rods were connected to the leading drivers, in the manner of a 4-4-0.

Canadian Pacific Railway 4-4-4 "Jubilee"-type Locomotive No. 2929 appeared at the head of a train in Fredericton, New Brunswick, on October 21, 1953. The locomotive undoubtedly crossed Maine to get to New Brunswick.
Collection of Gerald M. Best, California State Railroad Museum Library

That same year, as Lavallée described, one of the new locomotives set a long-standing speed record for Canadian railroads:

The establishment of official speed records preoccupied mechanical men in North America to the extent that it did on the opposite side of the Atlantic. However, the attainment of the generally-accepted speed record for a Canadian steam locomotive came about in a curious way. In the autumn of 1936, the Canadian Westinghouse Company was asked by Bower to conduct air brake tests on a train of the new lightweight equipment. A consist was made up, headed by class F2a 4-4-4 No. 3003, pulling a train composed of mail/express car 3603, baggage/buffet car 3053 and coaches 2105 and 2107. On 18 September 1937, eastbound from Smiths Falls to Montreal, the train was brought up to high speed. Near mile 38 of the Winchester Subdivision (about one mile west of Soulanges), the brakes were applied in emergency. The test established that the train required 2,227 m (1 mile, 2025 feet) to be brought to a complete stop, that the brake shoe temperatures on the cars ranged in excess of 360°C. (700°F.) while those of the driving wheel tires was in the order of 315°C. (600°F) However, the report notes that the speed of the train at the moment that the brakes were applied was 181 km/h (112.5 mph). . . .

This speed record remained unchallenged until 10 March 1976, when the Alcan Dofasco-MLW consortium's LRC Train attained a speed of 208 km/h (129 mph) on a test run on CP Rail between St. Jean and Delson, Que., on the Adirondack Subdivision. A few weeks later, on 22 April 1976, the United Aircraft-built Turbo Train, operated by Canadian National Railways, attained 226.2 km/h (140.6 mph) on a test run near Morrisburg, Ontario.

Subsequently, the Canadian Pacific Railway built another 20 "Jubilee" type 4-4-4 locomotives which, despite being later locomotives than the F-2s, had the lower class number. Lavallée explained:

A later series of twenty 4-4-4s, designated class Fla, possessed smaller 75-inch drivers; the main rods were connected to the rear pair. Numbered 2910-2929, these smaller engines were built in 1937. The fast, local intercity services for which the Fis were designed never materialized and they were assigned to secondary local passenger services on the prairies and in eastern Canada. However, one of these assignments, the Regina-Moose Jaw local train, called for the 16.4 km (10.2 miles) between Pasqua and Belle Plaine Sask., to be effected in ten minutes, an average start-to-stop speed in excess of 98 km/h (61 mph). This was, for some time in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the fastest scheduled speed attained by a Canadian passenger train.

Thus the locomotive Canadian Pacific numbered 2929 came into existence, rolling out of the Canadian Locomotive Company's erecting shop in March 1938, last of the Jubilees, last of the 4-4-4s in North America.

Interestingly, although the 4-4-4 type proved unpopular and experienced little use in the United States, it had been tried there, even if unsatisfactorily. The first trial occurred in 1915 when the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad obtained four Class C-1a 4-4-4 locomotives: No. 110, built in May 1915; No. 111, built in June 1915; and Nos. 112 and 113, built in July 1913. These had 23-1/2-inch diameter cylinders with a 26-inch stroke and 80-inch diameter drive wheels, and carried 240 pounds per square inch boiler pressure. They lasted less than a year before being rebuilt as 4-4-2 Atlantic type engines.

Many years passed, and then another single American 4-4-4 appeared two years before Canada's first. Did the American 4-4-4 inspire Bowen to design a Canadian counterpart in 1935? No evidence has been found to either prove or disprove that evolution. But in 1934, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad erected in its own shops, or to be more precise, altered an existing 4-4-2 into a Class J-1 4-4-4 named the Lady Baltimore, which became B & O Locomotive No. l. Along with Locomotive No. 2, the Lord Baltimore, a Class V-2 4-6-4 Hudson type, the Lady Baltimore was designed to pull new lightweight streamlined passenger trains: the Lord Baltimore received assignment to the Royal Blue and the Lady Baltimore to the Abraham Lincoln on the Alton (a wholly owned Baltimore & Ohio subsidiary that was originally the Chicago & Alton Railroad). The Lady Baltimore should have done well on the Alton Railroad, which featured easy grades and long tangents (stretches of straight track), but it did not. Later, the locomotive went back to Mt. Clare Shops in Baltimore where it received a conventional cab and front end to replace streamlined components, being renumbered 5330. Its low tractive effort and large drive wheels, conducive to speed, not power, continued to be a handicap. The Baltimore & Ohio placed it in service for a while on its Wheeling Division, hauling local passenger trains between Holloway and Cleveland, Ohio, but ultimately sent the locomotive to the Riverside Shop in Baltimore to be preserved in white lead for a year or so. The railroad finally scrapped the locomotive in 1949. This apparently was the second experiment with the 4-4-4 type on an American railroad; one or more other examples of American 4-4-4s have been rumored to exist, but none are confirmed.

However, another American 4-4-4 was designed, in the same year the Baltimore & Ohio built the Lady Baltimore, though it never was built.

As David P. Morgan wrote in Trains, when articulated, lightweight diesel-powered streamlined trains started showing up in 1933, the chief engineer of the Lima Locomotive Works quickly recognized their competitive virtues, and believed that lightweight standard equipment would be a wave of the future. He also believed that Lima should be able to offer a suitable streamlined steam locomotive to railroads in search of motive power for such trains. Thus in September 1934, Lima Vice President Will Woodard authored an article published in Railway Age accompanied by plans for a semi-streamlined 4-4-4 equipped with 84-inch diameter drive wheels, poppet valves, and a booster on the trailing truck. Woodard projected a sustained 2,200 horsepower at all speeds above 30 miles per hour, with a top speed estimated conservatively at 100 miles per hour. "This was more than enough power," commented David Morgan, "to keep a six-car, 250-ton train rolling at a consistent 90 miles per hour over tangent [straight] level track." Morgan went on to analyze the virtues of the proposed Lima 4-4-4:

The 4-4-4's booster increased her starting tractive effort to 43,100 pounds in spite of the 84-inch drivers, and once she was under way the big wheels held machinery speeds down to reasonable levels. Moreover, the cylinders drove on the first pair of drivers--a principle which Woodard pointed out "was one of the great virtues of the old eight wheelers [4-4-0]" as a contribution to smoother operation. The popped valves separated the timing of admission and exhaust of steam within the cylinders, which would have increased her horsepower at 100 miles an hour by as much as 50 percent over conventional or Walschaerts gear.

The design of the smallest details revealed painstaking care: the boiler was to be constructed from nickel steel, tender trucks were of welded design, and the booster was a comparatively high-speed unit--cutting out at 20 miles an hour.

Unfortunately, Lima Locomotive Works never built this locomotive that Woodard's engineers had designed.

The differences between this proposed Lima 4-4-4 and the Lady Baltimore, however, may explain why the latter did not succeed and inspire the construction of sister engines. The drive rods on the Lady connected to the rear pair of drivers rather than to the front pair, as on the Lima proposal. Equally important, the Lady Baltimore carried much smaller cylinders and constituted a much lighter locomotive, one that developed at a theoretical 100 miles per hour only 1,570 horsepower compared with 2,200 for the proposed Lima engine.

To return to the subject of the Canadian 4-4-4s, which may or may not have derived from the American designs, the operational history of the last of the F-1-a locomotives, No. 2929, has yet to be researched, but it is known to have operated between Montreal and Fredericton, New Brunswick, in October 1953, which required it to cross the state of Maine, though whether under its own power, pulled by an American locomotive, or, on different occasions, both, is yet unknown. Canadian Pacific historian Omer Levallee photographed in color Locomotive No 2929 hauling Train No. 427 between Montreal and Ottawa in the spring of 1957. In June 1958, No. 2929 ran between Montreal and Farnham.

In June 1959, F. Nelson Blount purchased No. 2929 from the Canadian Pacific for exhibit either at his Edaville property at South Carver, Massachusetts, or in one of the amusement parks with which he then had a contract for display of historic locomotives.

One locomotive of this Canadian Pacific F-1-a class survives in Canada, No. 2928, exhibited in the Canadian Railway Museum at Delson, Quebec, so the presence of No. 2929 in the United States does not leave Canada without a representative of the type. Apparently no examples of Canadian Pacific Class F-2-a locomotives survive.

Condition: This locomotive is capable of being restored to operable condition. However, it is not really suitable for regular excursion train service, though it would be suitable for demonstration around the Scranton yard or in occasional short runs over fairly level terrain scheduled only periodically. One of the characteristics of a locomotive with large drive wheels is the capability of reaching high speeds, but at the cost of pulling power or tractive effort. In other words, this locomotive is fast but not powerful.

Recommendation: This locomotive should be preserved by the National Park Service on the grounds that: (1) it is the only 4-4-4 locomotive in the United States; (2) it is the only semi-streamlined locomotive in the Steamtown collection and the only locomotive designed expressly to power lightweight streamlined passenger trains developed during the 1930s; and (3) it did cross Maine historically during its common carrier service for the Canadian Pacific Railway and is thus an example of a Canadian locomotive that operated in the United States historically. At some future time a report, should be completed about this engine by a qualified railroad historian, and should involve in-depth research in Canada into the operational history of this locomotive. The locomotive should be restored mechanically for occasional operation as a historic locomotive. It should not be used in regular excursion train service.


Craig, Allan E. "Canadian Pacific 4-4-4." Model Railroader, Vol. 30, No. 12 (Dec. 1965): 38, 39.

"Famous Steam Locomotives: 14; Light, Fast and Neat as a New Pin." Trains, Vol. 13, No. 16 (Apr. 1953): 36, 37.

Guide to the Steamtown Collection. Bellows Falls, Vt.: Steamtown Foundation, n.d. (ca. 1973), Item no. 39 and roster entry.

Hart, George M. "History of the Locomotives of the Reading Company." The Railway and Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin, No. 67 (May 1946): 86.

Lavallée, Omer, ed. Canadian Pacific Railway Diagrams and Data. Toronto: Railfare Enterprises Ltd., 1985: 17.

__________. Canadian Pacific Steam Locomotives. Toronto: Railfare Enterprises Ltd., 1985: 194-196, 316,416, 437, 441, 455.

Locomotive Cyclopedia of American Practice, 1941. New York: Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corp., 1941: Section 2, 179-182.

Locomotive Cyclopedia of American Practice, 1947. New York: Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corp., 1947: Section 2, 158.

Mead, Edgar T. Telephone interview with author, Apr. 12, 1988.

Morgan, David P. "The Lima Story, Part II: Blueprint Locomotives." Trains, Vol. 12, No. 5 (Mar. 1952): 20-21.

Sagle, Lawrence W. B & O Power: Steam, Diesel and Electric Power of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, 1829-1964. n.p.: Alvin F. Staufer, 1964: 289, 302, 303.

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Last Updated: 14-Feb-2002